The future of future bass is here, in 2018, in Miami, and some of the coolest, nicest dudes are behind the burgeoning genre.
Case in point is PLS&TY (pronounced "please and thank you"). The young producer arrived at his moniker through a “clever byproduct” of his real name, Tommy Leas. “'Please' rhymes with 'Leas,' and I took the 't' and 'y' from my first name, 'Tommy,'” he says.
It is perhaps the most polite name in electronic music, and his sound, “wavy and synth-heavy,” reflects that, with songs such as “Good Vibes” that are as warm as a smile.
The Palm Beach native currently resides in Miami's Brickell neighborhood after an educational stint in Los Angeles, where he attended the Icon Collective and studied music production. He returned to the East Coast for a very down-to-earth reason: family and friends. “It’s close to home, really — big-city vibe but close enough to home that I can go back and forth.”
Although he credits Cashmere Cat and Flume as major influences, Leas’ journey began long before he was raving at festivals.
“I’ve been playing piano all my life. I grew up playing piano. Then I became a photographer and a videographer. I was shooting events and nightclubs around South Florida. I basically built up my portfolio, including Ultra. I was shooting so many electronic events and growing more and more into the music, and having played piano my entire life, I was like, You know what? I might as well give this a go. I love it so much.”
Leas says his classical training affords him a more natural and smoother entrée into the world of bass, beats, and bounce.
“It’s helped tremendously with being able to create certain chords and already having knowledge of how to make music, how to write music. Making dance music is programming in notes and making interesting sound designs to make those notes sound like dance music. The songs that I write can be written on a piano and then plugged into the software. The fundamentals are piano chords and piano melodies.”
With an already healthy number of remixes in his pocket, including work on classics by Outkast, Nelly Furtado, Fergie, and others, Leas decided to use his background and began composing original songs. The story of the track that brought him prominence, “Good Vibes,” could have ended much differently, and not for the better.
“That song was written on a day that wasn’t so great,” Leas says, chuckling.
“I was in the session with the vocalists [Cosmos & Creature], and we were... going down the wrong path. Nothing was really coming together. Nothing was clicking. Then we were like, all right, screw this. Let’s try something different; let’s try something for fun, something happy... to get our minds off of how terribly this session is going.”
The result was “Good Vibes,” his breakout single as PLS&TY, which eventually hit the top of several European charts as well as the top spot on the iTunes U.S. electronic charts. “The song came about in a playful manner to sort of clear our minds of the bad vibes,” Leas says, and that’s precisely the mood the track sets for listeners.
Perhaps more exciting for Leas was the seemingly random and unexpected offer from Universal Music Group for a licensing deal. Originally released on PRMD, “Good Vibes” soon caught the attention of the industry, and only a month after its debut, Leas received an “astonishing” phone call from a rep at UMG. Skeptical at first, and bound by his loyalty to PRMD, Leas thought, “This sucks [that] you guys are interested in this.”
Things worked out in the end, with both labels reaching an agreement. The joint effort resulted in “Good Vibes” receiving a new release with additional production.
Over the next 12 months, PLS&TY will be a name to look out for. Leas is looking to drop at least “two or three” high-profile singles. Despite not being able to confirm any upcoming live dates, he has big plans to tour with his own visual rig and what he promises to be an outstanding light show. He’s a humble guy with big ideas.
“I’m just this kid that fell in love with music and had no friends that were into arts, and I paved my own way.”
No doubt he'll be making many new friends very soon.
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Angel Melendez is an unabashed geek and a massive music nerd who happens to write words (and occasionally take photos) for Miami New Times. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University and an accomplished failure at two other universities, Angel is a lush and an insufferable know-it-all, and has way better taste in music than you. His wealth of useless knowledge concerning bands, film, and Batman is matched only by his embarrassingly large collection of Hawaiian shirts and onesies.