Rebel Circus - Rasplyn Interview Feature
MUSIC DECEMBER 6, 2014
REBEL MUSIC: RASPLYN
Rasplyn is an experimental artist who combines classical music studies, past flings with Riot Grrrl and Grunge and a developed taste for Gothic and metal into her music, all while drawing from her experience as a Clairvoyant reader and energy healer. If that isn’t impressive enough, she just released her debut album Scenes Through the Magic Eye on November 30th. To find out more on how to do it all in the music scene and to find more details about her album keep reading.
How would you describe your musical style?
I am a classically trained orchestral composer gone solo. I am also a Clairvoyant Reader and Energy Healer and my experiences with that work greatly influence what flows out of me during my creative process. My music tends to be fairly dark, but beautiful, and filled with fully orchestrated and textured layers and vocals. I create mystical and visual landscapes that have been described as being very cinematic and intense, sometimes even psychedelic. I love to use instruments from around the world to tell the stories of my compositions with the intent to fully transport the listener out of present time and into the scenes of my mind’s eye, or rather, to get lost creating scenes of their very own.
What does the name Rasplyn mean?
Rasplyn is actually a name I made up back when I was in high school. It was literally my first email address that I made for myself. It is a combination of my own name, Carolyn, and my favorite band at the time, Rasputina. I always used it as my moniker for my music pages and the like throughout the years, and then when the time came for me to choose an artist’s name for my releases it became apparent that a good amount of people already associated me with Rasplyn, so I decided to just keep going with it and as far as I know, no one else goes by it!
If you could work with any artist (past or present) who would it be?
I would have to say that at the moment it is Of Earth And Sun (Matthew Hunzeker) from Colorado. He is an incredible experimental artist who creates super intense tribal drone tracks by blowing into different horns made of bones that he loops with super deep vocals, bass guitar, drums, oscillators, effects and tape manipulation. I have always felt such a strong connection to tribal beats and his music really gets me right in the chest. It is so spiritual and primal to me, plus it’s a great mixture of all the genres I love. I am lucky enough that he will be traveling to play shows with me in Chicago in March. I can’t wait!
What’s your creative process like?
My creative process usually begins when I sit down at my keyboard to compose, although sometimes I do get musical ideas or visual images that I want to work with ahead of time, most of it really gets going when I sit down and start playing at the keyboard. As I come up with ideas, most of the time I have some visualization occurring in my head simultaneously, so it really is almost as if I am writing to film and telling the story of what I am seeing through the music. Then, I honestly get lost in it. I don’t even really know how it happens. I will work for hours and consciously know that I am sitting there step by step creating the music, but at the end of a session often times I will play back what I have been working on and think to myself, “Where did this come from?!", as if I hardly know how it got there. It just seems to flow out of me unconsciously. I tend not to start writing until about 10pm and work many times into the middle of the night. I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing that my studio set up is literally inches from my bed. I definitely lie in bed and listen to my tracks hundreds of times during my writing and mixing process making slight adjustments, sometimes for weeks, until I am satisfied with a piece.
Which musicians would you say have most influenced your music?
PJ Harvey, Babes in Toyland, Tori Amos, Miranda Sex Garden, Hole, Rasputina, Schubert, Stravinsky, Skryabin, Grieg, Bartok, Debussy, Reich and Mozart, to name a few. When I was a teenager I was very into grunge and riot grrrl music, which eventually bled into more of an interest in gothic genres, but I was playing orchestral music all the while. I never quite lost my tie to the female rage behind the riot grrrl and grunge movements though. As you may be able to hear, the music I create now has a good amount of anger and other intense emotions behind it, but I tell my story through the palate of an orchestra rather than that of a rock band. I’ve always loved very dramatic and cinematic classical composers, those who could create a whole visual story without the need for words, before the time of film. I like music that is intense and enthralling.
Which direction do you see yourselves heading in musically in the next years?
I honestly am not sure. When I started out with the idea to make this album it was absolutely NOTHING like what it has turned out to be! I wasn’t using vocals on my tracks at ALL, nor did I intend to, but after 2 years of experimenting, I ended up with vocals on all but one track. I have spent the past 2 years experimenting A LOT with all of the different elements that I can manage on my own. It’s hard to know where further experimentation will lead. I would like to incorporate more looping elements and perhaps to work with more electronic beats. I am always trying to get my hands on and to use new and interesting instruments I hear throughout my world travels as well. I hope to also expand on the visual elements that I use for my live performances and I have plans to collaborate with some amazing musicians, so hopefully some really great tours with them will be in store as well.
You’re also a Clairvoyant Reader and Energy Healer; could you give us a brief explanation of what that entails? How do you combine this with your music?
I can read the energy of people and the people and things that are affecting their lives through both visual pictures that I see, much like a dream, or feel with my body, as an empath. Most of my work involves taking a look at what is going on in a person’s energy space, and usually bringing to light a few things that are greatly affecting them either positively, or negatively that they may not realize are doing so, and then working with them to heal and understand any information that I can give that lies behind the problems they might be experiencing. As I mentioned above, all of my music is written with a visual story playing out in my mind. I feel that I am unconsciously pulling stories to tell that some part of my being appears to know all too well, but that is not from my current experience of life. I decided to spend a lot of time looking at this process and deep into myself to find out what is behind where these stories are coming from, learning what the story that my spirit feels compelled to express is, and why. I feel that this album is strongly connected to many past live that I have had, whose pain I am seeing again so that this time I can understand it, release it, and heal from it through my creative process. A massive catharsis of my eternal being, if you will, freeing me up to be able to have and experience things that I haven’t been able to because of fears that have been deeply embedded in me by my past.
Your newest album reflects your training in classical composition, but you’ve also worked with metal bands and industrial/ambient musicians. How do you manage to be so versatile?
It’s pretty easy for me! I LOVE so many different genres of music and have spent years engulfing myself in the ones you mentioned in this question. I have also played bass guitar in rock and goth bands since I was in high school, in addition to my orchestral studies. To me it’s almost like asking someone who loves to cook and eat Italian food, Mexican food, and Indian food, why they don’t only cook one of those choices for the rest of their life. Why limit myself?! I get really intense desires to “rock out" when I only work on more classical style music, and I think that manifests itself in some of the more dark, angry, and intense moments that come out in those pieces, like many on my album. I also like to experiment like a fusion chef would in a kitchen, by mixing different elements of all of my favorite genres together to make some surprising new creations. The possibilities are really limitless. Collaborating with other musicians also gives me the opportunity to really step out of the areas that I am most comfortable in and to push myself to see what I can create in a new vein. So far all of those experiences have been really lovely for me. At one point last year though I was running a 12 member chamber ensemble, playing in a doom metal band and working on my solo music at the same time, all while holding down a full-time job and taking classes. I did nearly collapse from exhaustion then!
What was your favourite experience working on your newest album?
What I have really loved about writing this album is that for the first time I truly locked myself away and allowed myself to become a crazy artist who was so engrossed in my creative process that sometimes I would hardly sleep, or bathe, or eat for a few days on end. I found a lot of truth in the notion that sometimes, to really go within, you have to block everyone else out. I had to learn to say no to so many people and things in order to give myself enough time and space to create what I needed to. I have spent much time alone over the past 2 years writing this album, but I have loved the time alone with myself and my thoughts so much that now it almost seems like it might be a bit of a “thing" to re-emerge back into normal life. I’m not sure that I want to! There was a point last year that I was working so late into the night writing, that I would often times fall asleep on my bed while listening to what I had just composed and wake up much later to the jingle of all of my percussive bells lying on my bed around me, with my headphones still on my head and attached to my computer a few feet away, and my microphone lying on my chest. I loved that. I was living it.
To find out more about Rasplyn check-out her Facebook page. Or go straight to Mystical Records to grab a copy of her album now! Oh and one last thing, are you inspired yet?