Image credit: PRESS
With extensive experience in the music industry, alternative band Polyplastic a.k.a. Charlie Ellis and Emily Ibarra have shared their debut studio album Medium Complications via Grey Market Records. Packed with energetic synth hooks and electric guitar riffs along with post-punk sensibilities, this band has produced a fun and nostalgic work that is perfect for reminiscing with. The band has also been touring these past few weeks, and leaving fans captivated with their dreamy performances and edgy fashion sense. Enjoy this exclusive interview with Polyplastic below.
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
When I was a kid I watched the documentary about Buena Vista Social Club and the pianist of the band, Rubén Gonzáles, blew my mind. There’s a scene where he is playing piano in an old gorgeous building being used as a gym and it made me want to learn. That is how I started taking piano lessons which were my first instrument.
With music production, I was really intimidated by learning music software, but about 10 years ago I bought an old four-track tape recorder and started making demos on it. Learning how to record on the four-track in a simple, analog way helped me feel more confident using Ableton which is what I demo most songs on now.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
My songwriting process has changed a lot over the past few years. I used to start with instrumentals, generating rhythm tracks first and building melody around them. Recently I have been writing on piano and focusing on the vocal melody first, which I think I prefer. It gives us the opportunity to have more flexibility in the instrumentals. If the vocal melody is good and figured out, we can work out the most compelling guitar, bass, and drum parts to go along with it.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Driving really gets the ideas going for me. Sometimes if I am stuck creatively, I’ll take a solo drive to reset. I end up usually having to pull over to write down what I’m thinking or record a voice memo quickly.
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?
I don’t love the business side of the industry – it’s pretty easy to get bogged down in it and it really takes away from the fun of making music. We have been trying to focus on making music, playing live, developing the identity of the band, and not worrying too much about Spotify numbers or whatever. The response we’ve gotten from the album so far from friends and fans has been so positive, so I know we are doing our job!
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
I prefer doing live performances. I forgot how fun doing live shows were over the pandemic, but this past tour we did remind me that you can learn so much from audiences hearing the music live. As we tour we adjust how we perform songs based on what gets a response from the audience!
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
Recently we played a show in Las Cruces, NM and the entire audience got in a conga line while we played the song ‘Talk to Me’.I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire audience come together in such unity during any of our shows before and it was incredible!
What’s on your current playlist?
I’ve been listening to Q Lazzarus, Cleaners from Venus and ESG a lot recently. A friend of mine also bought me a bootleg vinyl of recordings from the Noise, which was a collective of reggaeton artists from Puerto Rico in the ‘90s. I listen to a lot of contemporary reggaeton like Ms. Nina and Tomasa del Real, but I didn’t really know the history of reggaeton. I listened to this podcast called LOUD hosted by Ivy Queen and it introduced me to The Noise and Playero mixtapes, classic ‘90s reggaeton from Puerto Rico.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
Our debut album Medium Complications just came out a week ago and we are currently planning on touring it this summer. We don’t have many details yet on that, but we are hoping to have a more extensive tour across the USA and hopefully at some point make it over to the UK at least if not more of Europe!
Famous last words?
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so you can be violent and original in your work” – Gustave Flaubert
Album track ‘Brain Basher’ features in INDIE_GROUND.FM playlist