“Dancing is a very important ritual”
Son Kite releases their 4th album “Prisma” today on the Danish label Iboga Records. I interviewed the Swedish duo a couple of weeks ago, and it was a hugely inspiring experience.
It is quite rare for me to meet people who take the transformational potential of the dancefloor and the healing properties of proper raving more serious than I do, but these guys actually top me on that subject.
They are s-e-r-i-o-u-s about it – in a really, really good way, of course, and with an insistent consistency in their thoughts and practices that reminds me of Eckhart Tolle. Which, of course, and obviously, makes all kinds of sense.
Judging by the response on facebook when the release of the album was revealed by Iboga, SEbastian and Marcus have made a huge impact on a lot of people with their music and the ideas behind it. That, too, makes all kinds of sense.
And so, the interview:
Dancing is very important ritual
The Swedish trance duo Son Kite is back, releasing their first album in ten years. And they are on a mission. It burns through everything they say and is clearly expressed in their way of making music and performing.
“Dancing is a very important ritual. Our main mission as artists is to make people get into this trance state”, they say.
Since the release of their third album “Colours” in 2004, Marcus Henriksson and Sebastian Mullaert have been focusing on their other project Minilogue, touring the world and gaining increasing popularity in the house and techno scene.
With “Prisma”, released on November 17th and consisting of seven tracks made between 2007 and 2014, the duo leaps back to the endless energy and enthusiasm they felt when they first started making music together in 1996. Back to the use of analogue equipment (including releasing the album on vinyl). And back to what it’s all essentially about, according to the two musicians: Getting into the all-important dance ritual and reaching the trance state. A ritual that is as important as ever in our modern world, where we are constantly bombarded with digital stimuli, new distractions and non-stop demands to want something.
“Many people have lost their connection to why we are here and what we are doing here as human beings. Hunting for money, fame and achievements is what we learn in school, and it’s very easy to just get lost in this hunt without even being aware of why we are not happy doing it. That’s why it’s so important to get into the dance ritual and let the the stress out”, Marcus says.
“This ritual is built into our DNA. We are supposed to do it, and we have always done it. Something important happens when we dance to hypnotic drum patterns for several hours. It gives us energy and fuels us with creative ideas. It’s healing, like yoga and meditation. It’s so important that we know this and don’t forget our roots,” Marcus says.
The underground and the mainstream
The album reflects a lot of the discoveries and realizations they have made during their 20 years on the electronic music scene.
“Back in the 90s when the techno revolution started, the whole thing was underground. It wasn’t about styles and genre, but more about a gathering on secret locations that felt new and refreshing and was a really strong experience for everyone. But then the scene evolved and changed and became popular in the mainstream. Parts of it reached the overground and turned into club culture. That was good for a while, but then the money striving and the business models took over and transformed into standard club nights with the typical setup and the typical dj’s and the same thing week in and week out. And those modern industry standards for clubs and techno are not enough for our souls”, Marcus says.
He saw this development happening within himself.
“When Son Kite took off we were playing at underground parties all over the world. Then we started Minilogue which became very popular on the techno and house scene, and we began playing with superstar dj’s like Sven Väth and Richie Hawtin and got to see all these huge clubs in Ibiza and big festivals all over the world. Obviously I really enjoyed it to begin with. But I lost myself in it. The ego was building up, hunting the money and the fame, and I lost the connection to why I was doing it in the first place. It took me a while to realize this. It was a real eye opener,” says Marcus.
Challenge the restlessness
“Prisma” is about finding the way back again, reconnecting with the original spirit of the electronic music scene, being fully present in the now and losing the ego on the dancefloor. And to get into that state of trance, you have to dance for many hours, not just one or two, like the typical club set.
“There is a lot of music out there that triggers people’s restlessness. It’s a reflection of our modern society. We have so many stimuli coming so fast at us that our attention spans are getting shorter and it’s getting harder and harder for us to wait for anything. We want to challenge that restlessness with our music. We want the people dancing to face it inside themselves”, Sebastian says.
With the increasing popularity of the electronic music over the last ten years, the restless energy on the dancefloors has increased, the duo points out, with dj-sets filled with incessant peaks, constantly hunting for those explosions and “hands in the air” moments. This turns into a self-perpetuating pattern with the crowd getting addicted to the hit effect, projecting restless energy back to the dj who in turn starts using bass drops and other ego-boosting tricks every 5 minutes, trying to get a reaction and please the crowd.
“It’s very difficult to stand in front of an audience of 20.000 people who wants this nervous energy and not be seduced into giving it to them. But we really believe that the task of a good dj is to help the crowd let go of that restlessness and the ego and get into the trance”, says Marcus.
Marcus and Sebastian both meditate daily, and preferably before they go on stage, too.
“As an artist you have responsibilities. When you are placed in the center of everyone’s attention, people respond to the energies you send out, and if you are insecure or sending out energies that are all about manifesting yourself, you can easily forward your own unbalance to everyone and thereby hurt the whole. That’s why it’s really important to get in touch with the deeper stillness. Meditation, yoga and dancing are ways to do that,” Sebastian says.
“Dancing for eight hours and really uniting with the music is a reminder that this is how it could be with everything you do in life. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be one with what you’re doing, to really melt into the experience. That’s why it’s so extremely important for us to inspire people to reach that feeling. It’s a tool to really connect to life. The sound of our music is formed by this aim”, Sebastian says.
Releasing the album on vinyl has been very important to the duo, as well as using analogue equipment in making the tracks.
“The analogue equipment like the drum machines and the sequencers are affected by their surroundings, by all the vibrations and the feelings in the room and by you standing next to them. Their timing is never completely exact, and these small variations make them more human”, Marcus says.
“The computer screen has these visual representations of the music, and the entire process takes place in your thoughts and in your head much more than in your heart and your body. With the analogue equipment your access to the psyche and the subconscious is a lot more direct. And that’s the beauty of it. To express what is inside of you and let other people feel that. That’s what it’s all about,” Marcus says.