Dan Kert, guitarist, singer and one half of London alt rock duo Plastic Barricades sat down for a chat with PhotoGroupie:
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM 'SELF - THEORIES?'
This will be Plastic Barricades’ second full length record, following 2017 “Mechanics of Life”. It is much more introspective than the previous LP and has both some uplifting tunes and some mellower ones too. We wanted to capture the essence of what it is to be a creative mind in the modern world, with all its worries, anxieties and an ocean of information. The goal was also to make it as real as possible, so we tried to compose and record on the spot and then use minimum amount of edits and post-production. The whole LP was written, recorded and mixed in a backyard 4x2 m shed in north-west London, using very basic equipment and almost no rewrites. Deciding to embrace your limitations and human-errors opens up a whole new world of creativity, where every note and every sound has a chance. We found this approach to be quite inspiring.
OPTIMIST IS THE LEAD TRACK FROM THE ALBUM, WHAT INSPIRED THE TRACK?
Well…. Journalists and social media definitely played their roles in this, but I wouldn’t call it “inspiration”. I am just so tired of the idle human, that can only complain and regurgitate the news. The news will always be negative – this is how media works. Optimism is about focusing on the positive things and acting to help mitigate the negativity, where you can. The song was written for all those who are not sure if the glass is full or empty. I agree, this changes from day to day, and not every day will be a good day. But being an optimist is a conscious decision – choosing to act, rather than complain. I believe that we are all in this labyrinth, but the doors in it are only open to optimists. Pessimists will only see the walls that go on forever.
THE VIDEO IS PRETTY INTERESTING TOO AND FOCUSSES ON SOME OF THE ISSUES WE HAVE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, WHAT MADE YOU FILM THE VIDEO USING MODELS AND REALLY TAKE A DIY APPROACH?
DIY in both music and art is hard – but it is so rewarding. Anyone with a thick wallet can hire a team of video makers with brilliant ideas and cutting edge equipment, but can you shoot a video in your bedroom and make it look good and carry a message? If yes – then DO IT! Art for art’s sake. As for models – I just always felt a certain fascination with miniatures and dioramas. And I think making music videos is all about fulfilling your craziest ideas.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO SHOOT THE VIDEO?
The whole process from the first test shoot (using a tea pot and one house that we had for a long time) to the finished video took about a month, but I think we had around 4 shooting days. Glassware was fairly easy and the results looks pretty great from the get go. The big finale was a bit more complicated and require some planning. Apparently, it is quite hard to get a big enough fish tank delivered to your door without it being cracked straight away. It took two attempts to get a fish tank delivered properly.
IT'S A PRETTY BLEAK ENDING THROUGH, ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT WE'LL CLEAN OUR MESS UP?
In the very last scene you see an optimist, that manages to survive this whole thing and even climb back up onto the balcony of his house. We need to be resilient and realistic about the amount of work, that needs to be done to help the planet. This starts with every individual, with their way of thinking and approach to certain things, like transport, consumption, fashion, priorities and so on. Small changes can make a huge difference, especially if we are talking about millions of people making those changes to their daily lives. We need to clean the mess in our heads – and then clean the actual mess. We don’t have any other choice.
ARE YOU BOTH OPTIMISTS IN REAL LIFE?
Contagious optimists! This is the only way to actually get things done.
"Optimist " facts:
The song was written, recorded and mixed in a backyard Shed Studio in North-West London and mastered by legendary Andy “Hippy” Baldwin at Metropolis Studios.
Music video for the single, created by PB art-director Elina Pasok, was filmed in a bedroom. None of the 300 cast members were harmed during the shoot, although one house and one car were destroyed in the end.
Can you hear Paul saying “Again!” in the very beginning of the song? To us this IS optimism!
Single release date – 2nd of February 2020
“Self-Theories” LP due in summer 2020
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, Snow Patrol, The Shins, Nirvana and many others, the band loves to experiment with styles, sound and approach.
Based between London and Paris, Plastic Barricades are Dan Kert on guitars and vocals and Paul Love on drums.