Planetself: partnership, soul music and meditating on it
Updated: Aug 18, 2018
Planetself are a soul-Hip Hop group based in Adelaide, consisting of vocalist Misumami, producer Inkswel, and sometimes MC Mista Monk. Collectively and individually, they have appeared on countless record labels (such as BBE, Ninja Tune, Sonar Kollektiv, Rush Hour, Beatgeeks, Wax Museum), spanning the genres of broken beat, soul, jazz, disco, boogie, afro-jazz and Hip Hip. They have also worked with an insane list of artists (such as Steve Spacek, DJ Vadim, Mulatu Atsatke) and toured the world, performing at at festivals like Hip Hop Kemp, WomAdelaide, Panke Hip Hop Berlin and Melbourne Music Week. They have been prolific to say the least, putting up no boundaries between themselves, their music and the listening world. It's quite refreshing really. As a unit, Planetself make that cool, free, reflective music. They recently released a nice little EP entitled 'Following the Sun'- a celebration of the simple good things in life. Very sweet. So what is important to Planetself, and what is behind their recent EP release? Misumami and Inkswel from Planetself chat to BEAT CONTEXT.
That free, soulful, Planetself sound
‘…bringing me closer to the source of all…'
MISUMAMI. I wasn’t exposed to anything other than commercial music that played on my radio, and my Dad’s record collection for half my life! When the internet became a thing i had no idea how to use it, so I barely touched a computer!! I had like five CD’s my friends burnt for me, i think they were Jurassic 5, Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Aceyalone and Common. Apart from that I just listened to whatever i could find on my radio until i met Jules (Inkswel) in 2011. He exposed me to all kinds of underground music and i quickly fell in love with music again. The sounds I gravitated towards were J Dilla, Madlib, Bilal, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Erykah Badu, Fatima, Oshun, Yarah Bravo, Mndsgn, Hiatus Kaiyote, Samory I and Ras G just to name a few. (Soulful music) just resonates with me and opens the musical door to deeper thoughts and emotions..bringing me closer to the source of all. So i’m not surprised at all that a similar sound comes out of our music. Its what we both like to listen to. Lucky we have the same taste in music.
'…it is people looking for a way of expression and escape
via the music and culture. …’
INKSWEL. I come from hip hop, that’s my original entry into music. So of course this has always been where my head is at musically. I was originally influenced by 90s hip hop and local stuff but this grew and shifted with music that pushed boundaries. Early on it was the more experimental sounds of Anticon, Def Jux and even early Wu productions and as the sound and my ears matured I went more in a direction centred around beats and production. This opened my mind to other genres through sampling as an art form. So hearing this montage-style really shaped my taste, and the freedom of expression from dudes like Madlib opened this up even more, exposing me of course to jazz and funk but also disco, house and broken beat due to his releases like the one under the ‘DJ Rels' moniker. I also got into the music from breaking to some extent so the dance element of hip hop culture always shaped the grooves I enjoyed, and when I started spinning and hanging in clubs I was exposed to other dance floor related genres and sounds. Around this time I was actively record-shopping and paying my own personal dues. From hanging in shops like the now-defunct B-Sharp Records I was exposed to stuff like early 2000s uk broken beat from the likes of IG Culture, Atjazz, Bugs In The Attic. Early on I could see and feel (in this music) the polarities to hip hop culture that I first fell in love with. (It is) all music that comes out of struggle in different parts of the world, from similar rose-out-of-concrete-style situations. Broken beat in the UK comes from similar backdrops. If you look at early Hip Hop culture in the Bronx its very similar to the birth of the Chicago house scene from the same era- it is people looking for a way of expression and escape via the music and culture. The use of drum machines and samplers. the DIY nature of things. (There are) so many connections.
‘…I believe so much in her talent and ability…’
INKSWEL. We always clicked on music from the start, I actually bought Charli (Misumami) a Robert Grasper Experiment album when we first started hanging and this struck a chord with her. I didn’t even know she was a singer/musician then, but as we grew closer and became a couple I got her to sing on tracks and have been doing what I can to help her as I believe so much in her talent and ability. We are happily married with kids now and have successfully toured the world doing music together, releasing on many labels together and striving to be better at what drives us musically. Having a life partner with the same outlook and goals is an amazing thing and I feel so privileged that we get to share that and work towards the same dreams.
‘… it’s a very powerful thing.…’
MISUMAMI. Music is actually completely responsible for bringing us together. When Jules bought me that Robert Glasper CD, and I listened to it for the first time, I was in deep, and we’ve spent almost every day together since. I totally believe we were destined to make music together. Its just a huge bonus that we also got to make babies and a life together all at the same time. Its a very powerful thing. A very beautiful thing that I’m eternally grateful for.
Meditating on it
‘…it keeps us on the right track and stops the distraction…’
MISUMAMI. We’re both alternative thinkers and have a spiritual understanding of this existence and the universe around us. Circular breathing provided a deeper understanding of that and ourselves which has changed our lives forever. (Meditation has provided) stillness. (It is) a valuable tool amongst the noise and rhetoric involved in scenes. I feel like it keeps us on the right track and stops the distraction of the social aspect, which is beneficial when you are not necessarily overly extraverted people.
‘…meditation is a huge part of our balance…’
INKSWEL. As we have grown together musically and having a family together, we have also grown spiritually. We shared many ideas and beliefs in their infancy and have been striving to find our paths together. Meditation is a huge part of our balance. The main thing that (EP bonus track ‘Breathe the Mantra’ feat Illuminati Congo) relates to is the art of breath, through Rebirth breath work which we were both exposed to through our friend Illuminati Congo.
‘… Family, love, life, nature and the natural world take a forefront in our daily lives.…’
INKSWEL. We live in the most connected times in modern history, we are interlinked with each other socially like never before, screens dominate our world, but with this we are so very disconnected from what’s directly around us. We don’t find ourselves in the moment in the way we are designed to be- so instead we need to establish time for ourselves to re connect through “disconnection”, so for me personally we need to be reminded of the simple beauty of the here and now. We are emotive beings having an emotional and spiritual experience so to avoid this aforementioned disconnection we need to re touch on these emotions. I feel that music or art is our closest binding element to this. I guess we want these themes in the music. We are both deep thinkers so our music tends to follow suit. Family, love, life, nature and the natural world take a forefront in our daily lives and experiences so they shape our art.
‘… love will conquer all. Or we will be conquered…’
MISUMAMI. We have had the privilege of spending the last four years birthing a family together, living all over the world, spending every day together with our children and our dogs, exploring nature, music, breath, vegan and sustainable living and becoming aware of the world and its state both in the people and the planet (which we’ve forgotten it seems) that we are wholly a part. The songs are just a reflection of that experience. (The Planetself EP) has a message and a very clear one it seems. Love will conquer all. Or we will be conquered.
Planetself were kind enough to provide BEAT CONTEXT with this video from their EP. Enjoy.
Planetself will embark on a European/UK tour in September 2018, including stops at the 'Hip Hop Kemp' festival in the Czech Republic and 'Wicked Jazz Sounds' in Amsterdam. The next Planetself single 'High Tide' featuring Yarah Bravo, John Robinson and Zion I will be released on August 1 2018 on Spotify, with a Planetself EP on Tokyo Dawn Records to follow, and all manner of other collaborations in the pipeline.
Planetself's 'Following the Sun' EP featuring N'fa Jones is available on 7" Vinyl and download HERE.
You can find the bonus track from the EP up for free download HERE.
Listen to Inkswel's show on FRISSION radio. You can listen HERE.
Stay up to date with all things Planetself HERE.