About five years ago, Shon and Cherie Cobbs, the husband-wife dream-pop duo Plume Varia, took a road trip from Denver to Tornillo, Texas. They were headed to Sonic Ranch, the world's largest residential recording studio complex, where they would eventually record Fact | Fiction, their debut album, with David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets.
On the trip, the couple stopped in Santa Fe for the Burning of Zozobra festival, which Shon describes as a family-friendly version of Burning Man, with fewer hipsters. It was a magical experience, and they started visiting New Mexico four or five times a year for the next few years. They finally moved there in early March, after closing on a house in the town of Placitas, just outside Albuquerque.
They had long dreamed of a house in the mountains and had found the ideal place, tucked away in the Sandia Mountains. Their new home had beautiful views and six acres of land. But while they’d made the move from Denver to New Mexico and found their dream property and were thinking about endless possibilities, the pandemic was already hitting the region.
“And then it's like, everything is shut down, and then suddenly you find yourself locked in and isolated," Shon says. “You're away from the things that you're familiar with, your family and friends, stuff you had back in Denver.”
That idea inspired th duo’s new single, “Hold On to Me.”
In the process of moving, they hadn’t worked on much Plume Varia material for most of the year. When they finally decided to make music again, they knew they couldn’t escape the chaos of the pandemic and the election.
Locked in their home, stressed, not sleeping enough and filling their heads with case counts and death counts, it was hard to be productive and creative, Shon says. “If you're a person who is like a creative, you'll start to get down on yourself about that very thing. You'll start to be like, 'Well, what's wrong with me? I can't...I'm locked into here, literally, and I can't even create under all these circumstances.’”
With “Hold On to Me,” the couple wanted to encapsulate that and the feeling of “We understand” when Cherie sings, “It's not lost on me,” on the track.
“It's referring to the irony: We're living in our dream place, and we're so excited to move here, and it’s lovely, and everything about it is beautiful, but because of the circumstances of fear, we’ll find ourselves sinking into despair and reaching out for something and someone to hold on to," Shon says.
The couple recorded “Hold On to Me” and sent the track to Los Angeles-based Fred Archambault, a producer and mixer who’s worked with acts like Gary Numan, Avenge Sevenfold, Panic at the Disco!, and Atreyu. Plume Varia will work with Archambault, whom the Cobbs first met while working on Fact | Fiction at Sonic Ranch, on more tracks for an EP that's slated for release late spring or early summer next year.
Although Plume Varia is now based in New Mexico, Shon says the couple still considers Denver its “band home” and will be back for semi-regular visits for concerts and festivals once they start back up.
Hear more at Plume Varia's website.
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