One night at Assembly– that place where all the guys in checked shirts and the girls with thick dark fringes hang – I was charmed by the quaint Indie sound of The Plastics.
Notes of funky, folk and even blues wiggled their way into their rocky sound. It contained all the cheesiness that makes it fun and all the music talent that makes it original. A week later, sitting round the table at JC’s sipping pints with Sasha, Pascal, Arjuna and Karl, I learn that even though this band is cool enough to have played with Helen Zille’s son and have a picture of themselves tattooed on a fans torso, they all have other jobs and have to specialise in things other than music.
‘The local band scene is growing but there is just not enough money in it,’ explains Sasha, drummer. ‘I really think South Africans should support local music more than they do.’
At the beginning there was Hoax – the Righini brothers punk band -and then in late 2007 The Plastics were born. The name comes from the bitchy girl group in the movie The Mean Girls, but supposedly insinuates so much more than that (may I say ‘a poke at the mass-produced pop of the commercial music world’).
‘We’re not indie-elitist,’ laughs Karl, as we discuss what it’s like getting recognised in the street by strangers and fans.
This ‘Indie/Retro Rock band’ have now built their name to the point where they gig regularly each month at all the Mother City’s best live music venues. Recently The Plastics got to spend a couple of months living together, a luxury that allowed them to delve right into their creative collaboration.
‘When you start out as a band, you’re just thrilled to when you end up sounding anything like the bands you idolise, but as you develop so does your style,’ says Pascal, the singer of the band. ‘But trying to explain music in words is hard… like trying to explain red to a blind person.’
The Plastics say they learnt a lot from The Strokes producer Gordon Raphael when working with him on their first album, Shark and plan to work again with him in the future, perhaps even on their new album, which is at present a work-in-progress.
After being offered a tequila, I ask the boys where they would tour if they could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid. ‘Well, there’s too much of us (indie-rockers) in UK,’ says Arjuna, all big smile and blonde bangs. Most of The Platsics boys like the idea of touring USA, but then tell me how they’re amped for Germany, where they plan on going next year.
When I mention the prospect of The Plastics breaking into the international music scene, I get nods all round. ‘All it takes is writing that right song at the right moment in time,’ says Pascal wistfully.
See The Plastics on the 5th November at Zula Bar’s ‘Rock The Rhinos’ (for a good cause).
Words: Rachel Briant
Images: Grant McPherson