Life is Sticky: ASBO meets Blutack


Blutack are a duo split between North West and South East London, creating art and music that reflects the culture of their city. ASBO magazine spoke to them to see what they’re about, their thoughts on current music, and the city they know and love.

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What is Blutack?

Tarmac: Blutack is me – Tarmac, and Plastic. It’s an electronic music band, um…

Plastic: I’d say we’re kinda one with everything, out aim really is to get our fingers in a few pies, film and art and music really.

Almost a multimedia group?

Plastic: Yeah exactly, that’s the goal right you know. Right now mostly music and Tarmac’s been doing a lot of art.

Tarmac: Yeah, trying to get the art side down.

Plastic: The music side’s a bit more busy.

Tarmac: That’s what we’re doing right now really, with films and stuff eventually.

Tell me about your latest project.

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Tarmac: Hmm yeah what’s going on. So, we’ve made a lot of music, and have been making a lot of music for like the last year, or two years, so right now we’re moving towards an EP and working on art as one big package.

Plastic: We just wanna get moving I think. We don’t wanna just… I dunno. We’re really motivated by our friends and the people we’re around. From Bootprint (Bootprint records) back in the day to now, everything that’s around us.

Tarmac: In terms of the project, we have a collection of songs coming out soon, I don’t really know what to say about them but it’s something.

Plastic: I think that it’s a really good image of our time that we’ve spent together. Tarmac’s spent a lot of time away in Austria, he was living there. I visited him once though, we just lived some crazy movie. we had nowhere to stay so we slept in the uni, locked out climbing into the windows, making art with some pretty amazing characters, we could go into so much detail but eventually we got stuff rolling when he came back, everything finally kicked into gear, you know. We connected a lot artistically and personally.

Tarmac: Yeah we went through some shit.

Plastic: We did, we did haha. Really went through some stuff.

That’s always good creatively though

Plastic: Yeah! And then we recently spent some time apart, just to breathe away from each other and do our own thing. Tarmac’s been really on his art and we’re both really on it with music separately. So I feel very hopeful for the future with what’s been going on now. I feel very ready.

So it’s almost like a marriage for you two?

Plastic: Yeah yeah!

Tarmac: It’s something haha

Plastic: Somehow. It’s very close to that.

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What would you say your influences are for your creative output, be that music or art?

Tarmac: That’s a great question. Right now for me, I’m really into garage and also pop music. I think they’ve both been hitting us a lot recently.

Plastic: Yeah definitely, It’s mad when you really deep it, we enjoy and take a lot from everything. Not even just music but also in day to day general life. I mean a lot of our music comes from an inhuman amount of hours for a few days, it just happens. It’s almost like a catch up, reflecting what’s been going on around and inside us, as much as music does inspire us, being really present inspires us the most really. but yeah.. sonically we do want to stay as fluid as possible.

Tarmac: It’s quite cliché, but I think the city inspires us a lot. We’re responding a lot to where we are and how we’re living. Also in terms of the art we’re making, it’s a reflection of our environment so we use a lot of imagery you would see all over the city – we want to make something that people can easily relate to. One thing we like doing is taking logos and recognisable images and using those as source materials. I’m big into logos right now. But in terms of actual influences there are a lot that we like, I’m trying to think of some off the top of my head but there’s so many. I don’t even know.

Plastic: Definitely loads of people.

Tarmac: Even more jazzy things. Standing on the Corner, they’re amazing. Lot’s of Garage. The Mitchell Brothers. They’re magic.

Plastic: Tirzah, Mount Kimbie. These people also. Toro y Moi, as a kid. He made me think okay I can do this, I can do music.

Tarmac: Bro, I started listening to Toro y Moi again like a few days ago.

Plastic: Yeah and it’s mad because everything’s under his belt in the sense of: he has his art company, he’s stepped into so many fucking genres – not genres sorry, colours of music. He’s gone into rocky type band stuff with What For?, and super electronic with Causers of This in the early stages, to Samantha.

Tarmac: I think that’s something we’re into too.

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Plastic: Definitely. We play a lot, we have sessions with different set ups and trying different stuff.

Tarmac: We started really lofi weird noisy.

Plastic: Super lofi, super muddy.

Tarmac: Kinda nuts, that’s how it started. And then it went really clean and then I guess now we are where we are.

You mentioned about the city. What are your thoughts on music in London at the moment? Do you think there’s a sound or spirit of this generation?

Plastic: One thousand percent, without a doubt. I feel the people that we’re surrounded with and the culture that we’re really in and taking responsibility for, it’s the most moving thing, I think. Work with all of our friends, everyone in bands. We’ve got the Denzel [Himself] side of things, the whole Set Count collection of people. Then we’ve got the whole nine8 collection of people, the whole Bin Weasel family, the Reservoir family. They don’t necessarily go hand in hand musically, but they are very big influences on us.

Do you think they’re saying the same thing?

Plastic: I think if I’m gonna be honest, there’s definitely an honest movement within it. I respect different artists for different things in our generation, there are some people where I don’t fuck with their music, I don’t fuck with their intent; but I really fuck with their motivation and the way they work and their work ethic, especially in this day and age where it’s so easy to get lost and fall for quick gratification, just doing nothing. And then there are people I really love, LOVE artistically, and I’m like – wow, you are gonna change something. You’re definitely gonna change something. I think that for me it’s such a blessing to wake up with that. They’re all on a their own mission and we respect that.

Tarmac: And there’s a lot to do cause we wanna leave our stamp.

Plastic: Me and Tarmac, after every show we go to, we leave and we’re like – cool, this is our time, we need to do this. We need to get busy and not fall behind.

Tarmac: I think we also wanna make a scene around ourselves, a group of people and a family.

Plastic: We definitely wanna have hella musical babies!

Tarmac: We want it to be this really big, all-encompassing lifestyle kinda thing. Almost like a brand or something. Extremely strong art, great music and lovely parties!

Plastic: And for the right reason. I don’t think it would ever get tainted with the idea of…

Tarmac: Clout. I didn’t wanna say it.

Plastic: Clout, yeah.

Tarmac: Appreciate the art!

Plastic: And I want other kids to be doing it. Every time I’m on the bus going home from Kensal Rise, I see a little dusty kid. Like some dusty little kid that goes QPCS, I’m like, rah that used to be me, ahaha. And I just wanna be like - bruv oi, whatever you do bruv, just do it. Discipline yourself and get at it.

Big up the QPCS mandem.

Plastic: Ahahahaha

Tarmac: Some dusty yutes.

Plastic: In them dusty tracksuits man, for real. Eating prawn cocktail flavoured spirals. The flashbacks are too vivid.

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If you could say one thing with the product that you create as Blutack, what would you say?

Plastic: I think it’s just art, it’s up to you. I’d say live beautifully is probably the closest summary of our intent. Really look at what’s happening now and just appreciate where you’re at. Me and Tarmac met when we were at an awkward place and then flourished so nicely. We just wanna be like, yo kids – everyone’s depressed, everyone’s so fucking sad all the time. And it doesn’t have to be like that. I just people to be like, rah - I can care about these things and not have to succumb to pressure, Instagram followers and all that.

Tarmac: Yeah I feel that. I think another thing is integrity, which I think goes with what you were saying, not worrying about followers and stuff, and even with the art it’s about living - just living for it.

Plastic: Be honest, man. Just be honest. If you love what you do and you wanna make an impact, you wanna make a change. Change has always come from something impactful. Like rock music, rock n roll, the early impact in the 50s, it didn’t happen because someone else did it, it happened because it was something new, an innovative thing. If I take it to the UK, Jungle, Garage, Grime, the whole shebang – it’s kids linking up and fucking about. So think in the mentality of moving forwards, fuck about and have fun, and just do you with that balance.

Tarmac: Do you. I like that.

Plastic: Be yourself. To the one hundred. It’s okay to feel set back sometimes, it’s okay to feel like, rah...

Tarmac: And just being aware of it.

Plastic: Be aware of it, it’s a journey, passing thoughts and passing emotions. Everything’s calm.

Tarmac: Yeah, something like that is where we are.

Plastic: That’s literally where we’re at. Make happy music, we’ll show our emotions you know, sometimes it’ll feel sad.

Tarmac: Yeah. We never go too sad though. We’ve never made that sad a song really, I don’t think we did? Some are melancholy.

Plastic: That’s it yeah, that’s what I was gonna say.

Tarmac: I think we wanna make people happy, or at least aid them to reach that point for themselves.

Blutack’s latest single is available on their Soundcloud now. The full interview will be available in the next print issue of ASBO Magazine.

Interview by Von Bismarck

Photography Courtney Mercer and Otto Hashmi

james may