A Q&A with Plastic Barricades
Alt-indie duo, part Liverpudlian, part Estonian – here’s Paul Love (the Liverpool part)…
How did you get the title of your latest album, Self Theories, and what does it mean to you?
My answer comes with a book. Sorry. Sooo Dr. Dweck is known for her work looking into how theories of self affect our decisions and our abilities. She proposed that there are two self theories of intelligence. Either fixed intelligence or malleable intelligence. Some people believe that intelligence is a fixed volume, but this belief will “Foster an entity theory, an over concern with looking smart, a distaste for challenge, a decreased ability for setback.” On the other hand, some people believe that intelligence isn’t fixed at all and is changed by hard work and study. Guess what those people do… Work harder, study longer, look for challenges and stick with them. Your idea of your self affects yourself.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Writing and recording it in a 4x3m wooden shed, leaving Britain, having a child and then finishing it during a global pandemic. That and it was just us two. Every decision had to be unanimous between the two of us. We learnt a lot about each other and ourselves.
What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
We produced it and mixed it ourselves in Dan’s now ex-shed in Harlesden, north-west London. I produce others and I’ve always enjoyed that side too, so it wasn’t like it we were working from scratch. I think we got a good sound out of that place but we were more concerned about giving each song its own character and texture. That was the primary concern for me. We rarely recorded more than one part for one song a day. We wanted it to grow in layers across seasons. The air affects the feel. Mixing remotely can be maddening sometimes. It takes a lot of communication and trust and you can never expect to reach the summit on the first step. It’s a slow slog to the mountaintop each time, but you do learn some shortcuts.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I want them to enjoy it like a warm blanket. Appreciate the colours and textures of the patches and enjoy it with a hot drink and a partakence of whatever they may appreciate.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Dan writes the body of the lyrics and melody, we demo it up to a click and then record the drums, Dan then redoes the gtrs, bass and vox and hands over to me, I’ll add synths, maybe BVs, shakers and claps and that and then we mix. At this point I’ll usually criticise Dan’s playing and belittle him and try to make him re-record stuff, have a little existential crisis and finally decide that it’s actually pretty cool and I just had a mic out of phase somewhere.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
I’ve been on a mad Jacob Collier bender forever but I think I’ve finally come down from that and I’m getting totally obsessed with Danny Elfman and The Beatles again. Also Tyler the Creator and Rex Orange County.
When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
My desktop background is of a POV shot of my drum kit when I played Arena di Verona: a 2,000 year old, 30,000 capacity arena in Italy. I was playing with a band supporting Duran Duran and it was one of the biggest lightning storms I’ve ever seen. Rain soaked everything, we were afraid the show was gonna be pulled from the severe weather and in the end the doors were delayed. We played to a few hundred people who were absolutely drenched. I wanna play there again. In the Sun. Headlining. Full house. Help me, Georgio.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Oh man. I really love ‘Optimist’ and ‘Lost’. So many of these are so personal. We spent two and a half years on this and most of the time living in the same flat. These songs are about us in that time. Which body part could I show you to get a taste of me?
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I wanna show people that making music with people you really love is the best thing. We get to create worlds together. Stop talking and just do. Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends. Do it for your family. Don’t do it for money, or fame, or Facebook. I want to be giving.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
The album ‘Self Theories’ by Plastic Barricades will be released on 23rd November
For more info visit facebook.com/plasticbarricades