Fingers graze along the dusted black and white ivory, simultaneously striking and filling the dusked city streets with an orange luminescence. The electricity sparks in the optimistic voice of a guitar and the lamps hum low but confidently in agreement, as the rat-a-tat-tat of drums approaches from further down the way. Someone starts to sing; a schoolboy- no- a pickpocket; left alone to wander the darkening, citrus, stone paths. Yet on the other side of town, another voice sings out- sometimes in unison; sometimes in a harmony- and together, their voices echo off the walls of the buildings, perpetuating the cycles of hope and tumult that give such a ghost town its life.
This is surely a dream.
It is a manifestation of the dreams of Benvolio Willson and Mark Strong- two fellows who have spent their lives trying to get it right; attempting to make their most intangible dreams tangible “for the first time in years”.
Being children of Virginia, it was rather natural for both Strong and Willson to have a deep yearning to head out for the “Great City”- whether it lie in California or NY- but both had their different initial paths towards fame.
Strong actually touched on his dream, heading out to California in 2001 as a keyboardist/backing vocalist with the Richmond-born band The Waking Hours to play at many big name venues along the Western coast of the US with many up and coming artists such as, Maroon 5, Rooney, Say Anything, as well as shared the stage with members of Weezer. He then left the band in 2003 to form his own project as a singer, guitarist, keyboardist and bassist with fellow keyboardist Jillinda Palmer and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jake Gideon, entitled Edison Gower. The band hit it semi-big when they landed a song in the independent film 29 Reasons to Run, as well as in the WB show, Glory Days but eventually Strong couldn’t afford California living and sadly resigned back to Richmond in 2005.
It was then that Strong browsed on Myspace.com, discovering the work and styles of local musician Benvolio’s fresh piano styles and lyrics quite enticing, and contacted Benvolio with a means to collaborate. Benvolio was still finishing up his “sentence” at college, recording songs semi-timidly within the concrete walls of his dorm room. His being locked away at college initially made it hard to efficiently collaborate but, by late 2006, they had shared a show together as separate musicians and the dawn of 2007 brought forth a cohesive idea as We Know, Plato!.
The duo initially enlisted the aid of a superb drummer, Richmond-newcomer Daniel Medley, fresh out of high school, to carry the rhythm with excellent discretion. WK,P! played two shows as a trio, meanwhile recruiting savvy New Zealander and female vocalist Julia Manhire to further accommodate both Willson’s and Strong’s hallowing harmonies, and completing the WK,P! puzzle with bassist Steve Chiles, of the band Brian Bachman and the New Romancers.
The band is swiftly picking up speed with the recent release of their debut EP “In Moonlit Sound”- a pre-5-member WK,P! album on which only Strong and Willson appear; shooting new prolific promo pictures; rapidly developing song material; and contagiously-growing show line-up in the Richmond area. It’s a goal that it won’t be long before the polaroid lyrics and hauntingly hopeful music of We Know, Plato! lights the streets with orange and puts pounding hearts and aching minds at ease.