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Pic by Rochelle Flack
Pic by Rochelle Flack

Melbourne-based electronic popsters Dear Plastic impressed many with their 2014 debut album, ‘The Thieves are Babes’. Lead singer Scarlette Baccini and Keyboard/synth wiz Josh Moult called us up to discuss the band’s story.

Self-described as ‘a nice band from Melbourne’, Dear Plastic is a five piece electro dream pop outfit which has garnered oodles of kudos with the release of their 2014 album The Thieves are Babes’. Take a blind-folded taste test of their musical ingredients and in there you’ll discover; a little Portishead and Pink Floyd, elements of Massive Attack and traces of Bjork. Their emotive use of the Fender Rhodes, modular synths, trip hop beats and tasteful guitar licks combined with the ethereal vocal artistry of Scarlette Baccini create quite a cinematic experience for the band’s ever-increasing audience.

Josh Pic by Rochelle Flack
Josh Pic by Rochelle Flack

Dear Plastic has been together for around three years. The sound was not something that was predetermined but more just a sum of its parts. “We didn’t ever discuss what the sound would be like. It’s just what came out without us thinking about it too much,” Scarlette tells me. Their Facebook page lists an eclectic bunch of influences, however all five agree that Scott Walker’s music and in particular his album Scott 4, is a masterpiece. The brooding atmosphere which pervades much of their music can be attributed to Walker’s influence.

Central to the band’s personality is their love of science, particularly lead singer Scarlette.  “I’m a big science geek,” she says. I studied science and I think that has a had a big influence on the things I am interested in writing about. I don’t like writing love songs but I am trying to get better at that. So they are usually a bit science or nature based and often about morbid stuff.” Josh agrees and chips in, “Yes, a lot of world ending stories.”

Keyboard player Josh Moult also has a mad professor vibe about him with a predilection for building modular synthesisers, the old school analogue, ‘moog’ type featuring a jungle of cables. It’s a facet of the band which can sometimes be problematic, especially if anything goes awry on stage. ” A lot of Josh’s gear is soldered together because he builds it at home,” says Scarlette. “It’s hard to know where a problem is coming from, well it seems like that from my point of view. There are so many pieces connected that it takes a while to find the weak link in the chain when something goes wrong.”

Josh is keen to upgrade his gear and has specific ideas about what would compliment their current set up. “I think a good poly synth would be great,” he says. “Probably one of the new Dave Smith Prophets, a Prophet 12 would be really cool to have. The Korg Kronos are pretty good too, I’d like one of those.” As for Scarlette, she’d  be content with a new set of decent in-ear monitors.

Pic by WTD Photography
Pic by WTD Photography

Another unique aspect of Dear Plastic’s sound is their use of beats from old drum machines supplied by the band’s other geek Nathan Clark, combined with the acoustic drum beats of Cory Mollison. “It all started with a really terrible drum machine that we didn’t know how to operate,” explains Scarlette. “We wanted a drummer, found someone and then he left for a while so we got a beats person involved. Then the old drummer came back so we had to make them work together. It’s been a tricky process but I think we’ve got it together.”

The band’s debut album The Thieves Are Babes, released in 2014 had a creation span of almost five years. “There was a big gap between tracking it and mixing it… too long,” suggests Josh. The band is keen to take lessons learned into consideration for the next album. “I think we’ve learned to be more easily satisfied or I have anyway,” says Scarlette. “The first time you make something, you have a vice like grip on it and want everything to be perfect. I think you realise that it’s never going to be right for you and you have to let people, like the producer, be the experts and let it go. We have the beginnings of a new album. We have already began recording bits of it.  We’ve recorded three or four tracks and a bunch of other stuff we’re sorting through to see which tracks would work. We’re planning to master four tracks in May and have an album out by the end of the year.”

Dear Plastic is keen to build upon their audience, would love to play some bigger gigs and festivals and ultimately tour overseas. As for their current fans, Scarlette believes them to be quite diverse. “A real mix,” she says. “Lots of music nerds, people from my science circles. We’re such an odd mix of themes and ideas pushed together. You’ll have groups of people who will come and one of them will really love it but you never know which one!”

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