We recently had the opportunity to chat to a bunch of bands from the Rogue PR label. Our latest one was with Paul Love, drummer, producer and one half of London alt indie duo Plastic Barricades who told us about their new single, influences and the search for human beings.
Interview by Jane Howkins
How is 2019 treating you so far?
Very well! The weather’s been nice. I have a baby on the way and Trump is being impeached. Good stuff. Dan and I have been hard at work in the shed and we’ve nearly got our new album finished up.
Have you released any music so far this year? If so, what can you tell us about that?
We released our first single “One for the Road” from our new album “Self Theories” on the 1st of October and the response has been great. It’s about rejection of unrealistic societal expectations in favour of focusing on important things: friends and family.
We live in the most prosperous time humanity has ever seen and we’ve somehow found a way to make that miserable. Buy a melon, go to the park, cut it up and share it. Unless it’s cold… then, I dunno, soup? Everyone likes some miso on a cold day. I think the metrics by which we’re measuring success are just wildly out of whack. GDP and employment only really measure how well companies and, by extension, business owners are doing.
That’s not a good measure of success if their employees can’t afford food and housing after working a full time job. Brexit has been a “wonderful” distraction from the important issues. “Just ignore the destruction of our industries and the working class. We may or may not be leaving the EU in a meaningless way.” My obsession with this nonsense is destructive in itself. What can I do about it? If I can’t act on it, where’s my responsibility on being informed of it? I’m wasting my precious time and attention on this bull-Shaq. Once you stop paying attention you realise it doesn’t folking matter! It changes nothing. In the words of Thatcher: “There is no society, only individuals and families.” You can use this statement to justify being self-serving Tory, but I prefer to look at it like this: Society is a myth. Borders are a myth. Countries are a myth. Governments are a myth. There’s only individual people and individual actions. Pay attention to how you can make the world you see in front of you a better place with every action. Is staring at screens and repeating headlines to each other making the world a better place? No. Look people in the eye. Tell stories. Make memories.
Are you working on any new music at the moment? What are you working on, and when will it be released?
We’re constantly writing. Our current focus is getting the rest of the album done. I’m living in Paris now and Dan still lives in London, so we can’t be in the same room as much as we would like. We’re trying to find a record company populated by human beings but it’s tough nowadays. Everything has turned into online forms and Submithub. Nobody in the industry seems to care about songs or taste anymore. Fans still do, people still do, but musicians keep perpetuating this self-help lifestyle guru nonsense instead of creating something new and focusing on their craft.
“Your job is to create a community and a culture of like-minded people” errrrr…. I thought it was to learn my craft, make something worth listening to and to achieve enlightenment through dedication. Nail the music and the people will follow. Captain Beefheart wasn’t trying to create a fanbase. He was a weirdo and he attracted weirdos. Hendrix didn’t care how many people liked photos of him. The numbers are meaningless! When are record companies and managers and booking agents going to realise this? These numbers can be bought and they’re not expensive. Computers are a wonderful tool that can help you achieve incredible things, but they’re not a replacement for reality. There needs to be an adjudication of taste. I’m sick of every cheeseburger tasting the same. I want spices and mold and vegetables. Imperfections are character.
Have you got any upcoming tours planned? If so, where are you playing and where are you looking forward to going to the most?
We haven’t got any tours planned at the moment, but I’m really looking forward to it. We’ll figure it out, but there’s currently only two of us and there’s often 5+ parts on these songs. It’s gonna be interesting figuring that out. We might just go out with an acoustic. I think it’s about the songs rather than staying true to the record, but I do love putting on a big show too. I was chatting with Erland from Kings of Convenience in Oslo and they’ve had great success keeping things small. They can get a whole festival moving with just two voices and two guitars and it’s a really beautiful atmosphere. Very refreshing after the decade of playback through an SPD-SX we’ve had. Really saves on plane tickets and crew too. I’m a drummer by trade, but I’m falling in love with the guitar all over again at the moment.
Who/what has influenced you the most as musicians?
You can’t get away from what you loved when you were 16. For me that was The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Beefheart, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, The Mars Volta, Weezer, The Zutons, Dangermouse, The Coral, John Coltrane, Skip James, Motown & Stax, Public Enemy and The Blues Brothers. I went a little too much into making things complicated and I rejected pop a little too much. Bubblegum pop’s good as long as it’s honest with itself. I love Julia Michaels. She’s incredible and I think it’s gonna be a couple of decades before people see how important she is. I’m afraid of going to her concerts because I’d be a bearded 6ft tall Scouser in a room full of 16 year old girls. Not a good look.
What have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers?
Plural by Electric Guest (bloody ‘eck is that two years old already!?). Jacob Collier… literally anything by him. He is music. Julia Michaels’ Inner Monologues vol. 2. I wish there was a new rock band I could recommend. I listen to way too much Vulfpeck. They make me smile every time, no matter my mood. That’s a superpower. Tove Lo is knocking out loads of great stuff.
There is a rock band I can recommend: Sløtface! Those guys are awesome and a really great hang. I recorded their Sofar London set. Go find it on YouTube. They did a stripped down version of their song Empire Records and it was super intense while staying quiet enough for Haley to be heard in the room without amplification. That’s really hard to do. It encapsulates the spirit of that film and working in a music store perfectly. They’re a cool band.
Why do you think people should pick up one of your records or come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?
You shouldn’t listen to our records. Go find something better and tell me about it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my inbox is embarrassingly threadbare. Fill it up with music, please, just don’t sign me up for nonsense. I have no idea what to expect from our live show. We’ll give you a good time though. We like good times.
Any last words for the fans?
Plastic Barricades’ new single One for the Road out on the 1st of October.