Interview: The Kiera Plan

ShawnKhaJohnAb
Shawn Mocey, Abdul, and John Collier of The Kiera Plan took some time to update us on their plans for 2016, talk about their new single, and let us know what else they’ve been up to. Check it out below.

When did you start The Kiera Plan and where are you all from?

Shawn: John and I started working on music together back in 2005, and before long we were performing and releasing music as The Kiera Plan.

Everyone in the group right now lives near Philadelphia.

What was your initial goal when you started the band?

John: My initial goal was to try a new style of music (pop-punk, when all I had done was metal) with a good friend.  Over the years we added the goal of making fun music with a positive message.

Shawn: Yeah, we initially were just working to make the kind of music we were both enjoying.  The focus and the message have evolved.  Our first two albums of rock and roll were focused on relationships, and the people closest to us.  But “Not for Sale” marks the start of a new direction for us thematically:  this is music with a message we hope everyone can respond to, and a mission we hope everyone can get behind.

“Not For Sale” is your latest single. What went into writing and recording that song?

Shawn:  “Not for Sale” was interesting because it wasn’t the first song I wrote for this new direction, but it seemed to capture the spirit of the whole mission.  I started getting together with my partners Abdul and Kharee and working on some hip hop even before the second Kiera Plan rock album, Right Now, came out in 2014.  The three of us had done hip hop sets at several charity concerts over the last few years, not billed as The Kiera Plan.  But after releasing and supporting Right Now with The Kiera Plan team, I sat down to start working on more music, and hip hop had just taken over my mind. I kept getting more and more inspired by this music, and I realized just how much I wanted to say in this way. “Not for Sale” was one of several songs I’d written in a burst of inspiration early in 2015.  It was time to start making a new Kiera Plan record, and when Abdul, Kharee, and I got together to do another benefit show last summer, and had so much fun with it, I realized the Kiera Plan and the hip hop situation weren’t necessarily separate projects – it was time to put it all together.  So John, Abdul, Kharee and I hit the studio a few months ago with producer Trevor Leonard and recorded three singles, of which “Not for Sale” was the first. The next single will hit May 9th.

Will the next couple of singles be a similar style or are you experimenting with multiple styles?

Shawn: The next few singles will continue with the hip hop direction, and the positive message, but each will have a unique style to it.  “Not for Sale” had a lot of the rock elements in it, and with this next single we went for a more old school hip hop feel.  We were definitely inspired by songs like “Quality Control” by Jurassic 5 on this next one.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

Shawn: 2016 is just getting started for us!  We’re going to keep the music and the message coming.  We have that next single dropping on May 9th, and two more singles that will follow that before the end of summer – and there is a lot more music beyond that already in the works.

What do you guys enjoy doing outside of being in the band? Any hobbies?

Abdul: I love food, and as a vegetarian, I love cooking produce. Also I play video games and listen to a lot of old school hip-hop for inspiration.

John: I read comics, play video games, and enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.

Shawn: I’m with the guys on all of that.  I enjoy spending time with my wife – and she and I work our way through some of our favorite video games together.  I’m also really into comics, and all kinds of reading.  For the last couple years I’ve been really enjoying reading philosophy – if I wind up being your Secret Santa this year, you’re probably getting a copy of The Discourses by Epictetus. Spoiler alert.

Where’s one place you haven’t played yet, but would love to?

John: Anywhere that people are happy to see us is good for me.

Shawn: For me, it’s definitely the main stage at The Trocadero Theatre in Philly.  Growing up not too far out, I used to catch the train into town all the time, and I saw so many of my favorite bands on that stage.  People used to get pulled up on stage and would dance around with the band for a minute before diving back into the crowd.  I remember being being a kid up there on stage with Rancid and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – it became a really special place for me.  I’ve thought for a while now that to get to be back up there with my own group would be amazing.  We’ve gotten to do a few shows in the Troc’s Upstairs venue, so I feel like I’m getting close.  I’m definitely hoping we get that chance at some point.

Any additional words on what the band is all about and what you plan to achieve?

John: We’re just hoping to help have a positive influence in people’s lives.

Abdul: I’d like to expand our reach to as much charity as we can and in turn also reach as many people as we can with conscious ideas.

Shawn: Absolutely!  We want to make a difference.  Hopefully people who enjoy our music will benefit from the positive messages and the encouragement.  I think one of the main points of all our new music is that every person, every life has value.  You don’t need money, or anyone else’s approval to be valuable.  God made you valuable, and gave you unlimited potential.

Abdul: I hope to impact as many people as we can through our charitable actions and as a byproduct entertain as many people as will listen. As listeners are entertained I hope their minds and hearts are opened as well. Some of those listeners I look to be music fans, but I’m really hoping some are music makers and that our message will inspire, mold, or guide the genre into a more positive, loving, accepting space and away from materialism, divisiveness, and judgment.

Shawn: Exactly.  I hope our new music is a call to other artists to realize their own potential to make a difference.  If talented people decide to talk about real love, the value of life, and the dignity of all people – rather than selfish and self-destructive materialism, exploitation, and hatred – then those talented people can be more than artists, they can be people who changed the world for the better.

To show what we mean about putting people first, and letting go of the greed and obsession with wealth, we’re doing something special with “Not for Sale.”  We’re donating all downloads of the single in 2016 we’re donating to Mercy Hospice and St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia.  These are places working to provide food, shelter, and care to those in our community who are most in need.

Where can out readers keep up with you online?

Shawn: Our home base right now is our blog:  www.thekieraplan.wordpress.com

We have our whole discography up there streaming, all our lyrics, all our links, and all our big news and updates hit there.

We’ve also really been enjoying Instagram, and we’re posting regularly there.  www.instagram.com/thekieraplan

Folks can also catch us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloudiTunes, and just about anywhere you can stream or download music online.