Tallahassee, Florida’s Plastic Flowers is a one man indie-pop outfit headed by Sean Earl Beard. I spoke to him about the origins of his name, his musical style and his Halloween costume.
Q: How did you settle on the name "Plastic Flowers"?
A: The name comes from a song by a group called The Wake. But I felt the name fit with the sound I was going for. I had a hard time finding something that fit in the way I want. I wanted something that didn’t stick out too much, and wasn’t trying to grab your attention, which is something I see a lot with new artists these days. I wanted a band name that almost sounded like it was already around for years.
Q: What kind of music did you listen to while growing up?
A: I got into post-punk and early goth bands at a pretty young age. Bands like Bauhaus, The Cure, Joy Divison, etc. My older brother listened to a lot of early industrial and that is how I got introduced to it. Later on, I got interested in pop music, like The Sundays and The Smiths. I felt like that solidifiedwhere my heart is when it comes to writing songs.It wasn’t until later in life that I got a real love for electronic music and electronic pop.
Q: Your work employs phaser effects and a lot of reverb. How important is it that your songs have a sense of atmosphere?
A: Very important. But songwriting is always the most important. The effects I use, the synth sounds I make, it takes a back seat to the words and melodies. That being said, reverb and chorus are a big deal. They lend themselves to the sound I [want] to create.
Q: How do you write your songs? Do you work them out on the guitar and then arrange them with programming or do you accent a composition with guitar later on?
A: It really depends on the song. I usually start out most songs with a melody, some chords and some words. Sometimes [I start with] a basic idea for the composition. So it depends on where I place the guitarin composition. For example, with "We Just Had More Fun" it was sort of a melodic anchor to the song so it wasone of the first things I wrotefor the song after the bassline.
Q: Do you find inspiration for your songs from stories from your own life or do you prefer to write characters?
A: It’s always both. It starts with something that has actually happened in my life. Then I usually start to solidify the meaning or story of the song early on. That involves adding in elements that are totally fictional. So what ends up happening is a story that, at its core, is related to my life but in its details are fiction.
Q: What’s next for "Plastic Flowers?"
A: I’m recording new songs as we speak. So once I have a new batch of recordings I am happy withI am basically on the lookout for someone to help release either an EP or seven and set up a series of shows. Looking for bands to tour with or release a split with as well. So if you know of anyone that fits the bill, feel free to send them my way!