Beyond the Look: Interview with The Plastiscines

Beyond the Look: Interview with The Plastiscines

by Marcos Colón

Your chances of getting noticed as an up-and-coming indie rock band--pretty difficult with thousands clamoring for the same spotlight. Getting noticed as an up and coming Parisian all girl quartet--not as bad. But you may get attention for the wrong reasons if you’re a Plastiscine.

Paris’ own Plastiscines are building up quite the hype for themselves both outside and in the US, selling out shows in New York and San Francisco, as well as scoring decent billing at Coachella. Those who’ve caught a glimpse of the girls may get the wrong impression. Sure, they are quite the sight for sore eyes, but their sound definitely matches up.

After getting together at a Libertines show in Paris, the girls found that they shared the same passion and interest in music, particularly garage-style rock from bands like the Strokes, Libertines and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. After getting together and forming the Plastiscines, they earned the attention of Kraftwerk producer Maxime Schmitt, and were soon signed by EMI in 2006, a Virgin France label. Now the girls are working on their second effort and pushing to break into the US, as well as rid themselves of the ‘generic pretty girl’ stigma that many in their home country have labeled them with.

Clubplanet caught up with bassist Louise Basilien and chatted about their West Coast experience, the rock scene in Europe and what the future holds in store for the ladies.

Clubplanet: I know that you guys have been pretty busy lately. Catch us up on what you’ve been up to.

Louise Basilien: We just got back from the U.S. where we played San Francisco and Coachella. It was an amazing experience. We first played San Francisco and the gig was really awesome. Then we headed back down to play Coachella and it was just so amazing to be there. I never thought that one day we would be playing there. Everything was just great. We got our own dressing rooms and even our own golf cart to get around the festival.

CP: How would you compare the indie rock scene in France to the one in the states?

Louise Basilien: Well I’m not too familiar with the indie scene in the U.S. We know some bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Strokes and TV on the Radio. It’s a hard question because we really don’t have much of an element here to compare it to.

CP: How would you describe the scene in France right now?

Louise Basilien: A few years ago a lot of bands started playing at a lot of pubs and bars and gloomy places. (laughs) This got bigger and bigger and there were more and more people going to all of the gigs. At the moment there is a good indie scene going on. There are a lot of young bands around at the moment, like us. We were only 16 and 17 when we started. A lot of people talk about the scene in Paris, but really there’s a good scene in all of France.

CP: Is it fair to say that Paris is the center of the music scene there?

Louise Basilien: It’s hard to say. It is easier to play in Paris because there are so many places to play. But it doesn’t mean that there’s no music scene outside of Paris, but the most important one is obviously Paris.

CP: Talking about some of those bands that you mentioned from America, how do you feel about music like that crossing over to Europe?

Louise Basilien: I think that bands like The Strokes were very very important because that’s one of the bands that made us want to be in a band. We also like a lot of the artsy bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So yes, bands from America are really important to us.

CP: Who has had more of an influence on Plastiscines, American bands or British bands?

Louise Basilien: I’m talking to an American so I really should say American bands. (laughs) But maybe we know better English because London is so close. If we could get to New York the same way then maybe we’d be there more often. (laughs)

CP: Speaking about that, how many times have you guys gotten to play the states?

Louise Basilien: Not many. Only a few times. We’ve been to New York like three or four times, then we went over to the West Coast just a few weeks ago for Coachella and a show in San Francisco.

CP: Seems like you guys are just getting started here and having a great start.

Louise Basilien: We’d love to play the US more, but it’s not that easy. We should be back in L.A. later this month for a gig.

CP: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard Plastiscines?

Louise Basilien: I would say garage rock with a pop side. But now were working on a second album at the moment and it has quite the same garage feel but it has changed a little.

CP: What are some of your favorite cities to play?

Louise Basilien: Actually, I think that San Francisco has taken the top spot in our list of best gigs. We enjoyed that city so much. Other than that it’s hard to rank because each place and gig has a different feel. But we definitely loved San Francisco.

CP: Are there any cities that you guys have wanted to play?

Louise Basilien: What we really want is to go back to the U.S. and have a big tour with a massive tour bus and go all over the U.S. (laughs) We’ve never been to Australia or the southern hemisphere so we’d love to do that too.

CP: How important is it for you guys to break into America?

Louise Basilien: America is very hard to break, especially for a French band. And we’re very surprised that we’ve had some great shows there and some really good reviews. We’re definitely going to try and break it because we really enjoy playing there and we have so much fun.

CP: You talked about The Strokes having a great influence on you. What are some other bands?

Louise Basilien: The Libertines as well. Then we have older bands like Blondie. But then there’s also Arctic Monkeys, who we really like at the moment. Also, a lot of the garage rock bands from the 70s.

CP: What type of band would you guys not like to be viewed as?

Louise Basilien: We don’t like when people focus on us as a ‘girl band’ or a ‘girl group’. Especially in France, people think that we’re not a real band just because we’re four girls and that’s unusual in France. They think that there was a casting process where someone was like, “You’ll play the guitar, you’ll play the bass.” (laughs) But we’re just a high school band.

CP: Can you tell me a little bit about the new album that you guys are working on?

Louise Basilien: At the moment we’re just writing songs. Then were going to get to the recording as soon as possible. At the moment we don’t know when we’ll release it but we definitely hope that it doesn’t take too long.

Click here to hear more from the Plastiscines.