By Kieran Webber
The experimental psychedelic band from the Isle of Wight are a rare gem in a music industry as vacuos as the one we have. They have complete artistic control from beginning to end, putting attention in every little detail. In fact the artwork for their forthcoming album ‘Suddenly Everyone Explodes’ was created by band member Jamie Richards. More amazing is the fact they built their own analogue studio and self-produced the album themselves.
They are a breath of fresh air and are artists that put creativity at the forefront of their music. With this is mind I wanted to find out more about the people behind Plastic Mermaids, I had a quick chat with them to find out more about their influences, life as surfers and much much more!
Kieran: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, how are you and what have you been up to?
Doug: Ah gosh I don’t really know ha have been mega hectic making videos, gigging and trying to make some more music.
Kieran: You guys are all well known surfers and have said it influences your music, in what way?
Doug: This question is a bit hard to answer without being mega cringe and cliché BUT I guess getting in the sea a lot is good time to think and solve things you’re stuck on. And it’s just good for your mind you know!
Kieran: Do you find your music and surfing have a crossover?
Doug: Not really in a physical sense but when I’m asleep I get pretty close to blending the two into one. I’m trying to to figure out how to make it something tangible. Give me a few years, I’m working on it.
Kieran: How do you balance making music and getting in the sea?
Doug: To be honest it’s balancing girlfriend, music and surfing. We all do a pretty bad job of it. Basically could do with 45 more hours a week.
Kieran: As surfers I am guessing you have travelled the world searching for that dream wave, where has been your favourite place so far?
Doug: We spent 4 hours walking down a ravine in the desert of Oman once looking for waves we’d spotted on google maps but ended up running out of drinking water and never finding to sea. So not there! Ha. I reckon I’d have to go with the most northern stretches of our beautiful country. Cold, windy but empty and when its on it’s as good as anywhere on earth. I spent a month in Thurso this Autumn.
Kieran: The ethos around your band is very much a DIY attitude, you design your album covers and built your owns studio! Why was it you decided to take this approach and what have been the benefits?
Doug: I guess it was more about necessities than choice. You can build stuff for a tenth of the cost it is to buy it so we just ended up making all our gear. But yeah it’s cool once you’ve made it because you’ve got something that sounds rad but didn’t cost you three legs!
Watch/listen to ‘I Still Like Kelis’ here:
Kieran: Did you have a particular sound you wanted to create when forming the band or was it something that came naturally?
Doug: I think the problem with us is we love so many different sounds that it’s hard to find anything that’s is a centre point. So yeah I guess we’re all over the place and I wish we knew where we knew where we were aimed but we don’t… Maybe it’s the sort of thing that’s more apparent from the outside looking in.
Kieran: What music are you listening to at the moment?
Doug: Hmm difficult question:
For me right now –
Dreamy stuff like Deerhunter, Broncho, Sparklehorse but I’ve also been listening to quite a bit of dancy stuff like LCD Soundsystem, Justice, The Knife and Fatboy Slim.
Kieran: What do you like to bring to your live shows?
Doug: Ideally we’d take our mirror ball mannequin called Patricia, as many choir as possible in gold tinsel jackets and any other colourful or explosive stuff we can get our hands on.
Kieran: What can we expect from your debut album ‘Suddenly Everyone Explodes’?
Doug: It’s a bit of a journey, quite a few different flavours in there some interesting little musical corners. It takes ages after making something to be able to hear it with any sort of perspective but I listened to the test pressing of it the other day and felt ok. Which is pretty good coming from us, we may be the most negative and self critical band in the world haha.
“I think the problem with us is we love so many different sounds that it’s hard to find anything that’s is a centre point”Doug Richards – Plastic Mermaids
Kieran: Was there a particular influence and story you wanted to tell throughout this album?
Doug: We certainly didn’t set out with one but I feel like there’s quite a lot of references to technology and its effect on society throughout the record.
Kieran: Can you explain to us the recording process behind the debut release?
Doug: We recorded it in this really cool big barn shed which has been built in the garden of the house where me and Jamie grew up which felt pretty special. Most of the record was recorded there and then we took it away and mixed it/finished it off over the following year.
Kieran: Lastly, we like to end on a story, can you tell us something weird, funny or gnarly that has happened to you guys?
Doug: Jamie and I we’re in Morocco a few years back and there was a stupidly huge storm. Nowhere was surf able, it was about 40 ft and there was trees and dead goats washing into the sea everywhere. We decided to go down to the seafront to look at the waves, there was this bit where they’d hit and shoot the spray up so I was like “get a picture of me standing on the edge with the spray in the air” I was stood next to another friend Many when a good size wave came I was like “yeah this one” then “oh shit” the wave came completely over the sea wall and smashed us, dragged us into the sea. I popped up, couldn’t see many, the sea was really turbulent so had to ditch my clothes and swim in. A local guy stuck his arm down and pulled my up the wall. Jamie was there and asked him “where’s Mandy where’s Mandy??” To which he replied, on a balcony! The wave had somehow thrown her 8ft up and landed her in a balcony which probably saved her life tbh, she broke a few ribs but I think she got off lightly. About 5 minutes later Jamie and I we were walking back to our apartment when we looked down at our feet to both realise they were completely shredded. The next week we spent living in a Kia Picante with board racks leaking in on us trying to drive as far south as possible to get out of the storm. Our feet got completely infected and a high point was when Jamie accidentally kick the pedal and had to open the door and puke from the pain….. . Thankfully we’ve had some better trips to Morocco since then.