Interview: Plastic Barricades
Paul Love, drummer, producer and one half of London alt indie duo Plastic Barricades tackling the latest questions from Volatile Weekly:
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Growing up in Liverpool in the 90s there wasn’t much choice. Everyone played something, be it football or music. I just wanted to get to all those places I saw on television. New York, LA, London. My Dad was a fireman and he played drums. I looked up to him a lot, and he always said that music was love itself. That influenced me a lot. I’d like to think that if I wasn’t playing music I’d be doing a technical job for a lot of money; quantitative analysis, programming, maybe engineering but I had a lot of problems in high school. That probably wouldn’t have worked out.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to ride my bicycle. We go on trips wild camping through Europe. It’s so beautiful. I love the idea that with two bags, a bike and enough time I can go anywhere from Portugal to China without fuel or hotels. The only expense is food. I always had a fantasy as a child of removing myself from society and joining a hunter-gatherer tribe. Travelling long distance under my own steam is the closest thing I’ve found. It reminds me that I’m human. Cities are very convenient but they weigh on me. I find music doesn’t flow out of me when I don’t feel free.
How long has your band been around?
Not as long as we’ve been asquare
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live in Paris; Dan lives in London. We used to live together in London but I fell in love with an American in Paris and France seems like possibly the best place in the world to raise a family right now. I was in London for 11 years and I was just getting angry and frustrated. There’s so many musicians in London that it can be intimidating and it’s easy to lose your way and become a session puppet to pay the bills. I had writer’s block for so long because of the fame game. Everyone’s so business in London. Londoners rush everything, that’s why the roads are dangerous. People take their time in Paris. I can take the time to stop and listen and smell and feel and taste when I’m there (even though that smell is piss most of the time). Paris is good for me because I can’t speak French. I can’t rely on anyone for gigs so I stay at home writing all day. I’ve written more in the past 10 months in Paris than I did in 10 years in London. Dan helped me so much getting out of that block. His dedication and honesty in his craft is really inspiring to me. All the songs on this album are his really. There’ll be some of mine on the next one.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We saw a sign that said “metal connections”. I like spoonerisms and opposites. Plastic can mean fake, but it’s also there forever. It doesn’t decompose. Borders and barriers are only in our mind but it often doesn’t make them less real. When cattle ranchers are moving huge herds they use long strips of tarp to guide the animals, they could break through it very easily and go where they want but it looks like a wall to them so they never try. That’s a plastic barricade.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
The best show is always the upcoming one. Worst gig… this wasn’t with Dan. I was playing with another group that shall not be named. Two of them were basically having a domestic on stage trying to prove the crowd loved them more than the other. That really didn’t endear the audience to them. Stuff like that is embarrassing, people can smell a fake a mile away. Musicians aren’t idols to be worshipped, they’re supposed to connect us together.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
I love The Cavern every time. It’s shit, but it’s home. I’ve lost count of the gigs I’ve played there. The crowd is exclusively O.A.P. Scousers and Beatles tourists. I want to play Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks and the Pyramid at Glasto… and I want a headline slot downstairs at Ronnie’s.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Presuming you mean living and performing: Tool, Jacob Collier, Beiber, Plastic Barricades. It’d be a special crowd. I want Maynard and Justin to do a duet with Jacob on keys singing “Love Yourself”
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Fuck scales, fuck rudiments, fuck fame, fuck fear, fuck egos. The sooner you learn you’ll never be the best and the best doesn’t exist the better. Find people you love. Really love. Try to make them smile.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Smile, be generous, worry less and lay off the drugs and sugar.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
On the upcoming album it’s probably “The Great Unknown”. It sums up this whole period for me. My life has completely changed over the past three years and it’s just been one huge surprise after another. On a more personal level the original demo was all Dan, he even played drums on it. I’ve been dealing with this weird dichotomy: feeling I deserve more because of my talents (ego) and being afraid to do anything in case it shows that I’m not as good as I thought. I think I’m past it now. Watching Dan just go at it every day and trying everything without fear and seeing him improve and succeed because of his humility has been the best lesson.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I really love Shine! And I think the fans do too.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We have a small wooden shed we’ve filled with gear in a secret location. 2 metres by 3 metres. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We go in every day. Bach once said, “No day without a line” and this is very important. You’ll probably write more but if you can get just one line in you’ll have a fountain of ideas forming for the next day and the next day and the next day. Sometimes we jam stuff out but usually Dan comes to me with a melodic idea and a lyric and we flesh it out from there. Dan usually handles mic placement and I mix but we work on the engineering together. We do everything ourselves. Hearing something I’ve never heard before inspires me. Seeing people get it inspires me.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Stay positive, love each other, don’t sweat the small stuff, be a lit candle that lights other candles.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I think the only disagreement we ever had was when I was moving to Paris and I was finding difficult to make time for the band. We resolved that really smoothly. We’re both pretty chilled out. We’re not fans of drama and are both rather practically minded (although I’m sure many of my loved ones would disagree). We just talk openly and without judgment.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Our focus is on this album. There will be a tour but we’re trying to figure out an interesting way to present this. It’s just us two and there’s at least 5 instruments on every track. If anyone has any ideas send them on a postcard to our PO box. (We don’t have a PO box)
Plastic Barricades’ new single “One for the Road” out on the 1st of October.
“One for the Road” video: https://youtu.be/C54IrBXeFHM
Romantic and honest, gloomy and curious, melodic and melancholic, Plastic Barricades chronicle life in the troubled yet fascinating XXI century, asking questions and trying to find answers. Inspired and influenced by almighty Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Death Cab for Cutie, Placebo, Nirvana and many others, the band loves to experiment with styles, sound and approach.
Based in North-West London, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitars, keyboards and vocals and Paul Love on drums. Debut album “Mechanics of Life” was released in September 2017 and is available on Spotify.