Interview: A Plastic Rose


Written for the Evening Times newspaper (Glasgow

Date: 14/4/14

AN alternative rock group from Belfast are bringing their anthemic sound to Oran Mor tomorrow night.

After sharing the stage with The Rolling Stones and Snow Patrol, A Plastic Rose are ready to take centre-stage on their UK headline tour.

“We always seem to get on best in Scotland and Northern Ireland,” said guitarist and vocalist Ian McHugh. “I think the further north you go in the UK, people are actually just enjoying themselves at the shows and there are no pretensions.”

Ian signals a list of similarities that connect Irish and Scottish artists.

“I think Glasgow and Belfast especially have a DIY attitude in their music scene. We really understand each other.”

“People up north have more of a co-operative attitude, whereas in London they are a lot more saturated with bands, so there is a more competitive feel,” he added.

Ian describes the group as being “big into Scottish music”, with bands such as We Were Promised Jetpacks and Frightened Rabbit topping their personal playlists.

Comparisons to Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro pre-empt most introductions to A Plastic Rose, a phenomenon that Ian takes in his stride.

“I think there was a time when there were a lot of bands being accused of being Biffy Clyro rip-offs,” he laughed.

“We’ve always had the attitude to just truck on with what you’re doing, and if you’re genuine, any comparison to a successful band is just going to be a compliment.”

Musical influences range from the mid 90s emo music of Brand New to the more contemplative melodies of Damien Rice, but Ian points out an underlying ‘Irishness’ to the group.

“It’s very important that we know where we come from. A lot of our songs will lyrically have to do with coming from beside the sea and coming from a rural place to a big city,” he said.

“Maybe that’s why we get on so well with Scottish people.”

With the inspirations of Irish folk music taken from frontman Gerry Norman and Ian mixing with the likes of the two ‘metal-heads’ of the group, bassist Troy Heaton and drummer David Reid, the group have the ability to put on both a thought-provoking and rocking set.

“We like to put on a really intense live performance,” said Ian.

“We’ve always had a brilliant time live and play a wide variety of songs, with a little moody section then a load of crowd engagement tracks for a big finish.”

AYRSHIRE indie- rockers Vukovi are supporting the group on the night and making sure that the intimate Oran Mor venue will be rocking with sound.

“The show will be a really tight night of energetic music, ” said Ian.

“Vukovi are amazing, and we will rub off on them: they will encourage us to be better and they will do likewise for us.”

A Plastic Rose combine elements from the “ridiculously intense” live shows of hardcore bands such as The Gallows, and the storytelling element of frontman Glen Hansard from Dublin-based band The Frames, to create an engaging live experience.

Those coming to see the show can “expect a crazy night”.

“We’ll get everybody in flying form for a good gig,” the songwriter said.

The Irish rockers will be making the most of their time in the city, and Ian is angling for a change of scenery from their usual haunts of Nice ‘N’ Sleazys and Bar Bloc.

Laughing he said: “We always have a great time there, although I suppose this time we will try to walk about during the day and do less drinking activities.”


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