I am pleased to offer my lovely readers the newest addition to my magical interview series here at Flight of Hermes. Today I am blessed to share the musings of someone who has touched my life, heart, mind, and soul since the genesis of my humble blog. Many of you may already know him from his own blog Suecae Sounds. Robert is an exquisitely talented musician, photographer, and philanthropist. Whenever I need a little boost of inspiration I often find myself listening to his new musical creations or pursuing through the many nature inspired photos he has posted to his site. I even have the honor of owning one of these lovely pieces (and if you're looking for a unique and uplifting gift, I suggest shopping Sucea Sounds!). But, as much as I love his art work...I love his mind and soul even more. Robert and I have shared many conversations over the years and his incredible depth as a person and enlightening thoughts are like a blossoming lotus bursting from the dark waters. I believe this interview offers a nice glimpse of him and a reflection of his new album Alpha 3...a gorgeously dark symphony of electronic music....think Angels sweeping through stormy, electric clouds! And if I may be so bold...great album to play in the background if your doing any type of Lunar work.... Yes, of course I will post the link! Here it is http://suecae.bandcamp.com/album/alpha-3
Now, without further adieu....
1.) Some of our readers may be familiar with you already from the blogosphere, especially from your own blog Suecae Sounds and from your various musings on others' music, photography, and magical/spiritual based blogs. Has magic/spirituality inspired your photography and art or vice versa? If so could you allow us to peek inside the veil as to how they may work together in your mind/soul to create a completed work?
To me, art is about– a careful process in which the artist continuously realizes his or her possibilities to partake in acts of creation. You train, practice and work your way to master your instruments – you learn to distinguish and see the hurdles and struggles not as a burden, but rather a process of joy. Art has taught me to see life in a less mechanic way, I believe it has made me kinder. In one of the aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche, he claims: ”Art makes the sight of life bearable by laying over it the veil of unclear thinking.” (My emphasis)
I think this has a truism in it, but rather than seeing art as a force of unclear thinking, I think it is a cry of the soul to render life into what it could be. True art is a transformative force that challenges us at the very core of being, it asks us questions about existence. Great art can move us beyond our lifeless systems of thought, beyond ourselves, and makes us known to ourselves!
Also, spirituality has definitely influenced me, in a number of ways – to me it comes forward in its most profound in seemingly simplistic acts. In the Christian communion, the short poems of the Taoists, the Sufis of world religions, the easy going playfulness of children. My motifs, music and images draw inspiration from all of this. Even when I am portraying what could be considered the anti-thesis to these aspects of existence. When I write music I attempt to reflect the underlying currents of life, create pieces that move me. I believe this can be apparent in my musical creations.
But it is important to note that spirituality is a vague term that can range from everything from a belief system to certain types of practices. When it is used to describe something that is not transformative, it becomes something which is all too common; ideological makeup. I believe it is important that whatever practices you do, you should do it in order to celebrate the holies. And perhaps more importantly, it can bring a redeeming and redemptive quality to existence which makes destructive conditions we find ourselves in, loosen its grip over the mind.
2.) You just released a new album...can you tell us a bit about it and its deeper meaning to you?
On the outset, I think most may feel that Alpha 3, the short album in question, has a certain amount of emotive songwriting in it – and this is certainly true. To me, it was very challenging to write, I pour myself into what I do, and I wish for my work to reflect a wordless state of depth. There are deeper layers that are meant to create such an impact as to render me, and hopefully others, sensible towards underlying themes of life. The overarching goal is for my art to be authentic. I created it to learn to know myself, following the old maxim, and the remarkable thing – is that when others tell me how it impacts them, it deepens my understanding of myself as well.
3.) Sometimes when I listen to your music I get a sensation of floating in the darkness, almost as if I'm experiencing the beginning of creation, or the Holy Womb energy. I'm sure each person has their own experience with your music, but please tell us what message would you like your listener's to come away with?
I'd like the listener to create their own worlds with the aid of my music. When you really listen, you create music with me. Saying that, hearing you say this confirms my own wishes, most readers here should be aware of the Hebrew concept of G-d and what predates the tree of life. Not using the specific terms of that system, I believe music could be seen as a re-imagining of the beginning and what came before. I’d like to propose the idea that music is one of the ultimate ways of connecting to not only our potential, but also remind us of that which is sacral, that which we cannot conceptualize through the written language can be performed through melodies and rhythm.
Even if we accept the materialist notion that anything beyond ourselves, in the physical sense, are fantasies, which I personally don’t - the bios, life, our eros sublimated as a longing for agape still demands us to move beyond ourselves. I’d like my listeners through the act of experiencing music to become more themselves then what they were.
4.) What are your future artistic plans? Where do you feel that artistic evolutionary energy is bringing you?
The currents are high, the sea doesn’t allow for clear vision. Still, I think most know that there is a joy in going into the unknown. Alpha 3 is out there. I cannot control how people will react to it, although I am very happy to see that it has found a few hearts until now. Recently, I've made some changes to my studio that may alter some of my working methods musically, perhaps this will be reflected in future works. Consciously I am trying to move into a place in which I relate to my own creative process, and also listening, in such a way that it doesn’t become mechanistic. Having said that, art continues to be both a place for discipline as well as freedom to me.
4.) You are also involved in quite a few humanitarian/social reform efforts. Can you share with us some of the issues that your passionate about? Do you feel as if your spiritual/magical life has anyway affected your motivation to go forth and be involved in these efforts?
If you are serious about life, and look at our common potential, I believe you may come to the natural conclusion that both economic and political dimensions that impacts life needs to be reformed. For a long time I’ve been engaged in a collaborative political projects. This being said, I don’t believe in reducing the political process to argue about which party to cast one’s vote for.
The natural sciences are quite clear in terms of the threat man made pollution is posing to the biosphere. It is also becoming increasingly clear that “business as usual” is not a viable option. I consider this not a “natural” process, an unavoidable turn of events, but a willful movement that is considered natural because to many leaders do not want to take responsibility for their actions.
This is, for me, a depressive insight at times. But still it is important to remind oneself that there are people who do great things. Grassroots political campaigns, social support-structures and communities are there and can be seen as a constant reminder of what needs to be done, and also, what actually Is done. I know of the emotional impact of a few people expressing support for their favorite artist, can have. Similarly, I believe people in general have more power then what they sometimes choose to acknowledge or exercise.
I work on maintaining a very calm relationship to what I view as holy. Maintaining a center when you are taken in by a storm can make all the difference to the outcome, or at least, it serves as an ideal to me. Down deep, the way we more commonly looked on the heart before it became reduced to a physical machine, makes sense to me. I have to remind me to let it; the heart and its hopes, be the motivator behind my actions.
5.) Lastly, an old tradition here on the Flight of Hermes is to offer a free-flowing moment where you can share your life wisdom with the rest of us. What important lessons do you feel as if you learned up to this point in your life...if you could share any knowledge or opinion with the rest of us, what would it be?
I am a literary person. I could share a few quotes. But I choose rather to speak a little about life.
The age old divide between body and soul is pretty much dead in the western world, but the divide hasn't been bridged, or replaced with something better, we have reached a point in which the spirit, psyche or soul is denied its existence, aside from recognizing it on a purely instrumental level. For some, I believe the experience of being confronted with this social truth, could be very painful.
Also, there is a strong appeal in what could be seen as abstraction run amok, reducing life into theory. This will most likely not give us the existential understanding of life that we so clearly seek. It can rather be seen, perhaps, as a way to keep life at a distance. But Ethics starts with Bios. Understanding is experiential. Life is dynamic, it changes, and we probably shouldn’t reduce our “maps” in which we help to guide ourselves in life, to canonical law in the fundamentalist sense. Also: be humble and try to be kind. Find people in which you can engage in dialogue, look for friendship. Perhaps our idea of community, of friends, can yet again become a force for recovering lost meaning.
At least, that is one of my hopes…
Thank you so much for taking your time to share your thoughts with us Robert. I am already looking forward to hearing more thoughts and music.
Nosce te Ipsum