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 Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Death Cab for Cutie, Placebo, Nirvana and many others, the band loves to experiment with styles, sound, and approach.
Based in North-West London, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitars, keyboards and vocals, and Paul Love on drums. Their debut album “Mechanics of Life” was released on September 2017 and is available on Spotify.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Paul: We have our first single from our new album out right now! It’s called “One for the Road” and it was released on October 1st. We’re really keen to hear what people think of it. Dan’s been writing and performing as Plastic Barricades for years, but I’m new to it and now we’re working as a two-piece so it’s a bit different from before. We’re getting the live show ready, but being in the studio writing, recording and mixing have been our focus for the past year. It’s gonna be fun seeing the reaction and going to meet fans both old and new.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Paul: Dan and I started working together last August. Honestly, I don’t know how long he was Plastic Barricades before then.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Paul: We both can’t help but make music. It’s who we are. It was as much a decision as breathing. We started working together on THIS band because we’re both kinda fed up with the professional nature of London’s music scene. Where are all the people making music because they love it? Everyone’s trying to be modern and slick instead of honest and good. It’s so boring. Identical musicians wearing all black and updating their Instagram accounts daily so they stay on the rankings. Where are the artists? I don’t want to go to an exclusive secret event so I can share it on Facebook. I want to go to a party, sing until I’m hoarse and dance until my legs are sore. I don’t care if you look good in a photo and have 10,000 followers. Give me meaning.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Paul: I’m from Liverpool, Dan is from Estonia. I grew up listening to The Beatles, Queen and Bowie followed by a brief period of Limp Bizkit before coming to my senses and getting obsessed with Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, and Danger Mouse. My parents had an antique shop so they would give me all the broken old weird instruments that came through the door and I would try to fix them and learn to play them. I’m still not very good, but it certainly helped give me a wide palette to work with. I studied music at University, but only so I could get to London. The university was much more interested in my money than molding me into a musician. Dan studied piano before getting into the guitar. We both love Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Broken Bells, Weezer. Melodic music with interesting sounds and lyrics I can identify with. I love Laura Michaels for the same reason.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Paul: Sunny days spending time with your best friends and making worlds together.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Paul: Headline Red Rocks and sell it out. I want at least one Spotify listen in every country. Right now I’d be happy with paying my rent. A Grammy and a multi-platinum record would be great but really I want what bands like Slayer and Grateful Dead have. A loyal fanbase, a family and the means to be creative. If our fans expect us to only do one thing, then I’d rather not have them.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Paul: I go through phases. I was on tour playing drums as a session musician and I got addicted to playing in front of big crowds. I love the energy of thousands of people moving together and when you’re in the drum chair you feel like you’re controlling every single person. It’s a huge rush, but you can get burnt out if you’re not with the right people. I wanted to be a painter again. That’s how I feel in the studio. I’m not concerned so much with virtuosity but creating sound worlds. Painting with noises. You can’t have one without the other but right now I’m loving waking up in the morning and knowing what country I’m in. Playing live means touring and I want to spend time with my family.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about?
Paul: This album is about being unafraid to disconnect yourself from weak connections like phones, social media, news, television, politics and focusing on yourself, your friends and your family. Marketers on the internet keep trying to sell us the idea that “You can’t make it without doing these five things” “Online presence is more important than ever” “Where are your likes” “You need followers!” It’s all just noise. You need honesty, good people, effort, time and love. Nothing else matters. Focus on being the best at whatever you love doing. Who are these motivational lifestyle gurus? Get out of school and repost nonsense you read in an Osho book? It’s a cult and it’s not helpful. Learn your theory and show me what humanity is capable of. Create meaningful connections that will last a lifetime.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Paul: My mind. It needs to be clear, I need to eat right and look after myself, fill it with good things and keep it exercised. I can make music out of rocks if need be but I can’t do anything without my mind.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Paul: There was that time a stripper rode me like a horse on stage after covering me in whipped cream in the largest brothel in Europe. We were in Cologne, it was my birthday, I was single for the first time in 8 years and I had a broken elbow. Good thing it was free booze otherwise that would have really hurt my elbow. First and last time I go to a strip club. I had my fill, it was kinda depressing. On the surface, it’s very exciting, but places that rely on exploitation like that… it’s horrible. Of course, there are some people who choose that lifestyle, but there are many more who do it just because they need the money. I’d rather just give them the money without the ‘service’, thanks. I’m trying to do less stupid stuff nowadays.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Paul: “Can I have *your* t-shirt?” After a 90-minute set in the middle of summer. Eeeewww!
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Paul: Very supportive. I tried to quit a few times and my friends and family wouldn’t let me. I’m very fortunate.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Paul: Play what you love, not what’s popular. Be aware of ‘business’ people who can’t play an instrument. A lot of labels are populated by people who have failed at both music and business. Look for people you really trust and who are honest with you. If everything they have to say is positive then they’re blowing smoke up your butt. Run in the other direction. Don’t sign a contract until you understand and agree to every word and don’t take less than what you are worth. One song can earn you millions or get you in debt depending on your deal.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Paul: We haven’t played any of these songs live yet. I like playing “Optimist” and you’ll have to wait for the album to find out why.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Paul: It was hard not to be inspired by The Beatles growing up in Liverpool. It wasn’t a good place to be in the 90s and it was inspiring to see four people who not only escaped but became the biggest band on the planet. The only people on television with a Liverpool accent were in football, music or prison and I didn’t like football.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Paul: Flaming Lips, Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, The Mars Volta.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Paul: Choosing my friends, family, and music over drugs, facebook, and celebrity.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Paul: Software engineer, just like every other 30-year old white guy with a man bun.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Paul: Drums and guitars. I use my Dad’s old 70s Beverley drums and a 100ish-year-old Ludwig snare. Dan likes weird Fenders like Jazzmasters and Mustangs.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Paul: There’s really incredible stuff coming out. I honestly love Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, Julia Michaels, Kanye West, Sia, Kendrick and loads of others. They write real honest tunes and put their hearts out on the line. The presentation is slick, but that’s come with time. There are really amazing musicians at the top but I’m really concerned about the local scenes. With so much second-hand info available on the internet, people starting out have really strange ideas about how music is made. I’m sick of a lot of these young managers too. Wear black and look professional! What the hell!? Do you think people liked Nirvana because they looked professional? How about I do my job and you do yours? A lot of people are saying guitar music is dead but I think we’re just getting started. Strings are loads of fun, but I can’t name a new rock band that I like. That’s a real pity. There’s starting to be a real return to the musicianship of the 70s lately with guys like Vulfpeck and Jacob Collier. I want more of that. I’m so bored of watching people ‘play’ a laptop. I saw some friends who shall not be named play in Norway. They were worried because their two laptops with their click tracks and playback were stolen (in Norway! How unlucky) so they played the show without it. It was AWESOME and they and the audience enjoyed it more. Nobody missed the playback.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Paul: I sucked my thumb until I was 26. I hope that’s surprising! My teeth are a mess.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Paul: Don’t idolize people. Share the things you love. Stop looking at screens and, paradoxically, listen to our new single “One for the Road” on Spotify or your favorite streaming service.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Plastic Barricades’ new single “One for the Road” out on the 1st of October.
“One for the Road” video:
Catch Up With Plastic Barricades at these sites: