Ahead of his upcoming performances at SXSW 2022, Polyvinyl Record Co. has announced the signing of rising musician Plato III.
With his music, the hiphop artist born Ryan Silvafuses his musical influences – from the conscious hip-hop of Black Star to indie rock icons Modest Mouse – with nimble bars and outlaw anthem guitars to guide us down the dusty streets and empty plains of his hometown of Abilene, TX. He notes, “Hip-hop is so regional,” Plato III says. “I want to make a sound that feels like where I lived. I want to dig into my upbringing.” Look for his debut album with the label later this year which follows his previously released projects as Plato III: Life Before Death (2016), My First Word Was Juice (2017) and 9 Love Songs (2019).
Today, Plato III also shares his new Erica Silverman-directed video for two of his tracks – “Give ‘Em Hell” & “It’s Alright, It’s Okay,” welcoming the world to the Wild Wild West Texas. The video also kicks off with Silva’s cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Spirit World Rising,”featuring labelmate Mike Kinsella (American Football, Cap’n Jazz). Of the cover, he uses Johnston’s account of a bad acid trip in Abilene, Texas as an introduction to the town that raised him noting, “When I learned that Abilene served as the birthplace of his mental health issues, I felt I had found a kindred spirit, someone who battled the same demons as I did, and I wanted to channel his experience to tell my story.”
On “Give ‘Em Hell,” Morricone-meets-hip hop as Plato III is joined by under appreciated rap heroes from his city (Merk, MoneyM!ll$, Blasé, & Mickey Matta) mixed with anthemic guitars to properly introduce the music world to a regional scene that no one dared to come to before now. “Nobody has ever made it coming from where I’m from. We have talent, but we don’t have a rich musical history with a recognizable sound,” notes Plato III. “I wanted to create a sound that uniquely represented the iconography and lifestyle of West Texas. The result speaks to the sense of urgency and pressure that is felt when living a life on the margins.”
With “It’s Alright, It’s Okay,” Plato III takes the guitar sound and male vulnerability that we’ve come to expect from Midwest emo and reimagines it as a canvas for exploring his perspective as an exhausted Black man caught up in the cycle of systemic oppression. “I wanted to combine the hopelessness and vulnerability I love about my favorite emo songs with the hyper-aggression and culture of violence that is present in my favorite hip-hop music in order to hopefully provide insight into the mind of the people that the system has failed.”
Photo Courtesy: Margaret Martinez