Q&A for The Canberra Times newspaper, Canberra
1. The Real Illusions trilogy: why have you decided to take a three-stage approach in creating this body of work?
S- It’s actually a Quadriology and will eventually be in 4 stages.
The first stage was “Real Illusions” The Second stage is “The Story of Light” and the third will come at some time in the future (perhaps) and then my plan is to bring them all together at the end, put all the songs in the proper order, add narrative, additional music and vocals and release as a linear, comprehensive story.
I like to think in long term goals and the “Real illusions” Quadrilogy is an opportunity for me to stretch out and evolve a story.
2. There was a decent gap of a few years between Reflections and The Story of Light – was it a deliberate decision not to release the albums in quick succession, despite their sequential nature? Do you expect the third part will also take the same length of time to come to fruition?
S- I suspect the 3rd part will take a while before I release it. I will be doing various projects between. Right now I’m on tour with a 50 piece orchestra through Russia, Poland, Spain, Italy and Romania. It’s a powerful show and my next record release will be the music from this tour.
3. Is there an over-arching storyline throughout the three albums? If so, do you have an idea of how this narrative will conclude – or will that be resolved organically during the third album’s creation?
S- I have a complete picture in mind for the entire story including how it will end. Of course there may be some changes here and there but the overall message and conceptual arcs are in place. I am enjoying the process tremendously.
4. There is a recurring theme of light – why is this the case?
S- Yes, there is a recurring theme of light but the kind of light I’m usually referring to is not the light created by illuminating things such as the sun or electricity etc. I’m referring to the light of consciousness.
5. Speaking of light: the PRISM intelligence program that was recently unveiled by whistleblower Edward Snowden potentially carries implications for personal liberties in the USA. As an American, how does the revelation of this program make you feel?
S- I’m sure you’ll find different people have different takes on this. Frankly, for me, I’m not concerned. I already expect that everything we do in regards to phone calls, e-mails, web browsing etc. is probably totally traceable by the government and even every move we make in public by satellites and for some people that must seem very invasive, and I understand this. And some people may feel that they are OK with it because it can help keep them safe from a potential terrorist attack and other quality of life threatening situations.
What matters is who is behind this and what is their intentions and that you may never find out.
I’m not concerned with being tracked as mentioned above because true freedom does not have much to do with the kind of things that are track-able. The one real freedom that we all have that nobody can take away or monitor is the freedom to choose to think whatever thoughts we want. And our thoughts are the things that shape our reality.
To be paranoid over PRISM will only create situations in your life that warrant being paranoid.
6. You’re held in the highest esteem as a guitarist – are there are any guitarists that have emerged recently who have impressed you?
S- I see a lot of great players. As a matter of fact, for the most part, I see everyone as being fascinating.
In the past when I would look at another guitar player the first thing that would kick in was my critical brain muscle. I would rate them to others, including myself, in their touch, tone, technique, feel etc. and give them an identity in my mind. I would listen and critique with the same ears that listens to Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, etc.
But there is another side of me that sees anyone play a guitar (or any instrument, or do anything for that matter) and no matter how good they are, which is totally subjective anyway, I find great enjoyment in watching them. I deeply enjoy seeing them creating in any form and oddly enough, seeing them struggle to create is more charming and touching than seeing effortlessness.
With this perspective I see all the creative things that people do as an expression of the one consciousness that underlines and animates all life and it’s myriad expressions. I see it as the way the Universe expands itself through us and in such there is no better or worse or good or bad, it is all just beautiful. With this perspective you can even say that one can see God at work in all others and all things.
These days this perspective is the predominant one by about 70% and rising. Which is nice because it’s an infinitely more enjoyable perspective as you can imagine.
7. Any messages to your fans in Australia before you fly out here?
S- I’m looking forward to expanding the Universe with you in Ausi.