Dan Kert of Plastic Barricades is the latest to tackle our questions...
(((o))): So, first and foremost, who are Plastic Barricades and what are your musical backgrounds?
Born in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, Plastic Barricades are an alternative rock trio with Dan Kert (me) on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Jan Laan on the bass and an ever-changing drummer - on the drums. In September 2012 Dan and Jan moved to London and now are ready to steal your heart and your soul.
(((o))): How did the band come together?
Jan and I were playing together in several bands in Tallinn for couple of years and at some point decided to carry out a revolution. New sound, new goals, new creative approach – and me on the vocals and guitar and suddenly writing all of the lyrics. It felt very fresh, like finally taking control and bearing all the responsibility.
(((o))): Please describe your sound in the form of a rhyming couplet...or four!
Shimmering bass and ringing guitars
Meaningful lyrics healing your scars
Heart-breaking beat put on repeat
Mystical keyboards make us complete
Curious, happy, honest and sad
Future of mankind makes us gloomy and mad
Don’t try to run, nowhere to hide
There is no escape from our little Plastic Tribe
(((o))): Do you think your local music scene had any impact on Plastic Barricades as a band or is that the reason you left Estonia?
The music scene in Estonia have always consisted of a few decent major acts and tons of underground bands, some of which are really good. The problem is that even a very persistent and talented musician must receive constant feedback and energy from the audience to move on and break through. There is no such thing in Estonia, people just don’t care at all. And if they do – they are not ready to go and change the situation or express their feelings or at least cheer you up after a gig. We left Estonia with relief I have to say...but I prefer the term “evacuated”!
(((o))): Your new EP has just come out. Tell us a bit about it...
The ‘Tree of Ideas’ EP is like a book with six stories of modern life. We were fascinated by lots of different things last year, and it all came together in the studio, from physics inspired stuff on ‘Radar On/Off’ to ideas of escapism on ‘Planets’. Ideas DO grow on trees, you know! You just have to be tall enough to pick them up! I am not so tall, but I have a ladder. The EP was recorded during spring-summer sessions at Bleis Studios in Tallinn, with very talented Vassili Zdanov behind the drums, who was our heartbeat for 3 years. The songs are complemented by magnificent artwork by our art-director and photographer Elina Päsok.
(((o))): What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing new bands starting out in the industry today?
I believe that there is always two parts of the story: business-related difficulties and human-related difficulties. The first part can be solved by educating yourself in all the boring-but-so-important stuff like PR, marketing, management and etc. The best solution, however, would be to find passionate professionals for the job; people who love music and know how to deliver it to a wider audience. The second part is way more complicated. Each member of the band has his gloomy days and stormy nights. Almost every musician gets frustrated, angry and sad at some point. We just need to channel all those strong emotions right into music, make it breathe with real-life torments – and then those notes and words become vibrant and resonate with the world. The main thing is to be committed, inspired and inspiring, and work as hard as you can. It is after all the survival of the fittest...and most stubborn!
(((o))): Every band has different aims, and sadly very few decent ones get anything even approaching the fame and recognition they may deserve. What would have to happen for you to feel like you have ‘made it’ as a band?
I hate the term “fame”. That is definitely not the reason we are here today. For me it is a never ending process: you get what you want – and you already want something else. Step by step, up the ladder. There are certain places we dream of: Glastonbury Festival, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Stadium, Abbey Road Studios, etc. A first world tour would certainly mean a lot to us, as well as being able to make our first useful charity commitment at some point.
(((o))): Plastic Barricades is an interesting name, evoking mental images of road works & public transport. What was the thinking about that?
Try to find song by a certain nineties British rock band, which contains the word “Plastic” in the first verse and the word “Barricades” in the second. You will be amazed how beautiful that sounds...but we want each fan to interpret it how they want.
(((o))): We have another column called Echoes of the Past in which we get people to talk about albums that strongly influenced their musical outlook. If you had to pick a single album that strongly influenced the music of PB then what would it be and why?
Well, that’s a tough one! I cannot name only one album, it is absolutely impossible. I guess the long-list of huge influences, which helped to form Plastic Barricades, would be topped by “The Bends” by Radiohead (beautiful stereo sonic landscapes); ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ by Coldplay (striking honesty and melodies); ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’ by Oasis (energy that makes me smile), ‘Origin of Symmetry’ by Muse (pure magic). I can listen to those on repeat, anywhere at any time.
(((o))): This is ostensibly a column for introducing new bands. Who do you think we ought to include in it in the near future?
I am absolutely sure, that anybody who’d listen to a UK/USA duo Soft Bullets would be blown away instantly. Chris Wall and Dan Capaldi are definitely the next big thing. They have a new EP out called ‘Hyperreality EP’, which is pretty stunning!
(((o))): What are Plastic Barricade's plans for the near future?
2013 is going to be busy. First of all, we are urgently searching for a keyboard player to expand our live sound and bring new possibilities into the plastic tribe. Summer will be spent cruising between different festivals all over UK. We are also planning to have some recording sessions and see where that goes. Touring the UK will continue in autumn with club gigs in all of the big cities...but the most ambitious plan of all is to prolong the tour to the other side of the Pond. We are very hungry for the USA.