What’s It Like Playing Nightclubs With Your Dad?

What’s It Like Playing Nightclubs With Your Dad?

With its late nights, loud clubs and standard diet of drugs and alcohol, electronic music generally ranks among the least family friendly genres. But for minimal techno legend Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric, the scene is more wholesome family affair.

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The father/daughter duo have played together as Floorplan since 2016 — when Lyric was still a teenager — touring nightclubs across the U.S. and Europe and playing festivals from Coachella to CRSSD to Tomorrowland. This summer they’ll perform at clubs including Ibiza’s Hï and Ushuaïa and Berlin’s Panorama Bar, and will release their new album, an 18-track collection of slick, rich, energizing house music called The Master’s Plan, on June 21 through Classic Music Company. Ahead of that, they’ll celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, June 16, which is also Lyric’s 27th birthday.

“We have synced minds,” Lyric, an only child, says of herself and her dad. She says it’s not uncommon for her to be thinking of the track she wants to play next while onstage, then seeing that her dad has already queued it up.

While the elder Hood debuted Floorplan in the early 2000s, Lyric joined the project years later, when her parents realized that the scion of Detroit techno royalty simply had DJ-ing in her blood. Lyric and her parents — who’ve been married for nearly 30 years — were figuring out what type of entertainment to have at her 16th birthday party. The trio ultimately decided that Lyric would DJ the celebration. She started practicing, debuting her skills for the friends and family assembled at the party, her first gig.

“She was a natural,” Robert says over the phone from the family home in Alabama, where the family moved to from Detroit year ago. “My wife and I had previously discussed the ‘what if’s — like if Lyric became a DJ too. We said, ‘Wow, we don’t know if we want her in the music business — but if she has a calling, if she has a talent for it, let’s push her in that direction and support her.”

The opportunity to provide that support came naturally. At Hood’s 2015 set at Movement festival in Detroit, he let Lyric take over the decks for part of the show. Her selections — Katy Perry songs mixed with Martin Garrix tracks, Beyoncé’s “Formation,” etc. — was not what the audience, some of them wearing t-shirts reading “I’m Here for Hood,” had expected when assembling to hear the minimal techno that established the elder Hood as a revered genre pioneers. He was cool with that.

“It was just all an experiment to see what she felt [like playing] without trying to fit her into my minimal techno box,” says Robert. “I decided to let her be her.”

Things progressed swiftly from there, with the pair producing music together and releasing their first collaborative album as Floorplan, Victorious, in 2016. They started touring heavily in the U.S. and Europe — and while Lyric wasn’t necessarily shocked by anything she was seeing, having grown up in green rooms and backstage areas (her first time onstage was when she introduced her dad onstage at France’s I Love Techno festival when she was 12), her new position in the DJ booth gave her an especially good view of standard-issue clubland debauchery.

“There’s a couple of couple of clubs in particular, that I’m like, ‘Okay, I know I have to shield her eyes, because I know that something sketchy is going on over to the left,’” says Robert. “‘So let’s go this way so we can just get to the DJ booth.”

“Our first Coachella experience,” Lyric continues. “We had to walk with our eyes closed, with blinders, because there were a lot of different people dressed a certain way. It was like, ‘Let’s just get to where we’re going and not look around.’”

For Robert, it’s a a much more comfortable and happy experience to guide his daughter through the industry rather than sending her off to navigate it on her own. “It’s a little less-than-wholesome atmosphere for a young adult,” he says, “and so it’s about parental guidance. A party or club festival atmosphere can be a little bit risqué. I’m a hands-on dad and always have been. She’s seen some not-so-wholesome things, but I’m there guiding and covering her.”

“Some people would say that I’m a over-protective dad,” he adds, “but I’m proudly over-protective.”

The impulse to avoid the hedonism of the scene is heightened, given the religious beliefs that also heavily influence Floorplan’s music. The project originally launched in 2002, with Robert bringing it back years later, around the same time he became an ordained minister. The music is steeped in messaging about “magnifying His name” and “giving Thee honor,” and the titular “Master” in The Master’s Plan is God. Lyric says the life guidelines she’s gotten from the church also function as career advice.

“Staying close to God is probably the main advice that they give me regularly,” Lyric says of her parents. “Even today, they always tell me how important is to stay close to God, and to say in prayer, know that God is protecting you. Even if I’m traveling alone, or if I am with my dad, or even just in life in general, God is always there to protect me.”

And the way they see it, given the sense of spiritual connection that a really good dancefloor can inherently foster, their spiritual mission fits in neatly to their work.

“It’s like taking the message to the streets,” Robert says “I’ve seen people who minister in places like New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but our approach is probably a lot less preachy, and more of a Trojan horse. The message isn’t buried in the music, it’s there at the forefront — but it’s sort of married to that beat and to that rhythm.”

And clubs and festivals, he says, are “already set up for it. You have the pulpit, the sanctuary, the congregation, the minister… It’s sort of like having a revival in the middle of a festival.”

Many such revivals are are on the horizon for the Hood family, with Lyric and her parents soon relocating to Amsterdam for the summer. The city will be a home base while Floorplan jets to sets in Ibiza, Berlin, Defected Festival Croatia, and fests in France, Ireland and beyond.

Both warm, relaxed and funny on the phone, the pair have obvious affection and respect for each other, saying that while they sometimes disagree about the direction that any given set should go, they’ve never second-guessed working together or disagreed about the direction of the project. And over time, the younger Hood has even become the project’s de facto leader.

“Lyric is brutally honest when it comes to, ‘Okay, that’s not good. I don’t like that.’ She’s a young upstart — so she has her ear to the street more so than I do, because I’m an old man,” Robert says with a laugh. “You kind of gotta let the kids steer the bus.”