The Plastic Beach Co-Headline Tonight’s Grove Studios, Old Main Records Show
At Grove Studios, we’ve teamed up with Wayne State University’s Old Main Records to co-host a star-studded show tonight in our courtyard. The stellar lineup includes co-headliners The Plastic Beach and Sunday Cruise along with co-openers Melanie Pierce and Jeremiah Mack & The Shark Attack. We recently chatted with The Plastic Beach’s Lily Paul about the band’s background, past and current material, and live set for tonight’s show.
How did the three of you get involved in music while growing up in metro Detroit?
I have known Mecca (Terrell) since I can remember, and we have always shared a love for art and music. We started our first band together in fifth grade or so, and we called ourselves M22. We could play “Sunday Morning” by No Doubt, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and one original song called “Minus All the Negatives.” We met our drummer Jack in sixth grade and have stayed close ever since, so when we were looking for a drummer he was our first call!
At what ages did you pick up different instruments along the way?
I have been playing guitar pretty much my whole life, and my dad plays, so he was able to teach me as I grew up. I met Jack (Emerick) through our middle school’s marching band where we both played percussion. He focused more on drums while I played things like the bells and xylophone. Meanwhile, Mecca took up playing the stand-up bass in our school’s orchestra.
How have bands like The Regrettes, No Doubt and Bikini Kill inspired you?
Seeing bands like The Regrettes, No Doubt and Bikini Kill really made me realize that if they can start a band, then so can I! And the fact that they are all femme-fronted made me relate to the bands and feel inspired by their work.
How did the three of you come to meet and form The Plastic Beach in 2018? Did you happen to take your band name from Gorillaz’s 2010 album, Plastic Beach?
We have all been very close friends since middle school, and it just felt natural for us to all be in the band together. We all are very passionate about music and get a lot of joy out of performing. Our band name is actually much less insightful into our band’s music than a lot of people would assume. What happened was we were absolutely stumped as what to call ourselves, so jokingly we went on a sort of cheesy band name generator website and the first click got us “Plastic Beach.” We thought it was pretty funny that it just happened to come up with the name of a Gorillaz album that we all like, so we just went with it!
How did your musical journey lead you to release your first single, “Wannabe (Friends),” in 2018? What initially inspired that track for you?
At the time, I was really into The Regrettes. I found their music to be very relatable while not following any generic storylines you generally hear in songs. I was really inspired to write a song about an experience that I’ve had that I know many of my friends have had. We would call it a “friend crush” because you want to become friends with someone that you think is cool, so we just made a whole song around that idea!
In 2019, you released your debut EP, Prom, which traces the ups and downs of relationships. How do you hope the EP helps listeners address these challenges and opportunities in their relationships with others?
I hope that if listeners can take anything from the Prom EP it’s that they are not alone in their experiences and that it’s OK to be sad and angry and frustrated. But in the end you have to stay true to who you are and be confident in your decisions. I hope girls my age feel empowered and inspired by tracks like “Break Your Heart” and are able to see that no one can define them, and that they owe nothing to no one.
What are two of your favorite tracks from Prom?
I think that my two favorite tracks off Prom have to be “White Stripes” and “Wannabe (Friends).” I love “White Stripes” because the song is about a very widely shared experience of just jamming out to the music you love with the people you love. To me, this song highlights the way music brings people together, and that is something I feel very strongly about.
As for “Wannabe (Friends),” this song holds a special place in my heart. It was the first song we released as a single, and the amount of positive feedback we got for this song made me inspired to write more. I also just think the message of this song is really cute and something a lot of people can relate to.
You also recently dropped two other singles, “You Without Me” (2019) and “Washed Up” (2020). What inspired those two tracks for you?
The last two singles we have released have been a pretty intense breakup song immediately followed by a love song, so I guess that gives you a pretty good look into how my life was playing out at the time. These two tracks are the most vulnerable I have been lyrically, and I am very proud of both.
What do you have planned for tonight’s set at the Grove Studios and Old Main Records showcase?
We have a really fun set planned! Lots of originals and some covers, but also a brand new original that no one has heard yet!
What plans do you have for writing, recording and releasing additional new material?
We hope to release a new single soon, but we are all going off to college next year and have not made any solid plans to release an album or EP.
Grove Studios | Old Main Records Showcase w/ The Plastic Beach, Sunday Cruise, Melanie Pierce, and Jeremiah Mack & The Shark Attack
Tonight | Doors 6 p.m.
Grove Studios, 884 Railroad St. in Ypsilanti