LA duo Polyplastic have today dropped their long-awaited debut album 'Medium Complications', via Grey Market Records. The ten-track album is a charming record that tosses out musical clichés to marry once-estranged genres and bridge unexpected emotions. The release follows a string of March tour dates, including an appearance at SXSW, while Polyplastic will perform at an album release show at The Troubadour in their native LA on April 8th.
Blurring the lines between music, performance, fine art and fashion, Polyplastic invite audiences to become participants in their ethereal underworld. One half fine artist; the other a member of the band Bleached, the duo have previously performed at art galleries and work with graphic artists to create audiovisual experiences.
Their largest and most expansive body of work to date, the release of Medium Complications is a career-defining moment for Polyplastic. We had a chat with the duo as part of our Get to Know series...
Introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about you both!
"Hi I’m Emily, I play bass and sing in Polyplastic. I am very tall, very funny and generally very loveable."
"Hi I’m Charlie, I am the lead vocalist, songwriter, and sometimes begrudgingly guitarist in Polyplastic. I am short, and very round. Like a blueberry! No I’m not."
How did you meet and when did you start making music together?
"We met in college at Wesleyan which is a small liberal arts school near ish to NY. We both played in a few bands there but didn’t become close until after graduating; in 2015 we ran into each other at SXSW right before Charlie moved back to LA from Philly. We started developing a bunch of demos that Charlie had been working on when we were both in LA and started playing shows in 2017. We slowly began releasing singles and an EP in 2018, but have been developing our song writing and the sound of the band since. This new record is definitely a new level of that for us."
Is there a story or meaning behind the band name?
"We were originally called HVAC, we wanted our band name to reference industrialism in some form. But then we found out there was another band called HVAC and had to go back to the drawing board, and spent a tortuous few weeks brainstorming options (naming a band is the worst task, you heard it here first.) We landed on Polyplastic which is a plastic building material, we thought it sounded cool and was also in line with the visual world we wanted to create for the project. It is one word but people often write it as two which makes it a very different meaning ;)."
Based in LA, do you think your surroundings inspire your sound in any way?
"We are both from LA so the city is definitely at the core of our identities and life experiences, and a lot of LA-based bands have had a strong influence on us musically. But in general I think we pull from a lot of influences and don’t try to be an “LA band”; we’ve watched scenes come and go and while we love a lot of the music that has come out of the LA music scene, we want our music to transgress an identity with place."
For anyone who hasn’t heard your music before, how would you sum it up in a sentence? Who are your biggest inspirations, musically?
"Polyplastic makes pop songs influenced by 80s punk and post punk with contemporary production. We love The Cure, Kylie Minogue, Cleaners from Venus, Portishead, X, Depeche Mode and Madonna among many, many others."
Who would be your dream artist to work / collaborate with?
"This is a hard question to answer because we are influenced by so many artists that are from seemingly unrelated genres. Right off the top of my head the first person I think of is Missy Elliott - her songs, production and style are so unique and I have no idea what we could make together but that would be so exciting. It would also be amazing to work with Massive Attack."
You've just released your debut album 'Medium Complications' - how does it feel to have it out in the world?
"Medium Complications has been a long time in the making. The songs were originally written between 2017-2019 and then we were meant to be recorded in 2020 but that got interrupted by COVID, which forced us to rethink our recording process and actually was a blessing in disguise because we had time to develop the production and arrangements for a few songs that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We feel like this record is a strong representation of where we are going as a band and are really proud of these songs. We are a bit antsy to get them out in the world and playing them live has been really fun so far."
Are there any key themes or inspirations across the album as a whole?
"The album wasn’t written with a theme in mind, but looking back at it I guess a major theme is isolation and how to process feeling lonely. It’s funny because most of the songs were written before the pandemic and then as we started recording the album we all experienced this extreme form of isolation. Cars are also an important part of many of the songs and that is because a lot of clarity in the lyrics come to me (Charlie) while I am driving."
You're performing at SXSW festival across a few dates, what can fans expect from a live show?
"SXSW is always a whirlwind but it was nice to be in a setting like that again after everything we have gone through in the world the past couple of years. We are currently on tour playing a few shows in the southwest and are excited to be back on the road. We are playing almost the full new record on this tour which feels great and is also giving us the space to develop the live sound for this new record, which is an important part of our process. We have also been watching The Ring a lot while on tour (we keep starting it and falling asleep so we start it over) so our vibe is a little SPOOKY."
And finally, what can we expect from you guys next? Any more exciting things that we should keep an eye out for this year?
"We are excited to release this record and start working on new music, it’s been such a process working on the record that we are looking forward to have the creative space to write again. Touring is definitely our other big priority and we are planning to make it over to the UK by the summer, so keep an eye out!"
'Medium Complications' is out now.
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