I have worked at EDM Sauce for five years now. Throughout my time as a writer and as editor in chief I have had the privilege of speaking with and interviewing some of the most renowned names in dance music. But today when I received a friend request from Frankie Bones, one of the men responsible for shaping dance music as we know it today, my heart skipped a beat.
If some of our younger readers or those who have only recently gotten into dance music are unfamiliar with the name Frankie Bones, you undoubtedly have enjoyed a lasting legacy he helped create. Frankie is the individual responsible for coining the term PLUR as well as so much more. The acronym stands for Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.
After accepting his request, I found a message asking a simple question. In short the message read, ‘what are five questions you would ask the man who coined PLUR, that Carnage needs to hear the answer too.'
Carnage vs. PLUR
Now I want to back up a little bit here to help some who may be unfamiliar with the events surrounding this story with a bit of context. Carnage, the outspoken trap artist, has come out of the gates in 2018 swinging. His message was clear, he was going to do exactly what he wanted, and did not give a shit if you were not on board.
ITS OFFICIAL… ASOC IS ANTI PLUR & ANTI EDM PURIST
— CARNAGE (@djcarnage) February 19, 2018
This in turn was met with push back from a large part of the dance music community. Demonstrations at some of his performances even occurred. When the public came at Carnage, he responded with a simple message – FUCK PLUR. He was over what he believed to be main stream EDM. He even followed up this sentiment with his latest release with Steve Aoki aptly named, ‘PLUR Genocide'. Now that you know the back story we can return to why I am here writing this article.
Frankie Bones, Godfather Of PLUR, Responds
I quickly sent Frankie 5 questions that I believed would be a good starting point in developing a response to Carnage. He responded with some incredible answers that helped remind me why PLUR is a piece of dance music we cannot forget. I am guilty of becoming jaded about where our industry and community started, but it is times like these were I am reminded to be thankful for those more experienced to gently right the ship that was straying off course.
From here on out, I am going to let Frankie's responses do the talking and not editorialize them outside of a few instances where I help explain information. So let's begin.
“Before we get started, I want to personally thank Carnage for putting out his release “P.L.U.R. Genocide” on this day, Feb. 23, 2018. In light of this great nation being riddled with bullets, school shootings and general havoc, I can go down to Ultra in a months time wearing the best double entendre I have ever thought of on a T-Shirt.”
1. What moved you to coin the term in the first place?
“In terms of the general spirit of the early days of dance music, raves, the community and the unrivaled acceptance. – A: It started as P.L.U.M. – The Peace Love & Unity Movement in early 1990. I happened to be the only DJ in The United States to become part of the U.K. Culture which began in 1988 & 1989. New York City had been going through a dark period for many years and I knew there was no way to start a rave scene there without a cause. We were a movement through music and we wanted the people to come to our events in peace. From 1990-1993 we went from six of us to a scene that blossomed on both coasts & beyond and tens of thousands of people had joined in the early years. We painted the Peace, Love, Unity train car on July 4, 1990. We also released vinyl under the artist name of P.L.U.R. This is fact check stuff. It exists. You can look it up.”
“On July 24, 1993, P.L.U.M. became P.L.U.R. simply because we created the movement and Respect became important after a fight broke out in The Bronx. The flyers provide the truth to what people refer to as “according to legend”. It actually happened. You can Google the origins of PLUR and Hyperreal provides the two theories in actual stories which happened in the mid-90's.”
2. Why were the ideas championed by PLUR so crucial to the growth and success of dance music as a movement?
“When I first went to DJ in Los Angeles in 1990, The West Coast had begun doing raves. Reading about U.K. Rave Culture in magazines like I.D. & The Face, Hollywood kids began doing undergrounds. Illegal parties. New York had been stuck on Outlaw Parties. An Outlaw Party was an illegal gathering where no music or party was at. You went there to get club flyers from promoters and then when the police came, you went to a club. Done by midnight. I took the illegal warehouse concept home and our early events were the first to have multiple DJ's and always went way past sunrise. We closed at 9 a.m. with STORMrave. From 15 people to 5000 in a year and a half. Dangerous industrial wasteland stuff from a movie. We didn't want Carnage showing up because that was the genocide we were trying to escape. Clowns, fools, gangsters were not invited.”
Carnage is the evil bizzaro world twin of Carl Cox, except Carl really knows how to DJ…
3. Why do you believe PLUR is still so important to keep alive as EDM evolves? Is it the fact that early on EDM was a place where those marginalized by society found acceptance?
“P.L.U.R as a concept is deeply rooted in California Sunshine. I would have never believed the U.K. scene could happen in America and in 1990 I saw it in real time. I counted down New Years 1999-2000 for Pasquale Rotella in Los Angeles which had 12,500 people in attendance at Together As One. Insomniac says Awake Since 1993. Pasquale was around before 93, but the L.A. Riots in the matter of three days on April 28, 1992 had all the darkness I grew up with in New York City and gave L.A. a wake up call. Hence being awake since 1993. You can rave a year round in Los Angeles. They built their brand from throwing the best events and EDC reflects that. PLUR is a universal thing in rave culture. If you call Genocide on it, that is a big task. Frankie Knuckles the Godfather Of House once said, “The minute your ego is bigger then the music itself, you are through”. Carnage can't produce that. Genocide produces carnage. I hope he makes it through. I'm not drinking your purple Kool-aid because it is red.”
4. Why do you think movements against PLUR have formed since the explosion of EDM in the US? Has mainstream culture damaged what dance music initially was?
“MORE CARL, LESS CARNAGE. Carl [Cox] is 55 years old, I'm 51. Teenagers don't normally follow us old folks but I do know one thing – not many people over 21 listen to Skrillex anymore. Carl Cox has always been there from when I first met him in the U.K. in 1989. He focused on DJing worldwide, when I was DJing with him back then. Then I got this crazy idea to bring it home to America. I was anti-establishment when I created P.L.U.R. and the truth is if you were a household name before the internet in 1990-2000, the internet leveled the playing field for everyone. It was like a World Series baseball game where the fans could play with the teams and EDM came out of it 10X the size. Somehow the ethics of PLUR stayed exactly the same. But EDM became the establishment and what we gave to EDM got swept under the bus. But what happens in the scene after you turn 21 is that you start growing up, Techno Music & House Music is for the adults. The evolution proves that. We are the Resistance.”
Frankie elaborated on the question further…
“When Eminem said “Nobody Listens To Techno” in 2002, he was right. Techno took 15 years to become accepted in America. Ultra's Resistance stage at Ultra's 20th event will finally sit alongside EDM because kids got older and more into the music. That doesn't mean a 14 year old kid won't appreciate Steve Aoki smashing a cake in his face, but what If I somehow walk by this kid going in wearing a “MORE CARL, LESS CARNAGE” T-Shirt? What if they like PLUR? I mean you speak about genocide at the worst moment in history in the state of Florida. No way you can kill something that has existed in the scene for 25 years. If your P.L.U.R. genocide happens right at my P.L.U.R. Rebirth, I might be able to get some new teenager fans of my music. Carnage is the evil bizzaro world twin of Carl Cox, except Carl really knows how to DJ, not getting the crowd angry because he is mad while pressing some pre-made buttons via auto-sync.”
5. Now that a resurgence of underground dance music is happening with house, techno everything in between, what do you want to see happen to keep PLUR alive. And why is it so important to maintain in the dance music community?
“Come out to every event to escape the world of politics America has become. Stop trolling the internet, going to Trump rallies and come listen to some good music. Come in PEACE, spread some LOVE put the Comm.Unity in community and respect everyone else who came there to do the same. I'm not going to punch Carnage, I'm gonna give him a hug and tie his shoelaces together so he falls on his face. Not that he didn't already do that on his own.”
This was a lot of information to absorb for anyone but all in all Frankie wants dance music to continue to be the welcome and inclusive escape from reality that it was crafted to be in the beginning. In closing Frankie wanted to end with this:
“PLUR is about everyone, it wasn't just for anyone to take and dismantle. I found my queen of PLUR, 20 years later and people who follow that ideology will too. I may not have the social networking numbers of carnage, but I drive ATV's 10 miles to backstage in the pouring rain at 50+ years old and work something magical, every time.”