Plastic Flowers: “I like to remind myself that there is a past.”

Dream pop musician, Giorgos Samaras, opens up about working alone, and his lush new album, 'Heavenly'.

Plastic Flowers: “I like to remind myself that there is a past.”

By Glen Bushell

Jun 10, 2016 13:00

“When I see people posting pictures of my records online, I think ‘Jesus, people actually like it,’” laughs Giorgos Samaras, the musician behind Plastic Flowers. “I’m just trying to create something here, and it makes me very happy that people are enjoying what I do. I like to call it dream pop, but maybe that’s confusing as there are other elements there, but I think dream pop works.”

The record in question is Plastic Flowers new album, ‘Heavenly’. Released in April, it is lush, lucid and textured album that takes you on a journey, much like the score to an ethereal movie. Dream pop certainly is the most accurate way of describing ‘Heavenly’. While it incorporates elements of vaporwave, lo-fi indie and shoegaze, the soundscapes utilised by Samaras send you into a dream-like state of consciousness. “So far, the record has been doing really well,” explains Samaras enthusiastically. “My label has been doing a lot of great work when it comes to promotion, and I am just booking my third European tour for later this year. The fact that people like ‘Heavenly’ is great, as it is my first LP since I moved to London, which plays a huge role.”

Starting life as a duo while Samaras attended university in Thessaloniki in his Greek homeland, Plastic Flowers quickly released three EPs and their debut album, ‘Evergreen’, in 2014. After relocating to London two years ago Plastic Flowers is now a solo project, giving Samaras complete creative control. “To me the most important part of Plastic Flowers is to work on my own. I like to experiment with sound a lot, so when I have that freedom I really feel it in my veins,” he admits that while this is certainly his preferred method of working, there are some restrictions. “There are times when I have recorded songs but I hated them. Sometimes you need the opinion of others, be they friends or musicians. When I go back to these songs, I really like them. I try to create a very live sound, but that can’t come from one person. However, when you work on your own there are so many possibilities.”

When speaking of his influences and musical upbringing, Samaras tells us how he was exposed to dream pop and shoegaze at a young age, helping shape the music he creates as Plastic Flowers. “When I was a child, my father used to own a record store, and sell a lot of vinyl in 90s,” he says reflecting on his earliest musical memories. “Around the age of 4 or 5, my father would send me to sleep while listening to ‘Souvlaki’ by Slowdive, and he was a big fan of My Bloody Valentine. It was this that really got me interested in the shoegaze movement from the UK.”

Having only started playing music in 2010, Samaras is now 25. We speak over the phone from his flat in Northwest London, the same place that he wrote and recorded ‘Heavenly’ over a period of two and half months, with the help his flatmate who is a sound engineer. “I’m still a very bad musician,” he says, jokingly. “I just wanted to play music, which has kept me going to be creative.”

The modest charm that Samaras has with regards to his creative ability is an endearing quality. Both the song writing and intricate arrangement of each composition on ‘Heavenly’ is incredibly accomplished. It has a unique way of drawing you into the record, which Samaras explains has a very loose theme. “There is a beginning and there is an end,” he explains. “From ‘Stay Home’ at the start through to ‘Nite Time’, which I see as my time to go to sleep, each song tells a story that has happened to me in the last two years. A lot of the songs are about relationships and I like to remind myself that there is a past. Hopefully when people listen to the record, they can understand that, too.”

At this point, Samaras remains humble about his ambitions for Plastic Flowers. He looks back on an event that keeps him grounded. “Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of offers from labels in the US,” he says. “They were very interested in what we were doing and wanted to hear some further material. It was then that I realised I would never be a professional musician. I don’t want to try and produce something out of my league right now, I don’t feel that I am ready for that just yet.” Eventually he would begin working with The Native Sound, a small independent label based out of New York. “In 2013 I toured the US with my friends Funeral Advantage who are also on the label. After I finished recording ‘Heavenly’ their singer suggested I send it to them. They were the only label I sent the record to and they really liked it.”

As well as Plastic Flowers and Funeral Advantage, The Native Sound have also put out excellent releases from Vow, Sheer, and more. Yet there is one artist on the label who Samaras speaks particularly highly of. “One of my label mates, Miserable, has just released one of the most breathtaking records I have ever heard,” he says, referring to the alter-ego of King Woman vocalist, Kristina Esfandiari, and her stunning album, ‘Uncontrollable’. “She’s a wonderful musician, and she has a very important message in her music. We have been in touch about a possible collaboration which blew me away that she would be interested in working with me. Hopefully that can happen.”

Even though ‘Heavenly’ has only been out for roughly two months, Samaras has no intention on slowing down his output and has already recorded another EP in that time. “Hopefully it will be out in about a month,” he says. “These are songs that I have been working on for about two years but didn’t really know what to do with them. Now that ‘Heavenly’ is done I realised I needed to do something with these songs, and now it feels like the right time.”

As we look to what the future holds for Plastic Flowers, Samaras tells us that as well as a new EP, he is getting ready for the aforementioned tour. He currently has between 20 and 25 shows booked across Europe, and is working with some other musicians to bring ‘Heavenly’ to life in a live setting. “The current live band consists of three people including me,” he explains. “This will the first time I haven’t had a live drummer, but my friend who is playing guitar is probably one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. His girlfriend will be playing keyboards for Plastic Flowers, too. We played a small house show at my flat, and we were able to create a really nice atmosphere from the three of us, and it was one that I haven’t had before.”

‘Heavenly’ is available now on various formats from The Native Sound.