Plastic Mermaids have been knocking out dreamy, elaborate pop for a while now, squirrelled away on the Isle Of Wight. April and May sees them branch out though, with the group head out on tour (including a stopover in Leeds as part of Live at Leeds) to bring their cinematic sound to bigger audiences. Their music manages to capture life up close and from afar – small, intense and softly spoken moments slowly zoom out and swell to form vast and sprawling soundscapes. We caught up with the 5 piece to talk their stunning visuals, future plans and whether Brian Eno really could be co-producing any new material.
Hello. We are Plastic Mermaids.
Describe Plastic Mermaids’ sound in one sentence.
There’s an animal called a binturong that smells like popcorn, we don’t sound anything like that, but, maybe we do, like savory popcorn, and sweet, but looks like a binturong, but with more keyboards, and a sound we call Bieber.
[Note: The binturong actually exists, it actually does smell of popcorn and it looks like this]
It’s been a while since we last heard new music from you guys. Is there anything in the pipeline?
We’re currently making our first album. After a month of jamming and recording everything as we went, we had around 40 tunes/songs in the can. A couple of months on we’re working on about 18 of those. The others we’ll be revisiting. Also during that time, we had a session with a friend, jazz drummer Gaspar Sena, where we jammed and recorded a bunch of really cool stuff. There’s a pink papier-mache hat with another 50 song names in it, there are so many people we want to collaborate with and every time we practice there are new ideas, sounds, thoughts. So yes, there’s definitely something in the pipeline!
How important are the visuals to Plastic Mermaids? Is it all done in-house or do you get other people involved? The videos and press shots are always wicked.
We love doing gigs with visuals, I think that other dimension adds a lot to a live show. Yes, we make all the artwork and videos ourselves. It can take a lot of time realising some of the concepts. But I think it’s all entwined, the art is just as important as the music. It would be great to work with some other people one day though, maybe Michel Gondry or Wes Anderson could make us a video?
Are you looking forward to your shows coming up? Will you miss the Isle of Wight?
Yes, really looking forward to these shows. We’ll be playing some new music for the first time, there’s going to be room for some improv and letting things fly a bit. Doug said a while back he doesn’t really care what we play on this tour (which has turned out to be seriously untrue), as long as we have a good time. It’s true though, if we’re having a blast it should be a good gig to be in the audience. Na, we won’t miss the Isle of Wight. Well, unless there’s pumping waves, then we’ll really miss it!
Have you ever played in Leeds before?
Yes, we’ve played in Leeds a couple of times. Our last gig at the Brudenell was brilliant, one of our favourite crowds.
Who else are you excited about catching at Live at Leeds?
It would be nice to see Teleman and The Moonlandingz. Need to check out the programme because it looks like there’s a lot of good music on.
What would you recommend to anyone looking for something new to listen to?
If they’re new to you, maybe check out Bruce O Yates, Mac Demarco, Vulfpeck, Low Road, Thundercat, Robert Glasper Experiment… That’s a mixed bag!
Finally, if you had to start a rumour about Plastic Mermaids, what would it be?
Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt are co-producing our debut album. It’s actually kind of true.
You can catch Plastic Mermaids at the following shows (thanks also go out to Live at Leeds who helped organise this conversation):
Tue 25 Apr 2017 – Cardiff Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
Wed 26 Apr 2017 – Exchange Bristol
Fri 28 Apr 2017 – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Sat 29 Apr 2017 – Live At Leeds 2017, Leeds
Sun 30 Apr 2017 – Sounds From The Other City 2017, Salford
Tue 02 May 2017 – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Wed 03 May 2017 – Pickle Factory London