It’s always good to see bands that stick to their guns and PLASTIC TEARS are definitely one of them! Lead vocalist Miqu December tells us about the new album « Anthems For The Misfits » and much more!
You were one of the very first bands I interviewed back in 2000 I think. Can you introduce the band for those who might still not have heard of you?
We usually describe our music as sleazy dark rock’n’roll with a glam punk attitude. We’ve been around for a long time since, and we’ve had our ups and downs. So we’ve named ourselves the rats of rock’n’roll, we survive anything. We do what we love, good old rock’n’roll, and spice it up with a little bit of musical this and that. We’re not trying to please anyone, but I’d still say most people who like rock music might like us, as our music draws from different musical sources.
How did things change for the band in 20 years apart from the obvious line-up changes?
I guess we’ve stayed true to our musical roots, but of course the band has evolved and gotten better. We’ve always made music we’d like to listen to ourselves, so no need to make drastic changes. But I guess as we’re a bit more stable nowadays, concentrating more on the music instead of partying, I think we’ve matured much also in a musical sense.
Can you tell us about your new album « Anthems For Misfits »?
We started working on it pretty soon after the last album, Angels With Attitude, was released. So in about a year after the release of that album we were back in the studio again. We started recording summer 2019, did a European tour, and continued recording. Soon after that the pandemic showed up, and it slowed down the recording pace. So it was quite a long process, one or two day of recording, then a break for a couple of weeks, and we continued again. But this slow pace suits us well, and I think it’s one of the reasons why the album turned out so good. The album is pretty diverse, and there’s songs ranging from pop to punk, and everything in between. The opener Doomsday Girls is a fast funny rock’n’roll song that should wake up the listener immediately. Followed by the punk rock sirens of Riot Zone, at this point everyone should be awake! On the third track we lower the tempo to let the listener calm down with the pop desperation of Clash In The Night. Radar Eyes is a moody dark piece that I like a lot. Other highlights for me are the rebellious Restless Outsider, the dark gothic death waltz of Candlelight Hate Affair and the Elvis goes glam punk of Nobody Likes A Crybaby.
Your first single/video « Riot Zone » is quite appropriate in 2021 when looking at the state of the world… Can rock’n’roll still be rebellious to you?
Yeah, I didn’t guess when I wrote the lyrics how topical they would be. And when the label made the video for it just a few days before the Capitol Hill riots, it made the song almost controversial. Rebellious, it depends. Maybe r’n’r can be rebellious on a small scale. We’ve always been a band that has walked it’s own path and done what we want to do, no matter what others think. I guess that’s some kinda rebellion too.
We can still hear Hanoï Rocks/Lords Of The New Church influences in these new songs. Can you think of any other bands or artists that influenced you for this new album? « Hallucinations » for example seems to head in a different direction.
It’s not intentional, but I guess we come from the same school of rock as they do. And we do love those bands. I can’t say any band, at least consciously, has directly influenced this album. I listened a lot to Masked Intruder, The Interrupters and Cheap Trick before the new album, but I don’t think we sound anything like them. Songwriting, for me at least, isn’t usually anything that’s planned. The ideas just come from sudden bursts of inspiration. Hallucinations is actually an old song that we demoed ages ago. We wanted to remake it, as it was too good a song to be left unheard. It’s a really special song, and I really don’t know what to compare it to or to what genre it might belong. It’s one of the songs on the album that stands out, in a good way.
« Divine » is really catchy, was it the kind of songs that just come out naturally and was easy to write?
That’s the second old song remade, it was also demoed in the beginning of our career. That version was like a ska punk glam rock song, or something. Sounds weird, but it was really funny and catchy. Still, we wanted to make a more straightforward version, as we felt the riff and bass line were meant for a rock’n’roll song. So it has a long history, but if I remember right, it was a song that came out fast and easy. It just took it quite many years to find it’s final form. In the end, we’re really happy with how it turned out, it’s a catchy fun song that could cheer you up even on a bad day.
The last two songs on the album, « Communication » and « Imaginary Virgin Mary ” are great, one being a glam punk hit and the other one an amazing dark rock’n’roll song. Can you tell us about these two songs and why you chose to put them at the end of the record?
We gave a lot of thought to the song order, and wanted the album to be strong and balanced, yet highlight the differences between the songs without making it inconsistent. As you said, Communication is a glam punk song with funny lyrics about the invention and use of the telephone, with an underlying message about loneliness. If you stayed awake during history classes in school, you know that A.G. Bell, who is mentioned in the lyrics, is Alexander Graham Bell who was declared the inventor of the telephone. History lesson over! Imaginary Virgin Mary is probably the heaviest song on the album, but it’s still a rock song, not metal. It has a kind of creepy ominous feel and tells the story of being bullied and taking revenge. We wanted to end the album with a bang, so two tougher tracks at the end did the job. And the piano ending of Mary was perfect to close the album.
Is there going to be a vinyl release of the album?
We would love to have a vinyl version too, but it’s not part of our deal with Wormholedeath Records. So if anyone is interested in working with us on a vinyl version, please get in touch!
You released a split CD with Paradise Alley in 2019, can you tell us how it happened? Both bands seem to be good friends.
Yeah, me and Steve of Paradise Alley met already in the nineties and we’ve stayed good friends ever since. Paradise Alley got active again after a pretty long break and they wanted to release a new song, but they didn’t have a drummer yet. So they asked us if our drummer Eco could play the drums on the track, and he was happy to help. Steve and I shared the lead vocals, and most of us shouted the backing vocals. It was a fun and different collaboration, as we recorded in Helsinki and Paradise Alley in the UK.
What do you think about streaming shows? Would you play one?
I guess they’re an ok substitute for real live shows, but of course it’s not the same. Not at all. But I understand why they are done, and I’m not saying we’re never gonna do one. But to tell you the truth I’m not too excited about them. The intimacy and intensity of real live shows can never be achieved with a stream show.
Last albums you’ve been enjoying?
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been listening to the unreleased third album by Beat Angels, it’s great! I’ve also been spinning the new albums from Suzi Quatro, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Alice Cooper, Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders and Jason Ringenberg. All good albums, so give them a listen if you haven’t already.
Any new bands from Helsinki we should check out?
They’ve been around for a while and have already released two albums, but Daggerplay is a band I sincerely recommend. Their mix of punk rock’n’roll and power pop is very convincing and catchy. They’ve also just released a new single, so check that and the band out!
It’s hard to plan anything these days but please tell us if you have any future plans yet…
We’ve got some cool shows lined up for the summer, but it remains to be seen if those can be carried through. Otherwise, I think we’ll continue banging our heads against the wall and see which one breaks down first. At the moment we focus on promoting the new album online, as there’s not so much more that we can do. Have a load of ideas for new songs, so we’ll start working on those at some point. So our future plans are to stay safe and keep rocking, and we hope you do too!