Photo by Matthew Reeves
R-N-R: Black Plastic (Cleopatra Records) releases videos for 2 singles “Savage” and “Charcoal”releases videos for 2 singles “Savage” and “Charcoal”. Congrats! Please introduce yourself and the band a bit. Where are you based? Who is in it?
BP: Black Plastic is myself (Kevin Grady) and producer/musician André Obin. We mostly work on music remotely since I’m in Chicago and André is in Boston. I’m probably better known as the founder of Lemon, a cult magazine with some pretty amazing contributors: David Bowie, Daft Punk, Jeff Koons and Sonic Youth, to name-drop a few.
R-N-R: Why is it called Black Plastic? Any Ideology behind it?
BP: David Bowie described the funky soul songs he released in the mid ’70s as “plastic soul,” since he was a white man playing musical genres created by black musicians. I chose the name Black Plastic because I don’t consider myself a musician, and the music is dark. As a graphic designer, I see Black Plastic more as art direction than music, at least in terms of my involvement. André is a proper musician, and he brings a lot of experience. But for my part, aside from singing, I’m mostly using software instruments and Garageband to capture my thoughts. In spirit it has a connection to DIY synthpop and even punk, I guess, in terms of the attitude. Then André puts it all in Ableton, adds real instruments as needed and generally works his production magic. We’ll go back and forth many, many times until we’re both happy with a track.
R-N-R: What are your new 2 new releases / videos about?
BP: The two new singles are “Savage” and “Charcoal” (out on Cleopatra Records). Both the song and the video for “Savage” were inspired by the horrific Trump nightmare we now find ourselves in, and the endless news cycle we’re bombarded with every day. It’s grueling, it really is. And “Charcoal” is a love letter of sorts to David Bowie, recalling the shock many of us felt when he died. André actually texted me the news in the middle of the night, and I really couldn’t believe it was true. In some ways I still can’t.
R-N-R: Any future recordings to look out for?
BP: We’re working on the second album now and are about a third of the way done. In the meantime, we’d love for people to check out our debut album from a couple of years ago, also called Black Plastic. It’s not goth, but it’s definitely club music for vampires, if you’re into that kind of thing.
R-N-R: Do you miss not playing with live instruments or your set up is all you need on stage?
BP: It’s definitely a different feeling than having live drums (although drummer Frank Lawlor sometimes joins us live), live bass, etc. It just feels different viscerally. But André and I both have a lot of love for Suicide—Alan Vega (RIP) and Martin Rev—and the intensity and chaos that a simple electronic duo can create. That’s our model and aspiration.
R-N-R: Any advice for young musicians starting out?
BP: Yes. You kids—get off my lawn. Ha ha!