Interview with Drummer and Producer Paul Love of Plastic Barricades

By Mick Michaels

The Cosmick View: Hello, Paul and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 

CV: Describe your definition of the band’s sound and style and how does that definition uniquely describe the music?
Paul Love: We play guitars and drums and occasionally keyboards and sing alongside…it is about as far as I would like to commit on how we sound. Dan makes really nice songs and I try my best to tear them into pieces and sellotape them back together.

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you made the connection to your fans?
PL: My favorite albums are the ones where I went in cold and had absolutely no idea who the artists were. The Mars Volta, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, CocoRosie, Bon Iver, Polysics, Plus Tech Squeeze Box, Tom Waits, Dan Sartain. All these guys where I would pick up their album because I liked the cover or someone would stick it on the CD player and I would be like, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?” And then I don’t know who these people are, or their names or anything about them but I FEEL them. The rest of that stuff doesn’t matter. What Charlie Puth had for breakfast doesn’t change how fucking incredible his voice is. I feel like mystique and character are extremely important for the audience, but I also want to know what roads were travelled to bring about this materialized emotion that I hold in my hands scratched into black vinyl. So maybe tell some things if you think it’s what people need to hear but respect the audience enough to let them have their imagined super-hero. This connection is way more important than daily updates on Instagram. I’m a musician, not a model. If you’re a musician and a model fine, but I don’t expect anyone to care about my opinions. I just want you to feel connected spiritually and emotionally while you dance. For me, social media has pulled away the wizard’s curtain and made the whole thing bland and boring. I feel less connected because of it. It is a balancing act to choose how much of yourself you show outside of the music. I’m a big fan of kayfabe in pro wrestling and particularly of the Undertaker. That guy played a character every time he was in public for thirty years and didn’t break character once. Even when he nearly killed his friend by throwing him off a 7m cage into the floor he was The Undertaker. Only now after he’s retired have we even started to see the real guy. Who knows who Mark Calaway is?

CV: Is fan interaction an important part of the band’s inner culture?
PL: Like I said, we try to do the connecting through the songs. Dan keeps the social media ongoing, but I’ve deleted all my accounts. I love it when people send us messages to say how much they love the music or how it’s helped them. That means so much to us, but I feel that the only response they need is a thank you and some heart. Stalking isn’t love. The music is the interaction.

Photo by ElinaPasok

CV: Can a band truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space” in your opinion?
PL: There are three known photographs of Robert Johnson and one of them might not be him. If I ever reach the influence and impact that Robert Johnson has had on the world and on music then I will be a very satisfied man. The things we sing about are more personal than I could ever express in an interview or on Facebook…my loves and fears and deeply personal relationship problems and successes. Even alluding to them in metaphor is terrifying sometimes. How is talking about what skincare products you like to use on a photo sharing app more personal a connection than that?

CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple views among various cultures?
PL: I don’t think music is valued differently across the world. I’ve lost count of the number of countries I’ve played in and I would see more variety in response from night to night and city to city than from nation to nation. I think music defines us as a species more than tool use, standing upright and language. My daughter has taught me a lot. She was dancing in the womb. The second there’s a beat she can’t help herself. It’s a part of us as much as breathing.

CV: Do you feel that a band that has an international appeal will tend to connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or intrigued to see the band over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?
PL: I don’t think it makes a difference to Americans as long as it’s Anglophone and groovy. I don’t see any French hip hop or Balinese Gamelan appearing on the Billboard Charts anytime soon. I don’t think Americans like foreign sounding music at all right now. Maybe in the 60s they were a little open to Ravi Shankar. The Beatles weren’t trying to sound British, they were trying to sound like Motown. No one outside of America is listening to country or Christian music. The ‘foreign’ music that becomes successful in the USA is re-digested African-American music.

Photo by ElinaPasok

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been blurred?
PL: I think it’s made it harder to be creative. We’ve all grown so used to googling instructions. We need to learn to listen to ourselves again and remember what it’s like to be so bored that you have to make something new. All people create. We’re all artists.

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows trends and one who sets them?
PL: We’re all a product of environments and everything is a re-mix, so to a degree we are all following trends whether consciously or unconsciously. Lots of artists try very hard to break away and swim against the current and end up making a mess and lots of artists are just trying to go with the flow but can’t help but sound unique and interesting. I think you have to listen to your heart and make what excites you and other people will decide if it’s on trend or not. Albums take time. I don’t know what’s going to be popular by the end of our next album.

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?
PL: I think genre is a very lazy way of selling music and I’m glad to see it go. I couldn’t care less if Herbie Hancock is be-bop, hard bop, hip-hop or snap crackle and pop. Make me move.

CV: What can fans except to see coming next from you?
PL: Karaoke versions of the whole album, complete with the traditional Japanese couples walking in Yoyogi Park video. A full line of road traffic safety equipment and our own hot sauce.

CV: Thanks again Paul for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.
PL: Thank you so much.

Check out Plastic Barricades at::

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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