XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Dan: We’ve just released our third single from the upcoming LP. It is called “Tunnel” and it comes with a very trippy music video, shot entirely with a digital microscope. We’ve tried to imagine how our anxieties might look like under 1000x magnification. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrvXb_g_vBo
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
The name Plastic Barricades first appeared back in 2007, but there were many line-ups across two different countries. Me and Paul are in this boat together since 2018.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Listening to Kurt pouring his heart out and falling in love with his raw energy and brutal honesty and also simplicity of his music, connecting on a deep level. This was in 1996 and I was devastated to soon discover that there won’t be any more Nirvana songs… A year later I got my first electric guitar as a birthday present – and nothing was ever quite the same since then.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
I’ve attended music school since I was 6, studying classical piano and guitar. Chopin and Debussy were my first major crushes, their melodies and melancholy awoke some very deep feelings in me – and since then I am in pursuit of that inexplicable heartfelt harmonic beauty.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
I really hope our songs bring optimism to those who listen to them. In the end it is all about trying to be the best version of yourself every single day – and that requires a lot of optimism and energy.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Our second full length album “Self-Theories” is almost ready for release – and we just really cannot wait to share it with the world. It is a very honest record, written and recorded in a backyard shed with minimal post-production. A collection of songs, juxtaposing the complicated inner world of an individual and the weird outside world we find ourselves in today. “Self-Theories” should be out in autumn.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
I will go with the boring answer and say that we prefer a healthy balance of both. Musicians life is cyclical, so spending a year in the studio and then a year on the road is quite common. However, in order to really enjoy playing live you have to have a large catalogue of songs, because if you are only playing one album every day for months, then you will most definitely end up hating those songs by the end of it. Studio works has its downsides as well: chasing perfection is a difficult trait to defeat, especially considering the modern technology. I just like to limit the amount of takes I get and imagine that we are recording on tape, so any edits require scissors and glue. But in the end writing new songs to me is what this is all about – the more, the merrier!
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
You know, the usual collection of topics: search for meaning, addiction to technology, loneliness, reinventing yourself, staying positive no matter what, adapting to change, going with the flow and etc. The modern world is a bizarre place, so I feel that by just observing it I will never ever run out of stories to tell.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Courage to keep going. You have to be brave to be a musician and you have to be humble and realistic about why exactly you do what you do. If it is all about money and fame, then that might be a very treacherous road to follow.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Strange things always happen on tour, but the whole thing has been romanticized and glamourified . Everyone still seems to think that a band on tour means TVs thrown out of hotel windows and stuff like that. But in reality after a day of driving and an intense show in the evening all you want to do is sleep. We had our fair share of bizarre incidents on the road, including one time when we were locked out of the venue we just played, because we went out of the back door after the show to get some fresh air and then couldn’t get back in, so we had to go through the main entrance. The bouncer on the door told us that he won’t let us into the nightclub because we are all wearing sneakers. That almost ended in a fight between the drummer and the bouncer, but thankfully the manager came out for a cigarette at that very time.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Besides going to their house for an afterparty? To take them with us for the rest of the tour
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
I am very lucky to answer “Absolutely!” to this, but I fully understand that this might be quite an exception. The only advice I could give to the up and coming musicians is this: Prove to your family that you are serious about your music and that you are willing to keep learning and keep developing your craft. I never wanted to be a rockstar, I just wanted to play music.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Being in a band is complicated and it is an intimate process. Your relationships are as important as your music (and sometimes even more important). Take care of each other – and the music will reflect that sense of comradery. And PLEASE don’t be in a band because you want to be rich and famous – it is too much work! Just take off your pants and run down the high street for fame and rob a bank for the riches – those are much easier tasks.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
We’ve haven’t played this new album live yet, so let’s get back to this one soon! In general, songs with more energy and less technical detail go better live, due to me being able to focus on the performance rather than switching sounds and etc.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
It all started with Nirvana and Metallica back when I was 12. Then came Oasis, Coldplay, Radiohead and Muse. The last few years I’ve been deeply in love with Death Cab For Cutie.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Okay, so this tour will consist of two legs: “Rock leg” will include Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro and the “Indie leg” will have Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. How awesome would that be?!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
We had our fair share of accolades and some awards over the years, but this new album is definitely our proudest moment. It has everything I always wanted in an LP: diversity, surprises, honesty, though-provoking lyrics, optimism, warmth and authenticity of production.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
I would write novels. In fact, I think I will most definitely write some at some point. The allure is simple: all you need is your brain and a laptop, there are absolutely no limitations and no restrictions. This is how you never get bored ever again – just write books.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Most of the stuff on stage is at least 30 years old I like my Orange and Vox valve amps and my Fender guitars. Paul has this beautiful Beverley drum-kit from the 1970s, but I am not sure if he is up for taking that on the road – too precious! The main aspect of a live rig is reliability, so although most gear is vintage, it is all updated and services regularly to be bulletproof. And in the end stuff still dies mid-song, usually a faulty cable somewhere.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Music scene? You mean the one on TikTok? Or the one in the local smelly dive bar? Regardless of what people say, I think today is an awesome day to be in the music industry, because with the instant availability of music online and the low prices for recording equipment anyone can not only create a true masterpiece in their bedroom, but also get it in front of the world quite easily. Less dependency on the “Industry” , more DIY approach! I think that is beautiful!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
I used to test-drive cars and also worked as a journalist, interviewing iconic musicians from around the world.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
BE KIND to each other! This world needs empathy and compassion MORE THAN EVER TODAY!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
A pleasure! Thank you, Bobby!