Sinead Harnett

On love, isolation, growth, creativity and flipping the switch.

All photos submitted by Sinead Harnett

My text alert tone goes off on Friday afternoon, three times in quick succession. Before we were due to catch up over FaceTime later that evening, I’d asked Sinead Harnett to send a couple of photos that captured what her everyday, isolation reality has been like over the last three weeks. First, came a photo of her piano, zoomed in to capture the full scale of the keys. Second, a framed photo of her nephew, Leo, with two KRK monitors placed either side. Then, a photo of her kitchen sink piled high with pots, pans and dishes. “How can I thrive in any way?”, she asks as we first start chatting, “I hate working from home. Or, rather, I hated.”

As an artist who’s worked tirelessly the world over since first breaking through in 2011, Sinead has spent much of the last decade going from writing session to writing session, and from meeting to meeting. Rarely taking time out — or giving herself a chance to heal from past trauma — her creativity often stifled and her moods sometimes erratic, she concedes that not all of her journey to this point has been plain sailing. Now, suddenly faced with the proposition of an uncertain period of time at home — “At first, I was like ‘oh my goodness’, what am I gonna do?” — Sinead has, in her own words, “flipped the switch”.

“Suddenly this switch went off in my brain and I realised, hang on a sec … I’ve been running around for the whole of my career, cramming in as much as I can; double session this day, flight there this day for a week’s writing camp, five meetings this day, a concert tonight and then finishing up, the album next month. I just thought to myself, why have I been living like that?”

It’s a question that has since sparked a flurry of activity from Sinead’s front room, beamed live via her Instagram account to a watching audience that is rapidly growing with each short broadcast. She’s even joined Tik-Tok, too. “Before, I was so busy running away from things and thinking, ‘who am I as an artist?’. Now, I wake up and look in the mirror and look at myself and think, ‘oh, you again!’. It’s made me realise, okay, this is who you are. It’s been a big realisation for me and a lot of people around me are saying the same thing. I know that what I’m choosing to do now is a lot less than I was doing before, but I feel like I’ve got a voice that I want to share with people.”

The time at home hasn’t been limited to just self-reflecting or jumping on Instagram either. “Another thing”, she quickly follows up, more passionately this time, “Why the hell were we allowed to fly as much as we did? Why does traffic fill the roads? How is the plastic industry still thriving? Why is the meat industry still ridiculous? The amount of damage we’ve done to the earth is incredible. We were living stupidly.”

Sinead released her debut artist album, ‘Lessons In Love’, in the autumn of 2019, a deeply personal record that traced years of trauma and heartache, but one that she was determined to frame in a positive light; all experiences, good and bad, can serve as lessons. Given her steely attitude to facing the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, I wondered whether or not writing and releasing it had in any way prepared her for coping with life in isolation. “Basically, 2016 is when everything started to turn for me”, she recalls. “Up until then, I spent a lot of my life going in-and-out of really dark phases. I had a lot of healing to do for different reasons; all of us come with baggage, all of us have struggles, all of have issues and complications from our childhoods. The album, and all of the writing I did from 2016-2019, was a big part of the process of coming to terms with that. I knew I couldn’t move forward without facing myself and starting to like myself. I can see, even now, looking back at photos that I didn’t. I was so lost.”

“The amount of damage we’ve done to the earth is incredible. We were living stupidly.”

The album spawned singles like ‘Pulling Away’, ‘Leo Bear’ — a song dedicated to her nephew, Leo — and ‘Be The One’, which was recently re-booted with guest vocals from Col3trane, all of which not only feel entirely relatable in terms of their content, but also vividly cathartic; you can feel Sinead letting go, track-by-track. “The biggest lesson of the whole album is one of self-love”, she admits. “It’s almost like I had to write it and let it go. And now I’m a much more self-aware and self-loving person.”

In the midst of this album-writing cycle came a captivating COLORS performance of ‘Body’ in 2018, which saw Sinead fly to Berlin to record the track live in front of a small crew of videographers; “I’d much rather perform in front of a thousand people than three”, she concedes in hindsight, “it was so intense trying to get into my zone!”. It’s since amassed almost 15 million views and unbeknownst to her at the time, put Sinead on the map for an army of new fans. The ripples of that one performance can still be felt today, too, so much so that she was recently invited back to perform an isolation live stream via COLORS’ Instagram — a performance that piqued her interest in using Instagram to broadcast during the current pandemic. “What I love about COLORS is it’s such a discovery tool, people want to find slept-on, hidden gems on there” she says thoughtfully. “It’s interesting because a lot of people have said to me it felt like a moment, but I didn’t really see it like that at the time. When you’re the hamster on the hamster wheel, you don’t always know what you’re doing. Or where you’re going.”

Since that first COLORS performance on Instagram two weeks ago, Sinead has laid herself bare on the platform, not only as an artist performing live vocals and short sessions, but as a person, speaking openly, telling jokes and doing impressions of her mum; “It’s allowed people to see what a big, raging dork I really am”, she laughs. “Seriously though, we’ve got so much time to show who we are now, and we’re finding out how many people are actually hilarious. During the first week when everything with the lockdown was put into place, I felt it’d be wrong to share funny content and initially, I was feeling quite down myself. But I feel like it’s got to the stage now where we people need relief from the severity of the situation.”

I knew I couldn’t move forward without facing myself and starting to like myself.

As well as laughs, Sinead’s also brought a dose of activism to her live broadcasts, with those tuned in raising over £1000 for the NHS in 37 minutes during her latest stream. The method? Getting men to twerk live on camera, with some even choosing to pour cartons of milk over themselves — a tongue-in-cheek riposte to the apparent global obsession with girls twerking, which has seen artists like Tory Lanez and Swarmz smash Instagram Live records and amass thousands of new fans during isolation.

“I’m not gonna lie to you and say that people tuned into their Instagrams aren’t entertained, because there’s such a big demand for female bodies”, Sinead explains. “But what’s alarmed me most about the clips on social media are the comments popping up. People seem to think it’s okay to be mean and say awful things about the poor girls on camera. So I just thought, imagine girls got guys to dance. Would people like it?”

Despite being only two broadcasts deep, the answer to that question already seems to be an overwhelming yes. And guys seem just as keen to be involved, too. “What’s funny is that some people don’t know anything about Tory Lanez or Quarantine Radio, so I’ve had loads of guys prepped and ready to go with milk and all sorts. After the reaction to the first, I felt like I had a responsibility to make use of it and the NHS is in desperate need of PPE right now, so it made sense to fundraise. The response generally has been great. A lot of people have got in touch to say it’s a really good way to flip the switch, have a laugh and do something good at the same time.”

“So I just thought, imagine girls got guys to dance. Would people like it?”

With so much time on her hands for the first time in her career, it seems that Sinead Harnett is finally coming out of her shell. At ease with the person she is, confident and witty — “At this point, I reckon I could have my own talkshow on TV now” — writing freely and finding new ways to let fans into her world, she’s found silver linings in the most testing of situations. But more than anything, the lessons she’s learnt in her life so far, played out so viscerally on her debut album, have given her the perspective to confront the challenge of isolation head on. 

“When and if this blows over and becomes a thing of the past, I really want to find a way to spread the word about treating the earth with the love and respect it deserves”, she concludes. “Personally too, I and I think all of us, need to slow down. I’m gonna do less, travel less, relax more and (mimics accent) ‘Just take it easy!’ as they say in Nacho Libre. The freedom this time has afforded me has helped me be more creative than any full diary ever has.”

Sinead Harnett broadcasts on Instagram Live weekly: https://www.instagram.com/sineadharnett 

— GRIME & DUBSTEP MONTHLY ™ —

A new, temporary home for monthly Mixmag Grime & Dubstep reviews while the magazine remains out of print — here are April’s picks.

Album of the Month: ONHELL – ‘Grime Beats Vol.1’ (Deep Dark & Dangerous)

ONHELLISH!

Highlights

1. Athena’s Grime Beat

2. Tomatillo Heat

3. New Beat Who Dis

ONHELL has quietly gone about his business for Plastician’s Terrorhythm imprint and Deep, Dark & Dangerous over the last few years, but it was 2019’s ‘Graveyard Shift’ single with Trim – a track we reviewed as one of the best we’d heard in a long time — that palpably felt like a eureka moment. His follow-up (and debut beat tape / LP of sorts), ‘Grime Beats Vol.1’, continues this exploration of UK grime aesthetics through a US lens apace, pulling together a collection of heavyweight instrumentals full of devilish intent. From the evil, distorted square wave buzz of opener ‘21X Riddim’ right the way through to the thuggish, ice-cold glare of ‘Athena’s Grime Beat’ and the jittery, skeletal unease of ‘Wolf And The Cub’, the tracks deliberately bleed into each another, creating one looming, nightmarish canvas. The cinematic, star-lit screech of ‘New Beat Who Dis’ is perhaps the collection’s most emphatic, but every track on ‘Grime Beats Vol.1’ is heavy on menace. 8/10

Tune of the Month: Last Japan ft. Killa P – ‘Exhale’ (Escha Remix) [Circadian Rhythms]

Don’t forget to breathe!

Circadian Rhythms follow up 2019’s multi-artist ‘Partisan’ project with a quick-fire re-issue of Last Japan classic, ‘Exhale’ ft. Killa P. Re-booted by label affiliates Sully and Escha, it’s the latter’s explosive remix that gets our nod, twisting the original inside out and back again; Killa’s vocals are pitched up, the bass shredded – it absolutely crunches – and Last Japan’s original, freeze-dried melody finely re-tuned to dizzying effect. Although a CR crew member for a while, it also forms Escha’s first ever official release – not a bad start, eh? 8/10

Bayalien Sound System – ‘Tabs’ EP (Bayalien Sound System)

Beam me up, Scotty!

More space-age, mind-altering dubstep from the ever-reliable Bayalien Sound System Crew, who look to the stars more than ever before on new record, ‘Tabs’. The cosmic, bleepy, FX-heavy sound rolled-out on booming title-track ‘Tabs’ forms a primer for big and bashy, hyper-distorted wrecker ‘Hottest’ and the contorted, dizzying, ray-gun funk of ‘Pusher’ but things get wildest on super glitchy, sample-heavy wobbler, ‘Black Beans’. Jump in! 7/10

Creep Woland – ‘Chamberlain’ EP (Astral Black)

An ode to jungle

Scottish producer Creep Woland serves up four breaks-y rollers for Astral Black here, fresh off the back of their latest ‘Frass FM’ comp. The gloomy, meandering lean of opener ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a perfect intro to Woland’s music, easing listeners in with lighter, more delicate tones and textures, before explosive ripples go onto re-shape entire tracks. The deep, lo-slung bass tones of ‘Medieval Draw’ are beautifully warm and fuzzy, while ‘0800-Falkirk Triangle’ harks back to OG junglist rave aesthetics, again laced with more deft, blissful atmospheric touches. Hopeful final jam ‘Lord Chamberlain’ signs off in style with bright, shimmering layers, soft keys and more crunching breaks. 8/10

ALXZNDR – ‘Golden Gate’ EP (Scrub A Dub)

Pure bliss

US producer ALXZNDR, already making waves in the clubs, debuts for Scrub A Dub with six new ones on the crisply-titled, ‘Golden Gate’ EP. Rooted in melody, the title-track opens with grand, paradisiacal strings, Murlo-esque patterns and cascading eski flutes, while the grinding pressure and long, dwindling pan-flute chimes of ‘Lei Shen’ are a gorgeous listen. The growling, skittish dubstep pressure of ‘A100’ is a slight excursion, albeit again tempered by the pan-flutes, while the ceremonial trumpets and colourful steel pans of ‘Johari Bazaar’ are joyous. Final tracks ‘M_C_W’ – complete with classic 80s electric guitar riffs – and the playful, jazzy romance of ‘Red Raider’ are equally as good fun. Surprise record of the year so far? Quite probably. 9/10

B:Thorough x JT The Goon – ‘Calm Levz’ (Textured)

Straight up incredible!

B:Thorough christens his new Textured imprint by linking up with one of grime’s elder statesmen – and most underrated beat-makers – JT The Goon on the hugely impressive, ‘Calm Levz’. Across five tracks, bookended by idyllic ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Sunset’ mixes of the euphoric ‘Night Wave’, the pair reference both classic and new-gen grime sounds and ideas. Second track ‘Floaty’ melds together ominous stabs and gremlin-style tones, tempered by deft melody flashes and trademark JT string work, while the sugary, accelerated rush and low-end boom of ‘Grimey Sat’ is a genuine ‘wow’ moment on the record. The title-track – again widescreen, melody-rich and hi-def – finds the two in reflective, thoughtful mood before the ‘Sunset’ mix of ‘Night Wave’, a moody, hoods-up square wave joust, draws a remarkable debut EP to a close. 9/10

Taiko – ‘Giant Big Man’ EP (Infernal Sounds)

God-tier link up

As if the levels needed raising, Taiko links up with Infernal Sounds – consistently one of the UK’s best dubstep hubs – on a monstrous new record. Title jam ‘Giant Big Man’ jumps in at the deep end, as a playful, near-hypnotic lead melody line and filmic crackle meet signature thumping bass pressure from the off, while the eerie, whirring menace of sketchy B-side cut ‘Slingshot Dub’ – albeit offset by delicate key melodies in part – is harsher, grittier club ammo. The booming, chest-beating march of rugged final joint ‘Pen To Paper’ might just land as our favourite of the lot though. 9/10

Truant – ‘Clifton / Bushkin’ (Juan Forté)

Essential 12”

Another all killer, no filler plate from the Juan Forté crew, this time courtesy of elusive producer, Truant. A-side ‘Clifton’ is an absolute wobbler – think thick-cut, whirring bass weight with enough in the tank to worry the biggest stacks and an icy reverb-heavy melody – while on the flip, ruff-and-tuff roller ‘Bushkin’, goes hard in the paint again, this time with a warping, gloopy bassline and a slew of Bushkin (of Heartless Crew fame) vocal samples. Proper! 7/10

Surge – ‘Ebb & Flow’ EP (Wheel & Deal Records)

Huge club weapons

Surge is back on Wheel & Deal with five blistering new tracks on new EP, ‘Ebb & Flow’. The sinister, skeletal pull of the title-track opens with fiery purpose, before the greazy, guttural, low-end rumble of second track ‘Barren’ is positively ghoulish. This same theme continues apace via the eerie, electrified barbs of ‘Shellshock’ and shuddering power of bouncy, throwback jam ‘Original’, but Surge saves the best ‘til last on crunching, pensive final track ‘Holocron’ – just listen to those strings! 7/10

Dunman – ‘Isolation’ EP (In:Flux Audio)

Big, bold and unapologetic

Dunman goes in on new EP, ‘Isolation’, his first for In:Flux Audio and latest in a series of releases that have seem him straddle both grime and dubstep worlds. The huge, clattering pressure and hollowed-out wobble of opener ‘Isolation’ is no frills but effective in the dance, while the razor claps and jittery, fractious energy of grime bulldozer ‘Master Of Claws’ nod to a producer intent on making an impact. Third track ‘Originals’ tones down the mania (and the tempo), this time re-focusing on a deeper, OG steppa sound, before joining forces with newcomer Panix on another moody, hoods-up wobbler (‘Hail’). If that wasn’t enough bang for your buck, there’s a syrupy, hyper-distilled, percussive re-work of the title-track by J.Kong thrown in too. 6/10

Monitor

Fresh from dropping a EP from Handsome Boys (Moleskin & Boardgame James), new grime label 1000Doors are back with the release of Yamaneko collaborator Rimplton’s mind-bending debut record, ‘Low Oxy’ — if you don’t know, get to know (!) … Sukh Knight continued a rich run of form with the release of big and bashy new dub, ‘Hooligan’, on his DAKU imprint … emerging Leeds-based grime/club label 1Forty dropped another essential record early in March — 1FGRM005 features weighty vocal tracks from YGG and Logan, as well as smoked-out instrumentals from Hamdi and ManGo … Dream Eater continue to harness the rarest and best choice cuts going, with a hot and heavy new plate on the way from Ironsoul — keep your eyes peeled … and look out for a new album from grime vet Footsie in May — ‘No Favours’ features a slew of guest MCs across 14 tracks on what is shaping up to be one of the best grime albums of 2020! 

— Plastician —

On music, family, the importance of community and becoming lockdown Twitter’s unlikely quizmaster.

All photos submitted by Plastician

“Play ‘Japan’ flashes up another message from the chatroom in a virtual ‘pub’ on Twitch, where over 140 players are 15 questions deep in a general knowledge quiz while a Spotify playlist of 80s synth-pop plays in the background. Plastician, decked out in a yellow England goalkeeper’s shirt and drinking a can of Belgian lager poured into a latte glass with a tiny handle on one side, is the host. “Play Japan”, he responds laughing, “how many more of you are gonna ask that tonight?”.

Still defined by his trailblazing years as one of dubstep’s OGs, Plastician cuts a very different figure 15 years on as we catch up to chat over FaceTime from his home studio the following night. Now married with two children and a consultancy job at Pirate Studios — a nationwide, multi-faceted DJ school, workshop and production studio operation — he seems relaxed and content as we start talking.

“I don’t feel too bad at the moment to be honest”, he says. “I think people’s careers go through ups-and-down and that, but I feel like I’ve started to appreciate the process a little bit more recently.” Like a lot of DJs and musicians, the process — letting music take its natural course in so many words — is something Plastician struggled with, especially after the excitement of the dubstep explosion started to wear off. In 2013, he recalls, suddenly gone were the days of packed-out FWD>> raves, three or four bookings a week and the stream of new artists and music that had first propelled the scene into mainstream consciousness.

“That was when the dubstep and whole bass music bubble burst a little bit I think. I had to do a lot of re-jigging in that year and the learning I did back then, I’ve taken that on ever since. It normalised everything for me. It was difficult to take at first because I felt hard done by, maybe by the industry and some of my friends who were suddenly doing better than me. I wasn’t getting the same love or the bring-ins, and I started to think, am I not cool enough anymore? Mentally, that was quite tough.”

Rather than submit or give into bitterness, he dug in and rode out the proverbial storm, learning to become both mentally and financially independent. He poured a lot of his time back into Terrorhythm, his original grime and dubstep hub that spawned some of the great early Plastician productions (including 2007’s ‘Japan’). Rebooting it with a focus on new artists and new sounds the world over, he took a backseat for the first time in his career.

“Out of that whole period came this interest in Wave music, which is the polar opposite of what I should have been investing in on a business level”, he reflects. “It’s music that doesn’t really work in any club setting, that no promoters want to book and at the time, had no real audience, but it was the basis of what I was listening to most on Soundcloud.”

Although he concedes the term ‘Wave’ can mean different things to different people, it can be loosely defined by it’s leanings towards trap music, often written through a cinematic lens with intense, emotional melodies and flashes of trance-like euphoria. “It was never critically-acclaimed, but there was a genuine following of people who were really engaged in that whole side of what I was doing at the time. A lot of kids making it now are coming in from the EDM world and maybe it’s not quite as exciting as it was initially, but it’s still something that intrigues me.”

Indeed, it was Wave that first spawned his ‘Wavepool’ series, which saw Plastician collate productions from a slew of inspired new producers into hour-long mixes, the first of which dropped in 2015. They would go on to pick-up a lot of traction, especially in the US, and served as both an entry point and discovery tool for anyone looking to get to grips with the sound. He soon became a de-facto flag bearer for the scene and through his Rinse FM show and newly-galvanised label, helped build a new URL community that birthed producers like Noah B, Deadcrow, Skit, Glacci and more recently, Juche, as well as crews like Liquid Ritual. 

“..being involved in emerging genres is something that I hope I’ll be able to do forever.”

It was as he spoke about his fondness for Wave that I started to understand what makes Plastician tick. Although there’s still part of him that retains a competitive edge — “if someone gave me an opportunity, put me in a techno room and I’d fuck it up” — his main driving force is community, finding things and then building things.

“That’s what excites me musically, discovering stuff”, he says passionately. “When I find something that is not a million miles away from my taste but is maybe different enough that it’s like, ‘fuck, I need more of this’. Before long, you’ve found 10-20 producers and then you’ve got an entire set that plays to a certain sound, like Wave or whatever.” 

“It gives me a lot of job satisfaction”, he goes on, “If I feel like I’m making friends as I go or people appreciate the things I’m doing and people show you love, that’s a nice feeling. One of the things I’ve taken from all the years of touring I’ve done for example, is how many good friends I’ve made. It might just be because I had a few days off and had to spend time with them, but I’ll leave places and think ‘Ah they were actually really cool’. From that, I’ve now got some real strong relationships with crews in LA, Brazil and China. I’ve made friends everywhere. For musicians that are trying to get into this, the whole touring thing and being an artist, they’ll realise when they look back that some of the best things about everything they were doing was just hanging out with people.”

This spirit doesn’t just extend to touring, his label or DJ sets, either. His love of emerging technologies and new ways of connecting people, particularly online, also saw Plastician trial ‘Unreality Journeys’ — an immersive, online radio platform he hoped to develop after choosing to leave Rinse FM in 2017. “When I started out, pirate radio was really spontaneous, you only had one chance to listen in and that was it”, he reflects. “When you were broadcasting, it was quite exciting. If the studio phone line was getting busier week-on-week, it was exciting because you realised people were taking time out of their days to listen in and you’d find out you were reaching new places because people would text in like, ‘Yo we’re locked in from Sutton’ or ‘Shout out to Mitcham’. In the digital age, the broadcast quality might have improved, but that original excitement was lost.”

At the time he chose to leave Rinse, his show was proving to be one of the most popular on the station, quickly amassing hundreds of comments once the podcasts were archived on Soundcloud. “It’d feel like no one was listening when I was on the radio, broadcasting each week. There’d be no interaction live, but over the following days the shows would hit thousands of plays on Soundcloud and it dawned on me that I was missing that live interaction a lot.”

“For musicians that are trying to get into this, the whole touring thing and being an artist, they’ll realise when they look back that some of the best things about everything they were doing was just hanging out with people.”

And so Unreality Journeys was born, a platform that paired live radio with live visuals that responded to the music being played, portraying each listener as their own avi on a virtual dance floor, complete with a chat room to boost interaction. It was short-lived — the technology never quite caught up with his vision — but it was further evidence of Plastician’s willingness to explore new avenues and spend hours of his own time trying to build new community spaces, purely for the benefit of others.

It’s here I find myself back in his virtual pub the night after interviewing him, can of Heineken in hand, waiting for another quiz to start alongside 156 other players this time. While the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged modern life into darkness, Plastician has flipped the gloom on its head and used his time at home to get stuck into Twitch — a live-streaming platform that marries live broadcast and live interaction in one, simple-to-use app. “I could use it to bang out mixes every night of the week and feel like I’d have done it well”, he explains, “but I feel like that wouldn’t be really offering much. I know I can do it but what is the aim? Who am I benefitting?”

Interactive quizzes felt like a natural next port of call; not only has he themed the first half a dozen, including entire 25-question strong quizzes on Garage, Grime and Dubstep, but even built his own Mastermind-themed intro visuals, just for a laugh. Each one may take hours to prepare, but his Stishcast channel has already started to grow a dedicated following and for people like me living alone through this crisis, have added much-needed structure to days that bleed into the next. “There’s a lot of common ground in those quiz chat rooms each night”, he reflects. “It might be a joke about 90s footballers or some niche UK Garage tune and there’ll be another 20 people who can relate. With what we’re all going through now, it feels like that’s what people need. Even from some of the reactions to the questions, you can tell that everyone playing the quiz is there just to hang out. Don’t get me wrong there are people who want to win too, but most people enjoy just having a laugh and cracking jokes in the chat.”

Such is his standing, news of the quizzes has even encouraged some big hitters along, with Scratcha DVA, Joker, DJ Oblig, Loefah and even comedian Mo Gilligan appearing at certain points over the last few weeks, as well as producers on his Terrorythm imprint like Klasey Jones. Even his mum popped in to say she was watching on her birthday, much to the delight of everyone playing along. “We’ll be having a laugh about a Joker tune playing in the background and then Joker appears in the chat. These people are literally hanging out with the artists we’re listening to or artists they’re big fans of, as the quiz goes on. It’s quite unique really.”

In and amongst this desire to connect with people and keep busy — “I get bored very easily”, Plastician concedes — there comes family. He still lives in South London with his wife and two children and like us all, the COVID-19 crisis has meant a lot of adjustment. “The fact that I’m always around and a lot of the work I do is from home is a bonus. Even if I’m not always totally present, I’m often in and out of the house. These last couple of weeks have been tough though, especially with the Twitch streaming, but the evenings are quite a good time. I’m involved with bedtime to a point, but the kids don’t really settle for me, so I find myself being able to work on the streams or admin or whatever it is that needs doing. That said, me and my wife don’t have the same routine now, the whole thing hasn’t afforded us that, but we’re navigating it as best we can.”

“..nowadays and I don’t know if it’s getting old or what, but I’m more interested in being interesting.”

It was a family death a couple of years ago that fostered a sense of perspective which has helped him cope with the current situation, and also help reassess his own value system and what he wants out of his career. “My brother in law was 29 and he suddenly passed away a few years back, which put everything into perspective”, he says softly. “Losing someone who was healthy, larger than life, with a new-born child and loads going for him, it just made me realise there are things way more important than how many bookings I’m getting or what people think about me on social media. All that matters in this current situation is that all of my immediate family are healthy and well and to be honest, as long as they are, I don’t feel stressed out at all. I probably should because I’ve lost all of my bookings and consultancy hours, but because of everything that’s happened, I know that we’ll get through this. I just need to keep busy.”

As we finish up after just over an hour, Plastician still drawing up a list of questions for a much-requested Channel U quiz, it feels like after a difficult few years — and amidst a global crisis — he’s finally found peace of mind. Dad jokes have become a new part of his Twitter persona, his desire to help has been properly harnessed and validated by his work at Pirate Studios and his relationship with new technology and new ideas continues to breathe new life into people’s every day realities. “Don’t get me wrong”, he concludes, “being involved in emerging genres is something that I hope I’ll be able to do forever, but nowadays and I don’t know if it’s getting old or what, I’m more interested in being interesting. I don’t necessarily want to be midway down a flyer somewhere because I’m being paid well for it, I’d rather champion something. I’d rather stand for something.”

Plastician’s Twitch quizzes run every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7pm: https://www.twitch.tv/stishcast