Pennsylvania native, Sam Martinsen AKA pluko has racked up over 50 million plays across multiple platforms. That’s not all, he’s also landed slots at major festivals such as Coachella, Firefly, HARD Summer—and he’s only nineteen! In 2018, pluko released his first full-length album sixteen via Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective and also got the opportunity to join them at their annual Red Rocks show (omg!!).
Last year, pluko independently released CLASS XIX and announced his own record label and collective Splendid Society. One day he hopes to sign other artists to give them a platform to release music as well. In a short amount of time pluko has transformed from bedroom producer to main stage act and recently made the big move to New York. We chatted to pluko about all this, and most importantly the release of his new single blessings (ft. Nate Traveller).
Firstly, congrats on your new single blessings! How does it feel to have it out?
It feels sooo good! It still doesn’t even feel like it’s actually out because I’ve been sitting on it for a while so I just kinda forgot it was actually coming out! So much music that I write never comes out so I’m super excited that the whole world can hear this one finally.
What was the process like working with Nate Traveller?
The process was incredible. Nate and I just instantly found a flow between us and this track just came out. We actually wrote a few songs together!
You’ve said you’ve never been more proud of a track—what makes this one stand out to you?
Probably around 300 hours went into just the production and mixing on this track. From the second that Nate and I started this together, I knew that this one was going to be different than all of my previous tracks and I had to make sure that I gave it the effort that I knew it deserved. I couldn’t be more proud of the result. I guess me being so proud really just boils down to the heart of the track and the magic that happened in the studio together.
You recently moved to New York, what has that been like? What is the best and worst part about moving?
Yes! I just got here about 2 weeks ago and I am absolutely loving it. NYC has always been my favorite city in the world so it’s surreal to actually be living here. I’d say the best part about living here is the 24/7 inspiration and motivation surrounding me. Everywhere you look, every corner that you turn, you see something you’ve never seen before and that alone is so inspiring. The other thing I love about New York is that you can’t just like live here, you have to survive here. Everyone around you is working their asses off and it’s just a constant reminder that if you’re not working just as hard or harder than your neighbor, you’re going to fall behind. My least favorite part of New York is simple — noise complaints lol.
Nineteen is an age where people are usually trying to navigate their lives and figure out what they want to do in the future. How did you figure out your purpose and career so early on?
I am so fortunate to have found my passion at such an early age and I’m so thankful that I was raised in an environment where every dream felt possible. From day one, I’ve always truly believed that I could turn any of my wildest dreams into a reality. Music has my heart and it forever will, but there are also so many other things in this world that I’d like to do… and I’m gonna do them! This time of life is very overwhelming regardless of whether you have your plan figured out or not. Everything feels so unstable at this age, and that’s because it is, but you’ve just gotta understand that it’s okay, it’s normal.
You’ve been booked for some of the biggest festivals in the world such as Coachella, Firefly Festival, Ultra and HARD Summer. What has it been like watching those festivals as a fan to performing at them?
It’s super crazy to play the festivals I’ve always dreamed of even just attending. My first festivals I ever went to were actually the ones I was playing at. I used to dream about going to Ultra to see people like Skrillex and I’d stay up all night just to watch the live streams, so playing there was definitely a crazy feeling!
Did you meet any artists that you’re a fan of?
I met Tyler the Creator at Coachella right after his set! It was super crazy. He’s one of my favorite artists. He had absolutely no clue who I was but he was super chill!
Performing alongside ODESZA sounds like a dream. How did you find out you’d be joining them at Red Rocks? What was your reaction?
I’m pretty sure my manager called me to tell me. He was like “don’t get too excited because it’s not yet confirmed, but I’m pretty sure ODESZA wants you to open for them at Red Rocks.” I was definitely pretty stunned and honestly it didn’t even sink in that I was playing there until after the show. I was so nervous and so overwhelmed that I didn’t even realize how big of a deal that was until I got back home and laid in bed and was like “wow I actually just did that.”
Congrats on running the half marathon! What’s the next marathon you’re training for? Got any handy marathon training tips?
Thank you so much! My goal is to run a full marathon while I’m still 19. I think I’m going to sign up for one in May. My best tip for running is to remember that it’s all in your head! Be stronger than your mind and don’t let the little lazy version of you in there take control!
Anything else you’d like people to know?
“blessings” is just the beginning.