By Nicholas Jason Lopez
When his girlfriend tragically suffered a miscarriage while he was out on tour a few years back, the drama hit an all-time high for Maxwell Planes, who soon discovered that his fight is flight itself.
As he runs through various streets in his hometown of Chicago in the music video for his single “Runnin’,” he comes to grips with his solution for anxiety, complemented by his unique fusion of rap, country and R&B.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with the musician about “Runnin'” and more.
Music Bugle – What directly inspired your new single “Runnin'” and what was it like making the video?
Maxwell Planes – I battle anxiety on a day-to-day basis and it dictates how I move most of the time. A couple years back, I made a friend who encouraged me to join his workout routine. I noticed the more running I was doing, the less anxiety I was feeling. Although I was running, I was still feeling the weight of anxiety on me, so that’s why I decided to write the song. As for the video, I had creative help from a talented artist out in Chicago named Mvjor. We came up with the broad idea and presented it to our director/videographer. It was all natural. I gathered the people I hang with, in the same area we always kick it in and shot the video.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Maxwell Planes – I feel like refreshing music needs to be something “new” to the ear, yet “familiar.” I really did grow up studying music from all genres and you can hear it in my music and I feel like it was executed naturally and tastefully.
Music Bugle – Who did you listen to growing up, music-wise?
Maxwell Planes – I grew up with my parents, grandparents, etc., who are all deaf, so I never really had somebody to put me onto music. In fourth grade, I got the ‘Get Rich Or Die Trying’ album by 50 Cent and that didn’t leave my CD player for years. When I started to really search for music, I became a fan of Bob Marley and Janis Joplin as well. As for high school, I would say Bone Thugs n Harmony was my biggest influence.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Chicago to someone who has never been there before?
Maxwell Planes – Chicago is misunderstood. It’s a city that’s been portrayed as this place where if you go, you’ll get shot or something. It has its problems, but it’s not at all what people think. It’s a beautiful place with many beautiful communities. It also has its ugly though. We have a government system that is programmed to help the elite, while pushing out lower income into worse living conditions. That is partially why Chicago is the number one most segregated city in America. Chicago breathes emotion. If you are a conscious person who lives here, this has a powerful effect on you.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Maxwell Planes – “Runnin’” has to have been the hardest. I could write a trilogy about the topic of anxiety, so putting it into just one song was difficult.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Maxwell Planes – I’m normally on the road touring with Ric Wilson. We were halfway through our tour with DRAMA DUO and got sent home while in Seattle. We were also booked for Lollapalooza here in Chicago, but that also got canceled. Now, I’m throwing audibles and adapting to however I got to move.
Music Bugle – What’s something that you feel today’s music industry needs more of?
Maxwell Planes – Credit. We need to stop acting like we aren’t inspired by people. Give credits, shout outs, homage, etc., to those who are behind the scenes, to those who are co-writing and those who may have sparked a plug in your creative process.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Maxwell Planes – Growth. Not just in my music, but in myself. This year has been a learning experience for all of us. Not just how we should move, but learning who we are as individuals.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Maxwell Planes – I hop in my car and drive until I hit the suburbs. Suddenly, everything slows down. I start to see trees and it gets quiet. That’s when I feel like I’m able to take a breather.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Maxwell Planes – Outkast has a song called “Git Up, Git Out.” The whole song is a quote that heavily influenced me since I was young, but part of the chorus goes like… “You need git up, git out and git something. How will you make it if you never even try? You need to git up, git out and git something. Cause you and I got to do for you and I.”