I started to collect stones when I was around five years old. Stones in different forms, colours and sizes from the beach. The streets and wherever I could find ones I liked. In the beginning it was mostly naturally tumbled and smooth ones because they were soft against my skin and nice to hold in my palm. I remember I would put one against my cheek and feel calm. Even my first artworks were made out of sand and rocks and I still look for ones when I’m out in the wild. Extra special are the minerals unique to the areas where I’ve found them. Stones are among natural things anyone more or less can relate to and if you think of it, even if you don’t remember it specifically, it’s probably present in many of your memories.
I believe we are in a sense connected to the material world through memories. Our brains stores events in relation to experiences and I don’t think we would understand basic feelings like love, fear or sorrow if we couldn’t somewhat relate those experiences to earth. When I feel anxious, I often think of this to feel less lonely. I have always trusted my own emotional devotion to feel what is meaningful in life and creating music has become fundamental and a major source of faith for me. The ability to create is therefore something I value highly and a capability to which I feel deep gratitude. If memories are linked to special objects and material surroundings, it’s no wonder symbolism and conceptualism is a big part of my worldview and understanding of art. Singing, drumming and playing other instruments has worked as tools to practise religion and find spiritual connection as long as back to prehistorical times of mankind. The musical rituals left in the past, the ones that until this day remain, and those we tomorrow might create flow with each other – and make sense as a part of the symbolic culture we carry and shape through time.
When I studied archaeology I couldn’t stop thinking about how coexisting is the past and future. They say time is relative and I remember a special moment at the field digging, discovering, and later holding an over one thousand-year-old skull in my very (at that moment existing) hands. I couldn’t agree more. Similar to symbolic influences in literature and arts during the symbolist era of late 19th century I prefer to see the incomprehensible as a challenge while making music. I’m easily bored with rationalisation and logical structures because I’d rather say what is clear is not clarity per se. However, what seems to be some sort of ideal within the symbolist principal itself creates tendencies of a specific truth. Even if I believe in the connection between symbolic objects and spirituality I wouldn’t say it’s the only way to find purpose in art. We should search for many different truths that matter in life and that might be just one. I believe conviction doesn’t have to be stationary. Nevertheless, I often get the impression of both religious people and non-believers judging the seeker as someone insecure and weak. I rather see experience, knowledge and belief as something that works together.
Musical expression is a way for me to process life and question some of the ideas that are represented in the society I live in. Hopefully my music motivates listeners to cross certain boundaries and enter a more transcendent state of mind. Symbolism does not only live in matter, though. But by involving special objects in my projects, essential things that I in different ways have gathered through my time on earth, makes me feel extra connected to the life I was given. It's an act of appreciation and works as a strong symbol that I believe unconsciously captures my audience. Cultural material within historical context has scientific meaning that constantly changes and re-stores in our collective memory as mutual knowledge. Also, it holds individual value that is represented by our relation to the artifact. Things like my mother’s old tambourine that I use on stage, my great grandfather’s violin that I recorded during my music production or my grandmother’s jewellery that I have been wearing throughout studio sessions and at photo shoots. Either way it generates beautiful symbioses between life, altered through time and space.
With this said, I think I have made my point about how I believe that this great flow make sense in our lives. It’s nothing new; many of the esoteric parts of the established and old religious belief systems – like Sufism and Tao – has since forever embraced that interconnected perspective of spirituality and life. The drums of life echo through the ages and, if you like, you can move to the beat. It seems almost as if this state of dance is what makes flowers grow, clouds move and birds sing.
Merely's new album, Hatching The Egg, is out now via YEAR0001.