New Age music and soundspaces
for creative visualisation and healing by Japetus.
Multimedia producer and New Age music composer Japetus discusses his new Catalogue and his views on life and veganism.
NV - How long have you been vegetarian?
Japetus - I was beginning to not want to eat animals in the last few years of high school but unfortunately it was difficult to convince a wise mother that this was something that could be done without withering away to nothing. Fortunately Mum was willing to compromise enough to feed me nutmeat sandwiches which was one of the few off-the-shelf products in 1972 (I used to get teased about having strange lunches at school) and she prepared lentil loaves for dinner.
This was all 'lacto-ovo' vegetarian because at that stage (in my 20's) I believed it was OK to eat animal by-products, under the impression that because the animals were not killed it was living in harmony with them.
It wasn't until I was eating cheese at a function once and this guy said, "are you aware of what they use to make the cheese go hard?"... and I learned about animal rennet - the seventh stomach of baby calves that they ferment (rot) to create microbes to inject into the cheese.
NV - What made you become vegetarian in the first place?
Japetus - It was actually a dream. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the computer, HAL, scans a piece of equipment giving a 3-D see-through graphic image on the screen that rotates... click... click... click. It was about 1974 and I had just seen Space Odyssey and in my dream there was a leg of ham that came closer and closer so I could see the bone and the hair and the muscle and the fat and the skin and the veins, and then side by side was a human thigh rotating the same click... click... click... the bone and the hair and the muscle and the fat and the skin and the veins.
It was so obvious and made it impossible to eat red meat again. I still ate occasional Kentucky Fried Chicken because of the 'fun' factor/conditioning, until one day while eating a chicken leg, the gristle from the knee flicked up and hit me in the nose when I bit into it. At that moment I remembered the dream and realised it wasn't just pigs and sheep and cows but chickens too, and then realisations followed quickly about fish and more.
The problem was that I was confused. Beyond fish, where to draw the line? Unsure, I decided to draw the line to exclude everything 'above' oysters, inclusively. Oysters always confused me because I grew up eating and enjoying them. I had heard the phrase "don't eat anything with a face" and "don't eat anything that moves or thinks or breathes" and oysters didn't seem to fit that format. It wasn't until years later that I realised I had made the right choice when I discovered the Hari Krishna rule that rang the truest for me - "Don't eat food that fights against you". Oysters contract their muscle to close their shell to try to protect themselves.
But I was still eating eggs and cows milk. It is amazing how hard it is to get it clear even 15 years after dream. It was only with my involvement with animal rights in the 80's and a partner who explained the unhealthy nature of dairy that I looked into going vegan. I discovered battery hens and that commercial cows produce 200 times more milk than they would naturally. Not to mention all the additives and chemicals that go through the cow and into the milk.
NV - How does veganism correlate with your overall creative output?
Japetus - In the end it is all an awareness exercise. Life. Every aspect of our lives are to be brought to conscious focus and in alignment with higher principles. Veganism is the reflection, a symptom if you will, of a mind that is coming into itself. It is a discipline, not of the body but of a sensitive soul wanting to manifest and move along the path of higher evolution, and hence to become a disciple. Disciple=discipline=disciple.
Creativity is constructive and progressive and evolutionary, and in the case of my music I am wanting to uplift and inspire people. Each album takes listeners on an experiential and topographic journey, and the Catalogue as a whole is designed to offer people a series of entry points into inner space as they move from album to album.
This inner awakening and stimulation goes hand in hand with the outer awakening to the impact we have on the world. Inner awareness=outer awareness=inner awareness in the equation and practice of being.
NV - Do you promote your diet as part of your overall profile and philosophy?
Japetus - Well, it is difficult to carry the flag all the time. I have found one of the big downfalls of veganism is fanaticism. It is important to allow people to move at the pace that they can deal with while doing our best to set an example and provide information. It took me 15 years to make the connection and let go of by-product.
On my website - www.japetus.net - I have a section on diet that contains my own views and the views of those who have influenced me, together with links to other vegetarian and vegan sites and media.
If diet affects consciousness and awareness do you feel that your music will be more accepted when society moves its focus away from animal foods? Yes. A vegetarian diet is essential for moving into higher spheres of awareness, and consciousness is where my soundspaces and journeys have the most impact even though, for the most part, the musical journeys are peaceful and relaxing. As I mentioned earlier, being vegan is a daily practice of manifesting awareness and my music is designed to create and stimulate an environment whereby conscious awareness can prosper and proliferate.
Again, I don't subscribe to fanaticism and I don't feel that eating occasional by products or even animal flesh itself, by choice or accident once in a blue moon, is a failure as a vegetarian or a vegan. We must keep the perspective of the whole and the most important factor isn't physical. What matters most is intent, and that is metaphysical.
NV - In that case do you believe that our readers will be better disposed to appreciating and using your music Catalogue?
Japetus - New Vegetarian readers are inherently seeking or already on the Path. They are pre-qualified for working with the music and the visualisations by their natures and the choices they have already made.
I'm not saying that every reader will automatically want to buy a CD or find all the music in my Catalogue suited to their taste but yes, I have found that in most cases, awareness finds awareness.
NV - How long have you been composing, recording and releasing your music?
Japetus - I began writing songs in 1978 and recording them in other people's studios until I setup my own 8-track studio at home in 1980. For three years I wrote and recorded 'Pop' songs and sent demo tracks out on a quarterly basis to almost every record company in the world. No one in the A&R department actually offered me a deal even though I received accolades from many industry, radio and management people. I was never quite sure why but I suspect it was because of the meaningful and sometimes controversial lyric content and because I was a studio solo act that didn't play live (before Icehouse or Tears For Fears). the songs weren't mind boggling but they were good enough to stick me in a proper studio and see what happens.
In the early 80's synthesisers became affordable and I had been using them with the songs. In 1983, after meeting and being counseled by a psychic healer named Ari Powell, I shifted my focus from three minute Pop songs to New Age journeys and released the first album The Great Great Silence. It was using synthesis in a whole new way working with colours and symbols and elements in order to convey moods and invocative spaces.
NV - Do you ever work with other musicians?
Japetus - No, not the New Age music. However that doesn't mean I work entirely alone. The irony of what I do is that I can't actually write and read music and my knowledge of keyboards is extremely limited. I can't actually play keyboards (and I never play unless I am creating a specific project) yet I have released over 15 albums of purely synthesiser based music. Even though it is a bit cliche I have no other way to account for this output accept through my connection to my guides and the Masters Who contact me via conscious mental telepathy for Their Purposes.
NV - The Catalogue is quite comprehensive. What do you hope people will experience with it?
Japetus - We are in the process of moving from a primarily physical/animal based existence in a primarily metaphysical/spiritual life. This requires the development and practice of subtle psychic senses and becoming experienced and comfortable with the subjective inner reality that stands behind and within this mundane physical realm. It is beyond time and beyond space and is the essence and precursor to all physical plane activity.
Every album in my Catalogue, while generally pacifying the physical, is like an aerobic work out for your subtle bodies - etheric, astral, mental, soul - as you develop a sense of the journey.... beyond. Each title represents an experience that I have visioned and then captured in sound and colour and symbol, and each title is a different entry point into this unseen land. I have done my best to map out this inner world as a topography whereby I hope that listeners will learn to discern and envision different states and spaces and the relationship between different levels of vibration.
NV - You are launching this new Catalogue on the internet and through mail-order rather than going though conventional distributors and shops. What is the advantage of that?
Japetus - The web is an amazing innovation in human interactions and is representative of our realisation of the interconnectedness of life and the web of existence. The radio was the symbolic manifestation of our psychic abilities. Television was the vision of higher mind coming into play. The appearance of the world wide web means that we are discovering and developing our essential oneness and interrelatedness on all levels as a global entity.
The Internet is by far the best way to reach the most number of people is the fastest and cheapest fashion. I also found it frustrating in the 1980's, when I first released my albums, seeing how much record companies, distributors and outlets took in terms of sales percentages. There is absolutely no reason why I can't supply my product directly to the public or through my own designated agents.
Perhaps in the future, when I feel certain that shops can sell my Catalogue in a way that represents the music in the best light, I will consider supplying them but only after they can show some understanding. I doubt very much that I will sell through a distributor or a record company again.
The MP3 site www.MP3.com/japetus is great because people can see the covers, listen and download, and order a compilation CD with excerpts from each album. This special multimedia CD Footprints In The Sand also has photographs, background and biographical information and MP3 versions of all the tracks all on the disc.
My full website www.japetus.net has everything you will need to know for exploring my Catalogue with 24 different sections and over 60 pages of information, music samples, artwork, photographs, reviews and so much more.
NV - The presentation of this new Catalogue has seen many changes from the original releases in terms of packaging and also the audio.
Japetus - When the music was first released I had very little budget for covers because so much of my finances went into producing the music itself - the studio, the master tapes, duplication and pressing.
Also, when I began, I was acting purely intuitively, creating each title one by one and I had no real perspective of the overall plan for the Catalogue or the themes that would reveal themselves.
The audio was originally produced for cassette and LP record format which had an optimum length of 22 minutes per side and so required editing and extending. I have been doing this myself by digitising the audio and splicing it all together again on a computer to make the CDs closer to 60 minutes in length.
After creating so many albums, I spent 4 years in the Blue Mountains, prior to moving to Byron Bay, gaining perspective on the body of work I had created, looking for a theme for the covers and what it was trying to say as a complete package.
In the end the answers had been there all along hidden in my drawings and writings, upon which the music had been based. These pictures were symbolic interpretations of different levels of consciousness which I had visioned throughout the years and they provided the graphic framework for the new covers. This also meant that they inherently contained the same vibration as the music.
NV - You do everything yourself - conceive, program, perform, produce, record, design, manufacture and distribute. With more than 15 albums in the Catalogue that is an enormous amount of work.
Japetus - Well it isn't as if it all happened overnight. The covers and remastering have been a big job over the last few years but it is the management of the Catalogue that is my biggest problem at the moment, and I do my best to take that as a challenge.
Even though it is a lot to handle, being responsible for and able to oversee every aspect of the process allows me to maintain the consistency and quality of the product and the experience that is ask of me by the universe.
NV - You call your music New Age. What does that term mean to you and why do you describe your music in that way?
Japetus - New Age is a term that was put forward in the early 1900's by Alice A. Bailey to describe the next mode of human conscious unfoldment into a more complete and spiritual state of awareness. It loosely applies to the Age of Aquarius into which we are now moving. The end of the 20th century has been the precursor to this which has seen huge movements forward in every aspect of human affairs including the widespread acceptance in the Western world of a vegetarian diet and the need for personal and planetary healing.
My music and the Catalogue are termed New Age because they support these processes and offer frameworks for visualisation practices and healing.
NV - On the album covers it says "Soundspace For Creative Visualisation". How does that relate to the music, it's uses and effects?
Japetus - All the albums are put together as musical journeys whereby the listener is carried through a variety of vibrational spaces and musical colours, designed to stimulate the creative awareness of the listener.
I produced a series of albums in 1985 with writer Nevill Drury which introduced a variety of esoteric teachings using spoken guided visualisations over music. For the new Catalogue I have also written guided visualisations for two of my titles The Great Great Silence and The Radiant Self, which are now available as double CDs - one disc has the original music and the other disc has the music plus a visualisation spoken by me.
NV - What does the future hold for you and the Catalogue?
Japetus - I would like to see the Japetus music Catalogue come into wider use so that people can learn to explore and meditate on the inner reality. It can be used in healing workshops and schools for visualisation processes.
Some of the music has already been used in a short film and I have created a title them and incidental music for a TV show but I would love to produce a soundtrack for a movie. At some stage I will be holding workshops whereby I facilitate people through a whole inspiring and transforming journey using live and recorded music plus guided visualisation, massage, healthy food, essential oils and special coloured lighting.
NV - Are there any other projects you are working on?
Japetus - There are a multitude of projects on the drawing board but immediately after I complete the re-release of the existing Catalogue I have another 6 albums already conceived and planned for recording and release plus an album of songs.
After that I will be moving into shooting, editing and producing a number of documentaries including one that highlights the abuse of animals and the need for a vegan diet, plus a number of books.
NV - You have received some pretty amazing reviews over the years regarding you albums. How did you meet Arthur C. Clarke and Denise Linn?
Japetus - The written press I have received has all been very supportive as have the testimonials from practitioners and customers. Arthur C. Clarke captured my imagination with 2001: A Space Odyssey and I sent him a tape when I first released them. Over the years we corresponded and it turned out that he was an electronic music groupie and really enjoyed hearing my work. Denise Linn asked me to produce a piece of music for her original series of guided visualisation tapes and we got to know each other quite well over the period of the recording.
Postscript - May 2009
This article was written in 1990 by which time I had been a strict vegetarian and animal activist for over 20 years. After this interview I progressed for a further 10 years and went even deeper and became quite an evangelistic Vegan.
After moving to Byron Bay in 1998 and a few years of self reflection in the warm opulent lifestyle here I began to feel tired of always championing diet and rights. In 2000 with Y2K and the new Millennium I felt like I wanted to do something different.
I had also spent 20 years in very inspired creative spaces while producing the whole Visionary Journeys catalogue and I needed to make myself more grounded so I could take it to the world and interact with shops and media. First I started eating some cheese and was less abhorred by eggs. Then in 2000 I started a ritual eating of fish in one restaurant (Fish Mongers - the best) in Byron who also make amazing hand-cut chips and Vegy Tempura. I think in 2000 I proudly ate 6 fish!
It was soooo weird and I didn't really know what to expect but over the subsequent years I finally lost track of how many fish I ate. Now, I even cook my own fish and am thinking of forcing myself to catch and clean and eat one.
And there are other reasons I was doing this besides clearing out my 'judgemental vegan'. With the coming of the new millennium and people stockpiling food for Y2K and the coming 2012, I thought it would be a good idea to learn not to be so precious about eating and be prepared for survival mode when it all falls apart.
Could I eat a fish? Should I learn how? Could I eat grubs and worms? Could I eat a bird cooked over the coals? Do I know how to catch and kill food in Australia? What would be likely foods? Should I do an Aboriginal survival course?
After 8 years of fish and more eggs and more cheese (and living with a German) I had my bodyworker advise me over and over to get some yang energy into my system and eat some serious red meat. "Get some blood" he'd say. I had heard that Kangaroo was quite a healthy meat, tasted good, free range, Australian native, environmentally sound and plentiful supply (a 'pest'). Also the Aborigines had been eating them for 60,000 years so that is a good recommendation.
Kangaroo or Wallaby are also probably my most immediate food source if the shops were suddenly empty. I would have to learn how to hunt Wallaby. Aside from that, down to the beach or river for some fish.
So in March 2009 I started eating Kangaroo that I barbecued on an open fire. It had to be an elemental experience so I could ritualise and dedicate the process. It was an incredible experience. Parts of me wanted to spit and scream but some parts were quite fascinated by something hidden for 35 years. A disgusting novelty.
It has been a mind blowing experience to think that most of the western world does 10 times more meat eating than I am doing and that's a lot of animals in people's stomachs. After eating about 5 meals of meat in the last few months I am amazed at how revolting it is and that is feeding a new discontent with animal foods in general.
I wanted to eat more meat so as to ground myself more in the world but I am also noticing now the heaviness of the meat/fat in my system and gain lots of weight and it is making me long for my clean vegan ways. I'm very glad I have done this. I feel now I can go back to being basically vegan but also know that I can eat an animal if I had to survive.
So I suspect I will start weaning myself off animal foods... maybe try catching and eating a fish over coals... just so I know how. Eggs are a great quick food and cheese is yummy but a lean vegan system is still a worthwhile baseline to aim for.
It is to do with consciousness as well of course - the impact that a vegan lifestyle has on you.... your whole perspective changes. Aware of all we do and say and eat. It is a daily practice of conscious awareness that is reflected in the consciousness you bring to your eating.
In giving up meat originally, there was a certain amount of freedom and separation from the whole debacle that is the animal food industry but going into it a little way and seeing what people eat and how it feels, has given me a much broader, rounder and current perspective of the whole thing. It has prepared me for an end of the world scenario, it has made me less evangelistic, it has been a short term boost for my body systems to bring in some animal protein/blood for the overall health of my tissue.
Mostly it has made me appreciate the addictive nature of animal foods. I always said "the more animals you eat the more you want to eat animals and the easier it becomes". It taught me how wonderful natural foods are. And even go as natural as to have no processed foods at all. Literally whole foods only. No animal foods but also no soy. Just beans and vegys and rice and fruit etc. I think that is where I'm heading now. Explore the extreme end of the 'opposite pole' to eating meat.
I'll update this and let you know...
I am continuing on my 'being more grounded' trajectory for now, expanding my diet to include organic Lamb cutlets & organic Chicken breast. I tried some Bacon but it was just too much.
Stopped eating all red meat.
My trajectory has turned even more and this week - I couldn't buy chicken. I haven't stopped eating it but something has shifted. Still eating fish... for now.
Last year I got right back into chicken and cheese while still eating a little bit of tinned tuna. As I say above - it is addictive. Taken me a while but managed to ween myself off chicken again. Stoppe buying it anyhow - still might eat chicken Nori rolls or if offered at a friend's house. Dairy next. Never did get to that pure non-tofu diet of wholefoods-only... maybe this winter...