Interview: A Plastic Rose on exploding vans, Wakestock and Banksy


Emma Mackintosh

IT CAN be a boring life on tour.

Leaking (or exploding) vans, time to kill, your band mate constantly drumming on your head...

Well, A Plastic Rose - whose fans on Twitter and Instagram are known as #APRmy - have found a way of keeping things interesting.

“We follow Banksys,” explained Ian, who along with fellow singer Gerry, drummer Dave and bassist Troy completes Irish band A Plastic Rose.
“Everywhere we go on tour we look up where the next Banksy will be and try and spot them.”

I asked Ian if he had heard the story of the Banksy drawn on the side of Thekla, the club on a boat in Bristol where the band is due to play on Sunday, July 15. He had not. I explained how over-enthusiastic cleaners had seen what they thought was graffiti on the side of the famous Bristol club and had diligently cleaned it off, or so the story goes, wiping out what would have been a priceless piece of artwork.

“Thekla looks amazing,” Ian laughed. “We were playing just up the road recently and had to collect some gear from there, so we had a look. It’ll be our first time playing on a boat.”

Speaking to me on a Thursday afternoon, Ian was travelling round with the band as they tried to re-record one of their favourite album tracks.
“We really liked the track so we wanted to put the finishing touches to it,” Ian explained. “Everything is going great at the moment. We’ve just had a couple of weeks off in Belfast, having played the Dot to Dot Festival and the Kerrang Awards which was great, the crowds were great.”

In a few short weeks the band’s summer tour kicks off with a gig in Portugal, before they return to play Wakestock.
“We’re going to be burned!” laughed Ian. “Wakestock has got to be one of our key dates. I want to see Funeral for a Friend, and Ed Sheeran who we’ve played with before.”

The band wouldn’t mind sharing some of Sheeran’s limelight either, having started from the same position as him (although, don't get me wrong, these lot were handpicked to play alongside Snow Patrol).
“We got back together as a band about four years ago in Belfast,” Ian explained. “We have a singer-songwriter vibe, but there is a darker side to us, it’s a mesh of two worlds.”

Belfast is something of a breeding ground for emerging talent, and the band have cultivated a grass-roots following, spurred on by piracy in the music industry.
“There is a centralisation of money and some record companies are going for safer bets, namely manufactured pop,” Ian said.
“It means a much longer DIY phase for bands, you have to poke your head above the crowd for anyone to take notice. But it does create a great DIY attitude especially in Belfast, lots of bands are going out there and really making the effort.

“It has an impact on the product too. Our last two singles have been physical only, and we wanted to create a really nice package to sell directly to our fans. It’s about changing the model. We have ended up being entrepreneurs, which we hadn’t intended to be, but the fans feel much more a part of the team. We build along with our fans and hopefully that means our fans are more loyal too.”

Catch A Plastic Rose on tour at the Thekla, Bristol, on Sunday, July 15.

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