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. Based between London and Paris, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitars and vocals and Paul Love on drums and production. Inspired and influenced by almighty 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.
Dan Kert, singer and guitarist of alt indie duo Plastic Barricades had a chat with Rock Lifestyle:
Who are the members of Plastic Barricades?
Dan Kert on vocals and guitars and Paul Love on drums and production
How & When did Plastic Barricades form?
This feels like a century ago now, but Barricades first became Plastic back in 2007 in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia
Where was the first place Plastic Barricades performed?
The 360Club in Tallinn in march 2008 was our first ever gig
What inspired each of you to start music?
I’ve heard Kurt Cobain sing his heart out through a speaker when I was 12. Paul was introduced to The Beatles by his father. Life was never quite the same after that.
What’s the story behind the new album?
“Self-Theories” is an album about despair and hope, anxiety and optimism, lack of self-esteem and active search for it, maladies of the modern world, our responsibilities and reinventing ourselves for the sake of a brighter future. It was written and recorded in a backyard shed in North-West London, mixed by Paul Love in London and Paris and mastered by Andy Baldwin at Metropolis Studios in London. Three singles “One for the Road”, “Optimist” and “Tunnel” have truly DIY music videos. “Tunnel” was filmed using a digital microscope, “Optimist” had a cast of 300+ in a fish tank and “One for the Road” used vintage road trip footage from the 50-s. Artwork for the album and singles was created by Elina Pasok. “When your world is turning upside down - step outside, change your perspective and have a look from a distance.” “Self-Theories” is a follow-up to the 2017 “Mechanics of Life” LP and it will be out on all digital platforms on the 23rd of November.
What inspired you to put together a new album & what it is all about?
What are self-theories, you may ask? Many choices that may eventually lead to life-defining decisions are fuelled by our internal „self-theories“. We create and nurture stereotypes about ourselves from an early age, and these stereotypes shape our thoughts, feelings and behaviour for the rest of our lives. However, we are not what we think we are, we are what we do. We are our actions!
Will you be touring to support the new album? If so, when?
That is a million-dollar question right there! We miss playing live so much, but at the moment it doesn’t seem likely we will be packing the van any time in 2020. We hope 2021 will be a much better year…
What is your song writing process?
I like to think that melodies and harmonies already exist somewhere in the ether and my job as a songwriter is to attune my antennae and go “fishing”. This is usually assisted by a guitar in my lap. Everything starts with harmony or simply a chord progression. When there is a distinctive two-part structure (story-telling verse and conclusive-sounding chorus) I usually have a pretty clear idea regarding the topic of the song (this might change later, but is usually spot on). Then this goes into the “sketches” folder till I stumble upon it at some point later on. If I still like the movement then, I will try to sing gibberish on top and come up with a melody and lyrics at the same time. If this works, then the rest is fairly simple – lyrics and melody already dictate a certain approach to arrangement, so all I have to do then is write the bass and lead guitar parts and then we have a demo that Paul can play drums to. The most interesting thing here is that this is the moment when a song changes the most, mainly due to Paul’s expressive way of playing the drums. This is why our demos sound very different to the final product. After we have a solid drum foundation I will go back to the studio and redo literally every single part to make sure they work together nicely. Some melodic and harmonic ideas are retained, but most of the recording is redone at this point. This is how we wrote “Self-Theories”.
What’s your first thoughts when you get up on stage?
“Oh man, this is excitingly nerve-wracking! How did that first song go again???”
Where was the first venue you played?
It was a cold winter day in March 2008 in Tallinn, Estonia. We had our first gig and single launch party. It felt very special and a start of something big. Feels like a lifetime ago today.
What is your most memorable moment from any live performances?
We had our fair share of touring over the last many years, and every tour had its fair share of weird and beautiful stories, from stage invasions, lost vans, bouncer altercations, amps blowing up, electricity shutting down, sleeping in venues, driving for 9 hours in a day and etc. But one of the most memorable things was a gig at the iconic Hard Rock Café London, where our dressing-room was right next to a vault with Jimi Hendrix’s Flying V and Kurt Cobain’s Jazzmaster.
Describe the atmosphere when you’re performing
Well, it is usually extremely hot so the crew is worried that I am going to have a heart-attack or at least trip on something and crash on the stage. We talk in between songs, ask thought-provoking questions and give context to the songs. Can you imagine if someone went home after our gig and decided to reinvent themselves to be a better human being? That would be our job done!
What band would you like to perform with the most?
Torn between Death Cab for Cutie (hi Ben!), Biffy Clyro (Aye Simon!) and Foo Fighters (hiya Dave!) . These guys are incredible and such big inspirations to all of us! Some day soon!
Will you be touring in the United Kingdom any time soon?
Big hopes for 2021 here! We will make sure you will be the first to know when our Electric Noises Circus of Plastic Barricades will roll into a village near you!
Tunnel - How would your anxieties look under a microscope? The video was made using a microscope with up to 1000 times magnification.
Optimist - “Labyrinths with open doors for an optimist”. Video featuring 8 houses, 8 cars, plenty of glassware, some benches and trees, a crowd of 300 cast members and around 20 buckets of water.
One for the Road - An ode to the freedom of exploration. Footage filmed in the late 1950s around the US by families with their brand new cutting edge handheld cameras.