Pepper Gomez Talks About the Creative Process Of The Master Plan Photos

The Master Plan photos were a result of my view of the music and the knowledge I had gained in a year of college photography applied to my vision.  I had watched as many a fine musician simply not get their foot in the musical door.  I always thought that there had to be a way – even though in those days, there weren’t the same opportunities for indies as there are today in the digital age.  So, after watching 8 1/2  bumble a prime opportunity in front of the majors, I told O’Callaghan that there had to be a better way.

 So, we embarked on the creation of Master Plan.  I named it that way because I wanted to have a plan to go along with the creative force ( I had no idea that Hitler also named his plan same and even less that there would be a second Master Plan after us in a completely different genre, LOL).  The first song we did was based on the “once a hit always a hit” formula and I happened to have loved the Seeds song, “Pushin Too Hard.”  So that song was chosen and we did it  in our own Chicago house style. 

We were hearing house as it developed in its infancy and it was easy for us to create in that style as that was what we liked and was born from our Chicago heart – though I always brought a little Latin to any music I did as of course based on my roots. I also always brought a little poetry with a “talking” part at the top of the song.  Most amazingly, especially for me, as I NEVER win anything, on a lark we entered the Columbia College AEMMP record contract competition and won!  AEMMP was the Columbia College student run label just launching that year.  I was quite surprised and before we knew it, we were in the studio, a real studio, recording the formal disc.  It was an underground hit and I was starting to think that there might be a method to the madness that is the music field. 

On that success, we put together a little demo in “Studio Basico” – in my view everything needed a name so it would sound cooler than it was  but in fact Studio Basicao was just a little 4-track recording machine.  Hahaha!  Actually, the demo turned out really great but I believe that the logo I had my friend Kate Guerra do as well as the photos, really made our package appealing to the eye.  The logo was of a robotish type man in front of a keyboard and holding the globe.  He was coming out of a box like a Jack – In – The – Box  – as I felt we all have to break out of the boxes that world tries to put us in.  The globe represented that we wanted to create a music that was new and could touch people all over the world. 

The photos were extremely fun for me.  I wanted to do our faces close up as well as a more panoramic shot.  The close – up stands out not only because of the futuristic costumes I had especially made for the shoot but also due to the neon halo that O’Callaghan wore.  It didn’t fit him perfectly but it worked thankfully.  Our friends, including photographer Dan Miller worked for peanuts to help us get the shots.  You’ll see us coming out from behind the curtain – as I poet I love the symbolism of it all and feel the shot is quite striking. 

The more panoramic shot was set against a Chicago brick wall and used the theme of graffiti on a woman’s body and the wall to spell out Master Plan.  It was a tad risqué at that time but too tasteful for anyone to care.  I believe I was the first person to do a concept of this type.  I wish the M had turned out clearer but I still love that shot and the way the skirt reflects that light that Master Plan was trying to create with its music.  

To this day, I still like styling photos.  I love the photo shoot I did with Elena Andujar for her recent disc, “Flamenco In Time.”  We managed to get three looks done in one session!  When you’re indie, you have to work fast so you can stretch funds and of course, do it as well or better than those with deep pockets.  I also love to describe my concepts and let the photographers just shoot.  This is what happened with the photos for Matt Warren’s disc, “Music Is My Life” shot in Chicago by Liz Meyer-Warren. 

I’ve been growing and challenging myself as bring some of my crazy visions and the worlds of dance to Wake Up! Music’s videos and absolutely loving the results.  At Wake Up! Music, I am blessed to work closely with an extremely talented group of video producers.  Our goals haven’t changed much as we continue to love to bring new music to the people, incite dancing and connect with the world!


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