BLACKBONE is operating at a different frequency. A collective of poet/neo-jazz provocateur Eboneé A.D. and producer DISCIPLINE99, the duo has carved a place in the musical landscape of 2020 with their first music video release, for "COLD REIGN" from their upcoming EP, 5G.
With the song's video, the band aimed to sum up the events of a pandemic year, in all its dark humor.
“[With the video] we wanted to give a setting to what 2020 is: Vaccinations, panic, chaos. Trying to have fun within the chaos,” DISCIPLINE says. “Talking about everything going on — politics, billionaires controlling our lives. Always with humor.”
One of the producer's heroes, the similarly spacey artist Sun Ra, once said: “Art does not begin with imitation, but with discipline.” And it was with this bit of inspiration that DISCIPLINE99 started his producing career in southeast Washington, D.C., through imitation, and the art of sampling any and all records he could find.
“I’m not trained musically, but I’ve literally altered my entire existence for music," the producer says. "I literally get samples from everywhere. ”
Eboneé agrees. “His [musical] background is endless, his history, his production is poetic,” she says.
The pair came together as a group this year, inspired by the whirlwind of events.
“When March came along we figured 2020 was gonna be whooping our ass, so we started working on this album together,” Eboneé says with a quiet laugh.
As one of the bandmembers speaks, the other pauses in meditative reflection before responding. This contemplation is displayed in their music. “For us, it’s all about introspection, consulting your own soul, self-exploration,” Eboneé says in her trademark mystic voice.
"But lots of people don’t want to put that work in. Making music that heals, align with the planet to make art, submitting to love and healing ... making an 80-year-old with dementia start tapping his feet.
"From keys jingling to a train passing by — it’s music. It can be healing. How can I provide that for others?”
Overcoming chaos is a theme perfectly relayed in “COLD REIGN,” which was expertly directed by artist Shawn Chiki.
“All of us have different experiences and different perspectives, and with [Chiki] that’s three perspectives that came together,” Eboneé says.
The artist adds that the humor inherent in presenting the chaotic, urgent and occasionally painful ideas that they talk about in the song and video — which, thanks to Chiki’s unique 3D digital style, has the appearance of a futuristic Play-Doh diorama — helps make these topics less dangerous and more approachable.
“There are so many different elephants in the room right now and this is the first time we can sit with some family and friends and talk about these things,” Eboneé says, referencing images in the video such as the scales of justice with a crowd of people with "I Voted" stickers being weighed down by the Monopoly Man, and the coronavirus floating about as a sun of sorts as President Donald Trump stands smiling, orange-faced and awful.
They explain that while these themes are treated humorously, the title “COLD REIGN’ refers to a higher concept.
“It’s a cold time, but there will be a rebirth," Eboneé says. "There’s a rise, a return to spiritual order. Life is happening, but this album is life. This album is raw, but this is a raw time. Imperfection is perfection, beauty in human form.”
Watch "COLD REIGN" below:
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.