“I have no idea. I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure we were stoned.”
While soul/hip-hop duo Planetself can only partially recall the mind-fucking conversation which led to their discovery, what they can’t forget is this – the important message they strive to deliver through their music and their love for one another.
My conversation with Planetself’s Charli and Jules was eye opening, spiritual, honest, lovey-dovey and fucking hilarious.
The duo’s latest release from their High Tide EP, You Plus Me is a solid rendition of Planetself’s presence, exploring the themes of spirituality and being connected with the earth as one through the fundamentals of hip-hop. With production by group member Inkswel (Jules), complimenting the heart-warming vocals of Charli Umami, the single showcases a story of love and the concept that perpetuity does exist in a relationship, even through the hardest of times.
“People have different names and archetypes in what they think spirituality is. For us, it’s just about the vibe and that’s what music creates, so that’s our spirituality – our connection to everything around us,” Jules said.
“It’s the track most people have resonated with since they heard it. I guess it’s more emotive. It strikes a chord with people because people can relate to love stories and that’s kind of a topic throughout the EP, especially on that track.”
Charli credits music as being responsible for her evolution and spirituality. “It just goes hand-in-hand,” she elaborated. “Sorry, let me just take a big, fat sip of this coffee and then, continue this question, [I mean, who could blame her? Coffee = essential.]
“Singing has always been my kind of, what’s the word? It’s like my power, you know what I mean? So, when I am doing that I can really kind of, I don’t know. Oh God, I don’t know how to bloody explain it.
“Singing is a huge part of my life and it goes hand-in-hand. When I’m feeling good, I feel like singing and when I’m singing, I feel good and I’ve always had this connection with nature. I grew up in Adelaide Hills. I was super lucky. Throughout my twenties, I distanced myself from that connection, just being in party life and city life. I lived in the city and when I came to having my children, I had this huge calling to be back in nature. We moved from Melbourne back to Adelaide for that reason and we moved right near a national park. I was there every day and I think I really tapped back into that connection with the earth, the sun and just feeling like I’m in the middle of it all and I’m part of it all.”
Charli uses her personal connection with nature to fuel on a power which she uses to write her music.”I think that’s really important. It feels like my purpose here is to sing but it’s not for me. I have this purpose and this message and it flows through me. I’m kind of just the vessel through it. So, when I’m really connected with the earth, it has to be part of the message because she needs help right now and she’s clutching at straws for people to wake up and stop destroying the place. That’s a big message because it’s very important right now. I feel responsible for delivering that message and I just want to help people open up and realise that we’re all part of this. We’re all part of mother nature and we’ve got to all look out for each other instead of just talking about it.”
While music is a blessing to our ears and remains there for us in a way humans can’t, it has the magical power to spread messages and impact us in ways we may not even realise. “There’s a lot of deep-seated messages within music whether good or bad, and the overall vibe of the EP is something that’s relatable, but also something that’s positive. We want to just give people good energy through music,” Jules said.
“I take my inspiration from life,” Charli added. A lot of it’s pretty lovey-dovey, but I guess that’s because we’re pretty loved up right now with our kids and our life circle. We’re pretty happy and positive and I think that reflects in the lyrics because that’s where I’m at.
“When it comes to music, you can hear a song and it just feels good to you and you just listen to it. It’s not until you listen to it for the tenth time that you actually listen to what they’re saying. I hope that whether subliminally or straight up, people get the message. I make the songs how they come and I trust that the people who need to hear it are going to hear it. I just make it. That’s my job. I just release it into the world after that, knowing that it’s going to go where it needs to go.”
When chatting to Planetself, their connection to one another was beautiful. While they are a musical duo, they are also married with children which has made their connection to music stronger. One may think when an issue arises in the personal relationship, it may affect the personal relationship, but Jules and Charli could not be more content with where they’re currently at.
The couple met through mutual friends while Jules was DJing. They vaguely knew each other through friendship groups prior to that and then they got to know each other better. Fast forward six years later, they’re married, have kids and enjoy music together. Though – the duo name is still a vague mystery.
“I have no idea. I can’t remember,” Jules laughed off.
“It’s one of those, off the tongue. I think we were probably stoned and just hanging out. I can’t remember. Sorry, I wish there was some interesting story on that.”
“I’m pretty sure we were high. I’m pretty sure we were stoned,” Charli confirmed. “We were just talking about stuff. It was at a point when we had really figured out how much we are one with everything. I had this big brain explosion moment where I just realised everything is energy and it’s all in our control. You can choose what your vibration is. You can choose what your experience is. Planetself is seeing that the planet externally is also internal. You are your own planet. Your little body is your own planet, revolving around all these other planets, other bodies. I don’t know, it was just this weird … I’m pretty sure we were high. I’m pretty sure we were stoned. Deep, deep, spiritual, weird space conversations.”
Charli and Jules believe they have found the perfect balance between their working relationship and their personal one. “It’s kind of the same for us because it’s just the constant,” Jules said. We make time for each other and time together. There are times when Charli is downstairs in the studio working on projects, or I am, and we juggle the kids between each other [as could be heard in the background while I spoke to Jules], and just work on music when we can and when it makes sense. Other people seem to talk about their struggles with staying in creative relationships, but I find this quite easy,” Jules explained.
It’s been a process, according to Charli who believes her and Jules are at a point now where they stay out of each other’s business which has resulted in a lot of blank-filling. “I mean, someone pulls a face and you think, ‘Oh, what are they thinking?’ Because you’re doing something creatively, it’s easy to get your back up and think that they don’t like what they’re doing or whatever.
Still, the duo remain open and honest with each other all the time. “If Jules does something that I don’t think sounds good, I’ll say, ‘Why don’t we try this? I don’t think that’s hitting right.’ He’ll say the same stuff to me. We’ve learned not to take it personally. We’re here for a job, we’re here to get this done and it’s not a personal thing. It’s way bigger than us. I think when we’d reached that point, we didn’t have issues anymore when we’re making stuff together. We’ve found a really good place together. The most important thing we’ve learned, that I could say for other people that are in a couple, that are in a relationship making music together is, just be loving to each other and honest. You need to be honest and you need to be in a place where you’re not taking stuff to heart, because it’s bigger than that.”
Both Charli and Jules are set to end the year with a number of shows back on home soil and are working towards finishing new releases including a full-length album. Jules promises a higher energy from the duo in the upcoming shows.
“We’ve branched out now with a lot of bands. We’ve got a bass player and a drummer and that’s kind of like the new version of us, live. Before that, we were just doing sound system sets with me doing the tracks and Charli singing. Now, we’ve taken it to more of a large situation,” Jules said.
“We’re just putting our personality out there and our vibration in music. Obviously, everyone’s influenced by different things and there’s similarities between different groups, but ours is a combination of all our own individual influences that creates something different and unique. So, that’s what we’ve got to put out there and we have a message behind our music which is our own, so hopefully that, with the combination of good music, resonates with people.”