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Inbox Interviews: Rob Milton – Before They Tear Us Down

While putting together the playlist for this Sunday’s program (The B-Side), I came across independent Christian recording artist Rob Milton’s album Electric Feel. The groove driven beats carried a message vaguely relevant to today’s national issues and beckoned to be clarified in my mind.  His album art cleverly donned a fist (reminiscent of the 60’s civil rights era) with disconnected audio cables in place of veins. I had to have answers to what all of this meant. Luckily, Rob is a Facebook friend of mine! So, I contacted him via his inbox and we had an interesting discussion about his music and the current social unrest in Baltimore, MD.



Gene Keys Burke
 Gene Keys Burke

Sir!

Fam! Whassup?

I’m good, Rob.  I have a question.

Yes, sir?

Your album, Electric Feel – I was looking at the graphic for it; What was the meaning behind it?

It was based on the words in the title track of that project: “We have the reach…we can do more.” Essentially, it’s referring to how social media and all of these online outlets have given us all a platform that we could be using to stand together and better the world around us.

I love that.

Thanks!

Thank you for always supporting as well, man! It’s really appreciated!

How do you think that message pertains to the unrest happening on in our country today (Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, etc)?

I think that the message becomes more and more relevant every day. We use social media to express how our opinions about these trials, uprisings, and other hot button topics but half of the time we’re speaking with a lack of knowledge and a lack of sensitivity. We’re on Facebook saying what everybody should or should not be doing…yet all we’re doing is typing on Facebook. On the flip-side, people have begun to use Twitter & Facebook to combat the media’s lies and propaganda and to spread the word on what they’re actually seeing happen on the ground. I think if we’re all focused on spreading the truth that way and searching for ways to be helpful rather than just being critical, we would be doing the “more” that I refer to in the song.

Thanks for this reminder man. I never try to use my music as a selling point during these type of situations, but this message is important. I needed that.

Gene Keys Burke Gene Keys Burke

In “Jump & Move”, you mention “…before they tear us down” Does that have a broader connotation? Like a social cry?

Well, “Jump & Move” was more so about independent artists and how if people don’t buy/support our art, we won’t be able to continue to make it.  So, “…before they tear us down” would be artists more so fading away and having to go back to 9-5s to pay bills.

Gotcha.  It caught my attention as I was researching songs for my show on Sunday. So, I had to ask.

How do you personally feel about what’s happening in Baltimore right now?

I believe that this moment was bound to happen. But from the stories that I’ve seen teachers and onlookers tell, the police provoked yesterday’s events. And now the media is replaying the same images over and over to drive the point that these “thugs” (as the Mayor said) deserve to be treated as such. I want to be appalled and shocked like everyone else at the looting and violence…but then I watch the anchors speak with such concern in their voice about the injured officers and the burned down CVS and I realize that I’ve never heard them have that concern when the lives of our people are taken by the police.

It’s an uncomfortable place to be in emotionally.  In addition, I wish that change could be immediate and things could automatically get better. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s possible.

Yeah, man. I was literally brought to tears this morning watching coverage of the events down there for that exact reason. It seems as if the media only cares about property loss.

Yeah. That’s more devastating to me than the damage, to be honest. There’s another CVS around the next corner, I’m sure! There’s not another Freddie, Mike, Trayvon etc.

Gene Keys Burke Gene Keys Burke

Exactly!

Do you have any family members or friends in the Baltimore area?

I have a few friends out there but no family that I’m aware of.

You guys are in Philly, right?

Yup, we’re in Philly!

The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Camden was next…

That’s the scary thing! It can be any city in the country next.

Right!

Rob, thank you for taking the time to speak with me about all of this.

thank you for the conversation!


I will be featuring some of Rob Milton’s music this Sunday evening on The B-Side, so make sure you check out the program at 7pm EST on www.lookupradio.com.  Also, do me a favor and support Indie artist like Rob Milton. Follow him on Twitter – @therobmilton and on Facebook.com/therobmilton