Interview with Lex
Can you say more about your relationship to music?
There are so many ways to answer this question. Music is a kind of language through which people can meet on a profound level. My music tells the story of my inner world – it‘s a way to reconnect with the core of me as a human being, an expression of my soul. Music has become what I call my soul - language. Those who listen with an open mind and heart will be able to tap into the ’soul attunement’ in the music, and this might help them to re-connect with their own Self – their soul dimension. When this happens, the music can serve to promote healing and positive transformation.
As I go deeper into music and dance – it may sound like a paradox, but I am discovering the silence within me, a still place of spiritual enrichment. Conveying the joy I experience in performing, singing and composing is a way to express my joy in existence itself. Besides dance and tai chi, music and singing have become my spiritual practice, since it is through these art forms that I am most easily able to reach what is highest in me.
When I am composing or performing music, I often enter an altered state of consciousness – like a trance state, but fully conscious – where I feel myself becoming one with existence, with the Divine if you like. This is my personal form of prayer. It is as its most powerful when I sing and dance and do my clowning. It’s my gift to the world, and the world’s gift to me.
What do you see as the role of your music in the world?
I strongly believe in the power of beauty and aesthetics and my intuition leads me to try to reflect that in all my art. I see it as a duty to play my part in restoring a balance in the world. In our western culture everything is strongly based on the worship of the rational mind, so much so that it has taken us far away from living through the heart and the intuition, and divorced us from beauty.
I follow a wholistic approach to life. My intention is that my art and music should touch the body, feelings, heart, mind and spirit. The strongest focus, though, is on heart energy: gentle, tender, harmonious, aesthetic and powerful. I have an intuitive urge, a passion, to create so-called heart music, with a reverence for the spirit of beauty in life.
I would like my music to express positive feelings about life, and I firmly distance myself from what I see as the many destructive trends in the music field. I am all too aware of the power in music and sound. Sound is a natural but very powerful tool which can change energies and moods. It can destroy or it can heal. Although I am a performance-artist and musician. I see myself first of all as a healer, using my arts as agents of healing. I am not interested in music merely as a consumer item. Music becomes interesting for me when it communicates something about the deepest and purest levels of our existence.
You have spoken about „healing“ more than once. What do you mean by healing in relation to music?
For me something is healing when it expands my sense of wholeness – of feeling whole in myself and at one with everything in and around me. I am a small particle in a larger whole, like a small fish in the ocean of the cosmic drama. This brings me in contact with feelings of awe and wonder, a sense of beauty, flow, harmony and humility. From that place inside me I create music. It’s a place where I feel in communion with the ‘beyond’ and with the beauty of the universe. This is what I call a ‘spiritual experience’, and because music is an expression of that experience, you could say that the music conveys a spiritual language.
Consciously or unconsciously the listener receives this language. If people play my music often, and preferably loud, so that it can resonate through the whole body, it can put them in touch with the place inside themselves that is in tune with ‘the whole’ – the universe inside. My hope is that the listener will feel more whole, which is the essence of healing.
What is the source of your music? Have you had any specific training to create it?
I see myself as mainly self-taught. The way I learn best is by observing, listening, trial and error. More important is that my life has become a path of unlearning, letting go of past conditioning and worn out patterns. This is a process of inner growth, an experience of emptying myself and detaching myself more and more from influences and teachings that are imposed from the outside. This letting go has empowered me to look much more within myself for guidance, inspiration and creative impulses. I now live more and more from an authentic place in me, with the result that my own spontaneous creative energy bubbles up out of the emptiness. I feel in touch with my primal, natural power.
My art, the rituals I perform and my expressive forms of prayer come from this deep, primal power in me. I would call it „intuition“, as my mind is not involved. It happens beyond the mind: sounds, melodies, gestures, dance movements and strong impulses to move my hands in certain ways, in certain directions – all of these just come to me.
None of it is based on any cultural or traditional training I have had. Yet at the same time I experience it as strongly linked with – perhaps originating from – a number of cultural and spiritual traditions which all feel integrated in me. People in my audiences also seem to experience this. They hear and see elements of Native American traditions, Tibetan, Japanese, and other Oriental cultures, ancient Egypt, Spanish, Celtic, Inuit, just to name a few. I sense that too. I feel very close to those ancient traditions. It is as if they all flow through me as a natural, interconnected expression of art, even though I have hardly any training in any of them – at least not in this lifetime! It’s a purely intuitive process – I don’t have a better word for it.
Although there is an ethnic quality that bubbles up in my music, it sits quite naturally with the musical influences I grew up with. I can synthesise elements of pop, rock, jazz, classical and new age music with the more primal creative impulses in me, which seem to be linked with the indigenous music of various cultures. I like to create bridges between different types of music by using sounds, melodies and arrangements that are easy for western ears, and also bringing in undertones that may come from ancient or far-away cultures, carrying a deep message of remembering for people’s souls.
As always, I hope that whatever different elements there may be in the music, the resulting whole has the potential to turn people’s gaze inwards, to contemplate the world of spirit.
You said that your music carries high energy vibrations. Can you explain that further?
I know that in most of my music there are combinations of powerful sounds which can be used for healing and transformational work, and, of course, in spiritual practices like meditation. I am convinced that one day this will be proven scientifically, as scientists are one the way to constructing machines that will be able to measure these energy qualities, which I believe come from higher spiritual realms.
When I create or perform music, I go into an altered state where I experience being attuned to these higher levels of consciousness. From this state I can translate subtle energy vibrations into sound, melody and harmonic arrangements. It is as if I hear, and know clearly what wants to be expressed and how. These creative energies come from a non-personal level. You might say that my soul acts as a channel through which energies flow, in order to be expressed in music and sound.
It seems that the resonance of my singing can have a strong healing quality, for this reason I like to work with complex choir arrangements where my voice is dubbed many times over. This amplifies the vibrational intensity of a particular song or musical phrase. At times I can be very precise about a certain note or melody line, which I know has to be played in exactly the way I hear it inside me. If another musician changes even one note, the energetic pattern of that phrase collapses, the vibration is no longer effective. Other people, colleagues for example, see me as a perfectionist in this respect, but I often feel I have to be like this, otherwise the music will not achieve the particular quality I am looking for.
In my case I think the real artistry comes in the arranging rather than the composing. Using a simple basic framework, I then build in complex arrangements which transmit those subtle energies. When arranging I work very intuitively, packing the songs with powerful vibrations through the use of specific sounds, syllables, styles of singing, and the layering of several musical instruments and choirs. I cannot explain exactly how it happens, but I usually know when I am on the way to conveying something powerful.
You say that a lot of your music is meditative. What does this mean for you?
Meditative music brings us closer to silence – to that still place deep inside us. However, this is not something that can only be attained by listening to very minimal, slow, quiet music. It can equally happen when hearing or playing dynamic music which has within it a deep quality of transcendence – music that has been composed from a sacred perspective.
Osho shared a wonderful insight about music when he said: ‘Music is determined by the gaps between the notes, beats, sounds and melodies. It is not the sound, but the gaps of silence that make music of a meditative quality.’
So after a very dynamic piece of music, the silence can be experienced as extremely profound and powerful. That too can make it meditative.
In modern western society we are no longer used to appreciating real silence – it can even embarrass us. Instead, after hearing a wonderful piece of music or a poem being performed, or watching a deeply touching piece of theatre, people feel compelled to clap their hands. At my concerts I generally invite people to be very aware and to discriminate – to feel when it is right to clap and when not to. I ask them to feel and appreciate the silence after a particular song. After some songs the silence can be so powerful that loud applause would be wounding to a sensitive person – like an elephant in a china shop. I often ask my audiences to be quiet for one or two minutes and to really enjoy the quality of the silence that descends. I explain that this silence differs from the mere absence of sound – in that it is full of life, full of subtle vibration which can lead the open and sensitive person into a mystical experience.
On the other hand, after some songs it can be really uplifting when the audience applauds. The release of feelings through clapping can bring about another quality of silence inside us.
Is it very difficult to use this language of the soul?
It is not that difficult. It’s mainly a matter of letting go of inhibitions. You may need some courage at the beginning, but many years experience of encouraging people in my workshops to talk and sing like this, have proven to me that everyone can do it. It is a matter of practice, and having fun! It is like meditation and play, which can even develop into prayer and play. I believe our prayers should be playful and full of spontaneity.
I prefer an approach to prayer where I am not asking for something. For me it is about attunement with God, or with the divine if you prefer. As I said before, I like the expression, ‘prayer is answering God’s calling’ – instead of the other way around. That is what my singing and music are really about.
In 1999 you produced and released two mantra CDs „AUM“ and „OM“. That was quite a change from the kind of CDs you made before. And you used partly traditional mantra compositions, that are not of your own making. Why was that?
That some of the music is not originally composed by me does’nt bother me at all. Some pieces of music by other composers are feeling so close to my heart when I hear them, that they are feeling like my own music. When I worked with these mantras, they became my own music by giving them my personal arrangements in a similar way as I do with all my music.
I was asked by a German doctor for natural medicine to make a CD with mantras, which he could use in his healing work and his meditation classes. I did it, because I knew, it would’nt be difficult for me, as my whole inner being is in a continous flow of singing songs of praise, prayer and all kinds of mantras – it’s partly conscious, partly subconscious.
Mantras are single letters ore a string of letters, syllables or words. They can be whole sentences or even several sentences which are used in constant repetition. This can be done by humming quietly, speaking aloud or by singing. It is a form of prayer and a method for meditation. Mantras are tools of sound which help to calm the mind. It is not inherently necessary to understand their meaning because it is not the thinking in itself that brings about change in a person, but rather that which can be sensed far beyond the realm of thought.
Out of this flow I have always composed music. All of my music comes from that place of prayer, praise and joy. I have an inner urge to make this deeper state of being, which I expercience in me, available to the outside world – to as many people as possible.
I feel it as my calling to make this inner notion of the beyond / of spirit available to the widest possible audience.
Therefore, in most of my music this inner prayer is „packaged“ in a beautiful giftwrap that can be appreciated by many people – also people that wouldn‘t want to listen to pure prayer music, as for example mantras. That’s why in most of my music you’ll find elements of modern music, like pop-, world-, rock-, classical-, jazz-music, just as a way of wrapping it. If you listen carefully, you will hear the elements of prayer in it.
We live in a time where the things I’m talking about are becoming a mainstream interest. Mantras are now becoming populare all over the world. More and more artists are starting to use mantras and other forms of prayer in their music. So, the time seems to be ripe.
I felt I had to make the „AUM-mantras“-CD as a means of introducing mantras to a wider audience. Therefore it had to be interesting and of a high quality in a musical sense. At the same time, the mantras should’nt be too long and too repetitive, and it had to be possible to sing along with them and meditate with them.
I wanted this mantra-CD to be a powerfully potent medium for purification work and healing, to be used in many situations of life: privately for inspiration and as background music, for meditationgroups, in therapy, churches, hospitals, schools (by the way, small children love this kind of music and love mantras) etc.
These mantras have been charged with the highest possible vibrational energy through recording and doubling (dubbing) the voices and choirs many hundreds of times, most often in a state of altered consciousness. It has been a lot of work, but it was so much fun and in a way very easy to sing these mantras.
Compared with my other music it is relatively so much easier for me to work on mantra songs. And as I said, it’s fun. So, I look forward to having the time to make more mantra CDs.
Although it’s easy to sing and record these mantras, the arranging, mixing, mastering and programming of the songs are as complicated and difficult as with all my music. That’s the art, to make it sound on CD the way it does on CD.
Do you really believe that mantras and other prayer music can go mainstream?
Yes. Western materialism is starting to understand and accept that inspired sounds and uplifting music for our spirit can help to heal body, mind and soul, and that it can quiet the emotions and open the heart.
In Eastern mysticism it has been part of the wisdom through all the ages that sacred-power-words open gateways to other dimensions beyond this physical world and that they provide the joy of liberation.
We are living in times were the raising of consciousness in humanity at large is taking place and speeding up.
Nowadays one can notice many signs in our society that show that very many people are opening up to the inner values of life, hence to the dimensions beyond the physical reality.
I perceive this as a very positive change, which can be supported and accelerated by contemporary sacred music and mantra songs etc.
What about the „OM“-CD? You wrote somewhere that it is the most powerful piece of music you`ve made so far.
Yes, it is my gift to the world for the year 2000. I cannot think of a better gift. For me, this 1-hour-version of OM is the strongest I have ever heard in sound. Perhaps, one should’nt say that of his own product, but I am just being honest. I hope so much that many people will find an opening to this music. Because I know it can do so much good. This music with this powerful and effective mantra „OM“ is one of the best protections you can have. It does not only purify your body, mind and soul, but also your living space and the energy fields around you.
The „OM“-CD is a one hour journey of sounding OMs with six different musical phases smoothly flowing into each other. It consists of solo voices and choirs by me and Sara Olivier (with the basic key in F). Because of bubbing the voices partly up to 250times or more, and because it’s many intriguing harmonies, this has become a unique piece of music with an extremely powerful sound vibration. We have let the individual OM’s and harmonies travel from left to right and back in the stereoscopic image in order to increase the vibrational effect. Using headphones will enhance these vibrations in your brain. You may put together a new OM-meditation from each of the various phases. To do this, set your CD-player to one of the subdivided sections on the CD and repeat this part as often as you want with „repeat I“.
We have put the song „Amen“ at the end of the CD following two minutes of silence to support you in your waking-up process and to inspire a mood of Celebration. Dancing and singing along will enhance this emotion.
Just a few words about making the „OM-Meditation“. I had to make a 10 or 12 minutes OM-version for the AUM-mantras CD. While Frank Steiner and I were working on this, I discovered what a wealth of material and ideas I was touching into, much more than what would be possible within just 12 minutes. Then, the idea came to create an enlarged version as a 1-hour meditation-CD. The basic material of recorded voices and many arranged harmonies of these voices were put together with the help of the computer. Without the computer it would not be possible for us to compose such a complicated choir composition. A lot of credit has to go to Frank Steiner, who did all of the arranging work; and he created marvelous harmonies out of Sara’s and my voices. He worked for days and weeks (non-stop) to make my compositional and structural ideas work. At this point it is appropriate to tell a little story.
Frank is an open and sensitive person, however a bit sceptical about esoterics and meditation. He likes to make jokes about the fact that mantras have a potential for healing and for clearing the inner and outer environment.
I had to laugh very much, and I was delighted, when he told me after working for months on these two mantra CDs, that he noticed that he had not been sick for all that period, although all of his family got some sort of illness during that time. Normally Frank has some minor illness ever so often. He wondered if it was because of all the OM’s and AUM’s he had heard day-in, day-out. I’m sure it was.
You call yourself a „visionary artist“. What do you mean with that? Are not all artists visionaries?
Absolutely not. Many artists reflect upon what has been in the past or happens in the present times. In my understanding a visionary artist is someone who holds a vision of a new world, a new and better way of living and he creates new forms of art and rituals to uplift our spirits in the present and the times to come.
In my opinion, someone is only an artist when he/she creates sacred art (otherwise they are just craftmen/women) – which means: he/she draws (the) inspiration from beyond our three dimensional world – from The Beyond; where our dualistic perspective is dissolved into Oneness and Unity – where through higher consciousness only Love and Light can prevail. Within the soul of each living being there is a deeper knowing and understanding of this.
The visionary artist is a mystic who puts his inner perceptions (visions) and experiences of the Beyond –of the spirit- into forms, sounds, melodies, colors etc., for the public to get a direct experience in this three dimensional plane of that which is beyond our five senses – and of which our soul knows so well.
The visionary is someone who has concrete answers how to create and change the way we live, to make this a better place. A world where we live according to the wisdom of our souls.
I believe, deep within us we all have a knowing of how this world can be a better place – where there is true peace of heart and where a consciousness of Oneness (respecting our differences) is living reality. The visionary takes it a leap further and says: If I know this as my truth, I have to take the responsibility and live up to do it. So, there is no other choice than to create from that inner truth, and show ways in this world how to get there.
That’s what I experience and do myself. It does’nt mean that I feel I have all the answers, but some answers, yes, I know I have.
And this knowing I follow in my art – dedicated to really change something for the better in this world – with all the consequences it involves.
At this point I would like to share with you a poem I made some time ago:
CALL FOR LOVE
Who am I
This lonely man
On this lonely planet
This planet full of lonely (lovely) people
Where everyone is suffering from the corruption of Truth
The only tool I have is my music
To send a call for love
Across the oceans separating our hearts
I pray that my music be heard
As a cry for honesty, sincerity and an insistence for Truth
Bringing our souls in resonance
With the Essence of Life
May it be a Ray of Light
Alleviating the pains, consoling the hurts and healing the wounds
Of lifetimes of desolation and separation
Uniting all of us in the Heart
And teaching us to make our life
A song of praise
A hymn of love
A dance of joy
This is the vision of a stubborn man
Who will never give up
The journey towards his dream
Of a world that will be in peace
With the laws of the universe
Living in harmony with
„Thy Will Be Done“
Tell us about your performances in churches. How did it start?
The last few years I have been „infiltrating“ the churches in Germany as a clown.
Since 1995 I am regularly being invited to one of the biggest Catholic churches in Frankfurt, to come in as a clown during the Sunday morning services. The priest and
I got a really nice connection going. We always create the service together beforehand. In 1995 I explained to him what I am standing for as an artist and as a clown. I told him that my whole inside feels like a priest, but that for this lifetime I had chosen to bring the message of spirit as an artist (a fool for Christ), I think he understood what I was saying and he sponteneously invited me to join him in the communion service on a Sunday morning. I was amazed that such a thing could be possible in a Catholic church. I had done my clown shows in serveral protestant churches (like Piccadilly Church in London) before that time. Well, we did it with a full church (500 people), and in the beginning the priest was worried to disturb his congregation with this crazy idea. But he felt and saw how I got the people into amazement with my music, I got them to laugh, dance and sing in a way they had never done before in this church. I did my acrobatics behind and in front of the altar. People were in tears and so grateful for the experience, and the priest enjoyed it so much, because they had never laughed so much and so freely during a church mass.
It inspired the priest to do this with me twice a year, at least, and he always found wonderful quotes and passages in the Bible about humour, joy, tears, dancing and celebration, not forgetting to express our feelings as part of our rituals.
So, these joined services were highlights for him and for me, and for all the people that filled the church. Because the church announced it beforehand in their magazine and newspaper, the church always was overfilled. People were bringing their children; some had to stand because all of the 500 seats were taken.
Since then I have got more invitations of other Catholic priests to come to their church and do the same. So, I’ve been to quite some churches with my art. It’s part of my mission to awaken the spiritual atmosphere of our churches to a spirituality of joy, of wonder and awe, of beauty and fill them with rituals that bring people a true spark of inspiration to act upon in their daily lives. Rituals that are human, and not frozen acts following the described rules of the past. I agree with Matthew Fox that this is the responsibility of artists. I know that in the U.S. there are lots of churches with lively, lovely rituals that make you feel part of the community immediately. There is joy and liveliness as part of the service.
But in Europe that’s very different. Since 1997 I live in Baden-Baden (Germany) where I found a wonderful medium-size church, where I can perform as often as I want and whatever I feel like. The priest (Old-Catholic, they are freer and more open) of that church and its community have complete trust in me for what I am standing for and the quality of my art. I do lots of concerts there and some clown shows, and every year the whole month of August, free concerts every night, every day. Many people living in or near by Baden-Baden come almost every night and some travel a 100 miles to do that.
People are telling me: „This is what we want in the churches, why can it not happen frequently and in all churches?“
I see it as part of my calling to transform this old stifled energy in many European churches, and bring the sacred energy, that most old churches still carry within them, to the hearts and the guts of the people. Wherever I am entering churches, I feel that the angels, Christ and the spirits present there, are eager to laugh, dance and sing with the people that are coming to the church.
Through my art, which is my prayer, I show people that prayer can have many forms. It can be in a clown’s act, in a happy song, in a dance and in a good cry of releasing grief.
Through my work, my art, I want to remind people that we live in a sacred world if we wish it to be so. We have to drop our fears, and dare to take our responsibility to do our share in perceiving and treating this world as sacred.
I am dedicated to make this world a better place by promoting art as a sacred vow. My focus is: contemporary sacred art, to soak the world with a grounded and practical spirituality.
In our western society art has become superficial and ego-centered, in general speaking. Like the mythologist Joseph Campbell, I think that the artists of today need to be reminded of their true responsibility in creating rituals, forms, sounds, music etc. that carry a spark of divinity – that remind us of our divine nature. We need the (sacred) artists to show us how we can make everything we do in life a prayer – a song of praise.