Ben Lee Interview

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1. So it has been two years since your last album ‘Deeper into Dream’ does it feel any different this time around?

Of course. This time I am experiencing a very different territory and I am a t a different stage of my own journey.

2. Your fourthcoming release “Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work” is a union of both your passions in life, music and esoteric science, is this something you have always wanted to do?

It’s something I have been working on, to various extents, since ‘Awake Is The New Sleep’. But this is definitely the most decidedly esoteric of my albums. I felt so inspired by this album. It was like making an album of love songs, to the planet Ayahuasca, and waiting to express my devotion and wonder.

3. What was the background behind bringing these two passions together? 

I have bee working with Ayahuasca over the last five years and it has been a hugely transformative experience for me. I have always made work about whatever it was that I was passionate about, and at a certain point, I felt the definitive and urgent desire to explore the work with the medicine musically. Ceremonial work with Ayahuasca is very difficult work. Come people have the misconception that I am talking about a drug-like escapism, whereas actually the medicine brings us to face ourselves in a brutal uncompromising manner. I wanted to try and capture that experience in music.

4.Is your interest in the workings of the human mind and spirit something that has always been part of your life, similarly to your music?

I think so. I have always asked “why?”. Maybe it’s a Jewish thing. Or maybe it’s just me. I’m not sure, but I have always had what might be called and “existential yearning”.

5. What does Ayahuasca mean? Why did you decide to name your album after it?

Ayahuasca is the name of the healing sacred jungle medicine prepared from the banisteriopsis caapi vine. It is consumed ceremonially, under the guidance of an experienced shaman, and used to tackle the root cause of various health, psychological and emotional issues.

6. What kind of an impact would you like your music to have upon its listeners?

I would hop that it wakes people up.

7. This new album shows a different side to you as an artist and your music, how do you think your fans will react to this new album? 

I’m not sure. I think that those who have ears to hear it will hear it.

8. The album was co-created by Jessica Chapnik Kahn who also features as the female vocals on the record, was it harder or easier working with another person on such a personal album?

This particular album could not have been possible without that collaboration. I admire Jessy as an artist (she performs under the name appleonia) and as a human being, and she was unbelievably supportive and generous with the time and energy in helping this vision be realized.

9. After very kindly agreeing to donate 100% of the royalties to charity, do you hope this will in some way combine the albums success with the healing nature of the medicine it was created to represent?

Yes. My experiences with the medicine has reinforces the idea that everything must be done with love and generosity of spirit. It seemed ludicrous to attempt to personally profit out of the sales of this record.

10. Which organisations are you donating the royalties of the album to? Why have you chosen these charities?

MAPS (Multi-disciplinary association of Psychedelic Studies) and
Amazon Conservation Team. Both these charities represent efforts to lead humanity towards an integrated, healthy future in which nature and consciousness are intertwined and thriving. They seemed like great organizations to support.

http://www.maps.org/

http://www.amazonteam.org/

Hande Cerkez.

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