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In a world of dystopia, deep fakes and discontent… DeepFaith are your shining light in the darkness.
A unique blend of Electronic music, DIY punk, Opera and Tech has seen them perform for Chanel, play the Sydney Opera House, a sold out show in a Crypt and have shared the stage with Genesis Owusu, The Avalanches and Jamie xx.
Co-existing with Deep Faith’s music is consciousness for the universe.
Deep Faith’s core members Daniel Stricker and Byron Spencer talk on a phone call in this interview about music through spirituality, religion, mantras, AI and psychedelia.
DANIAL: Were you religious as a child in any way? Were you involved in any religious activity or religious group?
BYRON: As a child, I was always involved and drawn to different forms of religious practice. I was in the church choir from around the age of 15, so that made me attend church twice a week to sing. Later, I went to Fiji and worked in a Catholic orphanage and that got me really into the musical side of their church and my view on faith. Because of this interest, I also traveled to India and worked with Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. I went to an Anglican school, but I didn’t necessarily practice these things, nor did I even take it in as something I believed in, but I definitely was drawn to the community element. And then I was always fascinated with the concept of mantra or repeated kind of communal voice, which is something you get a lot in religious music — which is why I’m so drawn to India.
DANIAL: Yeah, the mantra is almost hypnotic because of harmony, and when you do it together in yoga practice or whatever it might be, especially when you have a large group, there’s something collective about harmony and bringing all the people together. Do you think that in religion, it’s used as a kind of tool? Is it a nefarious thing, or is it a positive thing in terms of the use of symbolism?
BYRON: There’s definitely a hypnotic element to all things related to religion. I think there is power in the concept of just listening to something over and over again. Whether or not you are fully listening, I think it can go within you. It’s an interesting thing to acknowledge, and I guess that is relevant in the sense of the modern-day collective that we are forming. Maybe people do this in a technological way at the moment when we just take in so much content symbolically.
DANIAL: That makes so much sense to me. The reason I ask is because I feel like there’s a lot of noise these days, and to break through the noise, I think the idea of mythology and the idea of collective consciousness is important.
DANIAL: The use of these techniques, you know, during history has provided our culture. Basically, from what I understand, those are the tools that have allowed us to form large group societies, and have pushed us forward as a civilisation. It applies to music, eg. it’s big in pop music. Why are pop stars so popular? Because they do something that’s recognisable a lot of the time. They work in themes about love and relationships, which is a concept that we can kind of all relate to. They have strong imagery and messaging, so I think, and of course, there’s the music, which to me, music is almost a magical thing because, biologically, when you’re dealing with harmony, it’s actually having a huge impact on your brain, your physical being. And so it’s a very powerful tool. And that’s why I think people like the church or, you know, whatever religious group, whether it’s Judaism, Hinduism, Catholicism, you know. These tools are used to create a collective. With us, I guess we both speak a similar language here. We lean into those symbols, mythology, harmony, repetition, and so on. Because I think the idea of these things, to me anyway, is a collective. It’s not just about you or me or anyone else that we’ve worked with. It’s about a lot more people. It’s about a lot more, uh, a way of like creating a collage in a popular sense, and involving those people. And so really, in my opinion, those tools and techniques are the way to access that. And it’s funny because looking at what’s happening at the moment, with AI and stuff like that, a lot of people are worried that AI is pulling people apart from each other and in a sense, as humans. Maybe there is something where we used to have more of a collective consciousness. That we knew how to tap into that. And people talk about genius, like, genius used to be an individual thing, we talk about genius now in a group type way; you have to be a conduit for it. You know, because there’s all this genius in the atmosphere, How do we access that? And I think it’s through the collective. and people argue that, AI is kind of taking away from that, and in a way, I think AI is doing EXACTLY that. It takes a huge amount of data that lives in the ether and it it creates content. I feel there’s a way to combine this massive amount of data and collective consciousness with real world methods of collective consciousness such as symbology methodology, harmony. Hopefully that will give us something that’s bigger than the some of the I don’t know. But I think to me, that’s what this (DEEPFAITH) is. I’ve played lots of music with other bands and had success with that. But to me, DEEPFAITH is really exciting because it’s not just about me. It’s trying to find a way that I can take what I like and plug into the collective. Is that kind of how you see it, or what’s your I know it’s a lot, but like, what’s your take on that? To be honest, I’m paraphrasing a lot of people here.
BYRON: I feel like universally, and kind of recently, emotion and spirit have been a bigger conversation, which is an interesting blessing that covid has brought. Covid brought up so much, as you know, the mental health situation on top of physical health. A lot of people like us already like to have that conversation, but in a broader sense people are leaning more into talking about their general kind of human feeling, which I think is a positive. Then add in the concept of AI, now people are conflicted with the concept of being human, which I believe can be a positive, ie. The human collective is becoming stronger because technology is becoming more advanced. To be honest, I think technology has been advanced and a controversy for many years but it’s been happening in the background. People have been completely unaware because they’ve been consuming it naturally, so naturally, where in many aspects it’s completely unnatural. So, yes, it’s, uh, bigger and a scary thing, this concept of AI but it’s also coming at a really amazing time when humans are talking about being human. I don’t know if that made sense!
DANIAL: Yeah, you say that during the last couple years people became more aware of their feelings and we’ve had lots of mental health issues. There was also a lot of segregation. Maybe there’s an element of narcissism now? People are stuck with themselves, and they’re thinking so much about their own feelings. What do you think about that?
BYRON: I consume a huge amount of technology. But I’ve also always run with my emotional gut feeling and being yea slightly narcissistic in the sense of really focusing about the way I feel, whether that is yeah, a narcissistic thing or if it’s a really healthy thing. I think it’s interesting that people are doing this more now. It makes you realise that everyone’s a little bit in fight or flight mode. The world now is more ‘every man for themselves’ energy, even if you’re in a partnership or with your family all the time. I think there is more of a feeling of isolation. But through that, there’s possibility of higher community and a more modern kind of sense of community or religion. Whether that is. ancient religion or modern technological religion.
DANIAL: I would almost argue that they’re at odds with each other because I think narcissism essentially is what you’re saying. And if you’re talking about religion or collective, it’s more about people coming together to work as a collective organism. I feel like music and religion and art can bring us together. The way that AI self perpetuates brings it together. It takes all the humanity, cultural content and brings that together very quickly, quicker than we can, especially because we’re kind of in this age of narcissism, as you rightly say. I would like to think that we can push more into the collective age. Not to say that we should kill the ego. But I think that, for me, instead of creating something individually, that we should look directly at how AI is working. It’s taking a whole bunch of information and there is no way that it’s stopping itself. There’s no one saying “Don’t use this, Don’t use that”. Anyone can pull content from anywhere. And I feel like we have these moments in time like when the MP3 came out or when sample culture started, where the legality of things took a while to catch up. We’re in this sweet spot at the moment, not trying to rip off people or not pay them for their work at all, but I feel like it’s this kind of beautiful moment where you can use material freely without thinking too much about it. And to me, that’s the opposite of narcissism.
BYRON: I feel like you need to be confronted with your ego and narcissism to move past it, potentially we’re in ‘stage one’. Letting go is a really, really beautiful thing that will bring people more in touch or in tune with the concept. But I think it needs to happen before that next step.
DANIAL: DeepFaith musically : Is it gonna be levelling people up? Or is it an Ego boost? When you make music, how does it make you feel?
BYRON: I’m really intrigued by clairvoyance, reaching a higher power, trying to do it more or understand it. Trusting your intuition or your gut. So again, I can’t really defend anything, except just talking about making something from a feeling or a gut intuition. I feel musically we can touch people in some form or journey of sound. When we talk about mantra, we talk about hypnosis or a certain type of feeling. That’s the only thing I can really hope for in what we create. And then, when you start putting that with a visual, we take people on some form of journey that is beyond a physical experience. But it’s a very hard thing to explain. We can only hope that it happens through experience. I guess it’s like, you know, our study, our practise, our kind of conversation and then putting that out there and then the right people will gravitate towards it.
DANIAL: Totally. I’ve always been into rave music. I remember being a kid sneaking out of my house and going to Rave’s. When I first got into music, I played in orchestra’s and jazz bands, and I got really deep into that as a teenager.. and rave music. So for me, it was very much about escapism. I wanted to find a way to get into the zone as quickly as possible, and I could get into the zone when I heard music that was very visceral, or when I played percussion or drums or, you know, whatever. And I was just in the zone, you know, for me it was very much escaping the kind of basic pressures of life. As a kid I was in a bubble, had to work hard academically, and, you know, whatever else in a suburban existence. And so music was my escape from suburbia. Music wasn’t so much about lyrical content. It was more about escapism. And I guess when I started doing DeepFaith that was still coming through, an escapist kind of lens. But I guess when I met you, I felt like you had quite a lot to say emotionally. The feeling I get when I work with you is that you bring a lot of emotions, your own emotions, your own feelings to the table and therefore, lyricism, coupled with imagery, music, harmony. You know, to me, music has always been about world building, and in previous projects, that was very much the core focus. But I feel like in this project it’s very much now trying to find a way to take someone to that emotional core. And that’s almost the opposite of escapism. So for me, it’s new. It’s a different way of experiencing or making music, and at the same time trying to find a way that you can use elements of orchestral baroque music or rave music to take someone out of their every day, but maybe in a way that connects people with your emotions? I don’t know how you feel about that working with me but I feel like that’s definitely a point where we connect is on this more is more like more is more. It’s almost this turbo thing, Turbo emotion. Turbo music. What do you think about that?
BYRON: Talking back to your thing about your history I think I had a very weird relationship with playing the flute because it was in my form of escapism. I started getting fascinated with what the flute represented for me, but also, historically, it’s kind of musically very powerful as a form of a meditative instrument. So I think I had a lot of unusual fantasy and escapism through playing it all the time because it was kind of my serene place to go.
DANIAL: When I think of a flute, I think of a Satyr playing the flute. Was that ever a thing for you, like in that musical theatre type way or that kind of imagery or not? Or was it just, like actually the physical act of.
BYRON: I didn’t really think about it…..It was like, maybe slightly psychedelic for me. Unusually, because I spent a lot of time doing it by myself and to be honest, I had separated myself from it for years when I moved to Sydney and for some reason didn’t feel power in my musical side anymore. So I created this character, which was me as a photographer. But I didn’t want to be that person anymore. And then I had this crazy New year where I was on a mix of party things. And I, played the flute for the first time in years and this piece of music that I played 10 years ago just came out of my fingers. I just played it how I remembered it. It got me to go somewhere else, like a a different dimension. I guess when we start talking about the idea of ‘more is more’ I do think in some senses that’s why hopefully our music hits in some respects. Because again, when you think of the way that people are consuming nowadays, which is a conversation that I don’t think people are talking about enough, people are definitely becoming more aware of the addiction towards technology. Any sensory experience can be quite addictive or quite psychedelic, inclusive of just scrolling your phone. Same here in some senses, the experience musically with us. Yeah, more is more. There’s every kind of element. So it can be in some cases overwhelming. Potentially. I think again it’s like training your psyche to be able to submit. Yes, I think that eventually in a way, that is a religious experience. When people are stuck to their phones and they’re totally tapping out, they follow. They’re totally part of the technological religion and I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing, but I do think it can be through music, collectively. I love the idea of being, you know, involved through music. When you see people pulsating in the same rhythm or dancing in the same mood or kissing or these crazy freedoms. That I think we may start seeing again through post covid energy and technological rebellions and, you know, potentially our shows. Eventually, you might not be able to bring any of your phones, but you’re completely surrounded by the tech, you know? I don’t know…..hahaha
DANIAL: Escapism, but hopefully with some emotional cause. that’s what I like about making music with you. You can connect with it on a very human level. So even though we use all this crazy techno technology, I think there’s a pretty deep human side to it.
BYRON: Well what’s the point if there is no emotion. 🙂