Your new album Alive In New Light is called a creative revival after a depression. Even the name of the album banners it as well as it’s life-affirming bright red cover. However, when scrolling the news feed it’s hard to deny that the clouds are piling up in the world and more and more people fret about politics, the threat of war, threat to lose everything they have. Where this feeling of light came from right in the middle of these dark circumstances?
It’s really more about personal victory, personal positive uplifting hopeful victory in my own life. You can always look at the world and see the darkness, you can see the negativity. I see that there’s a huge polarization going on, there are massive problems. I mean I live in America, it’s very fucked up politically. Yet I think that’s probably the time when one has to have the most hope. That’s not why I wrote this album, I wrote it because of a response to my depression that I want through three or four years before I made the album. I had my own personal problems and this album is a symbol of my own healing. Looking at the world my only way of helping anybody is to make art. I could go out and demonstrate and other things like that, but I feel a little bit helpless with that. I feel like I have more strength and more power by doing this.
When speaking of the new album you mentioned that considers happiness as a skill. How to develop this skill? How to learn using it? Give some advice to our readers, please.
Are you happy? Skilled to be happy.I can be happy. If you go through something like clinical depression which is a very difficult thing to understand when you are going through. It’s a multilayered problem, which takes a long time to recover from. But its possible with psychology, with science, with medicine, with all of the things that I did to recover. It worked. And all I can say it’s an individualistic problem so you have to get specific help depending on your personality, your biology, what is your specific problem. I don’t wanna be a doctor and say this is how you do it but I can say that something like cognitive behavioral therapy which is a course that I chose. It helped me on a daily basis going through specific psychological routines to reprogram the brain, to learn how to live in a different way, in a healthier way. It’s a long process, there are no singular things, there are many many things you have to take care of and it’s possible. Happiness is a skill. It is something that you can learn to do every day if you demand it from your life. It sounds simplistic but there’s a choice you have to make and I think that the problem is that people don’t get to the crisis point. There are a lot of people that are maybe unhappy, maybe mildly depressed, never pushed so far that the pain is so much that they have to change their lives. And I think that’s one of the major issues. In a way I’m lucky that it was so critical [for me, - ed.] that I had to change. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. That’s a bizarre thing to say that it did change my life.
You recorded your Alive In New Light in a desert, later in your interviews, you called it a white noise (white light) where you can “lose yourself in the details of producing, mixing; it’s just silence”. Will we see any images inspired by California deserts in today's show?
You will! Yes! I programmed a lot of the stage visuals for the live shows and I’ve taken some footage from very close to where I live and where I will be living. It’s beautiful. It’s very brutal as well. Not everybody likes the desert. But I just fell in love with this. I have a real passion for being there. It’s just an alien world. I like to escape in that world. It’s very inspiring for creativity and it gives me a lot of mental space.
What in general helped you to get inspired while you were working on your new show – the set-list, decorations, light, costumes? Were these some films, books, music, new or old, people or places?
I do love books. I love psychology books, I have many of them. I love neuroscience books. I’m a bit geeky actually, I’m a bit technical. I see myself in a technicality of things. Maybe that’s why I love electronic music cause there’s a lot of details in production. It calms my mind. With this record, I tried to be a little more fun and open. I collaborated with a couple of people, like Kat Von D. She is on the record and we had a lot of fun. It added a little bit lightness to the record that I could enjoy the music making process a little bit more. I make the records alone a lot of the time, it can be a little bit emotionally challenging because when you are making that kind of music, you are writing lyrics like that, if you are thinking about the world this way and about yourself, it’s like a therapy. You are going through this quite deep analytical process. So sometimes collaborating like that can help the lightness of this.
Your duet with Kat Von D became very harmonious, balanced – you voices sound like they continue each other. Did you like working together – in the studio, on the Stardust video, while live performances? Would you like to see her a part of your band, your group?
Yes. She wants me to sing on her record. She makes her music as well. She has quite a smoky low voice and I have this feminine high voice and that contrast with me was a good balance. She has also invited me to make a video for her.
Last time when you were in Kyiv a year ago, you said you had some time to see the city. What did you manage to see here? What impression did it make? Did you find any places or characters that inspired you?
People – yes. I don’t usually go out pretty much. Mainly because it’s an energy management thing. We are coming very quickly, we have to do the show, blah blah blah, the interviews. So I don’t have much time. To be honest I didn’t see much. But we had incredible hospitality. This is very important when you come to places, it gives you a good insight into the mentality of the people in the city. We were treated beautifully. We had a lot of food. Of course, the shows were incredible. The people have been noisier than a lot of crowds around the world. So the public is very satisfying. Of course, I will come back.
It’s not your first time in Ukraine. Have you familiarized yourself with the artworks of Ukrainian artists? Can you single anybody out?
I can not. If you can give me some if you think there’s something interesting to check out.
In Stardust, you state that “Tomorrow we’re gonna be stardust”. What sense are you putting in these lines?
When I think about things like science and spirituality (I don’t like to use that word, cause I’m not really just a person but…). As a creative person, you are taping into this emotionless, the human feelings that science doesn’t really tap into. Basically I and a scientifically minded person, but I’m also very creative, so sometimes I bring the idea into my creativity. So basically what I am saying is – what we gonna do it’s a very short life and we have one life (it’s what I believe in). And tomorrow when we are dead we will be floating around like little atoms, which is a nice thought, and that we are made of stardust which is we are basically science bumping into the science... I like that thought and I like to be connected to the universe. This is a kind of celebration of life in the now because tomorrow it’s gonna be gone and we will be floating somewhere around somewhere. Maybe we will come again to another formation somewhere. I feel that I’m connected to the other side of the universe and that’s a very beautiful thing. I think that you can be inspired by that feeling as opposing to be afraid of death or other things. I’ve come around enjoying that feeling.