Who is answering the questions?
Plastic Barricades’ very own bassist Daniele, drummer Frazer and lead guitar player Jonas.
Can you tell us about the formation of Plastic Barricades?
Frazer: The band started with a completely different line up with Dan the singer, in his home country of Estonia. After he moved to London he brought the concept of the band with him and began his search for musicians which is where he found Dani (bass) and myself. After some failed searching for a lead guitarist we were fortunate enough to come across Jonas (lead guitar) and are now proudly a four piece band!
Dani: Estonian design, British engine, Italian rear wheel drive, Norwegian interiors – we sound like a nice supercar!
How did you get to the band name Plastic Barricades, and what does it mean to you?
Jonas: It actually comes from a Jimmy Cliff quote: “If you go out to Hollywood you’ll find a lot of fantastic plastic people there in the business and a lot of people in life generally. They find it so hard to be themselves that they have to be plastic”. A person would put up a plastic barricade because they’re afraid of what people think of their real selves. And we decided to use it as a band name. Why not.
Frazer: One day back in Estonia a young man named Dan Kert was walking in the woods near his home town of Talinn. It was a day much like any other until Dan stumbled across a bottle with a piece of paper in it, which turned out to be instructions with his name on it. The instructions told Dan to bring his passion for music to the world and to find the musicians who would join him on his journey and that he would find them in London and so he did. On the black of the piece of paper was written a code that he knew he had to crack. Dan decided to become an expert in code cracking and so spent years of his young life devoted to cracking this code until one day he cracked it… “Пластиковые… Баррикады” (which as we all know translates to “Plastic… Barricades” ) was the solution and thus the band name was born.
Dani: It is a mystery, seems that Sherlock Holmes is up to investigate this for his next adventure.
Credit for all photos used: Elina Pasok
To an unfamiliar reader, how would you describe your sound?
Jonas: It’s quite an open sound I think, melodic and accessible but still carries a strong meaning. There’s two guitars so a lot of the songs can be guitar heavy but there’s definitely still a strong groove in all our songs and a strong sense of dynamics.
Frazer: Our sound is a comprehensive mixture of our different musical tastes. We try to compose our music to be interesting musically and digestible at the same time. We are in simple terms an Indie Rock band while also being lyrically intended to invite people to look introspectively at their lives.
Dani: It sounds new, fresh, yet meaningful and powerful at the same time!
What bands have influenced you over the years, and why?
Jonas: Being a guitarist it’s hard not to state the obvious, but Hendrix has been the biggest influence for me, there’s nobody else out there who could quite play the instrument like him. Saying that I have a much wider ranging taste in music rather than sticking to just a rock background. I love African music, the musicianship can be really unique, especially when mixed with Western influences. I also love funk; P-Funk having made some of my favourite ever records.
Frazer: Personally i’m influenced both as a listener for passion and as a musician for talent. I love music that makes me feel things such as an orchestra or well written lyrics about love as much as any casual listener would, but I also listen to music that pushes my musical comprehension to help me a student of music. But when passion and talent mix that’s just magical. A good example would be Snarky Puppy or lettuce who are two bands I can’t stop listening to. As a band it’s easier to say that we are the sum of our individual influences, because as we tend to work together to come up with the music it’s definitely all of our individual input and influences that creates the music you end up hearing.
Dani: I owe a lot to 70’s music and artists such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi hendrix, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and many others. I spent a significant amount of time of my life on that music, and i feel it’s my strongest influence. Going forward in time definitely Ac/dc, Guns’n Roses, Iron Maiden, RHCP, Radiohead, Coldplay(the old albums), and Muse(older albums too). Bass wise my favourite and closest influence are John Paul Jones(led Zeppelin), James Jamerson (Motown), Christopher Wolstenholme (Muse).
How did you get to the album title ‘Mechanics of Life’, and what does it mean to you?
Frazer: I believe it’s a reflection on the lyrics in a big way as the lyrics of our music is intended to make people think about their lives as an extension of their choices less than a roll of the dice or fate. I think the title is just another way of saying “how life works” and to me it means that we are trying to offer an honest perspective on some of the hardest to face problems we face as people. Why did this happen? or why won’t this work? … the answer is usually closer than you think.
Dani: Well. it reminds me of all those amazing books you read when you are a kid, the ones that show all working parts of an engine, a factory or else but in a fancy way (like those crazy books from Richard Scarry). Same principle here. Instead of reading you listen to different “working parts” of a person’s life, and you can experience certain perspectives that may be new to you, or quite familiar.
Can you elaborate on some of the other main themes and influences that run throughout ‘Mechanics of Life’?
Jonas: If you’re talking about the album conceptually, then there’s a running theme of human emotions that we all feel from time to time broken down in some of the songs.
Dani: you can get through feelings, perception of reality, or virtual reality and how it affects your life. You can be driven through madness, or self belief, delusions… sort of a crazy acid trip!
What can you tell us about the recording process for ‘Mechanics of Life’?
Jonas: The recordings are mainly done in our own studio, apart from the drums which have been recorded at Old Paradise Audio in Central London. But when it comes to all the guitars, vocals and extra bits we have all the facilities to record these ourselves.
Dani: Then the lot is being mixed, refined by us with the help of our favourite sound engineer Stuart Cooney, and finally mastered at the Metropolitan Studios by legendary Andy “Hippie” Baldwin.
What song means the most to you from ‘Mechanics of Life’ at the moment, and why?
Frazer: Personally I love listening to and play “Masterminds” because it has a very direct and serious approach to life and musically it’s engaging. Have a look here:
That being said we have a song in the works called “How Goldfish Grow” which is so much fun to play live that might be my new number 1 when it’s finished.
Jonas: For me it would be ‘How Goldfish Grow’ it’s a very danceable song with an infectious groove and it came together so easily between the four of us, it’s hard not to like a song that falls in to place and sounds good, it’s all round good stuff.
Dani: The ghost track. Because it is there but not there yet.
What songs are you really enjoying playing live from ‘Mechanics of Life’ at the moment, and why?
Jonas: Again that would have to be ‘How Goldfish Grow’ it’s great to play live, it’s a pretty simple song so I can focus on just enjoying playing it rather than focusing in too much on fiddly parts.
Frazer: “How goldfish grow” is probably my favourite to play live now just because it’s very positive and grooves well.
What was the hardest part about putting ‘Mechanics of Life’ together for you guys, and why?
Jonas: Well it’s still a work in progress, nothing’s been too bad yet, so hopefully it’ll stay that way, definitely be more enjoyable without getting near death in the process I reckon.
Frazer: Writing the music. It’s not that it’s “hard” strictly speaking purely because we are a group of musicians writing and playing music but composing definitely presents the biggest challenge.
Dani: Definitely the arrangement bit. We all come from different influences and ideas and sometimes is quite a challenge to find a common ground, but in the end we manage to get it every time after a good visit to the infirmary.
What can you tell us about your latest single ‘Around the Sun’?
Jonas: It’s an interesting song, it’s quite dark in a way that it reflects upon things that people repeatedly do wrong day to day but, it still manages to have an uplifting feel, with some quirky instrumentation thrown in.
Frazer: It’s great and there’s a video which you should watch:
Dani: In the video Frazer is trapped in a groundhog day!
How did the artwork for “Around the Sun” come together, and what does it mean to you?
Frazer: All our art work is designed and created by our very own Elina Pasok as well as all primary photography. She’s great at what she does and if you need someone for your shoots you should check out her unbelievable portfolio online at https://www.elinapasok.com/ which speaks for itself really.
Dani: it is funny.. if you take a strip, twist it and attach the sides you get an infinite monodimensional strip. So technically it is a 1D artwork (3D and 4D are so last decade). Don’t try to follow the road with your eyes or you’ll be stuck to watch it forever.
Touring wise, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road?
Frazer: Well as boring as it might sound, it was all an incredible experience that I wont forget. It was a great test of the band and to see what could withstand. That being said however, I did enjoy the conversations in the car we had. We had so much time to talk about things shared a lot of music and I think hanging out with my friends while going around and playing great music is about as good as it gets.
Dani: Since we acquired a van, we are experiencing time jumps during travel. Last 7 hour trip felt like 2 hours long, but we suspect it may be either addictive sessions of “Cards Against Humanity” or a flux capacitor hidden somewhere in the engine.
How would you say the sound of Plastic Barricades has grown/progressed over the years?
Dani: It has developed a lot comparing to the early years, we brought our influences to the mix, and to the songwriting process. Even the songs that were already written before us had been changing a lot. You can actually hear the whole progress yourself by going to the Discography section of www.plasticbarricades.co.uk/. It is the only place where you can actually hear everything PB has ever released.
What sets you apart from any other band out there right now?
Jonas: I think the fact that our influences are so broad makes for a really diverse sound, although we connect on some influences there’s also a lot of varied taste therefore we each bring something new to the sound. Makes for interesting song writing especially.
Frazer: Well as a lot of bands we believe that we sound great but still strive for better. Importantly though we’re very human in our approach to our crowds and our music. Our live shows are much more than “hi we’re so and so and this song is blabla dunnunununununununu” which in general is fine, but that’s not our approach. We start big to grab your attention with a great song to rock out called “Radar on off” and move onto “Singularity” which is uptempo but very dynamic after that dan will talk to the crowd about the following songs and before we play each song dan will give it context through a trail of thought that is as I said earlier very human. I think it’s more of a journey in a very sincere way than just a gig.
What is the music scene like in London?
Jonas: There’s always gigs in London, there’s thousands of venues and thousands of bands so it’s a really active scene branching almost every genre you could think of. It’s pretty good really, you can go out on any night and find music.
Frazer: Very diverse and very busy. There are a lot of bands playing in and around London these days and as a result the word that comes to mind is definitely busy.
Dani: Many Pubs, lots of bands, it feels like an ocean. It is hard to navigate on it sometimes, but there’s so much inspiration and stories to be discovered.
18) What else can we expect to see from Plastic Barricades in 2016?
Jonas: We’ve got a UK tour in the works! And hopefully Europe to follow, if not this year then next year for sure.
Frazer: Lots of gigs and if all goes to plan the album release and then possibly a european tour!
Dani: well, more videos, tours, and our sci-fi laboratories are working on a 0,5D artwork.. we are half way from discovering it.
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