Friday, June 12, 2015

DIVINE STYLER: IT’S ALL MENTAL

I shot Divine Styler's original LP cover way back when:


HE'S BACK AGAIN.

from L.A. Record:





Word power, it ignites like the sun. Divine Styler’s verbiage has developed a cult following over the span of 25 years since he first appeared in the late 80s via Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate. What appeared initially to be a particularly cerebral iteration of the Afrocentric Native Tongue-era styles quickly blossomed into a fiercely iconoclastic voice. Def Mask, his fourth solo LP and his first since 1998, utilizes a voracious flow to craft a dark, affecting cinematic experience centered on a technocratic dystopia—think Aldous Huxley meets Rammelzee. On a cool L.A. winter afternoon, I sat in conversation with Divine Styler inside a private room at the Seventh Letter’s flagship location on Fairfax. With his teen son by his side, the one-of-a-kind MC candidly spoke about his journey through the music industry, the concepts behind his dystopian opus Def Mask, why he rejects the label of Afrofuturism and the guilty pleasures of smartphone art apps. The earnest intensity that has made his music draw in curious minds the world over is just as present in person as on wax. A musical Morpheus, Divine Styler offers up the red pill for those brave enough to take the plunge. This interview from our print issue #118 by sweeney kovar.

How are you feeling these days?
Considering the state of the world? I got a grumpy old man thing about me but I’m pretty much at peace. It’s a crazy world we’re living in right now. I had to back up from the music business when everything became free. I haven’t made a record in 14 years but I’ve still been doing music—I just wasn’t [going to] put anything out. Five out of those 14 years I just took to try and understand this new paradigm. People tried to tell me, ‘You gotta give music away.’ That didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t understand how that worked and why you have to give it away. Pop and rock musicians aren’t giving music away— why do MCs have to give music away? Why do you have to make a free mixtape, which is essentially an album, and give it away? And then put out a free record for download and give it away? And then do shows and so on?

What specifically made you feel like you needed to retreat from music for a bit?
The Napster thing—the whole download thing. You then had groups like Metallica who spoke out against it, which I thought was excellent. We do this music and we should be paid for it. Just because a new generation comes into play and with the technology at hand people can download shit that other people are hosting doesn’t mean it’s right. What about the artist? The artist don’t work for the fan. The artist works for himself and he should be compensated. Those are conversations that piqued my interest into thinking about what we are getting into. Now all is accessible. Eventually iTunes caught up and other places caught up but you can still get shit for free. You can’t go anywhere on this planet and get shit for free—except music. Why is that? It was an interesting time to pay attention. Then you begin to ask questions like, ‘How do you get a record deal?’ Record deals don’t exist anymore, you have to put it out yourself. What does that mean? I did the independent thing so I know what that means from a wax perspective. I put out Directrix myself and then licensed it to Mo’ Wax. So I know how that process works but people are asking you how many Twitter followers you have or how many hits on YouTube you have, because that’s who they’re giving deals to now—people who give away their music. And the more ratchet—the more bullshit it is—the more followers they get because people are more interested in some craziness than then are in anything of substance. And now you have a generation of children that think the crazier the content the better the art. That don’t make sense. Why does it have to be just the worst shit ever to be cool? It’s not adding up. That being followed by the 360 deal—major or independent. There is no difference between a major and an independent company. The indies are backed by the majors and they’re all giving 360 deals.

And certain acts are being promoted as indie artists though they’re really backed by a major company via proxy.
Yeah. C’mon now—it’s still a billion-dollar industry and one of the most influential industries America has in the world. Who is making money? There is money somewhere. It appears there are fewer people making money so there has to be something deeper. That’s what I’m interested in. How can I do this so it works for me and not against me and I don’t have to make mixtapes and give away content for free? It’s hard to make a record— it’s not easy. You need resources, you need a place, you need to have your bills paid and take care of yourself. How are you going to do that shit? Get an investor who wants 200 per cent return on his investment?

You said something really interesting earlier—that the artist doesn’t work for the audience but for himself. I see behavior in hip-hop today that shows the opposite.
‘You gotta give them what they want.’ They don’t know what they want. They want what you give them. When did the psyche flip to where now you’re serving the fan? What does ‘fan’ mean? It came from the word fanatic. Look at the language. I come from a different school. I read. [laughs] I want to understand something before I do it.

So how did Def Mask happen?
I made contact with [UK label] Gamma Proforma. I was doing some art on Instagram. Rob [Swain] and I chatted a little bit and he wanted to use some of the art for a show he was doing. I had just started doing hip-hop demos and I gave him a couple of songs. One thing led to another and I started getting back into the swing of things. A year later he hit me up like, ‘You want to make a record?’ The reason I decided to make a record with him is that he follows in the tradition of Mo’ Wax, which is a boutique small indie label that is more art driven than monetarily driven. That always works for me. I’m not the type of artist to do shout-outs, I’m not going to do certain things that now you have to do. I just want to do what the fuck I want to do, which is make music. I have people that like it and people that don’t like it. I’ve earned that over a span of 25 years and I’m cool with that. To have a company that understands that and doesn’t want to bend me to this new system and to have a company that is heavily art influenced also means the packaging is unique in a sense that it’s personal. It’s not a part of the machine. That’s what caused me to really be into it again.

Speaking of your Instagram art—how did that begin? It’s pretty amazing.
I’ve been writing graff since I was nine or ten in New York. When I started getting into computers I started illustrating on Photoshop. My idea was to take my graff and interpret it through the computer. Then I started my record label so I had to do all my own graphics so I really had to learn Photoshop. Casey ‘Eklips,’ who owns Seventh Letter, started teaching me shit back in the 90s and I’d sit there watching him do his mock-ups for his clothing line and it taught me how to do a lot. Then the apps for phones started to come out. I got this one called Snapseed and I started messing with it and I was like, ‘Damn! It would take you eight hours to do this on Photoshop or Illustrator.’ The technology is mind-bending. That led me to reading up on blogs about art apps and music apps. I downloaded more apps and just started messing with them and I found a lane to be able to do the art that I like—that I would traditionally do on a wall—on my phone. There was a lot of guilty pleasure in that shit. Graff is all about burners and bombing and getting up and here I am feeling like I’m cheating. That’s how I got into digital art and I’m now heavily into it.

That makes me think of some of the themes of Def Mask—how technology can be a tool to link us all as well as being something that isolates us.
That lends itself to the age we’re living in. I can put out a record and make a traditional rap record or I can just embrace where things are. I’ve always been a tech head from the beginning of technology, from analog gear into computer recording. I do drum n bass, I do dubstep, I do EDM which is basically disco with bells and whistles on it. I like elements from all of those things and I like pushing envelopes. It’s just a culmination of all the technological capabilities of what is happening on the back end and what is happening sonically on the front end. I could do a traditional record but I’m always going to use the technology and pull from different sources to create a picture to back the concept. For me it’s about creating the music around the concept so it’s more cinematic than a traditional record. It’s more about an experience and the ride than just some head- nod shit. People say, ‘Your music makes me think.’ I never intended it to be that way but as I’ve gone along making music I started to realize that I like doing cinematic stuff.

Is that the kind of stuff that grabbed you when you were younger?
Shit—Rammelzee. Rammelzee was a Five Percenter, he was a graff writer, so he was like a scientist. Between mathematics, science and math there was a school of us in the 80s who followed that route. You had Kase2, the one-armed bomber—he had the computer style. ‘Computer Rock,’ he used to call it. That’s where I was. I was on the Trans-Europe Express. I was into that tech-y sound but I was also into abstract futurism. I wanted to be an architect so I studied Syd Mead, I studied Carl Sagan and shit like that. I was into sci-fi the whole time growing up as a kid. I started to sample those things and reduplicate those things in music. Rammelzee was a super influence on me, just being a graff writer and an MC at the same time who used to rap in graff style—although he had a whole universe backing his movement. He had theorems and treatises and all types of shit. A lot of people say I remind them of him and rightfully so— he’s the father of my style. I see my music in images first. I have the idea and I just see it. Like Directrix—I forget how I came across that word. When I read the definition of it, it said the median line of trajectory of fire. That created the whole landscape for me. That’s the balancing point. They use it for space exploration. I think I was reading something about NASA. The mechanics around directrix is that there will be a launch point and an orbiting point and then you have these geometric lines and you’ll have a directrix, which is a center point on which everything is counter-balancing. That kind of thing is how it works for me musically and visually. The visual is first and then I gather the source material to back the sound.

What were some of the visuals you were seeing in Def Mask?
As I began to write, I got to the Def Mask—the ‘Mask’ being what you use in opera or a play. In the old world, they would do operas with masks and those masks represent characters, but also a mask has to do with symbolism and the personification behind it. ‘Def’ for me—just being old school—def was the flyest shit ever. Def was the ultimate shit. It could be fresh, it could be funky-fresh, it could be cool … but when you said it was def? It was untouchable. Once I got that combination then both worlds began to join. As I started to write around the concept of Def Mask and outlining my ideas, this character came and he became Def Mask himself. What does he use the mask for? To protect himself from the pollutants of the environment. Each part of his mask is an element—earth, air, fire, water, ether—each one of those elements have elementals which are creatures or components that adhere to that dimension. So I went way off into the sci-fi thing. I had to pull back and I started to categorize it how I could deliver it. I’m looking out into the world and we’re living in a borderline dystopian science fiction landscape now. This whole technocratic shit we’re moving into where laws are based on technology. In New York they’re trying to pass a law where you can’t text and walk at the same time. That’s technocratic. That’s due to technology being so crazy that they think people are so stupid that they think they’re going to get hurt if they’re texting and walking. It went from ‘you can’t do it in the car’ to now ‘you can’t do it while you’re walking.’ The foundation is being laid for a technocratic society based on data, projections and behaviometrics. Measurable patterns and behavior being compiled by data mining systems. The average citizen hearing this type of language immediately takes the defense and their only come back is conspiracy. Well, in an age where information is more readily available in public domain than ever before, I find it fascinating that most don’t care to be informed except by what directly affects their immediate comfort zone. This is insane. It’s happening all over from the eavesdropping on calls to the collection of emails. Since the Patriot Act it’s been a wrap! Nobody is paying attention to it so I’ll fucking report on that shit. It’s a superimposed interpretation of what’s happening. Some people like to say that is conspiracy-driven and fear-driven paranoia but if you really look at it, a couple of years ago the US government admitted on the news—on CNN—to the Manchurian candidate program, which is called MK Ultra. They made two movies about it—the original and a remake—but it’s not a conspiracy. They want you to think it’s a conspiracy but in an age where information is everywhere, nobody is paying attention to information. I’m taking things I’ve run across, not from my imagination but from reality and weaving it in. Like in ‘Architectonic,’ the narration was a KGB narration from an actual KGB agent that defected in the 70s being interviewed on CBS Tonight. It’s on the Internet. I think Mike Wallace interviewed him—I can’t quite remember the interviewer but everything I said—I just re-recorded it—was everything he said. How am I paranoid? This was on the news in America in the 70s. So again—people don’t want to disrupt the dream, the illusion, that the American Dream is just that. We’re slowly moving into this fascist lock-down by way of convenience. I don’t make this stuff up. I report it. I research and gather legit source material. I think they use the conspiracy term to turn people off—to dismiss it. I don’t get into debates and arguments about it because it’s nothing to debate. Facts are facts. Look it up. So the record started going into an Orwellian dystopian thing, which is nothing new. People been writing about that shit forever. It felt cool and it was something different for me.

I thought it was really interesting you included the instrumentals with the release.
I like the instrumental version better than the vocal version because it creates a whole other cinematic experience. I was up in Frisco a couple of months ago and I was walking on the streets listening to the instrumental and it was another picture different from the actual content of the vocals but it matched. We did it for no reason other than ‘Why not?’

Did you incorporate electronic elements in the music to fit the concept? Or as a response to the electronic influence that’s so pervasive in music lately?
Yeah—it lends itself to the concept more. It’s hard to listen to new music today. I don’t listen to too much rap. If I do listen to it will be my usual suspects, which are Nas, Premier, Ghostface, Raekwon, Death Grips—that’s the closest to me that you’ll get to where the people are today which is just on some ‘burn it down, it’s the fucking end’ shit.

That reminds me of a conversation with my friend DJ Sake-One in SF. He was commenting how popular music today reminds him of the fall of the Roman empire because that’s when the empire was most decadent and gratuitous.
It’s a major transition where going through because we’re on the cusp of going from analog music, analog life, analog existence to this digital shit. My son don’t know nothing about analog. He don’t have a clue. Matter of fact, when he was born I purchased my Mackie digital console. I went from my analog Mackie to my digital Mackie. Kids don’t have any clue of that. I say that to say we’re on the cusp of moving into this new paradigm and the average person using the technology because they’re addicted to it but they’re not making the transition mentally. How do you not serve the machine and use it to benefit you to move forward? Instead of buying a $500 iPhone with all the memory you can get on that thing just to play music and to Snapchat and social media bullshit, make the phone work for you. How can you apply it to your daily activity and make it useful for you? It doesn’t matter what it is. Educate yourself on the use of whatever it is that you want to use. You don’t really see that amongst the youth. You see that in other places like TED talks but it doesn’t get reported on a broader scale. If you start to investigate you see how people are using technology to push art, to push social agendas and awareness. I’m into generative art. It’s art you can manipulate through code in real time, like three- dimensional projections—like the images you see when you put your computer to sleep. Now it’s so easy you can download scripts and run that shit on a projector and MIDI-map it to your sound to where your kick is creating one design and your snare is creating another. It’s out there but a small percentage is using it. I’ve been following that and using it for a couple of years now. Let the technology serve you. Everybody is serving technology. There was a projection that in 10 years if you don’t know HTML you won’t have a job. I think you go from HTML to Java to CSS to C+ but you have to have HTML as the foundation or you won’t be able to get a job. That’s scary!

What are they going to do? People talk about an economy that squeezes certain people out into the margins.
That economy is human slave labor at that point. What are you going to do if you can’t read or write? You work at McDonalds. Not literally but I’m saying that in the analog world if you don’t have an education you work construction or you’re a janitor. If you don’t have basic coding skills or a degree what are you going to do? Nobody is paying attention to that shit.

Some of the things you’re talking about also make me think of what people describe as Afrofuturism.
I just heard that bullshit. That shit is bullshit. It’s just another fucking word for people to coin. I don’t know. If you read the Futurist Manifesto from decades ago that was created by that small group of artists, it has to do with certain things. What they’re coining it into now, it’s really no relation. What’s Afrofuturism—because they’re Black or they’re rapping and using electronic equipment or because it’s minimal? I don’t really see the validity and the connection unless someone who understands Futurism in a traditional sense can point out to me.

The definition I’ve seen is something along the lines of dealing with themes that are connected to the African diaspora through a framework of Futurism.
That’s a reach. That’s vague. Why’s it gotta be Afro? Where’s Country-futurism? Better yet, EDM would be house-futurism if that’s the case because it’s just disco melodies—with the 4/4, which is house, which is minimalism. Now they’ve put melodic chords on top. Drum & Bass is pentatonic shit. It’s still disco and house. Should that be Futurism? No, it’s electronic dance music now. I guess my mind wants to know why. I want to understand something before I adhere to it instead of just blindly doing it. That’s where I’m at with it. Again, I’m from the era of reading and wanting to understand and not just do something because it’s cool. I saw some writings where I was put in the Afrofuturism category. I’m not that shit, I’m not Afro nothing. I’m expressing something else. I’ve always broken molds, especially when they’ve tried to put me in them. Why? Why not.

It sounds like you don’t relate much with identity politics?
No. That is my pet peeve. I understand that system and I’m not against it. But I’ll always buck up against it just for fun. If you don’t speak for yourself and tell your own story, they will.

I ask that because I had planned on asking you a question around that track you did years back, ‘Make It Plain.’ You say something to the effect of America living off your blood, sweat and tears. It was on my mind because I’d recently re-read Ta- Nehesi Coates’ ‘A Case For Reparations’ in The Atlantic. His argument was not that the U.S. Government owes X amount of dollars to the descendents of U.S. slaves, but moreso that until there is a very large and wide and public conversation on the vestiges of slavery then America will continue to have these moments of spectacular tragedy.
A people can only define who they are, not another source outside of it. That’s the whole problem with the African-American paradigm. The African-Americans were brought over here as property and by law they were three-fifths of a human being because by law they lacked two of their five senses— which by law made them property. That was the first time that slavery was made lawful by ethnicity and not by indentured servitude, conquering people and shit. Now it’s based on ethnicity and after hundreds of years of that being etched and hard-wired into a system, the masters or the conquerors of those people always identify them as property and always identify them from a place where ‘I determine who you are!’ just because it’s so hard-wired. When people say reparations, people usually think about money. I don’t think money is the issue but more about how do you undo that hard-wired psyche that is the foundation of this country? It happened first to Native Americans—the holocaust that began from the day the pilgrims landed. After the Native Americans saved their asses, like five years later they signed a treaty amongst themselves to take their land and eradicate them. That was the Indian Removal Act. How do you fix that? You have to change the economic and the mental myth and perception of the relations between the two—the same thing with African-Americans. There is an old saying that however long it took you to become a certain way, it will take you that long to get rid of that. It’s conditioning.

Do you see our society progressing towards undoing that psyche?
Yes, because it’s getting hot. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. You have to destroy it in order to rebuild it. The destruction is moving slow. I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime because it’s a generational thing. I tell my son all the time, ‘If you don’t get your hair cut, I’m going to cut it. You’re not going to walk around here with a nappy Afro dressed like a skater. That’s cool for you but in the world you give a certain image. Keep your hair cut. Look presentable. Wear some clean shoes. Don’t look like a fucking bum. Them whiteboys can do that shit. You can’t do that shit. You’re a Black kid.’ He don’t understand—he just feel like I’m just getting on his ass. We can’t do that. We get choked out and shot. We’re thugs. I don’t think that’s going anywhere in our lifetime unless something cataclysmic happens to the planet that brings us all together and moves us past this shit. But the conversation is on the table in a different way because I don’t think it’s a thing that just Black people or people of color can do as much as it is the people who are in control of institution. That’s where I think the change can be made. There is economic imbalance. There is ethnic imbalance. The myth of everything white being bad and everything Black being bad is a myth—it’s been around for a long time. You got some cultures where it’s the opposite. It’s something systemic in this country that no matter how much you intellectualize it, it gets more complicated and it seems like it just needs to be a simple conversation. How far are we from that simple conversation? Everyone is using the complex intellectual jargon of the day to talk about it but without really addressing it and saying how they really feel in a public forum. We will treat you like a nigga but you can’t say ‘nigga.’ There needs to be some hard conversations. What will get us to that point? It’s like when you have an argument that’s festering with a friend and you say, ‘Fuck it, let’s fight or let’s get it out.’ You yell through it and then everyone calms down and comes to some sensibility about it.

That sounds like what we’re living now with some of these more flagrant acts of state violence.
It’s coming to the surface. It has to come to the surface. In a time when we are being monitored and everything you’re saying and doing is being recording in infinity, you’re catching people at their best and their worst. That’s revealing. Before there was none of that so everything was behind closed doors. Now it’s out in the open.

The one guest on the album, Orko Eloheim—he fits so well.
I love that guy. That’s my brother. He was so fucking respectful of the craft and the lineage—he deserved it. Most of these people don’t know what respect is. He was influenced by something when he was young. We hooked up and talked and it was nothing but homage. To me, that’s what it’s supposed to be. Quincy Jones wasn’t disrespectful to Coltrane or Miles. Coming up, you make that exchange. Inspiration, influence, whatever it is—there could not be one without the other. For me that’s how it’s handed down. He was so respectful and understands what we do, which is angular to what the general direction is. Out of all the new cats he’s the most respectful cat I’ve met and that’s cause for celebration. Let’s connect and build—ain’t enough of that in the world. Dudes want to hook up to make themselves look good or elevate themselves higher in status from your look, but there is no connection. It’s ‘I can get more fans or more followers if I fuck with you.’

Even in the process of it, people collaborate via email. That’s the norm now.
Music is a communal experience—it’s a communion and a communication and a language with a vocabulary. How are we going to express this joyous process when now it’s so far away from the communion aspect of it? It’s all a fame game. I can’t do that. I just can’t do that. That’s okay for other people but not for me.

A song on the album that stands out to me is…
‘Pandorum.’

Yes! The rest of the album is very dark and almost claustrophobic at times but this track comes in and it has remnants of the first album from the loop you used to the Wildstyle sample.
In the old days, when you would go to the movies there would be an intermission and the movie would stop, the curtains would close, and you would go and get popcorn. That’s kind of what that track is like. That’s the closest I could come to that. There was another track like that that I took off the album because I couldn’t get the beat right. It was paying homage to my graff background and it included Seventh Letter. I had did a record like that already called War Machine Prototype, but this was going to be the remix of that. I couldn’t get the beat right so I took it off the record. I wanted to have something like that so I split the difference on “Pandorum” with the Style Wars sample and the ‘Frisco Disco’ sample, which was a breakbeat we used to B-Boy to. I still kept the Blade Runner-ish soundscape to it though. It’s like an intermission.

When did you first come out to L.A.? Some people still don’t know you’re originally from New York.
I came out here in ‘83 to go to school for two years because I was getting in too much trouble. I went back to New York in high school. I had met friends out here and I was coming back and forth to do demos from ‘86 to ‘89. I finally got my record deal with Rhyme Syndicate but I was still back and forth until about ‘94. After ‘94 I was pretty much permanently here. It was major culture shock. There was no hip-hop how I knew it out here. There was Ultrawave and Uncle Jamm’s Army and The Time and all of that shit. The gang-banging, that was all culture shock like a motherfucker. I came from New York with 360 waves, Lee’s and British Walkers—they didn’t know what planet I came from. Then Wildstyle came out and that’s when everybody started to put two and two together. I was here during that transition so I started sharing a lot of stuff with a lot of cats. I taught cats graff styles, some B-Boying and just built relationships. Some of the cats I taught graff got down with MSK in the early years. It was a trip watching L.A. define itself in regards to hip-hop. Before graff took hold out here it was just gang writing. I used to do that shit because I hung out because with gangbangers—not because they were gangbangers but because they were the cats from my neighborhood out here. When the bombing came out, then they started to switch and I watched kids like Shaka and all them early dudes, Risky—they developed their own style that was very unlike New York. But the same was with the music. They leaned more towards the bass music, which was more Planet Rock, more T La Rock ‘It’s Yours’—more electronic-based shit which went from N.Y. to Miami to L.A. and less boom-bap shit. Watching that music transition from the Ultrawave and Egyptian Lover to their love for the 808 was interesting because in New York it was all about that dirty kick and snare.

What do you think about the gentrification of cities like L.A. and New York?
I think the gentrification is the emergence of a younger generation being prepped to be the governing body of the next phase. If you look at the gentrification, it’s all young transplants that are educated and have trust funds and bank accounts. Their lineage is allowing them to go into these places and purchase space and open businesses. The gentrification is not being done by the people who are from these places. It’s being done by people from the outside who are actually building and restructuring the new economic base. It ain’t for the people—it’s for outsiders. It’s like the elite sending their kids out into the world and telling them to make something of themselves. It’s economics. That’s the next phase we’re going into. In the 40s you had the people who came back from World War II, because war builds industry. That was the boom of the middle class. They took precedence over those that didn’t go to war—who were those in the ghettoes and the slums and so on. They were able to build an economic base and establish the suburbs. In the 50s America was perfect based on that happening in World War II. I think it’s just another cycle we’re seeing.

How do you stay balanced in the midst of all of this?
That’s easy. I don’t care about it. It’s all ideas from our imagination and I’ve dug deep to learn to stand apart from ideas of Self and others. There’s no attachment to this shit. There are discomforts but that too passes. When you see inhumane acts of Americans going down to South America to buy as much land as they can—what does that mean for the people who live there? They’re being tricked or carpet-bagged out of their land. It’s another form of invasion. You have companies like Monsanto that want to outlaw all seeds and put their GMO seeds in place. They want to make it illegal to grow fucking vegetables. That’s insanity. I can’t turn away from it in the sense of ignoring it, I have to be aware but not attached to it. The attachment to it gives it support. It gives it life. It gives it power. To be detached from it is almost to go towards a place of ‘there’s something bigger going on in the interest of humanity.’ Just because you can’t see it right now don’t mean it ain’t in operation. It’s happening—we just can’t see it. I remain aloof. I don’t let it constrict me mentally. I had my years of that, being angry and shit. Awareness is powerful.

What do you do with it? You’re speaking about a crossroads that many of us come to after awareness. Some people feel like you have to tackle these things head on, some hide from it—what is your take?
Me, I do it through this music. This is my vehicle. I am not a politician, I am not a speaker, I am not a protester, I am not an activist. That’s not my thing and that’s never been my drive. My drive has been sharing the information through music or some sort of sonic and visual art. I’ve had people try and convince me into the whole activism role and fuck all that. You’re not going to guilt trip me. You do that. That’s what works for you. For all the people that have faith in a deeper power, they understand how it works. Everybody plays a role in the mechanism. It’s a trip becoming aware, remaining aware and then watching everything happen. I read this article about outlawing children playing outside. From something like 5 PM to 8 AM a child can’t be in a park by themselves— and then for teenagers it’s the same thing. It’s fucking insane. How are you going to make it illegal for children to be outside unattended? Now you pose the formula and behind that you create more paranoia, more predatory nature, more dissention. That type of thinking shouldn’t even have a place in the world. What planet is this? They outlawed 20 oz beverages in New York—once they passed that law New York was a wrap. Talking about kids getting too fat. Tell Coke to stop making Coke then! Why make it illegal to drink something that’s legal?

You end up with this system that has to contradict itself to stay alive.
That’s the end of the world in whatever world that is. It’s the ending of a mental construct— it’s not the end of the trees and the sky.

Exactly—people talk about global warming and climate change as if it’s an end to the planet when they really mean it’s an end for us.
The planet kicked dinosaurs. It will shake us off—I think George Carlin said it, like a dog shaking off a tick or a flea. We haven’t even been here as long as any race of dinosaur was here and we’ve done worse to it than anything before. When it’s time, it’ll get rid of us before we kill it. What type of world are we living in? It’s all mental, all ideas, all in our imagination—then people give power to it and that power becomes a sub-reality.

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