Merkaba and Eve Olution are a pioneering, cosmic, and dynamic duo who have come together as one to tell a story of ancient remembrance through sound alchemy and theatrical embodiment. Sharing their passions with us all, they provide lush, organic, and intentional synergetic energies like never before. Yaegon, founder of Merkaba Music, is an innovative Australian glitch hop, dubstep and world music producer who specializes in a blending of organic frequencies, punchy beats, middle eastern melodies and top notch sound design. Eve has an extensive background in theatre and is a profound storyteller as well as visionary director, whose style is inspired by themes of mythology, consciousness, and intentional ritual through deep devotion which further evokes transformative experiences. Gearing up for their European tour this Summer, along with Kalya Scintilla project, Yaegon and Eve continue to evolve expressive visions stemming from within.
Merkaba released his long awaited full length album, As Earth To Sky, on June 20th, 2016 (Summer Solstice). Over three years in the making, it’s his first album since Language of Light (2012). As Earth To Sky is an eight track masterpiece; it’s an eternal chakra alignment that inspires an elevated dance journey that addresses both shadow and light, with the intention of removing blockages, clearing the mind, opening the heart, and deeply connecting to our ancient roots. An emotive story unfolds through psychedelically tribal trance soundscapes, pulsating beats, exhilarating BPM’s, ancient and organic callings, intriguing melodies, and proper composition.
Enigmatic twists and deep awakening through all chakras – breathe and release. Brilliant amplitude and intentional truths, this is a significant and illuminating vision. Eve Olution’s spoken word during downtempo settings in “Earth,” “Solaris,” “All That Is,” and “Sky,” as well as chanting and singing on “Solaris,” “Truth,” “All That Is,” and “Sky,” add nourishing depth to the flow of intentional rise through spoken liberation and angelic drones. Intricate textures, soothing melodies, rhythmic grooves, and organic depth through it all welcome a space to sink and settle more into the now. Other vocal samples reveal a direction through guiding remembrance and provide a liberating resonance in addition to profound growth, as each track blends together to form one journey – As Earth to Sky.
An Interview with Merkaba
You have released As Earth to Sky – Can you tell us a little bit about its concept?
I always wanted to make a chakra journey album… So this is it. The difference here is that it’s a dance journey and it focuses on both the light and shadow aspect of each chakra. There are so many chakra sound journeys that focus purely on the light, which is awesome… But with this offering I wanted to be able to take our awareness into the shadow, or blockages, in each of the seven main energy centers in the human body. By bringing the light of awareness to these places we can observe what is there and choose what we want to learn and liberate from.
What’s your philosophy behind the technical aspects of music production within this particular style?
Exploration and experimentation. Always moving forward and never getting too mental around the process.
Which tools do you use to design sound?
I have a few core synths that I love and I’m constantly looking for new ways to tweak them. I also love a myriad of different delays, filters, modulators, multi-FX units, glitchmachines, and anything that mangles sound in interesting and not too offensive ways. I render down sections of audio and create a big stack of FX on that track and just play.
What’s your workflow like?
It all starts for me with a healthy head and heart-space. I find the creativity flows best when I’m well rested, working in the day, eating well and drinking lots of H2O. Taking time to rollerblade, exercise and stretch, spending time in nature!!!! These are all essential ingredients for my process. When I’m stressed or try to force things, I get little done and I usually don’t like what comes out.
What’s your setup like? Both in you studio and live setting?
What I look for is a place in nature with plenty of space and distance from Neighbours. I want a sanctuary that feels safe and secluded. I prefer to be in the country away from the chaos of cities and big towns. I want to be able to feel the frequency of the land and hear the song of nature.
My studio is always a humble and cozy place. Warm colours, plants and crystals. A nice plounge (Pillow lounge) to hang out on. A tea table to fuel my tea enthusiasm. I want to walk into this space and feel amazing! I also plan to separate my office work and my creative space in my next living situation as I have noticed the negative effect in my flow from doing mental ‘work’ related stuff in my music studio.
Gearing around your creative process in music production, what’s usually the first step?
Sometimes I just make a basic beat and bassline and take it from there. More recently, and this is the case with the new Merkaba album, I engage in musical storytelling and create music to fit a vision or intention. But the first step… Boil the kettle for some tea!
You’re about to embark on a European Tour all summer! Any country or festival in particular that you’re looking forward to?
Do you have a field recorder? If so, which organic sounds do you blend into your production the most?
I do. It’s great to travel with. I have recorded mostly birds and frogs. I also love atmospheres and random environment sounds like a creaking door or the crunching of leaves.
What would you say is different with this release than that of your previous Merkaba releases?
This one has a story and intention as a whole album, not just individual songs coming together to create a compilation of different journeys.
Your faster BPM, psytrance style is very unique, translucent, ancient, organic, complex, yet soothing. What is your intention behind the Merkaba project?
It started when I went to my first ‘Bush Doof’ (Aussie for Trance party). I danced for days barefoot on the Earth…everything changed. I heard Tetrameth and Sensient. They made me re-consider everything I thought about dance music… And still does.
Who did the artwork for As Earth to Sky? How does the visual aspect resonate with the audio?
The art for this album is created by a lovely fellow in Australia who goes by the moniker Point Zero Productions. I have been working with him many years now with another release and with the label. With this cover art I gave him a very basic sketch and concept and let him wield his magic.
Any production advice to anyone and everyone dabbling in the field?
Get in the body. Dance music is about the body so explore ways to access that. Emotion and melody are important keys to this too. The the heady sound design trickery in the world will mean nothing if you can’t connect the dancer/listener to the body first.
An Interview with Eve Olution
Tell us about the expressive nature of character(s) for the Merkaba stage show and how each particular expression reflects the story that the music tells.
Our Merkaba sets are designed specifically for our global Trance audience which means a completely different perspective on performance in general than what we are used to having here in the U.S. The very act of performing during a trance set is almost unheard of and extremely rare. I say this to give context to our artistic choice to keep the current character for Merkaba as one character vs. in Kalya Scintilla there are the many faces (characters) that emerge from the narrator character or storyteller from the Open Ancient Eyes album. In Merkaba, you see a tribal future ancient being appear at the top of the set calling out a prayer for awakening within. She is a guide/voice during the set appearing only a few times. These moments are intentionally chosen during poignant downtempo moments where there might be a spoken message being delivered alongside the unfolding story in her expressions and movements. We also honor the nature of the Trance beat by understanding that performance is not to be over done and instead we intentionally choose these visual moments to be few are far between, leaving the majority of the set to be focused on the music.
For those who are newly discovering your vision, would you share what it entails?
Our vision is to an offer an immersive experience of dancing a live journey of ritualized storytelling embedded in the ancient mythology of humanity through the medium of electronic dance music/performance art. Inside the narrative of the music, we work together as musician and performer to tell our story through the music and visual energetic offering as one. Some have called me the the living expression of the music. I like to think we are giving a more multi-dimensional texture to the overall dance journey, as we add layers of intentional art that our audiences are absolutely feeling with a real potential to go deep.
In what ways would you say the Merkaba storytelling differs from that of the Kalya Scintilla in regards to stage performance? How is it similar?
The biggest difference between Merkaba and Kalya is the complexity of the story. In Merkaba, we are being guided by one character and she is reminding us of our eternal/internal nature every time she appears. In Kalya, there are many stories being told by a shapeshifting storyteller reminding us of all that we are, the many inside the one. The similarity is that both are steeped in taking us on a journey of remembrance, of self realization.
What is your philosophy about the profession of acting through storytelling?
I love using the word actor or storyteller vs dancer for what I personally do on stage because in this industry we tend to lop all performance into one category. This is obviously limiting the potential of sharing the variety inside this vast art form within festival culture. Dancers train their bodies rigorously to offer their artistic expression through their body movement. When you come to see what I do, you quickly realize I am not dancing for you. I’m inviting you into hearing, feeling, seeing the music that we then (together) journey inside of, as I become a living visual interpretation/reflection of that moment. Introducing the profession of acting in a musically focused live set is extremely challenging but I believe it let’s us all experience tangible possibilities of what performance can do to add to the potency of a transcendental experience. I recently heard someone say, “I never knew someone could dance with just their face.” This kind of comment makes me giggle but also points to exactly why we need to expand the types of art displayed on these stages. Our audiences have no idea that there are more genres inside performance beyond “dancing.”
What’s your philosophy on directing?
I’m excited to step more into the role of director next year. Directing vs performing is absolutely essential when wanting to give an overall potent artistic theatrical based experience to an audience. The director is responsible for the multi layers of a production including but not limited to music, performers, lighting, costumes, multimedia which need to be cohesive and specifically focused on telling the overall message/story of the production. I’ve been aching to get back in the director’s seat and it looks like that will be happening in a big way next summer!
Tell us about your costume-wear.
For Merkaba, I took a lot of inspiration from a book called Return of the Bird Tribes where they speak to the symbol of our higher self (our eternal self/soul) as the physical symbol of the bird. In Merkaba, I have played with this white tribal bird guardian and this summer, with the release of new album As Earth to Sky, I’m inspired to bring in vibrations of celebration. This album is dedicated to the rainbow chakra body of the human and Earth as one, in tribute to the colors of the chakra journey. The macaw bird is my muse for this summer. I’m really excited to feel this archetype take flight.
Shadow and Light. Both are essential in tapping into in order to evolve to the next phase. How is this expressed through your medium?
My personal journey has a big role to play in the art I create. I think all artists can attest to that truth for themselves on some level. I’m in a journey of cultivating the practice of awareness (Light) into the subconscious areas of my psyche. In so doing my “shadow” (aspects of the self we can’t see) gets illuminated along the way. I fuse this experience into my art, into the characters I play, and the meaningful empowerment from mythology and folklore that then gets embedded into every moment I’m up there. I believe when we have embodied the practice and fuse it with conscious expression, the art is tangibly different (this a challenging thing to put into words, but it can be felt/seen) – many people attest to that when they experience our creations. I want to continue to explore that fact. I have a theory that this style of art will eventually become very obvious by the many and will be undoubtedly palpable as we continue crafting and honing the potency of what we offer on stage.
Do you have any rituals before entering the stage?
Yes. This has been a powerful tradition and we continue to deepen inside the exploration of what a huge difference this makes for us, as we are devoted to creating a ritual inside the set as well. You’ll always notice a beginning prayer and closing prayer to each of our sets which is intentional and part of the ritual.
What are you looking forward to the most in your approaching European journey?
Europe is always a refreshing audience to perform in front of. Always a joy to feel and see how different it is out there to what I’m used to here in the states. I also get to try new things, they are my little guinea pigs as I feel really free to get way “out there” in new ideas or characters I’m working on; that’s my favorite part of being with an international crowd.
What’s your vision for overall set/stage design as this project continues to expand?
To be able to craft an actual professional lighting/stage design specifically for our big stage shows and fully be technically supported in our vision would be the next step in our expansion. This will be a dream come true when that happens and we are excited to be exploring that possible reality for next year.
Who or what has been a huge inspiration for you in theatre?
The true genre of Performance Art (in its classic definition) has always been my favorite genre since college. Performance Art is always focused on a message, sometimes extremely abstract, that invites the audience to create the message of the art for themselves or to play with discovering a hidden meaning with the artist live. Marina Abramović is one of my all time inspirations as her story is one of ultimate bravery as a human and an artist which is absolutely undeniable. If you don’t know who she is google “the artist is present” and if you can watch her documentary, so powerful and so needed in this western culture that doesn’t really get “art” haha! Vive el arte!
Any advice or tips to fellow storytellers/performers/actors?
Be brave, tell us stories in your art, give us soul provoking content in your creations, and try new styles – don’t be afraid to be very different from everyone else!
As Earth to Sky Review
“Earth” is a natural and lively entry which is initially heard through ancient chimes and Tibetan bowl frequencies. It’s a story of trust, knowledge of our foundation, an opening of the root chakra, and soon Eve Olution’s message is felt:
Light of love, light I see, I call forth my awakening. Light of love, travel now my vortices, round in circle, spiral spin. Unblock the lock, bring forth what I cannot see. All that is hidden, all that is me. Bring forth my pain, that I may heal to be forever free. Light of love, travel through each part of me. Spiral spin in synergy, that I may fulfill my eternal prophecy. I am the Earth, I am the Light. I set myself free. I travel my internal vortices. Rainbow bridge from Earth to Sky. Light of love, I am, and will, forever be…
Light percussive leads and bass growls provide a rising through sporadic tribal chants and meditative background ethereal soundscape.
“Journey with us now through the mysteries of your world.”
“Are we destined on this path?, destined to destroy ourselves like so many species before us? Or can we evolve fast enough to change ourselves. Change our fate.”
Scintillating, steady beats are illuminated through an ethereal and expanding soundscape, a fresh melody of drumbeat is a lively upbeat calling.
“Lighten up, sit on the ground, feel Earth. Communicate with Earth and trust Earth. Earth, she is your mother, she feels you, and she knows your name.
All things are here for purpose and when they are explored by humans they give back and gift humans. So if you would, open your mind to the idea that Earth grows things that allow you to understand her in greater detail.
Feel Earth, communicate with Earth and trust Earth.”
“Feel Earth, Trust Earth.”
“Feel Earth, Trust Earth.”
“Feel Earth, Trust Earth.”
“Feel Earth, Trust Earth.”
A mellow and rhythmic change evokes a soothing vibe and an entrance to a conscious evolution of trusting energies entering phases of realizations through clarity.
“Deep Waters” takes you on a mysterious-shadow flow through initial snare beats and subtle drum dabs – you’re diving into the depths of your sacral chakra and clearing a block that enables profound connection and acceptance in all new experiences. Progressive tempos take lead as intricate layers provide balance and add a rush of energy through hypnotic frequencies of deep sound that reverberate into a portal of an inside-out medicinal clearing.
“Solaris” is felt through light drum beat and soothing flute melodies as well as mellow themes that turn into more upbeat drum beats, as the serpent travels up through various sound effects and insertions, further amplifying our vision. Crescendos provide a lift into a second phase of melodies. It’s a story about confidence and taking full control of our lives. It’s about believing in ourselves yet surrendering to the Universe, which will help integrate the magic of manifestation.
“Are you afraid? Yes. Can you see? I can not see.
You are all that is. All that is I am. You are sovereign. I am sovereign. You are free. I am Free. I am sovereign, I Am Free. All that is, I am.”
Chants, minimal vocals, and angelic drones lead the second phase. A victory enters and into the heart follows.
“The mind really has no answers, the heart, no questions. And the heart, no questions. The heart, no questions. And the heart, no questions.”
This journey starts with a rapid beat and a sound variety of eerie melodies and enhancing crescendos, reflecting possibility of symmetry. Trickling and soothing squelches and bass growls. Minimal chimes and melodies take lead into the next chakra through angelic drones.
“And the place is profoundly intense and emotional. All that pain that is expressed in someone’s death is like the reverse, vibrational wave of all the love that they shared and that they generated and that was felt for them. It is the echo back of all the love is that pain and that grief. You don’t have these oscillations in the oneness of the cosmos. You have it as a human. Human, human, human, human.”
“We have to learn how to live with our hearts, because the mind has no answers and the heart has no questions.”
“Truth” has dashing tribal chants and spectacular rhythms. Synth and deep resonating bass lines provide balance. A tune evolving majority through sonic frequencies, warped bass leads, and a feeling of divinity made possible through expression of our truths and into liberation. The importance of action can be felt with melodic injections. When we express our truth, that truth resonates and vibrates into all that is around us, and all that is around us is love.
Speaking your truth no matter how difficult, no matter how embarrassing it is. If out of that cauldron, and it is a cauldron, it’s like a furnace, because when you speak your truth, things that are not true get burned away…because when you speak your truth, things that are not true get burned away.
Foreign callings take lead through the beats. Trance vibes slow down the beat into leading drum patterns.
“The Maya Of Our Time” is a harmonic tuning to the fullest. Electric rhythms and undefinable sounds arise. It’s our wisdom, it’s our third eye chakra/vision, our intuitive focus. Futuristic travel into an ancient myth of known and remembered truth through a very experimental feel of classic Merkaba – progressive and otherworldly sounds. Later in the track, a tick tock is bright and then an expansion transforms white light into a rainbow body. We can see everything.
“All That is” has a trippy feel, a flourishing of our crown chakra as kundalini rising is fully embraced. It feels like a peak that has been reached after trying for so long, further opening up to all of the possibilities of the Universe. We’re flying as angelic drones breathe in light of sparkly harmonic tunes. Deepened spiral of consciousness triggers an evolution.
“Sky” has ascending nature and frog recordings that are meditative as a peak of enlightenment is reached – connection with spirit. Lush, vivid acoustics and natural elements evoke an atmospheric growth through divine experience and knowing.
“I Am The Earth. I Am The Light. From Earth To Sky. Light of Love. I Am & will Forever Be”
Listen to the Trees
Kalya Scintilla also released Listen To The Trees on his label Merkaba Music on June 20th! A four-track journey into the roots through the leaves and beyond – organic, future, ancient, and geometric sound frequencies: “Manzantia,” “Acacia,” “Boab,” and “Dragon Tree.” A midtempo sound experience through glitch hop and tribal fusions of punchy beats, layered tones and textures, outstanding composition, and funky melodies. Pulsating rhythms and mesmerizing vocal samples trigger deep movement and alignment. An expression of truth and guidance is found, let it nourish and bring balance to your mind, body, and soul.