ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: The Beat Index, Future Plans

Garage rockers Future Plans played alongside a solo set from Harrison Colby at Circle A Saturday night. Colby’s band Chit Chat was supposed to play but could not due to a sick band member. Colby instead played a set consisting of Chit Chat songs, The Beat Index songs, and a Suicide-Rexxx double cover (he plays rhythm guitar for Rexxx).

The Beat Index is Colby’s solo audiovisual project, stylistically influenced by electronic punk, synthpop, and krautrock.

“For me it’s like a chance to experiment with different genres and structures. Even if I don’t know how to play them, I figure out how I could play them.”

His debut album “Volume One: Juvenilia” was released in July 2020.

“I amassed songs that were not Rexxx or NO/NO, and they were all over the place, so I tried to design something like a box to fit a wide eclectic thing. Calling it “The Beat Index” is to index my songs that even if I’m not doing anything else with them, people at least get to hear them.”

Prior to Saturday, he’d never done The Beat Index material live.

“It felt weird. I had done a live stream Milwaukee Record thing but that was pre-recorded. Now that I’ve done it, I realized that it wasn’t scary at all. I think if I had more time, it’d be a bigger deal and wouldn’t just be a Casio keyboard and guitar. Next time I’d consider doing it more.”

He’s got “Volume Two” ready to go and plans for a late summer release.

“It’s definitely not anything like the first one, and creatively it was such a stretch for me. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but also the best thing I’ve ever done – in a recording setting. I set the bar super high and didn’t quite meet it but I almost got there.”

Both Rexxx and Chit Chat are recording new albums as well. Quite an exciting time for Harrison Colby!

Future Plans consists of vocalist/guitarist Travis McDonnell, guitarist Andy Sharlein, bassist Trevor Broskowski, and drummer Corey Baumann. They formed in 2015, named by McDonnell for those vague things hanging over your head that you want to do but before you know it, you’re older and haven’t done any of them.

“The album art of our first record was done by Harrison Colby and he did a great job of capturing that feeling,” McDonnell said.

Said first record came out in December 2019.

McDonnell explains, “Initially there was a label in Portland that was going to put it out, but they kind of folded in the middle of the process so we had to take up a lot of the mechanisms as we went. We didn’t get to do a lot of promotion unfortunately, and then COVID hit.”

Baumann adds, “We got to play our release show and that was at Quarters with The Cut-Outs and it was awesome. Then we played a matinee show with Brat Sounds at High Dive but it was the same night as Get Rad’s reunion show and All Messed Up was going on so we were just kind of playing for each other and some bar-hoppers. It was a good time, but then we played one show out of town and then COVID hit. We’ve played two Milwaukee shows in two years.”

Their first show after quarantine was with The Lemonheads at X-Ray Arcade in November.

“That was amazing,” Baumann said. “We lucked into it because they originally asked Soup Moat to play but Frank couldn’t do it so let me know about it, so I immediately said “fuck it” and I hit them up and they told us to come play. It was the first time I’d ever set up in front of the rest of the gear and so we had to tiptoe around the stage to make sure we didn’t bump a guitar, like Evan Dando’s acoustic that he’s had since he was like twelve. He watched our sound check and was the only person in the room, and he came up and was like “that was really good” and that was so exciting.”

McDonnell shares what the band is working on now.

“We’ve got a bunch of new songs and we’re hoping to do some recording in the near future. I’ve been writing about near-middle age life, like one song is called “Light Sleeper” and it’s about waking up in the middle of the night and the thoughts creep in and then you’re not able to go back to sleep.”

Future Plans play in Sheboygan on March 11th.

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