Dan Kert, singer, guitarist and one half of London alt rock duo Plastic Barricades sat down for a chat with us, playing a bit of catchup on what’s been going on since we last chatted to them three years ago…
Plastic Barricades first became a band all the way back in 2007 in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. After several line-up changes, several EPs and a move to London, we released our debut full-length Mechanics of Life in 2017. Paul (who is originally from Liverpool) became the drummer and the integral Barricade right after that and we’ve recorded a new LP together. At the moment we are based between London and Paris.
How did you meet?
A month after the move to London I was looking for a studio to start rehearsing again – and Paul just opened his studio just down the road from my first flat. Truly random coincidence. However, we had a different drummer back then and Paul was busy with other projects as well. Fast-forward 5 years and 3 drummers – and me and Paul are finally in the same band. Serendipity!
How long have you been playing as a band?
Our new LP Self-Theories has been written and recorded over the course of the last two years. It was all done in a backyard shed, with only a few cases of “cabin fever” observed over those 24 months.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
This is the most common question of any interview we’ve ever done, so we always had this internal band agreement that we will come up with a different story each time. But my imagination is feeling sleepy today (it’s raining in London), so I will just tell you the truth – this comes from a song. Which one, you ask. Well, that’s your personal quest now.
What are your influences?
This list can go on for quite some time, but in a nutshell we both like rock music with plenty of soul and honesty. Paul grew up with The Beatles and Led Zep, I was always into Nirvana, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Radiohead. Over the last several years I’ve fallen deeply in love with Biffy Clyro, Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
For this description, I will use a quote from our new American friend and journalist Aaron: “Plastic Barricades sound like the offspring of early-period Death Cab For Cutie and The Shins got super into Sonic Youth, but decided that the New York arthouse thing wasn’t their bag so they high-tailed it to London to make quirky and expansive songs”. As for the uniqueness factor: during the writing and recording of “Self-Theories” both me and Paul learned to embrace our limitations and strive for “being real” rather than being perfect. This used to be the norm before computers came into the studios and all that extensive editing started to take place.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Human-condition seems to be the common topic across both our albums, however, if the debut LP was more outward-focused, this new one is definitely more about self-improvement and growth.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We used to tour across the country a lot, but in the last two years we’ve been focusing on studio work. Testing the new album on the road is hopefully on the cards soon. Expect some cool visuals and hidden messages during the gigs. And, of course, no-nonsense rock-n-roll jamboree.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
This list can also go on for a while. Stage invasions, altercations with bouncers, gear catching fire, microphone electrocutions, van breaking down, bleeding all over guitars and snares – any touring act can confirm that this is just normal life, nothing wild about it.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
To be honest, I think there is way too much talk about gear online nowadays, so I will just say that I play mainly Fender guitars and Paul uses 1970s Beverley drum-kit and some weird left-field cymbals. All the gear in the Shed studio except for the modern Soundcraft desk and the laptop with Pro Tools is mainly from the 1990s.
What are your plans for 2020?
Our spanking new single “Optimist” was out on the 02.02.2020 – and we are very excited about that one. The album should follow sometime in summer. We are hoping to play some gigs soon, so keep an eye on our pages for those updates.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
We’ve met some awesome bands while touring around UK, there is real talent out there! Check out Lasting Days, The Zangwills, Will Udall, RavenEye, Bison Face, Fangclub, Shamona, Big Spring. We would also love to gig with AirTraffic someday, these guys are amazing! Opening for Biffy Clyro and Foo Fighters would be a dream-come-true type scenario.