Photo by Julian Tobon
The new album "All Are One" (credited to Sophe Lux and the Mystic), is both a logical extension of your previous albums but also much grander in scope. You also recorded it with longtime collaborator Larry Crane, which lends it some continuity to your past work. What was the impetus behind changing the moniker and did it impact the way you approached this set of songs?
Adding "The Mystic” to the moniker was inspired to give birth to the alter ego and bona fide character called “The Mystic" who shows up in the videos and narrates some of the songs. The new moniker also reflects the ideas and themes on “All Are One.” Lastly, the new moniker also represents my return to being a solo artist.
The album was born out of a passion to create an alternative discussion to counter the rampant dystopic themes in pop culture. I wanted to construct a body of work that created a response to the violence, classism, sexism, and lack of compassion in the world. I asked myself “how can we love what could be, instead of hate or fear what is?” The answer came to me in dreams, visions, and meditation sessions. These ideas then turned into the songs, characters, and music that make up the new album. Working with Larry Crane was a pleasure as always.
You came out of a very fertile musical community in Portland - did that affect your development as a songwriter and performer?
Being in Portland has affected me in a very positive way in that it is a creative climate that supports individuality in creative expression. This is a place where it is safe to “let your freak flag fly.” It’s also a place where you can also retreat into your bear cave hibernation chamber and go deep into your creative space. I cloistered myself away like a monk when I worked on this one.
I recently spoke with Josh Haden (of the band Spain) and Petra Haden (a cappella singer extraordinaire, ex- that dog.) about the impact of siblings and family members working in similar creative spheres. Your brother Todd has quite a bit of acclaim as a filmmaker. How did that effect your artistic development? I have to imagine that there was a system of healthy competition and support there.
Growing up with Todd as a big brother has been a great gift. We were most fortunate. Our home was a hub of constant creative activity and discovery. Todd is one of the most creative and intelligent humans I have ever met. I have always looked up to him as an artist, human being and cultural educator. I think I learned about my creative process by observing his creative process. He exposed me to great art, music, and film. I never felt in competition with him. There is a tremendous love and support between us.
Can you tell me a bit about your songwriting process - do you typically come up with the music first or a lyrical idea?
My songwriting process is primarily intuitive, but can be very intentional and practical. I usually set an intention for a song idea, do some research for inspiration, and then let my subconscious and intuitive faculties take over from there.
What were some of your formative influences? I think that the easy longline would be to Eno and early electro artists, but the new album has some very strong Sparks-like moments as well.
My early influences: Eno, YES! David Bowie, Bjork, Radiohead, David Byrne, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, 4 AD Artists, Real World Records Artists, Laurie Anderson, The Clash, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell. Classical: Beethoven, Strauss, Hildegard Von Bingen, East Indian Classical, Choral and Chamber music.
I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you ?
"The Love Comet” is one of my favorites as it has achieved something I was looking for in having a song grounded in form and content. The video also helps anchor my good feelings about the song.
What's on tap for you next?
I have been planning, practicing, and dialing in the live performance of “All Are One.” It’s a big job, but is its going to work!! I am working on transferring the tracks into Albeton Live and adding video screens to create an audio visual show that is fun to watch while being super portable.
I have 32 songs in the queue waiting to be recorded. So I am excited to get back into the studio.