Monster Mash with Plasticoma

“I think I am decay
I am evil
My thoughts are never pure”
— From the song “Champagne and Razorblades” by Plasticoma

Our featured band this week is Plasticoma, a dark electronic trio based out of Johannesburg, South Africa, also known as Jozi. Plasticoma was founded by vocalist and writer Jaco Brewis. Rounding out the group are guitarist Shawn van Staden and bassist Derik Nel. Their song we are featuring this episode is “Champagne and Razorblades”. Much like the song from our previous episode, this song also embraces the theme of insanity. (Both songs really speak to the Malkavian in me.) However this is where the similarities end, as “Champagne and Razorblades” is a much darker, heavier track.

In Jaco’s own words, “I thought it was a good track to go with the theme of horror. I came up with the idea at work one day when I was feeling really sad and depressed but happy at the same time, so I thought this is ‘Champagne and Razorblades’. So that was the concept — happiness in darkness but slightly more psychotic. When we were recording the track Shawn had this idea to take the concept further and make it like a mental institution song, where in the verses we would talk like background voices of me the patient and Shawn the shrink. We also recorded some throwing of chairs and things. It was a lot of fun and it come out the way we wanted to.”

Plasticoma got its name when Jaco recorded a song for a gothic compilation album and then realized he needed a name for the then solo act back in 2006. His girlfriend Emma had suggested “Plasticoma” among others. He said, “I immediately liked it as I pictured someone in a coma but wrapped in plastic, kinda like a plastic morgue. Also I liked the name as it sounded fresh and it was the direction I wanted to go in, full electronic dark music.”

He described their music as “experimental in a lot of ways, as we are fusing heavy guitars and a lot of synths. It is still electronic music but also alternative and sometimes even rock electro if there is such a thing.” About his band mates he added, “we work well as a team. Shawn is a bit of perfectionist and I tend to quickly just write riffs and chord progressions. After that, me and Shawn will normally put a lot more work in, finer details and textures will be put in. Derik adds some solid bass lines that makes the sound fatter.”

Their album, Frei, and its title track comes from the German word for “Free”, and was written as Jaco puts it, “when the first member of the band and I parted ways, and I was well let’s just say very p* off. So I wrote the song to make me free of all B.S. But I never write songs about singular events so it became my break away song from all that bothers me in life, to make me free from this pain, make me free from this flesh, and so on.”

Jaco has some great advice for new bands, “Keep going! Write the music, don’t judge the music. It’s easy to be over-critical, keep your dream alive. See where you’re going and you’ll get there.”

For fans of the band in Johannesburg, you can find them most of the time playing gigs in nearby Pretoria at Full Moon Lounge under V.A.M.P. parties. Their record company, Koffin Kidz Records (how can you not love that name), books all of their shows and also owns the club. Jaco added, “we haven’t played Cape Town yet, and as a goth cliché, I’m going to say we would love to play in Germany, like a tour. That would be amazing I think.”

You can find the band online at http://www.plasticoma.co.za/, as well as on ReverbNationMySpace, and on Facebook.

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