The Mix 020: Floorplan - Music - Mixmag

The Mix 020: Floorplan

Robert and Lyric Hood share a "gift" of a Floorplan mix and speak to Marcus Barnes about faith, family and their new album 'The Master's Plan'

  • Words: Marcus Barnes | Photo: Tim Buiting
  • 3 July 2024

Floorplan is a family affair. The partnership between Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric is rooted in their faith and unbreakable family bond. Together, Robert and Lyric have toured the world, spreading the gospel through their uplifting, spiritually-aligned music. Behind-the-scenes, Robert’s wife Eunice Thompson-Hood has been Floorplan’s “silent partner” throughout their entire journey. A creative force of her own, Eunice is the third member and is involved in discussions around their direction and creative output. With the release of Floorplan’s 18-track album 'The Master’s Plan', the silent partner breaks her silence to contribute to two tracks.

Floorplan have dedicated their lives to channelling the vibrations of a higher power, driven by God’s plan, as highlighted by the title of the album. Their blend of classic house vibes, positive messaging and gospel vocals is their signature sound and it has rocked dance floors from Detroit to Berlin and back again. Of course, the journey hasn’t always been smooth, Lyric and Robert citing family disagreements and other challenges they’ve encountered along the way. But, at the core of Floorplan lies an indestructible strength galvanised by faith, hope and love.

Read this next: Almighty influence: Why Gospel music deserves more support and investment

From the ubiquitous ‘Never Grow Old’ to more recent cuts such as ‘Holy Ghost’ and their techno workouts on Robert’s own M-Plant, the father-daughter duo work across a high-energy spectrum. With 'The Master’s Plan' on Classic Music Company they unleash a body of work that epitomises their devotion to God, collaborating with several artists who embody the gospel resonance. They include famed Detroit gospel singer Lowell Pye, along with Honey Dijon and Dames Brown.

Mixmag sat down with Robert and Lyric to discuss the album making process, how their faith has supported them through tough times and why the world needs more gospel vibrations, among other topics. Check it alongside a gift of a mix below.

How did 'The Master’s Plan' come together? Because it's quite a meaty album.

Robert: It started last January 2023. The first few tracks we did, we tried to feel our way to get a solid concept - mapping it out with a title, concept, artists that we would like to work with. Dames Brown was at the top of our list.

Lyric: Actually, the first person on our list was my mother. We thought about it, and this was a perfect time to do it.

R: Yeah, make it a family affair, with all three of us this time. My wife Eunice, she's been like the silent partner, third member of Floorplan. So we started off working on it here in Alabama, putting together the first few tracks. After that, when we got to Rotterdam for the summer, last year, that's when we really hit our stride and the album really started to come together. We recorded some of the tracks in Rotterdam and worked towards completing it when we got back here to Alabama, which finally happened last month. We just made it!

So you mentioned that in early stages you were trying to figure out a concept, so did a strong concept eventually formalise for you both?

R: 'The Master’s Plan", of course, that's the album title — it’s about eternal salvation. If you take our early works, ‘We Magnify His Name’, ‘We Give Thee Honour’, ‘Never Grow Old’... We decided to expand on all of that and try our best to explain, musically, what Floorplan is all about. We're about John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. And so that's what it's about - spreading the gospel message to the masses.

L: We want everybody to know that God has a plan for everybody, including us. A lot of times, we are confused about what direction we should go together as a family. We pray, and God will show us and reveal to us what we need to do. Especially with the album, He really revealed to us what we need to do and what plans to go. So that is the staple of the whole album, is that God has to plan for all.

R: And we literally walked that out during the process of this album. We followed God's map, his GPS, and sometimes we felt lost and were uncertain about our direction. We always look to God for guidance.

Read this next: Floorplan: A spiritual encounter

Did you find that there were any particular signposts that really stood out for you during the process of making the album that you can recall now and say, “That was a point where we were like, ‘Yep, we're gonna go and do this. That's part of the plan’”.

R: Oh, yeah. I remember, we were in Rotterdam and the artist, Lowell Pye... We had been trying to get with him for years. He's from a legendary Detroit gospel group called Men Of Standard, so he's very busy. It's been a dream of ours to work with him and, when it looked like it wasn't going to happen, we started to contact other potential artists. And then out of nowhere, it just came together. And it came together, naturally I would say, supernaturally! We knew, “Okay, this is definitely a signpost that is indicative of where we were headed. And when we heard the final version all three of us were like “Wow, that's amazing”. It was just perfect and flowed out of us effortlessly.

I love that. From from years of interviewing hundreds of artists by now, I always find that the music that people feel most content with is the music that seems to come from beyond them and and almost writes itself and it doesn't matter if you're just, you know, one person in the bedroom with a laptop In a synthesiser or multiple people in the band, it often happens like that, inspiration comes and everybody's just captivated by this creative energy and it comes out of them. And it's then it's just there. You know, like you used the word effortless there. And I think that's the perfect way to describe it.

R: Yeah. And so that's pretty much the story of the whole album, nothing was forced.

L: For example, for ‘What A Friend’, I didn't know what direction he was going in at first, and, and then it all started to flow together perfectly.

You mentioned bringing in the “silent partner” into the equation, making it even more of a family affair than it already is. But, What has the process of the album done for you on for both of you on a personal level?

R: The experiences we've had last year, in the process of making this album, just further solidified our faith. With all of the adversity that we faced and with travelling, with booking situations and just trying to navigate the music industry, and life period. It was a lot of trials and tests last year. It was very, very trying I will say that. So we've had to really dig in, in our faith and prayer, and really dig in deep in with our connection to God, and press beyond where we were in order for us to go up higher, it's just like trying to ascend the mountain. As a family, we we've had some disagreements, the three of us…

L: …in the end, we came together as one, and got everything situated in our minds and our spirits through communication. We may not agree all the time, but we come together still in love.

R: The Bible says that a three quart strand is not easily broken. We are a unified front and we know that, just like for sure there is a God, there's also the enemy that is constantly working against us. We recognise what the enemy was and we came together in prayer to combat those dark forces that are trying us.

If you're climbing a mountain, or if you're going through an experience that is centred around adversity, then often you will grow and change. I wondered if you might be able to reflect on the process of making the album and identify how you’ve grown?

R: Personally myself, and I think I can speak for my wife and for Lyric as well, it’s trusting God. God never ceases to amaze us. At the moment, we're well connected to God, He sticks closer than a friend. But there are times where we don't necessarily feel God's presence. Those tests will cause us to say, “Where are you, God?” In the middle of all of this - in our health, in travelling, in our state of mind, our peace, our wellbeing, mental wellbeing. Sometimes it seemed like this might be our last endeavour, but God reassured us that “I am always here”. So that took us to another level of trust in our faith, I believe and we needed that.

L: It has inspired us to keep going and to keep moving and keep working - and to want to improve ourselves and our music as well. And believe that God is working in our favour.

R: Last year, I remember that we had ‘Keep On Movin'’ by Soul II Soul stuck in our head and that became our mantra. Eternal classic. I love Jazzie B and that whole collective man. It was an amazing time. I remember that being such a progressive song, as a Detroiter.

There are a lot of people out there that don't have a connection to God, maybe they're atheist, or simply don’t care. But the general themes of like hope, optimism, love connection, even exorcising your demons, releasing emotions, are universal themes. So if you're someone that has an aversion to religion, which some people out there do, I don't think it really matters, because it's the impact of the music, the vibration of the music and the messages. These are all things that are relevant to the human experience.

L: Every time we finish our DJ sets, and we're ready to leave, and there's always somebody that comes up to us and says, “This set has changed me" or "the set has given me life”. We know that not everybody is in church, or has the same religion that we represent and we understand that. Our goal is to get the message through anyway, in any way we can.

R: What you said about the sound and the vibration… We experience all types of emotions, and that's the soul. The soul houses the mind, the will and the emotions and the things that we feel anger, for sure - and love, joy, happiness.. You can't see those things, you can't touch them. The same with spiritual things, you can't touch those either, but they’re real. You can't touch a melody, but you can feel it, you can hear it, you can't lay hands on it, but you feel the vibration, like you said. That’s what the gospel sound is - vibration. Rock music is vibration, reggae is vibration. Some music is derogative, some is delightful. Some of it is angry. There's a myriad of emotions that resonate from sound. But the gospel sound is good for your heart, it’s good for your soul. They say that, pleasant music, like opera, classical music, and just happy music, you could play that to a cell and it will respond either in an adverse way to it or in a good way, depending on the vibration. So that's what we try to send out - God vibrations. The world needs it, especially in these times, war with Ukraine and Russia, and what's happening in Gaza with Israel and all of that. People need this.

You must have a heart of stone if you can't experience gospel and feel some positivity because it's just absolutely abundant with positive vibrations.

R: The Gospel sound is the most powerful in the universe. It’s just a pleasure for us. It's such a privilege for us to have this opportunity to spread this message of God's love and that's what it's all about. It's not just for me, but it's for all mankind.

Read this next: Supernatural creature: Robert Hood is the techno pioneer who refuses to slow down

On the subject of ‘Keep On Moving’ as a mantra, what is coming up next?

L: We’re getting ready to go on tour and still in the studio daily working on random things. I'm working on some solo projects and things, releasing some new music, and my dad has as well. There are some Floorplan tracks that have got us thinking, “What if we did part two?”, because they still fit the theme.

R: We’re still praying, trying to figure out what the next step is and we just don't know. We'll just keep on moving. We’re still in the studio. From that momentum, it's just hard to slow down.

What does it mean to you to be able to work together as a family unit, the three of you? It was already such a beautiful to see you working as father and daughter, and now having Mrs. Hood involved too…

R: It is a high that I cannot explain. The three of us are very creative and we're constantly talking about ideas, whether it be in music or art. And my wife has a theatrical, dramatic, artistic background. She is a creative force. When Lyric was a baby, it crossed our minds, “What if”, and so, when it started to happen and take shape, it was just like, “Wow”. We started to really see the possibilities, and the vision that, collectively, we had for Lyric joining me with Floorplan. It's still amazing to all of us that this is actually happening.

L: I was going to add that, when we were working on the intro for the album, all three of us came together to discuss what kind of intro we were going to have for the album. Once we came up with that idea of a radio style type of introduction… My mom has a perfect voice for that. So she wrote out her lines for it and it was absolutely perfect. It sounded exactly the way we wanted.

R: I know I'm constantly quoting scriptures, but the scripture says that, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I also in the midst of them." You ever see a crowd at a football game, where they do a wave in unison... When we're on one chord, that's what will happen with the Holy Spirit.

Can you tell us about your instalment of The Mix?

L: We are honoured and grateful to be able to deliver a message through this album and this mix, the message is that God has a plan for all of us. This album is a gift from us to the world.

'The Master's Plan' is out now via Classic Music Company, get it here

Marcus Barnes is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Mixmag, follow him on Instagram

Earthtone intro (Feat. Earthtone) - Floorplan
The Plan - Floorplan
Get On The Floor (Extended Mix) - Yvvan Back
Flashe No Deux - Floorplan
What You Need - Floorplan
Everybody Pumpin’ 2023 (Extended Mix) - Antoine Calmaran, Agua Sin Gas
Concord Groove (Extended Mix) - Smalltown DJs
No Ones Ready - Floorplan
Needin U’ (Extended Mix) - David Morales, Wh0, Sam Francisco
What A Friend - Floorplan
Get Get Down - Monki
Praise - Dale Move
Don’t You Doubt It - Floorplan
The Power (Extended Mix) - Wh0, Anelisa Lamola
Get Your Thing Together - Floorplan
Get This Feeling (Extended Mix) - Mark Knight, Darius Syrossian Prospect Park
Feel it - Floorplan
Fake & Unholy Feat Honey Dijon - Floorplan
Give Us Your Light Feat Dames Brown - Floorplan

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