Nature vs Nurture. It’s a recurring theme in so many aspects of life. Are we born to be what and who we eventually become or do we use our experiences to pave our own way? What is it that ultimately leads us to become our “very best”?
Sometimes, it would seem, it is a unique combination of both innateness and innovation which leads us to finding and establishing our place in the world.
Plastic Barricades delighted an audience of Birmingham’s music explorers at “Songs in the Sky” in July this year.
Read on as the band members share their stories with us and explain how a combination of hereditation, intuition, discovery and inspiration led them to this point.
Then, enjoy the exclusive Songwall footage from “Songs in the Sky” and witness a very special acoustic version of “Half of Your Soul” here!
Dan Kert – vocals, guitars
Jonas Svendsen – lead guitar
Daniele Borgato – bass guitar, backing vocals
Frazer James Webster – drums, backing vocals
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself/yourselves – how did you find music?
Jonas: We are Plastic Barricades, an alternative four-piece rock band from London. I’ve played guitar for most of my life, I started because my dad plays guitar and I’ve kept playing, which I’m very happy about! I can’t imagine what I would do with myself if I didn’t play.
Frazer: It’s difficult to say how I found music as a player of music but I’ve played a musical instrument for longer than I can remember really so I suppose it’s just always been there for me.
Dani: I found it quite casually one day, hidden behind a big wardrobe in my parent’s bedroom, in the form of a bass guitar in a case.
Dan: I was very lucky to spend 10 years of my childhood and teens studying classical piano and guitar at a music school. While spending countless hours desperately trying to learn another Chopin’s nocturne or Bach’s prelude I felt that something very special is happening around me. And then, when I was about 11, I’ve spent my lunch money on my first ever cassette. It was Nirvana’s “The Very Best”. It changed my life forever.
Q: Describe what music means to you in 5 words or less
Frazer: A Labour of love.
Jonas: One of my favourite things.
Dan: Communication with the world around
Q: Who or what are your biggest influences/inspirations?
Frazer: I have soft spot for music that sounds or feels passionate which to me could be anything. I’m currently constantly listening to a band called Snarky Puppy who are a great example of passionate music and amazing musicianship.
Jonas: For me, as a guitar player, Hendrix is my biggest influence. If I were ever able to play anywhere near as well as he did, and with such great feel as well, I’d be a very happy man. Pretty sick vocals and supposedly not a bad drummer either.
Dani: If I have to choose one then it has to be Led Zeppelin/John Paul Jones
Dan: I’ve always felt a very strong connection to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, I still think we are yet to experience that level of honesty in music. Muse came pretty close, but then decided to become epic over-the-top stadium destroyers. I do enjoy the down-to-earth early Coldplay as well as The Shins, Biffy Clyro, Razorlight and Oasis.
Q: What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self/selves about creating and sharing music?
Frazer: There are so many things I would have benefitted from knowing as a younger me. I would have paid more attention to my technique earlier on and told myself that it doesn’t matter what I’m playing as long as I’m enjoying myself and that’s the most important thing.
Jonas: Probably just to play as much as you can. As for making music, it would be to just continuously write new stuff; Even if what you write comes out rubbish most of the time, eventually you’ll write something you like, you just have to keep trying.
Dani: Don’t buy cheap cables! Ever!
Dan: My advice to my younger self would be pretty simple – stop fixating on the results and try to enjoy the winding road.
Q: What is the song, by any artist, which best describes your journey/s through life and music so far?
Dan: It is not one song, it’s going to be a whole album. It will be called “Mechanics of Life” – and it will be out in January 2017! We’ve all put our hearts and souls into this album – and we are eagerly looking forward to sharing these songs with the world!
Q: If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life who would you choose?
Frazer: Snarky Puppy 100%.
Jonas: Again for me that would have to be Hendrix, there’s an amazing amount of variance especially if you find the stuff that’s a bit more obscure, lots of genre blending stuff.
Dani: one artist only? That would be quite a torture no matter what!
Dan: If I have to choose one band that will always keep me entertained and support different moods and provide food for thought then it has to be Radiohead!
Q: Which of your songs is your favourite?
Jonas: “How Goldfish Grow” is my current favourite, I like the song a lot but also the ease with which we put it together and worked it up was great. It just came out really easily rather than us having to struggle with it.
Frazer: Our current newest song called “How goldfish grow” is a personal favourite of mine and I would go as far as to say of everyone in the bands.
Dani: always the new one!
Dan: I feel especially proud about our upcoming single “Half of your Soul”. There is hope and honesty in that song.
Q: What opportunities and/or challenges do you think today’s climate presents to new artists?
Frazer: Well on the one hand it’s easier than ever to put your music out into the world but because of that exact reason the world is constantly saturated with new but similar music so the challenge becomes sticking out of the crowd.
Jonas: There’s a lot more platforms to get your music out there which is good, even if you have no budget you can share digital formats of your music almost with anyone anywhere. It’s great that you can get your music out there, even if it’s free to access, and it won’t take a huge chunk of your bank balance.
Dan: The biggest challenge is still the same as it was decades ago – to stay true to yourself, find your voice and then reach the ears and hearts of people around the world. Everything else is just technicalities.
Q: How did you discover Songwall and what are your thoughts about us so far?
Dan: Our art-director Elina found the article about Songwall and “Songs in the Sky” competition online and forwarded it to me. I remember thinking to myself: “‘Songs in the Sky’ – what a great name for a competition”.
And then couple of weeks later we get a very exciting phone call, then have one acoustic rehearsal (as we’ve never done an acoustic set before) and then pack the van and go to Birmingham to play an amazing intimate show at the Rotunda penthouse. Shining eyes and infectious enthusiasm of Brendan and Beccy – the Songwall team – as well as a heartfelt performance of wonderful Rachel Mayfield made that warm July day very special!