The next piece from 'Human' is 'What Goes Up'
I don't like choosing favorites, but this song is particularly dear to me as it includes a portion of a talk by Ram Dass - spiritual teacher, psychologist and author.
During the lockdown I was listening to a lot of Portishead, Tricky and others in the vein of trip-hop. It was around this time that I realized the absolute magic of rhythm. - Sure I've always found rhythm to be important, but this was a moment where I began to groove with sound, exploring dance and understanding on a deeper level the tribalism of beats that awakens something inside the body that you can't quite explain. While simultaneously reawakening my fascination with synthesizers and electronic sounds.
When I was 14 I was introduced to Fruityloops, a digital audio workstation I downloaded to the family computer - This was my first, lets say, escape, or rather, envelopment into music.
The lockdown took me (and so many others) off the stage and thrust me back into computer composition - Where I spent countless hours learning more about how to record, mix and expand my "traditional" methods of finding sound.
The entirety of 'Human' began, at one point, as a project first in Ableton Live - and evolved with my band and over the course of recording, into what you hear in the singles today.
My introduction to Ram Dass:
I grew up in many spiritual environments - always surrounded by discussions on topics such as the meaning of life, life after death, dissecting ideas of other religions, philosophy, how the mind works and so on. I was challenged at a very young age to constantly question my surroundings and inner world. Something I'm so grateful for as it only helped to expand my intense curiosities into adulthood about this human experience we are all in.
I began my own independent investigation at 17 when I left home to hitch-hike around western United States, which I did on and off over the following three years. Along the way I met lots of people with many different backgrounds, beliefs, directions and struggles but there always seemed to be a common thread among them all. A sense of outcastedness. In which, a lot of us dealt with, through drug or alcohol abuse. There was a lot of internal suffering that was visible.
It brought up the question for me... “Is something wrong with us? Or is something wrong with the way we've evolved as a civilisation to deal with pain?"
I came across and explored many ideas along the way, mainly those dealing with spiritualism, to try to make sense of the condition I was in, and what I observed in the world around me.
One of which being a philosophy that came along with a book titled "Be Here Now" by a psychologist and Harvard professor turned spiritual teacher by the name of Ram Dass.
Now, the word Guru had always left me rolling my eyes. At that point the term seemed to be too often thrown around by "be one with everything, sister" hippies - who recited impersonal wisdoms that sounded as though they were reading off the thumbnails from a “woke quotes” google search, while staring compassionately into your eyes. It lacked authenticity. Substance. A real story of a real human life, which in the small experience I’d had, always seemed to contain, on some level, suffering.
But in this book - Ram Dass particularly caught my attention in the sea of “wokness” because he was the first one I'd come across offering a real story. Stories about suffering and difficulty, something raw and relatable - and the possibility of a new perspective.
For years to come I would encounter the ideas of Ram Dass, but it wasn't until I fell into another round of deep suffering myself during the lockdown that his philosophies / teachings resurfaced in my life and I was at the right place in my journey for his words to hit home more than they ever had before.
I began taking a deeper look inward. (it was a pretty good time to do so) and his presence, among others, greatly influenced how I processed my inner world, the world around me and ultimately influenced the art I make.
'What Goes Up' is an experience of suffering in which one becomes just broken enough that the light is able to shine through.
Thank you for being here.
I'm sending you all love wherever you're at today.
The talk by Ram Dass was provided by Love Serve Remember Foundation - the incredible humans serving to keep these teachings alive.
You can explore his teachings at: http://www.ramdass.org
Or listen to the talk that is used in the song: https://youtu.be/Esmc-Q009Kw