Plan: Be came about
in about 2001. We had all been part of a group called Midnight: 30 starting
in about '95 or so. That group was kind of our origin -- we were all huge hip-hop
listeners all of our lives, but M:3 is how we all first started writing, recording,
and performing. In 2001 some of us agreed that Midnight: 30 wasn't heading in
quite the right direction and we started Plan: Be in order to try to basically
take things to the next level.
have been through a lot, has it been hard to stay together as a group?
It's always hard,
I think. One thing about us is we have these kind of vastly different personalities
and perspectives within the group. Another thing is that we've all kind of moved
around and lived different places pretty much since the beginning of the group
and even before. What we wanted to do with Plan: Be was try to give everyone
an equal voice as much as possible. We knew and know that we're really these
four really different people despite how long we've known each other and worked
together. We not only wanted to try to use that as an advantage -- to let our
material reflect everyone's different individual tastes and styles -- but we
also wanted to give everyone as equal a say as possible in terms of how the
group works internally. We didn't want there to be a dominant voice or perspective,
to have a 'leader' or 'frontman' at the expense of the power of the rest of
the group, or for one of us to dominate the others or whatever. So we've tried
to approach everything very democratically -- lots of discussion and sharing
knowledge. We share pretty much all info. We discuss. We've been pretty successful.
Everyone more or less has equal say and hopefully feels like Plan: Be is as
much 'theirs' as it is anyone else's in the group -- the freedom and power for
anyone in the group to effect change in it is what I think holds us together.
I mean, in the end, I think we all have each other's back, too. We know we're
all out to help each other despite how different we are. Unlike a lot of cats,
we've known each other pretty much all of our lives, so the power struggles
and whatnot tend to not really happen.
You're in D.C. now, how is Plan: Be involved in the scene out there?
Well, I don't think
many would argue that the hip-hop scene in DC isn't a at least somewhat of a
struggle. Everyone knows Go-Go is the big dog in the District, and for some
reason it's like the bigger brother that hip-hop can never catch up to within
the local scene - despite the fact that hip-hop dominates popular culture on
the whole. Coming (originally) from an isolated small town (Cumberland, Maryland)
and being the only hip-hop group within like a 50 mile radius, we're used to
being outsiders in almost every way. Most people think our material is far from
typical -- a lot of people don't get it and don't care, even within the hip-hop
world. We knew this would be the case from the beginning, but we always wanted
to do what we felt and never really cared at all about what's popular or what
styles and topics are out there dominating. So as far as DC I would say that
we're kind of outsiders to a genre that's already kind of an outsider or underdog
in the city. We haven't really jumped in yet, we're still kind of feeling things
out, but it's all good to us regardless because Plan: Be is much more about
us making the kind of material we want to make, to put out what we feel, than
it is to be part of any kind of scene. Hopefully if and when we do try to really
reach out to the DC community we'll be received well. It'd be cool, but we don't
know for sure yet. We're new here. There is some good stuff goin' on here. Baltimore,
You just dropped your new album "Antiform," what's good with
Antiform is the
result of a lot of work over the past like three years. When we first started
the group what we really wanted to achieve was to produce, record, and manufacture
our own album, on our own. So we did it all. Everything from recording to mixing
to graphic design. We didn't do the mastering, but that's just about the only
thing. We started our label, Pro-Gravity Records, mainly and specifically as
a way to get this album out. So in a lot of ways Antiform is kind of the realization
of Plan: Be's first main goal. As far as the material on it, you know, we primarily
see ourselves as a group of individuals more than a group with one unified style,
aim, or mindset. The group mindset is that we, as individuals, are who we are
and we say what we think and do what we wanna do. We've all got widely differing
philosophies and tastes, so the material on Antiform is kind of the result of
what happens when you put the four of us together with the aim of making an
album and give everyone pretty much equal power. That's why it's 'antiform'
-- the material isn't trying to fit any formula or image or expectation in any
way. Each song, sometimes each verse, it's kind of on its own tip. All of us
write and rhyme, mostly as individuals; and three of us produce, mostly as individuals.
Sometimes a couple of us will team up for a track and that'll have a completely
different flavor than when a different two or three of us get together or when
all of us get together. So there's a lot of variety on the album because we
keep it all organic and let everyone put their flav into the mix pretty much
in whatever way they want. We're not trying to fit any image; we're not trying
to be liked, although we very much appreciate it when we are; we're not trying
to live up to any sort of expectations or be defined by any stereotypes or prejudices.
So the result is a mix of all of our different tastes, philosophies, and feelings
-- sometimes the album is serious, sometimes it's not, sometimes it's really
clean and precise, sometimes it's raw and purposefully underproduced. It's full
of contrasts and we see that as a good thing. It's antiform.
On the more practical
tip, what's good with the album is you can get it at some of the cooler music
sites online -- Amazon.com, CDBAby.com, undergroundhiphop.com, towerrecords.com.
Audio snippets are available at pretty much all these sites and we got some
free tracks available at our site at www.pro-gravity.com. We're still reaching
out to retail in DC and across the Midatlantic, and we're still seeking distribution,
but people can easily get the album if they know where to look.
the recording process like for this album?
It was antiform
just like the material and the way that we operate. Recording for this album
was over a long period of time and over a vast amount of space reaching from
Ohio to Florida. Very organic. Sometimes one of us might make a beat and give
it to the rest, or make a beat and write a little to it. That will get handed
off to everyone else or maybe we'd get together or some of us would get together
and build from that base. Some jams were written and recorded in one night.
Some were written and recorded over months and months. Some jams had all of
us in the room together working on it through its recording or part of it. Some
were revised and revisited many times, others just came right off the reel almost
as initially recorded. Some jams came out of a planned effort to sit down and
record, some came out of a spontaneous idea and recording session. Every song
was recorded in one or more of our individual home studios. In general, it was
all over the place -- we did whatever worked, whenever we had time or desire.
It was very organic and informal. We knew where we were gonna end up - we didn't
need any kind of formal process to get there.
What are your goals for this album?
Doing the whole
thing from top to bottom by ourselves and with basically no help or connections
is a big goal that's already been fulfilled for us. Also, we think we've done
a pretty good job in terms of the material itself, so that's a probably the
number one already-achieved goal. From this point we'd mainly just like to share
it. We've done a lot of work and we'd like to get it out there enough that we
can get reactions to it -- to learn what people think of it, good or bad. Obviously
we'd love it if the album or parts or aspects of it appeal to people, but that
would almost be a bonus more than a goal -- we didn't set out to be liked, we
set out to do what we felt. We would like to create attention for the album,
to create some attention on us, so that it makes it easier for us to accomplish
future projects and happenings. Hopefully along the way will inspire people
to think a bit, to inspire certain types of people to perhaps change their ideas
about their identity through music and their ideas of what hip-hop is and can
be, etc. But again, that would be more of a bonus than a goal. There are a lot
of extra things like that that we hope will happen, but that we didn't necessarily
set out to achieve.
When people hear the name "Plan: Be" what do you want them to think?
I think perhaps
we'd want them to wonder about what the name means, hopefully leading them to
trying to think about the material and what it means. I think we'd like people
to know, in the end, that our plan is to do what we feel, to know that we aren't
trying to fit any formula and won't, and how the name connects with those kinds
the next move?
The next big move
is probably another album, although we operate so organically that it's hard
to say from day to day what the plan will be other than to keep being. We've
got new material underway. With Pro-Gravity somewhat established and after having
learned all the mechanics of creating an album and putting it out, we're helping
to put out some good music from other independent-minded cats that we know or
have run across. We've done some remixes and some special-release singles, and
we'll continue to do things like that. We're open to shows and tours, but we're
in this mainly to create and our focus is primarily on creating. Hopefully another
album will be taking shape within the not-too-distant future. Hopefully before
that we'll begin to see what people out there think of Antiform, and I'm sure
we'll be doing all kinds of other smaller things as well.
Heads get in touch with you and cop the album?
The website is
the easiest thang. www.pro-gravity.com.
We have a mailing list. We give stuff away. We got a guestbook and a forum goin'
on -- all the regular webpage type ish. Pretty much anything you wanna know
about Plan: Be and Antiform can be found there. The most sure-fire way to cop
the album is to look for us on Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, Undergroundhiphop.com,
or Towerrecords.com. Our stuff's also been delivered to Itunes, Napster, and
all of those other new major downloading services. We're still seeking distribution,
so finding us in stores is a little bit trickier. But that's the price of independence.
Big shout out to
Brian Kayser and Hiphopgame.com. Thanks for showing the love. Big shout out
to our supporters and anti-supporters - you guys rule and suck, respectively.
Big shout out to corporate media, the Bush administration, the FCC, and Wal-Mart
for helping the world suck. Big shout out to our 9 to 5 jobs for making this
music ish a necessity. Word.