Cut from the Same Weirdo Cloth | Planet B and ADULT. Discuss Split 7″

Planet B and ADULT. recently announced the release of a split 7”, to be released on Three One G Records on January 6. The effort combines a pair of artists who’ve long shared a parallel purpose of creating challenging, subversive music that defies genre classification.

Justin Pearson (Dead Cross, Deaf Club, The Locust), Luke Henshaw (Sonido de la Frontera), Kevin Avery (Field Day, Retox) and Scott Osment (Deaf Club, Glassing, Volente Beach) formed Planet B and their music has aesthetics rooted in hip hop, hardcore punk, turntablism, and ’70s-’80s horror movie scores. It is catchy, heavily percussive, and eerie all at once, not unlike like the creative output of dark dance duo ADULT., a pair that seek to harness “the perverse aspects of the late ’70s analog dystopian post-modernism.”

These artists’ bodies of work mirror one another in form and function, and both “Release Me” and “Glass in The Trash” encapsulates the ethos of both, allowing the duos’ similar mindsets to collide. Nicola Kuperus’ hypnotic vocals add an occult aura, mysteriously alluring and supernatural, pulsating and equally intense alongside Pearson’s aggressive style. Henshaw and Adam Lee Miller’s sampling, sequencing and synthesizing entangle and diverge seamlessly, providing dance-driven soundtracks fit for an apocalypse. Both tracks ebb and flow, pull and push, begs to be released and yet remains throbbing in your head long after it ends.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Justin Pearson (JP) and Adam Lee Miller (ALM) to discuss the release.

How long have you guys all known each other and who brought up the idea of this collaboration?

JP: We started discussing this collaborative idea towards the end of 2018, just after ADULT. came through San Diego. But we technically hadn’t met in person until May of 2022, when they came back through town. I pretty much fell in love with the duo based on all things, their music, their art, and then their personalities. For me, it’s sort of like the bulk of the Three One G roster, where I meet artists in this world and it clicks for me. We essentially become family. I’m an only child and only have a mother, so I have found ways to reinvent what family means to me. But I think it was back in 2018 when both projects had a sort of admiration for one another and we all wanted to see what could come out of a collaborative effort on all our parts. 

ALM: Justin reached out first through email about the idea. He was at our show in San Diego with Plack Blague as they are friends. In the van afterwards Ross from PB said something about Justin being at the show and we were like “Damn, we would have liked to have met him!” We have always held a special respect for The Locust because they rule, and especially because they had synths and uniforms – so rare at the time for hardcore. So, it was really exciting to get the email from him.  Here is a chronology: 

Oct. 2nd, 2018 ADULT. plays SD – Justin was at the show but we didn’t meet. 

Oct. 6th, 2018  Email from Justin about working together, but we were in the midst of a 75 date tour sycle so communication from us was terribly slow.

March 19th, 2019 ADULT. plays SD again on the tour cycle, but Justin and Luke both couldn’t make the show – so we still haven’t met.

April 19th, 2019 ADULT. tour cycle ends.

May 7th, 2019 We start REAL email conversation about collaboration and music starts happening that month. 

Dec. 13th, 2019 The first song “Release Me” is done – it took 67 emails and passing of files/stems and over six months to complete working around everyone’s schedules. 

Jan. 27, 2021 Adam suggests doing a second song together for a 7″.

Sept. 12th, 2021 All parties involved agree the song is done.

May 4th, 2022 We finally all meet together in San Diego on our day off before our San Diego show while on tour again!   

Why was it a project that made sense to you?

JP: It fully made sense and was clear to me when we all met up and ADULT. was on Cult and Culture, which is Luke’s and my podcast that we do in San Diego. We had already done a version of the track “Release Me,” which was initially released by Dais, and had remixed it and then added a second track, “Glass in the Trash,” making that the focal track on the single. But having us all be together in Luke’s studio to go over mixes and dive deep into conversation on the podcast solidified things, and also really showed me that we are all cut from the same weirdo cloth. I think all of us artists involved on the single have had a history of redefining or even rejecting genres and musical standards, partially due to an eclectic mix of influences, but also due to punk ethics and the means to use the resources that we all had been given or not given throughout our lives. 

ALM: I think the fact that we are all DIY artists for multiple decades says a lot! We all instinctively know it takes a certain type of person to be truly DIY in this industry for this long. There are those that want to be famous and those that want to make a difference and be real. As Justin said so well, we knew we are all cut from the same weirdo cloth!

Did you guys actually get into a studio together to hash this out or did you collaborate long distance?

JP : Everything was done remotely, aside from sitting in the studio together in San Diego to go over the initial mixes of the two tracks, which were mixed by Brent Asbury at Measurable Harm. 

Do you think it is easier or more difficult to collaborate in an honest and forthright way with regards to ideas with people you aren’t “officially” in a band with? Does having a real friendship supersede that kind of professional courtesy issue in a situation like this? 

JP: I don’t think there is one way or another way to make things easier in a collaborative situation. I think what might be the more relevant question is, “how do each of us in any given situation work together?” I mean, we are all aware of bands who have strife and ego and are in constant internal combat. Even though when we first started out on this collaboration, and we had not yet developed the in-depth friendship that we now have, we all had respect and admiration for one another. And I think that even goes to say in each project involved here. For me, even just working with Luke in Planet B, and now that we have brought in Kevin Avery and Scott Osment into our band as percussionists, luckily we all have diminished egos, and have an understanding of one another. Then with bringing Adam and Nicola into the fold, there was a huge level of respect present among everyone. We’ve jokingly said that there was almost too much at the start, which may be true, considering how we remixed “Release Me” for the 7” single version. None of us wanted to be critical of what we had initially created. But I think when you genuinely want to create something with others there is bound to become a bond, or friendship. Perhaps that is created from the initial discussion of something like this and then mutates as the material is worked on. 

ALM: Community is such an important part of our existence.  If we weren’t making bonds and new friendships when collaborating we would not have such a long career as ADULT. I hate it when I see bands on tour that treat their bandmates, touring bands, staff or venue staff as either lesser than or even worse – employees.  

In 2017, we did a collaborative album on Mute records. Six different musicians came to our Detroit home/studio at separate times and lived/worked with us. It was an experiment of combining domesticity and professionalism regarding music writing. The musicians varied from longtime friends – to people we had met briefly on the road playing shows or playing a show together.  

We would spend all our time together from having breakfast and discussing the song we were working on, to watching a film or going to a museum. It was a fully immersive experience that puts everyone on the same page. This created a very different atmosphere going into the studio. It’s actually the way Nicola and I always work and we wondered what it would be like to bring others into our reality.  

But, again at the core of it all its person to person; There are some people who don’t actually want to collaborate. They want to dominate. They aren’t interested in being vulnerable or learning something new. And, unfortunately, as a band, you can produce an excellent album in the studio, but once you hit the road for that “magic” you created in the studio you are in a completely different realm. A very public world, and this is probably why a lot of amazing bands don’t survive.

Were there ideas and approaches that you explored here that challenged your sensibilities or provided a takeaway lesson that you might apply to your future endeavors?

JP : For me, I am almost always trying to find where I fit, especially considering my typical more brutal type of vocals, as well as lyrical content which is commonly ending up with words and terms that are snarky and jokingly addressing social politics or politics in general. I was trying to not say stuff about farts, dicks, cops, and ultimately use words that were a bit more “mature” and serious, as well as not be as full throttle with my vocal delivery as I normally do. I sort of found myself as the last contributor in the process as ADULT. and Luke essentially created these landscapes to sing on, and with both tracks I jumped in after Nicola had placed some or all of her vocals, which was helpful for me to figure out where I should exist on the soundscapes. And as far as a takeaway lesson, I think that one should get those from everything they do. If you are not learning and taking away something from stuff you are creating, then you may be phoning it in. 

ALM: ADULT. tries very hard to not have a formula in the writing process.  If you look at our catalog of nine albums, everyone has a different approach and intent. Collaboration is a vulnerable, if you allow that, process. Everyone is different, and thus every collaboration is different and enlightening. We were really hesitant to do something via the internet, but when Luke and Justin were totally open to our idea that we suggested that it had to be one part/stem sent back and forth and built into a song layer by layer together, we knew this would be a new way to write and exciting!

Detroit and San Diego sensibilities and aesthetics, which truth be told you guys are largely responsible for and influential with regards to, seem to be at the core of who Adult. and Planet B are. It seems natural that they’d jive, but can you hear both in the feeling of the songs?

JP: Art is subjective, so we can say something that is seemingly false to everyone else besides ourselves. What we think the art we created together holds is really only accurate to us. For me though, there is a lot to unpack with this idea, where you have mentioned the two locations. I think that Detroit and San Diego could very well be polar opposites in two U.S. cities. But at the same time, they both have weird limitations, which I feel has inherently made artists in both cities think and create outside the box for sheer survival. And when I say survival, I mean the survival of our lives, mentally and perhaps physically. There is a lot of cultural relevance in both cities, and in the two tracks, I see, hear, and feel a lot of varied emotion. Even with a “sad” song that you may listen to, you still could easily have beauty or hope. You certainly have communication, which is usually the most effective key to making a better world. It’s that saying, “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.” We can consider that as one might pick apart any of ADULT.’s or Planet B’s music, realizing that musically speaking it might not be “pretty” or “fun” music. But there is raw energy, and sincerity, and certainly beauty exists in what we all try to present to the world.

ALM:  I never really thought about the Detroit/San Diego thing, but in a sense it kinda makes sense that we would naturally jive. To me everyone puts their eye on Los Angeles, yet SD is just down the road and there is so much amazing music that’s come outta that zone. Same with Detroit, but Chicago overtakes.  We are a second-tier city and we get skipped all the time. People don’t wanna come play Detroit, yet we have this incredible history of music: Motown, Iggy, MC5, Techno, etc… Detroit has always been a “you gotta create your world/entertainment/survival” kind of attitude. We’ve always had an attitude of we’ll do our thing here and we don’t care if you like it or not. I think these feelings resonate in the songs we’ve created together. 

Becky DiGiglio has taken stunning photos of both bands. Did she volunteer to provide the album art or was it someone’s idea to ask her?

JP : Becky is very much a part of Three One G, and obviously a lot of what I do in life. She is usually in the fold with anything related to Planet B as well. But to be completely honest, I don’t know how we landed on using her photos for the record. I think it was just there from the start. With Planet B, I’m not sure we have yet nailed our visual aesthetic, but having Bran Moon do the layout, who is also very much a huge part of Three One G, we all figured it made sense to use Becky’s photos to stick to the vibe that ADULT. has as well as consider Planet B’s involvement and then ultimately keep everything in the family, as ADULT. is certainly family to me and Three One G. To me, the art of the single seems like an ADULT. release and it also now seems like a Planet B release. 

ALM: Nicola gets a lot of requests to do the photography for other bands’ album design because she does all the photography for ADULT. releases. She has always said no in order to keep our aesthetic our aesthetic; if that makes sense? So when we were sorting out the artwork for this 7″ we were trying to avoid using her work, but at the same time we wanted to have a “connection” to the work. JP suggested using the double mic photo of Nicola’s hand that Becky had shot at a show in San Diego and an image Becky had shot of Luke’s hand with one of his MPCs. I feel like her images really brought the energy/rawness to what we are trying to portray in these two songs, but then also this strange still beauty.

Pre-order the effort on limited orange vinyl or limited green vinyl.

7″ photography by Becky DiGiglio.