They’re surfers, musicians and friends who enjoy playing riffs as much as they do surfing reefs. With the band dropping their new album ‘Its Not Comfortable to Grow‘ soon as well as a brand new single this week, they’re also set to take to the stage at the Spring Classic festival next month to deliver the perfect post-surf playlist!
At the heart of the Plastic Mermaids is the creative force of brothers Douglas and Jamie Richards, sons of a boat builder who have created their unique brand of psych-rock electronica.
The brothers met guitarist Chris Newnham, drummer Chris Jones and bass player Tom Farren at music college, and moved to Bristol for a time, before heading back to the Isle and Wight for its waves and greater scope for a creative lifestyle.
With the new album featuring their honed sound of neo-psychedelia and innovative electronica, it was recorded in their self-built studio and throws in several surprises along the way, including trumpets, French horns and strings, achieving an expressive depth to their sound.
In the run up to the release of their new album and video, we caught up with guitarist Douglas to talk tide times, bass lines and upcoming festival sundowner sessions.
WL: Where did the name Plastic Mermaids actually come from?
DR: You know what, I don’t actually know! I think it was something Jamie had come up with and for some reason bought the web domain. People kept clicking on it even though there was nothing there, so we took it to be a good sign and named our band after it, haha!
WL: Was there anything that particularly inspired you when making the new album?
DR: If I’m honest it was a pretty challenging time in my life. The end of a 7 year relationship combined with lockdowns and self doubt meant I wasn’t feeling super fresh and bubbly when this record was created. The songs are a kind of snapshot of the different stages of processing it all.
WL: Which one came first for you guys, learning to surf or learning to make music?
DR: Me and Jamie played piano from a young age, but in my teens I got really into surfing, traveling and competing with it. I then learned guitar from a mate when I was staying in Bali and slowly that started to shift to be more of my main focus.
Chris, our drummer, played with his Dad since he was tiny and used to go on ‘kamikazee-esque’ bodyboard sessions in the shingle shore break down at Freshwater with his mates. We started surfing together when we met at college.
WL: What would be the ultimate spring surf session for you guys?
DR: It’s got to be sunny! That first time in the year when you notice the sun warming up the neoprene on your back is a magical thing, but there’s also a niggling thought in the back of your mind that this might be the last swell until autumn so you have to totally max yourself out. In terms of waves, as long as it’s consistent and shoulder high or more I’ll be very happy!
WL: If you could surf any break in the world right now, where would it be?
We don’t really get a lot of barrel opportunities on the Isle of Wight, so definitely somewhere hollow. I haven’t been, but those sandy right-hand points in southern Mexico would do nicely right now!
WL: Your new video is definitely a throwback to the 90s skate era! Are there any aspects of that time that you particularly miss and would like to see make a comeback?
DR: Yeah, it was mad spending hours absorbed and editing though all that old footage! It put me in a strange spin seeing myself aged 13 and hearing everyones voices. Honestly, I miss the time before smart phones, where we’d get bored and come up with the most stupid ways to amuse ourselves. 90’s fashion is pretty in right now, huh? But, I’m yet to see the wedge haircut return to its former glory, so I’d pick that for the comeback!
WL: What are you guys most looking forward to at the Spring Classic?
DR: I think we’re all just super excited for the weekend away!! Hopefully get some waves, play some music, see some nice friends – should be dreamy!
WL: What tunes are in your surf roadtrip playlist?
Kae Tempest’s new album – Such an amazing, poignant, clever and reflective snapshot of our time.
LCD Soundsystem – Just love everything about them and cant get enough.
Whitney – Light Upon the Lake – Probably the perfect post-surf record.
Ty Segall – Manipulator – to get pumped up.
Big Thief – I don’t think there’s any more moving guitar music out there at the moment.
Grab tickets now to see the Plastic Mermaids play live at the Spring Classic festival for the ultimate post-surf sundowner session!