East Forest | Finding Spiritual Connection in Modern Music

Exploring His Newest Album Music For The Deck Of The Titanic

Written by

Mariam Bagdady

Photographed by

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Music transcends existence, wandering into reality and proliferating itself into every crevice of our lives. It heals, uplifts, and creates a spiritual connection between the creator and their audience–one so luminous in its tethering that it instills even the deepest of meanings and feelings into all who listen. In its essence, music is the beckoning, releasing, and acceptance of inner awareness. For many musicians, this understanding is acknowledged, but for East Forest, it’s appreciated.

An ambiently spiritual musician and psychedelic advocate, East Forest is more than just an artist but rather a spiritual guide, treating his music as such. He finds connection in the notes he creates, fleshing out symbols of tranquility drenched in the rapturous vocals and synths that are cultivated in his electronic masterpieces. His music is euphoric and his understanding of its influence on society is just the same–an illuminating experience in music that traverses the sonic world. His newest album Music For The Deck Of The Titanic debuts November 3, and just as he’s approached much of his life, he finds a modern spirituality in this musical experience.

Each song on this album puts forth a sort of rich sonic landscape that evokes a distinct natural scene or mood. Can you walk us through how you conceptualize each track? Does the idea come before the process or does the process produce the end result?

I like to work from an improvisational starting point to feel really open to whatever is merging both musically and energetically. So typically my process is to look backward later on in the writing and production process to then see where it wants to go. In that sense, it feels like curating and helping a natural process emerge.

Your artistic ethos seems to be about connection— to the earth, to other people. What was a meaningful connection you made (with anything or anyone) that informed the creation of Music for the Deck of the Titanic?

The album began when Marieme showed up at my studio in the middle of winter one day. We had chatted about collaborating and she just took the initiative to book a flight, a hotel in town, and arrive at the studio door. It was amazing. We jammed for about four days and weren't attempting to make anything, in particular, other than to have some fun and make some sounds. I felt very free creatively. I found myself singing little vocal lines into her headphones while she was tracking and quickly we realized that we created a kind of call-and-response with two vocal parts. It was all incredibly organic and a real treat for me to think outside of my usual box because of her inspiration.

Do you foresee mushrooms and other psychedelic medicines being integrated successfully in our society in the near future? What does an ideal future look like for you?

I think inner work is a human right and so of course I want to see equal support for everyone. Not only should the ability to explore our consciousness be legal, but also be supported with tools, information, and safe opportunities. People are always going to want to alter their minds to see what is beyond typical perception.  And using sundry substances to do so has been a part of the human experience forever. So really I see us hopefully returning to our birthright in the near future because we need all of the tools that we can get.

Though you’re renowned for your musical and spiritual healing ceremonies, are these ceremonies the ideal listening environment for this album? Where would you want a listener to hear the album for the first time?

Music For The Deck of The Titanic isn't intended to guide a traditional medicine ceremony like some of my other albums (e.g. Music For Mushrooms). But beyond where anyone listens to the album, it's more valuable to me that they actually listen. It's a real gift to drop the multitasking and just dive into a musical experience with all of your ears. That means a lot to me when they lend me their attention, even if only for a few minutes.

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Music For The Deck Of The Titanic, East Forest, New Album, Music, Mariam Bagdady