Early in 2012, Redefine proprietor Vivian Hua and I decided to do a series of interviews focusing on musicians who drew from esoteric spiritual pursuits for inspiration. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but what we ran into is that we don’t actually know of, or personally know too many of these musicians, so it didn’t get very far. The other thing we ran into was that a few people agreed to talk to us and then completely bailed when they saw the weird shit we were going to ask them. What the fuck are you going to do?
Fortunately for us, we did manage to chat with Brooklyn’s Prince Rama, whose Taraka Larson used to intern with Paul Laffoley strangely enough, and they pretty much knocked the ball out of the park. It was also another one of those odd witchery situations, because I talked to them after their show, but the recording was mysteriously inaudible. And so Viv had to track them down and have them redo the whole thing by e-mail, which ended up being great because they went into even more depth in regards to their paranormal proclivities. Good times:
“Me and Nimai both have had pretty extensive ghost experiences. I had one not too long ago; I was at my parent’s house in Florida, which we found out later was built on this old Confederate farm. There was apparently a slave quarters that had burnt down on my parents’ property, and I had no idea until afterwards, when we all started having weird ghost experiences — everyone in my family [did]. I had this one where at the time I had this weird dream. I woke up and got up and splashed water on my face and went back to bed — but the bed just felt really weird. I felt, I don’t know, kind of an erupting feeling coming over me where I was paralyzed; all of my limbs felt really cold. There was something really heavy pinning me down, and I look to the side of the bed, and there’s kind of an open closet right by the bed. There seem to be these silvery film projections — that’s what they look like at first — but it was just a man who was dressed completely in an Confederate soldier outfit. He was kind of an older man, but then his face and body started transforming to become younger and younger, and then behind him, all of a sudden — this is going to sound really weird — this other image started coming up behind him and growing bigger and bigger. All of a sudden, it came in front of him and totally eclipsed him. There was this giant baby head. I don’t know. He was growing younger and younger, and all of a sudden, this giant baby head came and was staring right at me. I was like, “Oh my god, this is so crazy.” So I was like, “I’m going to turn around. I’m going to count to ten. At that time, you guys are all going to leave, because I want to go to sleep.” So I turn around and I count to ten; I look back and there’s nothing there. And the pillow next to my head started — I don’t know how to describe it, but you know how when someone first gets up from a really cushy area, you can see the imprint of where they were kind of rise, like inflate? It was totally like that. There was something that was lying beside me and it just got up. So I felt the sheets kind of uncrinkle and smooth out, and I kind of felt the heaviness lift from over me. We have a lot of stuff like that happen. I don’t know why; I feel like ghosts just like to hang out with us.”
Also, as a follow up, we actually chatted with them well before they released their most ambitious album to date Top Ten Hits of the End of the World, which is roughly the most out there concept album in history where we find the sisters channeling bands that died in a fake apocalypse (you should absolutely read the fake bios for these bands because they rule). Truthfully, this disc threw me off at first, as do most albums that find acts completely changing their sound, which takes a lot of balls to do. Here the trance rock queens hone their songwriting chops and sort of sound like 80’s nu wave on shit tons of acid rather than cocaine. Never been much of an 80’s nu wave fan, but I must concede that after listen number 3 or so, I was getting all of these spaced out channeling cuts stuck in my head. Fine work. Even finer is the video they made for the fake band I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.F.E.’s song Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever, which is sort of a psychedelic kitsch classic.
Here’s the bio for that particular made up band, which I think helps one appreciate the visuals:
“In the early eighties, a London sex cult infiltrated underground discotheques based on the principle that the secret to immortality was found through engaging in intimate acts of love. To retain their anonymity, members went by the acronym I.M.M.OR.T.A.L.I.F.E., or ‘Inner Messages Morphing Over Resonant Time, Always Loving Infinitely Free and Everlasting’. For years, I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.F.E. dedicated itself to recording dance track hymnals that would provoke lovemaking acts and thus prolong the lives of its members. When the end of the world came, the group was found frozen in midst of an orgiastic collapse. They had not slept or eaten in thirteen days.”
Total WTF stuff. Enjoy: