Art critique

Fantastic Plastics embraces technology as they criticize it

Peoria-based neo-new wave group Fantastic Plastics to play rare role in person Live interactive multimedia show on Saturday night when they stop at the Nightshop in Bloomington.

Band members Tyson and Miranda Plastic now perform primarily on Twitch, broadcasting live shows from their basement to a growing fan base every Wednesday and Friday night.

Tyson said that while Fantastic Plastics is now mostly digital, their upbeat live show and gorgeous melodies often frame sharp reviews. of technology and modern society.

“Yeah, I think that’s fair. I think one of the biggest driving factors for lyrics is just this idea that we’re all embracing this technology way too quickly and changing the world in ways that we can’t see because we live in it. present time. So I think it’s kind of a warning in a lot of songs to take a step back and think about what you’re doing, ”Tyson said.

“At first glance, I guess the music sounds really happy and dancing,” Miranda added. “But yes, sometimes the lyrics are pretty serious.”

There’s no better example than Plastics’ bouncy and fun song “Bad Day”. Miranda even harmonizes an “Ooh, la la la” chewing gum as the duo details someone having a bad day consuming too much media, television in this case.

I do not feel good. Watch TV all day and night.
I’m fine. Everything is dynamite.
Binged out. Fried brain.
The TV says I’m sick and I don’t know why.
I’m fine. Everything is dynamite.

Ooo la la la ooo la la la – Ooo la la la ooo la la la
I guess we’re having a bad day
Ooo la la la ooo la la la – Ooo la la la ooo la la la
Yeah we’re having a bad day

  • Extract from “Bad Day” by Fantastic Plastics

“Yes, I think a lot of us get caught up in binge eating, even just through media consumption,” Tyson said. “And it can really take a toll on your mental health or your self-esteem if you constantly compare yourself to what you consume. (It) just sucks your life out of not going out every now and then yeah.

“Just staring at a screen most of the day is not good,” Miranda rang.

Many of the new wave artists playing synth music were very theatrical, including Devo, Gary Numan and the B-52s, three artists who are obvious influences and inspirations of Fantastic Plastics.

“This is the presentation… we call them uniforms,” Miranda said. “We don’t call them costumes. I make all of our uniforms that we wear. And so, we always coordinate. We’re drawn to seeing a performance where it’s quite a show, where it’s not just the music and the performance, it’s as much about the visuals as it is the audio. Streaming on Twitch, which we do a lot now, we use green screen technology. We actually have a video projected on our clothes that is different from the video behind us. It’s taken to a whole new level when it comes to fashion, because we can really do anything with it.

“The tricky thing about Twitch is that people assume it’s about video games. But Twitch has so many musicians and artists and it’s so much more than video games. The last two and a half years of trying to evangelize people to the platform to show them what’s out there. And we’ve helped other people get involved in streaming and it’s awesome. It really is life changing and I can’t say enough good things about it, ”Tyson said.

There is an obvious irony in a predominantly digital group having fun criticizing technology.

“Yes, the irony is not lost,” Tyson and Miranda laughed. “Don’t look at your screen but log in to watch our feed, yeah.”

Materialism is also a recurring target of Fantastic Plastics, with the optimistic “Perfect Strangers” from their recent album “Malfunction” a prime example of the sweet way they criticize consumerism.

“Yeah, that’s a great example of the chorus and the song… it’s cheesy but that’s what sticks to you,” Tyson said.

We are complete strangers
Synthesized celluloid danger
Victims of a new regime
I have to keep our nails clean
We are complete strangers
Ignore danger signs
Spare parts in the working machine
I gotta keep our records really clean

We went to the mall
Just so we can have it all
It’s never enough – It’s never enough – It’s never enough – It’s never enough

  • Extract from “Perfect Strangers” by Fantastic Plastics

“There are different meanings to the verse, but overall it’s an anti-consumer song. But it’s super bouncy. It’s super singing. There are definitely influences from Gary Numan and Devo and B -52. Even though that ‘went to the mall, so we can have it all’ is a little cheesy, after listening a few times it’s like, ‘OK, I see there’s something growing . ‘ We actually did a music video for that one with a local artist called Dystopia Kid. He shot part of that in the Northwoods Mall in Peoria, and he uses a really VHS type circuit bending technique. cool when he was doing really cool visual stuff with a VHS tape on it. “

This is the striking aspect of what Fantastic Plastics does. Of course, their music is a throwback to the classic new wave era, their visual presentation is fun with bright colors, and the music is bright and vibrant. But both are just as sharp with their criticism of society as any punk band.

“Yeah, we call it… what do we call it?” Tyson asked Miranda.

“Candy coated cyanide,” she replied. “It’s like the music is fun … and we’re talking about fun and lively … but the lyrics are more serious and have an advantage.”

The duo said the dichotomy between lyrics and music is very intentional to allow sharp reviews to be more easily digested.

“We’re not saying we’re trying to brainwash you, but it helps if the music makes you bounce and sing and then you realize what you’re singing,” Tyson said with a laugh.

“There are a lot of bands out there that have a lot of critical things to say and can shine a light on some not-so-nice things in the world. And usually the music matches it, and I think that can be off-putting in a way. We have always liked the paradox of putting the two things together. And I think the message gets across more easily. But we are also fun people.

“Yes,” Miranda added. “I feel like in the past we maybe tried to be a little more serious on stage, but we are also very smiley and happy people. So we can’t, that’s part of our personality too, I guess. “

Fantastic Plastics play at Nightshop in downtown Bloomington on Saturday night. You can also see their Twitch performances every Wednesday and Friday night.


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