Based between London and Paris, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitars and vocals and Paul Love on drums. 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 the Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Death Cab for Cutie, Placebo, Snow Patrol, The Shins, Nirvana and many others, the band loves to experiment with styles, sound and approach.
See our exclusive interview with them below:
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
Dan Kert (singer, guitar player): Back in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) I’ve attended music school since I was 6. I remember being fascinated by the unreal beauty and melancholy of Chopin’s nocturnes and the complexity of Bach’s preludes. At the same time, my parents were playing the guitars and singing songs by Soviet-era singers-songwriters, that had very poetic and philosophical lyrics. And then, when I was around 11, I’ve discovered a really deep and meaningful connection to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. I got my first electric guitar for my 12th birthday and played my first “gig” a year after that. 20 years on – and the fascination with the magical process of writing and performing music continues.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Over the last 5 years, I’ve grown to really appreciate and enjoy the spontaneity of music creation and learned to embrace my limitations, while still constantly trying to improve my musicality and skills. I have a long list of song ideas and titles and just topics I want to sing about, but I never force a certain theme onto the song. Music comes first, usually just out of playing the guitar and recording bits. When I have two parts (verse and chorus) that work well together, I will put these aside and come back to them in a few days, with some melodic and lyrical ideas already floating in my head. I would then try to write the melody and the lyrics simultaneously and find a certain song form that fits. Then the first demo is created, without overthinking it. That is put aside for a week or two and then either turned into the second demo with refined phrasing, melody, lyrics and chord progression or moved to the “never meant to be” folder.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
I think this might be common for many songwriters: the world is seen through a special pair of glasses, when you pay special attention to certain phrases and metaphors, collect stories and observe human behaviour. It is a pretty natural state of being for me. I also try to channel both my anger and my elation into songwriting: the world constantly evokes strong feelings about things happening around us. Most people have nowhere to channel those feelings into, so they go out drinking, or sit at home and complain or develop other bad habits out of sheer boredom. A lot of inspiration for Plastic Barricades songs was found in documentaries, photo exhibitions, art galleries, literature of all sorts and, of course, the incredibly immense world of honest and heartfelt music.
As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
There are many things that I would prefer to change, but one of the big ones concerns not just the music industry, but human life in the XXI century in general. I would get rid of the like buttons and play counters on all social media in the hope that creators would focus more on the quality of the product, rather than the numbers. Sure, in some cases numbers come when the quality is high, but many times that’s more about the marketing budget. Will this interview have a rating? A score from 1 to 10? A counter with the number of plays/reads? Probably not. So why do other things need to have those? Let people decide for themselves if they like something or not.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
A healthy balance of both would be my preference. Band life is usually quite cyclical: you spend a year (or two) writing and recording your new record and then the next year (or two) is spent on the road, giving those songs a chance to make people happier. But if I would need to choose one and sacrifice the other, I would just keep writing new music, that’s something that I would probably never get bored of.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
It is a strange and very rewarding feeling when people you’ve never met in a town you’ve never been to sing your song back to you – and they smile – and they hug each other. Music belongs to the people as soon as the writing and recording process is complete. The other memorable response is when out of the blue someone writes you a message or an email saying thank you for giving him or her thought of spending a Friday volunteering at a blood donation centre or at an animal shelter or at a soup kitchen. This is what art is all about – inspiring people to be the best version of themselves.
What’s on your current playlist?
I am revisiting Pearl Jam discography in anticipation of their upcoming new record. Death Cab for Cutie is on repeat for the last couple of years. Biffy Clyro is competing with Foo Fighters for the playlist dominance, regularly interrupted by Radiohead, Two Door Cinema Club, Peace, Daughter and Frightened Rabbit.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
Our brand new single ‘Optimist’ is out on the 2nd of February – and we are so so so excited about both the song and our truly DIY music video, featuring 8 houses, 8 cars, plenty of glassware, some benches and trees, a crowd of exactly 300 cast members and around 20 buckets of water. Our second album “Self-Theories” will follow sometime in summer. As for the live shows – just keep an eye on our pages to be the first to know when the noise wagon will be stopping by your cozy village.
Famous last words?
We are all in the same boat – so let’s try to grow in the same direction without shaking the boat too much!
Follow Plastic Barricades online