In November this year, Mr. Sylvain Lupari from Canada compiled a batch of 30 questions for INDRA. Having already more than 25 albums, the listeners want to know more about the artist, his life and his sources of inspiration…
How is the popularity of Indra and EM in Romania
INDRA: Unfortunately, in Romania the electronic music is not very much accepted and listened to; this is probably due to the bad culture of the new generation. However, I am quite known in a certain group who is interested in EM. I gave quite many interviews on radio and TV and in diverse magazines too. The different lineages of my style intrigued enough the listeners so that they wanted to get access to my music, trying to understand it.
When did you find interest in EM?
INDRA: In the ’70s, listening to the J.M.J. and Vangelis; in that period I began to understand that EM could be the proper way to explore my own ideas. But the real step took place in the ’90s. However, the previous experience as a drummer and guitarist helped me quite much.
For the benefit of our readers, can you name your 5 top cd, movies and books?
INDRA: Cool! Let’s see:
CDs – 1. Timewind (Klaus Schulze) / 2. Mirage (Klaus Schulze) / 3. Chariots of Fire (Vangelis) / 4. Equinoxe (J.M.Jarre) / 5. The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
MOVIES – 1. The Gladiator / 2. Troy / 3. Casablanca / 4. Mission to Mars / 5. Independence Day
BOOKS – 1. They all pertain to the esoteric field of knowledge and generally speaking they are texts of the oriental and especially Hindu spirituality: 1. Siva Sutra / 2. Spanda Karika / 3. Paratrimshika Laghuvritti / 4. Ramayana / 5. Bhagavad Gita
Which was your principal source of inspiration?
INDRA: The origin of all my inspiration is the hidden realm of Creation; particularly the Great Hindu God INDRA, even such a statement could seem to be hilarious. If one feels and understands that besides physical plane there are many other subtle words, then there might be a real improvement in one’s life and so in one’s artistic creation.
Were there other musical preferences, before discovering EM?
INDRA: I can say so; on the ‘pole position’ was Pink Floyd, followed by other artists and bands (Mike Oldfield, Beatles, Manfred Mann, Deep Purple etc.) which contributed much to my musical formation. There were also the pop bands and stars which I liked quite a lot!
Then came Isao Tomita with his astonishing variations on classical themes who threw me in the dream world of the electronic music, its effects and cosmic perception. However, the real touch was from J.M.J. part with his Equinox and Oxygen albums and Vangelis with See You Later, Chariots of Fire and especially with L’Apocalypse des Animaux.
Your artworks and some of your titles (The Call of Shiva, Kali, Maharaj) let us foresee a possible bond with the Indian religion. Is this a facet that you seek to exploit or is this involuntary?
INDRA: Well, it’s obviously not a random choice. Due to my high interest in studying oriental philosophy and practice, this is something rather expectable to use some notions and terms or even ideas from the East in my musical work. On one hand it creates a certain resonance with this still rather unknown world; on the other hand it helps the listeners plunging into the real depths of the true knowledge.
Why a name like Indra?
INDRA: Well, this could be a long ‘journey’… but to make a long story short, I tell you that it is highly connected with an extraordinary spiritual experience I had many years ago, which marked decisively my entire future musical activity and inspiration. It was a clear vision of the great god INDRA, who appeared in front of mine during the period of a long and special reclusion in which I practiced a difficult yoga technique.
The greatness and majesty of that genuine apparition could hardly be encompassed into proper words; still, IT WAS AS CLEAR AND TRUE AS YOU READ THESE WORDS! I am perfectly aware of the fact that this is something hardly to believe especially in our times, when ignorance, superficiality and decadence prevails; anyway, this is the simple truth. And I say that this could be accomplished BY ANYONE ELSE, providing that the god INDRA being sincerely called in one’s heart.
He said to me he is willing to help those who wish to know him and hence they will come to a new and also to a higher dimension of their life, full of harmony and coherence. I do hope that through these words the ones who are sensitive and receptive will feel the truth from my story. The fans could anytime ask me more about this and try themselves to contact the great god INDRA. These are special times and therefore special opportunities are put at our disposal.
Do religion inspires your works?
INDRA: Here we have to set up clearly some things. If through religion you understand something dogmatic and exclusive, then the answer is ‘No’; but yoga, for example, means also the science, the religion and even the art of living in truth. Take the exclusive part of the spirituality inherent in every authentic religion and then we can say this is really what inspires and directs me in making music.
If I should only search for ‘experimenting’ or commercializing music, this wouldn’t satisfy me at all. My directory line in this field is mainly to show the people there is a wonderful possibility for them to change their lives and benefit from the real music, understanding it deeply, flying with their open minds and hearts through its giant and astonishing universe of sounds.
Is it true to think that spirituality is essential in your work, in your daily life?
INDRA: As I have already mentioned, IT’S PERFECTLY TRUE. As a matter of fact, this is something essential. Whatever else you do, you can’t have perpetual benefits and even less happiness.
Everybody is ‘running’ for the happiness in life; the fact is that one is searching for it in wrong direction and even come to a point in which one forgets what was starting for at the beginning! In the end, people understand that they are actually dissapointed by their life; here is a new ray of light which however can offer them a new perspective, a new aim. I speak about contacting the great god INDRA and if this action is sincerely and constantly oriented then one can check by his/her own the verity of my advice.
The god INDRA said to me that he inspires my music and wish that through it the listener’s soul might ‘catch’ the mysterious thrill of the real life and peace.
31 cd since 1993, almost 2 a year; does Indra works too much?
INDRA: Not at all; you might not believe it, but know that I make music rather quickly, as if I would have known it before and then only ‘assemble’. It’s quite strange, but this is the truth. The intuition leads me right to the proper sounds and effects, my hands performs the right melodic lines and I NEVER COME BACK TO ADJUST A TRACK! Of course, I’m working on it, but never change it afterwards. I don’t say it couldn’t be improved but there are so many ideas in the background of my inspiration that I barely have enough time to make them actual!
Aren’t you afraid of overproduction? Of too much exposure, that fan will be more and more lack of concern in your works?
INDRA: I start from the idea that the real joy in music is to listen, not to wait; after all, the inexhaustible possibilities and ideas must be put effectively ‘at work’, why then to lose time? On the other hand, there is quite a large palette of distinct ways of EM in my albums so that the listener could hardly get bored (or so I think!).
You seem to enjoy and play several musical styles; BerlinSchool, Electronica and Ambient and even New Age, don’t you think that that can destabilize your fans?
INDRA: Now that I have explained some of my ideas, there is no contradiction. Through all the different styles I get, there is still a distinct mark of my own and besides the music is not bad I should say. Rather it comes to please different tastes, though keeping a kind of the same imprint.
Which style are you more at ease?
INDRA: Obviously, the Berlin School style is the one I love the best. I think it also succeed in expressing in a most accurate way the highest states of subtle perception and emotion. The true benefit of the music is ‘measured’ in time: the longer, the better. Short enthusiasm or pleasure from listening to a track or other, forgetting it afterwards, does not fit with the idea of mature and real good music. Often there comes a rather strange situation: at first, listening to my music the listener doesn’t like a track or even a whole album but slowly he/she began to find something more and more interesting in it and finally he/she gets to real joy listening it over and over again. One may judge the worth of the music by the fact it can be listened in time, always feeling the same (or even increasing!) thrill in the heart and mind.
Which of your cd you are the much proud of ?
INDRA: I think the two volumes The Call of Shiva as well as the first CD (Kali) from the Special Edition reveal at best my own style on the EM stage.
Which is the difference between Indra of the beginnings and the one today,as well like an artist as like man?
INDRA: One can trace a certain evolutionary path from the start up till the present day. In my opinion there is more maturity and even more inspiration in the music production and that’s a fit with my personal spiritual development. One can not be separated by the other.
How do you react over the constant comparisons reviewers make between your music and Schulze’s own?
INDRA: Frankly speaking, I’m flattered by that but in the same time I realize this is only a global perception, something like a ‘trend’. He/she who listens carefully to my music may come to the conclusion that there are new perspectives and new ideas in it. The musicality is different, even the structure of the track is different than in Schulze’s music. Things must be improved in Berlin School music and I dare say I made some good steps in this direction.
I do not believe that your music resembles to Schulze, but your styles and approaches yes. Did he have influences on your development?
INDRA: That’s the right point! Undoubtely, Klaus Schulze is a genius in the EM field; pity though that in the last couple of years he got very sick and this closed in a way speaking the channel for supposedly other gems of his musical productions. Yes, I could say he is the one who ‘showed’ me the best way of exploring the universe of sound and he ‘taught’ me some basic principles. I do hope that in the next future I’ll be able to see him and talk with him about the music and the special stuff, you know…
According to you, is the EM a viable cultural vehicle for an artist?
INDRA: It should be as it addresses itself to one of the most elevated realities of Creation: THE SOUND. Through the up-to-date technology of this field of knowledge, one can explore and perform real gems of art in music for the benefit of the others. This should be like a real and true aim for the musician.
Do you feel that this art is been snob by the media? If so, which are the causes?
INDRA: Not really a snobism but rather a wrong perception of the way in which it goes. In their desire for the so-called ‘inovation’ and ‘experiment’ some of the musicians take a wrong way to the ‘dark-ambient’ style which make human subconscious mind resonate with freaky and bizarre aspects, culminating with fear and all sorts of anxious feelings. This is not a beneficial result.
On the other hand, we can speak about a sort of ‘stagnation’ on the EM stage. In my opinion, what is really missing is THE IMAGINATION. This is perhaps the only one which cannot be replaced by technology.
Does the EM survive the musical evolutions well?
INDRA: In my perception this is a decadent period for EM. It depends on the fans if there’ll be a ‘new rise’. The artist contribution is very important too, as they (the artist and the fan) ‘feed’ each other. Metaphorically, of course!
Some says those which make EM, are not true musical artists or writers, but rather studio geniuses. Do you agree with that?
INDRA: If we take it for the live performances, somehow it can be true. But we must not forget that the electronic music is the only style of music that can cover a very large area of humans feelings and emotions and also can ‘transport’ the listener into the highest places of his/her consciousness. We do not search really for the ‘show’, no matter how virtuous it could be, but for a real transformation inside human being through the sound. Otherwise, all is like a wonderful empty cup in the desert; the thirsty man is willing for THE WATER, not for the beauty of the cup!
Will EM always have its place, or will be dislodge by techno, the electronica?
INDRA: Techno and other contemporary styles are secondary, they do not ‘live’ through themselves, if you know what I mean. Sooner or later they will be replaced by other ‘fluctuations’ and so on. But the real ‘base’ will not disappear; the EM will improve itself and will gain more subtle aspects, refining and elevating thus the listener’s perception.
What do you think of new technologies towards musical evolution?
INDRA: I think they are necessary to explore more and more the deep waters of sound. In a way, technology helps to make the mysterious transition from the physical sound to the inaudible one, that is the mystical sound which can be perceived only in elevated state of mind and soul.
These days, with virtual synths and PC equipment, anyone can make music. Don’t you think that these evolution will discredit EM artists in the future?
INDRA: It’s true that almost anyone can make music using the latest technology, but this doesn’t mean that everybody can make good music too! This is a significant difference. Even having at their disposal a very high technology, you can hardly discover a good album or at least some good tracks. I should say that the EM artist is ‘at safe’ from this point of view!
With Kali, it’s the start of a new 12 cd works. The attention of INDRA will it be entirely devoted to this project, or will he make other things?
INDRA: Actually I wish to accomplish as soon as possible this large project so I intend to focus mainly to this music. However, as in many previous situations, there will be tracks which do not fit for the Special Edition ‘profile’ but I would feel inspired to compose; they will be included in the future albums or as additional bonus.
Why such a musical project?
INDRA: It’s mainly connected with my own studies and spiritual experience. The Ten Great Cosmic Powers from the Hindu spiritual tradition are so important in the human’s life that I was inspired to get people to their knowledge in this genuine way; however, there are some explanatory notes on every cover of the 12 albums.
The music has a special resonance with each of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers and thus helps a lot to connect to their reality and influence; of course, this is proportional with the listener’s interest and aspiration. Practically speaking it’s exactly as in the case with the great god INDRA. The ‘touch’ is made through the process of RESONANCE and to realize this resonance one have to listen carefully and ‘transposed’ to the respective music. The difference is that the god INDRA will respond quicker for He has already expressed His wish for being contacted and thus helping humans.
How long do you think it will take to complete this artistic ambition?
INDRA: At first I thought I’ll be able to complete it till the end of this year, due to the fact I had already started in different percentages many of the tracks of the 12 albums. But now I have to admit I need much more time for that; after all, it’s a major project and it has to be carefully fulfilled.
Don’t you think it’s a lot of pressure to announce a 12 cd set project?
INDRA: The Edition is being announced in order to ‘prepare’ the listener for what is he/she expected for. I thought there is need for some time to accommodate with the new subject, with its notions etc. Beyond all these, I dare to say that the actual and personal experience everybody has when listening to this music may build the real accomplishment of the whole work. As I said, the most important thing in this respect is the man’s ‘growth’ and his augmented understanding concerning the realities he is surrounded by.
Will the music be all sequenced, like the first Kali or there will be ambient ones, as well as techno ones?
INDRA: The greatest part of the tracks will be sequenced as in Kali and other of my works. The whole series will be underlined by the Berlin School style. However, due to their specific, some tracks will have a somewhat quiet nature, but still infused by the Berlin style. Hope this work will be a real pleasure for the fans!
On behalf of GOD readers, thank you for your time and your music.
INDRA: I thank all of you too! It was a real long but full of interest interview! See you soon at my future live performance!
(Interview by Sylvain Lupari – Canada, November 2006)
The original French version of the interview can be read here