Stickybackplastics are a York based Blues-Rock act who cite their influences as Yorkshire, Scotland, art, making noise, making art and drinking wine. Rose & Heather met at a 'very civilised' garden party some years back and soon realised that they had a synergy for all things creative. Fast forward a few years and they adding a bass player and drummer to the mix which resulted in the creation of Stickybackplastics.
In April, the band released its 2nd EP 'Reptile Smile', we got in touch with them and had a good chat about hangover cures, how to make the perfect cup of tea and everything in-between, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence...
Dom] It's the soundtrack to MusicMuso’s best and worst romances.
Max] What’s a sentence?
Heather] A unique blend of different styles and eras, both the people and the music.
Roz] A strange, dark and random mix of ideas, music and people that shouldn’t work but seems to somehow
It’s all in a name, how did you come up with ‘stickybackplastics’ ?
Dom] It came from Heather [Niven, vocals]'s head. Apparently stickybackplastic was a huge thing where she grew up in Scotland, and a very important thing to have, apparently.
Heather] when I was growing up I watched Blue Peter and liked to make the stuff they showed you I the programme (being a bit arty). I could never get any sticky back plastic where I lived and so had to use shitty tape instead. I always thought the reason my creations were nothing like the 'ones they made earlier' was due to the lack of sticky back plastic, but on talking to Roz (lead guitar, songwriter) her's were as unrecognisable (using the correct ingredients.) so there you have it..the name was born.
Roz] I still love making stuff out of whatever is around and that kind of applies to the music too, so appropriate really
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
Dom] Man, my taste is so different to the rest of the band's! So, Roz [Walker, guitar] would probably say something by Nirvana! Max [Watt, bass] something by this ace punk band called Turnstile, and Heather, probably something by Sneaker Pimps. For me, personally? Incubus' 'Make Yourself' record. I grew up on that, and it still means so much to me – there's such diversity to the sounds and the songs. Also, Failure's 'Fantastic Planet' and Hell Is For Heroes' 'Neon Handshake'.
Max] Music is too subjective to make grandiose claims about what is best and worst. I can tell you what my favourite one is though. Bracewar’s ‘Juggernaut’.
Heather] I wouldn't know the 'best ever' as tastes change...today I am enjoying James Blake - Retrograde, Grace Slick - White Rabbit and some of The Pixies stuff. I have always had a soft spot for Kate Bush and also love David Bowie. (Psst who are Sneaker Pimps Dom?)
Dom] Heather, Sneaker Pimps are your new favourite band...or rather, they’ve died now, but IAMX is awesome.
Roz] I hate all this best and worst thing because there is so much different music out there I cannot make those kind of judgements - also I haven’t heard it all so can’t decide - I have the the same problem choosing anything - shopping takes a long time. I like Nirvana but wouldn’t say it was my best ever album choice - I also love Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and old blues like John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy et al.
Your music is quite ‘grungy’, what did this music scene mean to you?
Dom] I think we've all had a positive experience with grunge music – we like the aggression, and the vibrance within the scene. There seems to be a real 90s alt-rock/grunge resurgence in music at the moment, and we are proud to be a small part of that.
Roz] Weirdly at the time I didn’t really get that into it, same with punk, but it has left a real deep influence on the type of music I want to write and play.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Dom] Mine? Again, totally different to the rest of the bands; you can tell which era I grew up in from this – Brandon Boyd (vocals), Trent Reznor (backing vocals, guitar, synths), Travis Barker (drums), DJ Lethal (turntables), Wes Borland (bass), Scroobius Pip (spoken word verses).
Max] Dave Mustaine - So I can kick him out and call him a twat. Axl Rose – Opportune time to break his possessions and pretend it wasn’t me. Gerard Way – For the express purpose of repeatedly reminding him how shit MCR were. And Kerry King. We can hang. I think we’d get along. Shit, still need drums and bass.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Dom] Nope! There's no such thing as a guilty pleasure. The first record I ever got was Michael Jackson's Dangerous, and that still fucking owns.
Max] Never Mind the Bollocks. I’m a massive punk fan and I have no respect left for John Lydon. I had a Blink-182 album too but I set that on fire.
Roz] A quick flick through the vinyl reveals an embarrassingly large collection of Rush albums from up to 1980 - I had a serious prog phase in my teens but I’ve been clean for quite a few years now - did find a ZZ Top album I haven’t heard for a while though so that’s a result
Heather] I might do but that would be telling!
What is the BEST cure for a hangover?
Dom] For me, a dirty, greasy fry-up and a good ol' cup of Yorkshire tea.
Max] The cure is to feed your body whatever it craves. Things won’t seem so bad.
Heather] Being Scottish it has to be Irn Bru, maybe with a fried egg roll and tomato sauce.
Roz] I wrote a song called ‘cocktail’ and my hangover verse features the words, ‘Raw egg, Worcester sauce, make it strong I need to be sure.…’ so I guess I should practise what I preach - more wine might be a more palatable option though.
If blues + grunge = blunge, does classical + grunge = clunge?
Dom] Yes. And I love clunge. Like, really. I'm a huge fan of everything about it.
Max] I’d love to find out if that genre is even possible. Yeah, vaginas.
Heather] Is that Cockney rhyming slang or just a made-up word?
Roz] Grassical sounds nicer - there are possibilities there though.
Dom] Clunge is amazing….
There is a superb underground music scene in York, what is it about this city that brings out the musical talent of people?
Dom] I think it's the passion in the people. We live in a beautiful city, for sure. But, it's too comfortable a lot to the time – the really dedicated musicians here, and bands like Boss Caine, We Could Be Astronauts, ...And The Hangnails, The Birdman Rallies, The Franceens, Bull, RSJ and Junk all work really hard to take York's music scene out to the rest of the world, and that's really cool! I'm amazed at the musical talent we have here.
Max] It’s an inspiring place to be, but really there are great things going on wherever you are, it’s just a matter of finding them, which sometimes is impossible because no-one’s catering to the artists. In York there’s so many music lovers, and innovative bands, and they’re all so supportive of each other. The alternative scene in York is a beautiful community, it really is.
Roz] It seems to me that maybe it is because the city is quite small and everyone seems to know each other making a great community feel and a mixing of genres.
What are your favourite Saturday Night and Sunday morning albums?
Max] Cancer Bats’ ‘Birthing the Giant’. That’s a party album. Also, Turnstile’s ‘Nonstop Feeling’ is a great Sunday vibe (I have no idea what a Sunday vibe is, I’m just addicted to Turnstile) Also, Soul Search’s ‘Bury The Flame’ is a great bit of anger to wake up to on a hate filled Sunday, even though it’s an EP. It’s an increasing mystery how I ended up in a band that makes such chilled music.
Heather] Saturday it would be Muse’s Origins of Symmetry. Great album! Sunday morning.....eh does such a thing exist?
Roz] Saturday night would be my favourite blues album of the moment picked up at a record stall - The Great Blues Men compilation which includes a fantastic version of Stormy Monday by Junior Wells with Buddy Guy on guitar - sublime. Sunday morning probably needs to be gentle on the ear as I will probably feel a bit fragile so maybe JJ Cale or Laura Marling depending on mood.
Superman can deflect bullets with his chest, but ducks when a gun is thrown at him....why?
Dom] He's got quite an ego on him. I hope Batman destroys him! The reason he ducks when the gun is thrown at him, is because he doesn't want to damage his pretty face, for any length of time, so even a short term bruise to his 'money-maker' is really stressful.
Max] It’s just superhero logic. If someone throws an object at him, he has to duck, or else people will be like ‘Why’d you let that gun smack you in the face when you’ve got all that power’? and he won’t know how to answer them. By ducking the gun he also dodges a great deal of awkward conversations.
Heather] Because he can't deflect guns with his face??
Roz] It gives him a chance to do some cool ducking moves and look good on screen.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Dom] Kurt Cobain, Johnny Depp and Alfred Hitchcock.
Max] David Cameron, Hitler and King Joffrey. We’d get a hell of a debate going.
Heather] Elon Musk - amazingly creative and world-changing bloke, David Attenborough for his unlimited knowledge of all things relating to natural history and finally Richard Branson for his optimism and innovative outlook. Between the three we would get good chat, fine wine and hopefully a shot of a really fast electric car!
‘Reptile Smile’ is your second EP, how do you see yourselves evolving?
Dom] We're getting darker and heavier. And we're growing up...and down.
Max] We’re getting more varied. Sure, there’s moments that would suggest we’re getting heavier, but there are slower blusier moments too. ‘Don’t Say That You Love Me’ is my favourite tune to play live for instance, despite coming from a punk background. It would be great to tone down with some folk (esque) tunes, then amp things up for louder, heavier tracks in the future. Go all out with one genre, indulge in another. That’s what we like. Whatever we do we ultimately try and make it work for us, and our tone. That’s the main thing.
Heather] We have Roz to thank for our varied and 'blungey' sound, with her twisted lyrics and interesting sounds. All the original songs are created by her (so far). Roz has a great way of phrasing and describing experiences, feelings and fantasies in a really captivating way. I love singing her work. The mood is becoming more tense, expressive and a bit darker I would say.
Roz] My song writing is definitely on the dark blues side and I like the contrast and light and shade thing - lyrics are very important to me and Heather has such a great voice that we need to make sure she can really use it to best effect. I love combining some soft almost folky elements of singing with loud grunge and dramatic changes in volume and texture.
The perfect cup of tea, milk in first or last? Stir clockwise or anticlockwise? How long should the bag stay in the mug/cup?
Dom] Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Bag stays in for three minutes. Clockwise. Milk last.
Max] Milk last. Jesus, what’s wrong with you?
Heather] Haha tea bag in first, then water! steep for 3-5 mins and squeeze out bag, then add a spot of milk and sugar last and stir. Don't forget to heat up the porcelain mug up first or you will wreck EVERYTHING.
Roz] Teabag first - must be good tea - then water, stir round a bit clockwise, sugar or a sweetener ( I have to resort to those as I drink so much tea that I would be having a bag of sugar a day otherwise) squish teabag, remove and add a bit of milk.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Dom] Keroscene. ...And The Hangnails. The Franceens. Bull. Junk. RSJ. The Holy Orders. Officers. Paris XY, The Birdman Rallies, 3TEETH, Cheidu Oraka, Brawlers...there’s loads across York, Leeds and Hull you should be checking out.
Max] Too many. The Bastard Sons, Drop Down Smiling, Alpha Male Tea Party, Clang Boom Steam, Avalanche Party, Percy, Farse, Lamb Quartet (more genres than any band has ever put together ever, and the first underground band I ever discovered), Witch Mountain…This could go on indefinitely, so I’ll stop there.
Heather] All of the above! and 'Sail' by Awolnation is an epic song too! If you haven't heard it already check it out. Also, A Joker's Rage are really energetic!
‘Psycho Dreamer’ is the first single released from your new EP, what made you decided to put this track out first?
Dom] We recorded it, like, last minute! It just clicked. There was a lot of post-production [thanks to Dan Whiting at The White Rooms – legend!], because we wanted to get some of our industrial influences/experimental ideas in there. But yeah, it's about a weird as fuck dream...in case you didn't get that.
Max] Also, when we got ‘Psycho’ down it was very fresh to us. We’d played the others together about a thousand times over and wanted to share something that was a bit different to keep ourselves buzzed, as well as to befuddle the minds of people who had heard the first EP. Above all we just loved it and wanted to get it out there as soon as possible.
Heather] I was excited by the cool effects we had added in from a new voice activator I was given, made the sound much eerier and wicked. Psycho Dreamer is a step towards a more layered and complex type of song, which is good :-)
Roz] Although this was the song we knew the least well, it seemed that it was the one that everyone just took to straight away and it was fun to use the different effects. There seemed to be a natural energy and excitement generated by that song.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Dom] Jeckyll and/or Hyde.
Max] Probably Lester Ballard from Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Child of God’. If you’re unfamiliar with Lester, he’s a socially inept man who’s isolated and alienated by society to such an extent that he becomes a murdering necrophile.
Heather] Tricky one, somewhere in between The Cat out of Red Dwarf and Hades, God of the underworld I guess.
Have any of you had any ‘Spinal Tap’ moments? If so, please share!
Dom] Plenty. Normally to do with me being a fool. My kick pedal's fallen off/broken during a set...and there was one time we missed an entire verse while playing to a room of hardcore goths. Brilliant!
‘Sick Man’ is a pretty dark sounding tune, what was the process of making this song work and what is the story behind it?
Heather] Sick man describes the manipulation of a younger girl by an older man, who plays out his fantasies using her as his muse. This gives him a sense of ownership and control....So the story behind it pretty much matches the darkness of the song.
Max] The less said about the man who inspired that song the better. That said, cheers for the inspiration you twisted bastard!
Roz] The song was inspired by a real situation and was written before all the horrible revelations about sex abuse cases hit the news but sadly has an uncomfortable resonance with and relevance to those cases- there are far too many sick men out there. I wanted the music to sound as warped and creepy as the subject and a slightly out of tune blues riff combined with an angry and aggressive punky chorus seemed the right way to get the right mood.
Any festival plans for 2015?
Dom] We're basically focusing on writing another EP over summer. More gigs after that! That said, I'm an arse, and I think the rest of the band hates me, so we'll have to see! Haha!
As they were doing so well, we thought it only fair that we throw in a few quickfire style ones too, we locked all the doors, boarded up the windows and proceeded to force feed them some questions, they mustn't pause, they mustn't hesitate otherwise they get a bump on the head like this....(too much Mallet's Mallet I think!), here's how they got on....
Coffee or Tea?
Max] I second that.
Heather] Definitely coffee for me!
Coke or Pepsi?
Max] I second that.
Heather] Gadz! Neither!
Roz] Neither - unless it's for cleaning metal objects
Pearl Jam or Nirvana?
Max] Both. You’re tearing me apart with that one, Lisa.
Roz] Sorry has to be both
Banksy or Dali?
Max] Banksy, but it’s by a short hair. I love that surrealist goodness.
Heather] Dali...nutter but brilliant sculptor as well as surrealist believe it or not. Check his Minator out.
Roz] Banksy - love surrealism, but for me Dali is a bit too contrived
Mac or PC?
Max] I second that.
Heather] not fussed as long as it works.
Roz] Hate all computers, but use a PC - Macs are too expensive but probably better
BBQ or Picnic?
Max] I second that.
Heather] BBQ, it's more like camping
Cycling or Walking?
Max] I second that.
Heather] Aye! Thirded.
Roz] I fourth that!
Conor McGregor or Jose Aldo?
Dom] Neither. CM Punk is gonna own UFC.
Max] Wrestling is ridiculous.
Dom] You're ridiculous, Max.
Roz] Never heard of either
Fry up or Sunday roast
Dom] Sunday roast...unless hungover.
Max] I oppose this. Fry ups are larger than life.
Heather] veggie fry up breakfast!
Roz] Don't eat meat so a fry up of non meaty things...
Eggs, poached or fried?
Max] I second that.
Heather] scrambled too :)
Roz] And for me - something we all agree on at last!
CD or Vinyl?
Dom] Digital. Vinyl's cool, but expensive, and CDs are great for the car. But digital is...er....the future.
Max] CD and Vinyl. The digital age is freeing for creative people but it’s crippling the industry.
Heather] Digital, but yes we need to work out better ways to ensure artists get paid for online work.
Roz] CD and vinyl - I am old fashioned and don't really like all the downloading!
Lie in or Up at the crack of dawn?
Dom] Lie in.
Max] Second that!
Heather] I seriously don't do mornings well.
Roz] Me too - lie in every time.
Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead?
Dom] Walking Dead.
Max] Breaking Bad!
Heather] breaking bad deffo.
Roz] I am the only person in the world who has seen neither? I don't watch TV.
Shower or Bath?
Max] Second! Life’s too short for baths.
Heather] soak in a bath wins hands down.
Red wine or white wine?
Dom] Both, you should be in our band practices.
Heather] red always! it's good for you.
Roz] Either, but prefer white as it doesn't give me so much of a headache!
David Beckham or Colin Kazim-Richards?
Max] Football doesn’t understand me. We broke up a long time ago.
Roz] Don't know the Colin guy - no interest in football!
Rain or Sun?
Max] Neither. All weather is shit. Everything is shit.
Roz] Sun, sun, and more sun
God or Google?
Max] The second one, seeing as Google is the only one of the two that exists.
Heather] Let me google that one...
Roz] Does Google really exist as an entity? Google is more useful in daily life but worrying in its infiltration of all areas of life - I guess the two are more similar than we would like to think.
We'd like to thank Dom Smith [drums], Max Watt [bass], Heather Niven (vocals) and Roz Walker (guitar) for taking their time to answer our questions and we hope one day to catch them live if they ever venture into the deepest, darkest depths of the Southwest. If you have a moment to spare, please check out their social media channels, I have listed the main ones below, all you need to do is point and click.
Interview by Steve Muscutt