Interview with Derek Lyn Plastic: By Steven Blevins

 

Derek Lyn Plastic is a new wave punk rock band from Orlando, Fl. They’re a kaleidoscope of synthesizers thrown into a wall of guitar; of projections of suicide and death directed to a prism of chaos, dispersing its way into true visions of pop music gone mad; of science formulas cut into pieces, only to exceed what has been proven today, while constantly testing the limits of punk rock’s past, present, and future.

 

 

Current lineup:

Derek: vocals, synthesizer, and bass guitar

Shawn: lead guitar

Joe: rhythm guitar

Trace: drums

 

Steven: How did you come up with the name Derek Lyn Plastic?

Derek: Well, Derek Lyn Plastic started in a studio in Atlanta, Georgia as a solo effort put together by me. I was an intern at the studio I was recording the Invisible Skin 7” at and I needed something to name the demo we were working on. So Derek Lyn: being my first and middle names and what my mom would always call me when I would get in trouble. I thought it had a good ring to it. Being a fan of the Ramones and Richard Hell, I really didn’t want to use my last name. I wanted to have a cool punk rock name and I didn’t want to use something cliché like Ashtray, Vomit, or Dumpster Juice. I decided to go with something that reminded me of my sunglasses. I constantly always wore them and I was always obsessed with knowing where they were at all times. So that’s when I came up with Derek Lyn Plastic.

Steven: You started as a solo project and then decided to turn into a band. When did that happen?

Derek: Well, shortly after the release of Invisible Skin was the first live show ever played as Derek Lyn Plastic. The band was made up with one of the engineers who worked at the same studio, my roommate at the time, various different drummers, and an old friend from back home. A lot of people began to take notice I was serious and wanted to come along for a ride. They knew I was putting out records and I wasn’t going to stop for anything. The only reason I had gone solo in the first place was because of all the failure I had with band members in the past. I was doing all the writing and booking, but yet not having any creative control. It became very frustrating and, eventually, I noticed I could do everything myself and be happy creatively. So I moved to Atlanta out of Gainesville, Florida, where I was constantly banging my head on the wall. I got a job at Nickel and Dime Studios as an intern and began work on Invisible Skin. After six months or so not playing live, I knew this music had to be played out live and loud.

 

 

Steven: How long did that last?

Derek: Probably, twelve to fifteen unsubstantial shows. We were all becoming frustrated again. I was hooked on alcohol and speed, up for days at a time, arguing with my girlfriend, and breaking up with her every other week. There were other drugs going on with the other members as well. They started playing with different bands and slowly Derek Lyn Plastic was put on everyone’s backburner. I was more obsessed with getting drunk and high. The other members were concentrating on new projects and their own addictions. Finally we just crashed and burned. After some months I had to get my life together and pick up the pieces and try again.

Steven: You stopped doing drugs?

Derek: Well, I did for a while. I stopped drinking for the most part too. I was living with my girlfriend’s mom and the rent was completely free. It was clean and there were hundreds of TV channels to pick from. I found a job where I was making thirteen dollars an hour. Things became too easy. I had began work on the Plastic Surgery 7” and started becoming depressed with how I wasn’t playing out live anymore. I was making money and I wasn’t getting high and I was rarely even drinking. Everything was great but yet I wasn’t doing what I had to do. I needed to try and do it live. I moved to Florida.

 

 

Steven: What made you decide Orlando, Florida?

Derek: Well, during the three years I lived in Atlanta. I had moved two different friends of mine up from Orlando and eventually they moved back. Both of them had girlfriends and dropped their whole social life just to play music with me and it failed. I figured, fuck, now it’s my turn. I just picked up and did it. I moved into

1917 Hammerlin Ave.That later became known as Drughouse. I did that for a while and eventually met Rich Evans from Florida’s Dying. I put out Plastic Surgery under Florida’s Dying and put together a totally new band and started playing out live again. Things were great but I was heading back for another decline. I started drinking every night and doing coke as if it was some sort of contest between me and whoever was around. I was fucking disgusting to even be around. I would blackout nightly sometimes before it even got dark. I would go out downtown and get kicked out of bars constantly. To this day I’m still not allowed in certain downtown “BBQ” bars.

 

Steven: How are things working out in Orlando now?

Derek: Today things are great in Orlando for Derek Lyn Plastic. We are on our third line-up and it’s the best one yet! We all manage to do what we need to do as far as keeping it together and playing out enough to start re-building a new following. Currently we play out as a three piece, so the music is a tad more stripped down than it is on record, but hopefully as long as the three of us can stick it out. People will eventually take notice and we can re-create what happens in the studio with the extra musicians. It’s definitely cool because the songs are still the songs. They just sound straight forward. People still dance and have a real good time at the shows. In October we are planning to take it on the road for a couple weeks up the east coast. I can’t wait to see the reaction it has on people and hopefully we can continue on touring as much as possible.

Steven: How do you come up with subject matter for Derek Lyn Plastic?

Derek: Well, for every song there is definitely a different explanation, but, for example, most Derek Lyn Plastic songs are pretty negative. If they aren’t about drugs or some sort of death. They are about something like sex not love. I’m definitely not a negative person of any sort. I’m actually quite happy as a person. The reason why Derek Lyn Plastic deals with such negative subjects is based on the reason of creativity. The band I wrote for before Derek Lyn Plastic would completely censor me. My songs weren’t positive, exactly, but they were definitely not something you could play in front of your girlfriend’s parents. So I would get forced to alter the lyrics to where they were not offensive at all, almost wholesome, and we were a punk band. It fucking sucked. At the time Derek Lyn Plastic started I wanted to do something completely opposite of that. I wanted to write something nasty but tasteful. So I wrote the Invisible Skin 7”. It dealt mainly with drugs, people owing me money, sex, and a suicide dance number. The Plastic Surgery 7” was during the time I got into synthesizers heavily so I wrote a song about murdering new wave, kidnapping and body altering, having life suck you dry. The new 7”, Methamphetamines, of course deals with drugs, walking around dead to the world—not really thinking anything through other than going through the motions—and another suicide number. I definitely don’t want to promote anything as serious as murder or suicide. It’s just what I write about. I don’t want someone found dead from an overdose or suicide listening to their Derek Lyn Plastic record. I just want to write catchy songs filled with hooks and a darker side than just being broke up with or having a crush. I want to do songs that I can have fun with and that’s exactly just what I have done the whole time and I want to continue until it’s not fun anymore. I hope that people can read the amount of sarcasm and irony that is in the lyrics.

 

 

Steven: Do you have plans on releasing a fourth 7” or a full-length?

Derek: Most definitely. The songs just keep getting better and better. Right now we mainly play unreleased songs live but we can do most any released song you could ask for. If it was up to me, I would live in the studio and get all the newer songs recorded and released as well. I guess that’s just something we’re going to have to wait on, unfortunately. As far as a full-length, to me, isn’t it just a compilation of all your songs. A real record has a real flow and a lot of the times a concept. I don’t think all great full-lengths are concept records but I do think they come off a tad more interesting. I think it says a whole lot more about your music as art other than, “Hey, we got a lot of songs and they are all pretty cool.” When Derek Lyn Plastic does a full-length I want it to be some sort of masterpiece. I don’t want to just put all the songs I got on a record and sell myself short. Derek Lyn Plastic isn’t that kind of band. You can call it art damaged. I don’t really give a fuck. I want to make quality punk rock in the vein of good taste. You may think that Never Mind the Bullocks was just a compilation of the Sex Pistols songs but it was a fucking masterpiece and that makes it an art record. The same goes for the Ramones and all of the other greats. If you know your talent and you can make it work, you don’t have to be stuck in a rut putting your music in some kind of limited genre. That’s why I’m not going to hold Derek Lyn Plastic to any certain genre. I don’t want to put out noisy recordings because that will hide my songs. I won’t let it fall into anything else that’s going to keep me in a specific subgenre of any sort, either. We are out there to find people who believe music is more than just fashion and is more like a way of life.

Steven: So with that being said, what types of bands does Derek Lyn Plastic typically play with?

Derek: Well, punk bands mainly because we are a punk band. When I say that we are a punk band, I say it because we are punks. We don’t limit it to only playing with other punk bands, but we have played with indie rock bands, country bands, and grindcore bands. I’m set on seeing what other kinds of music is available locally, regionally, and even nationally. I know what my roots are with punk and I’m not worried that my music is going to change because it isn’t as popular as indie rock, because like I said earlier, music isn’t fashion to me, it’s a way of life. I’m stuck here whether you like it or not. It’s not really that hard or even impressive to get another punk to like your music, but when you can make someone who swore off punk or never even liked punk in the first place say, “Hey, I like what you’re doing,” you know, if you’re honest and original, then you know you have a real good thing going. It’s kind of like your mom or dad saying you’re handsome or proud. They just will because they’re supposed to. It’s like an unspoken given. I’m not saying every punk is going to like my punk band, but I am saying if they don’t see the same elements are used as they are in bands similar to the Ramones, than they are fucking deaf and probably don’t know jack shit about music other than music as fashion. I mean I will never say I like every punk band. You and me both know. There is a lot of fucking crap setting around everywhere you go. It’s about approach. I don’t like a band if they sound just like someone else. Instead, I hold it against them and quietly feel sorry for them by myself. In this lifetime we probably won’t be coming across too much completely original music, but as long as people are having fun then I am happy. I just get sore at the high and mighty who totally rip off their sound or have never even been in a band but yet they have money for more records than I and have any kind of negative opinions. At least, I’m out here trying to come up with a different type of approach and not playing things completely safe.

Steven: You mentioned Sex Pistols, Ramones, and Richard Hell as influences. What other bands helped shape form to Derek Lyn Plastic?

Derek: Well, growing up I was into Motley Crüe and The Cars until I discovered punk in middle school and that came with, of course, the Ramones and Dickies. So then I just kind of abandoned that popular ‘80s music I grew up listening to through my parents and started getting into the Stooges, New York Dolls, Television and such in high school and now I’m pretty much stuck on all the rare punk comps like Killed by Death and such. Screamers is stuck in the cassette tape player in my car right now. I can’t take it out by choice. I’m not really into name dropping I just like what I think is good.

Steven: So, are there any other Orlando local punk bands to play with?

Derek: Yes! The whole Florida’s Dying punk rock scene is amazing within itself. You got Fashion! Fashion! and the Image Boys, who play straight-up ’77-style punk rock who have been compared to the Zero Boys and played with them. Jeanie and the Tits, an all-girl punk group who began as a Teddy and the Frat Girls cover band, but eventually started writing their own original songs. The New Smyrnas are just brilliant and by far my new Florida’s Dying fave. They all sing and have kind of got a sound similar to garage rock in the vein of Supercharger. The Creteens have released a split 7” with the Buttercups and Rad Kids, a side project pop band formed by members of Fashion! Fashion! and the Image Boys and Jeanie and the Tits. It’s a label that definitely has a lot working for it!

 

Records available through [email protected] or http://www.floridasdying.com/