Realities inside and outside – An interview with Oneiroid Psychosis

 

In our second interview, we cross the Atlantic and talk to Lars Hansen of Oneiroid Psychosis (US), who, after his brother Leif left the project, is continuing the musical journey into (un)pleasant depths of man’s subconscious.


Before I enroll the list of my questions, I’d like to tell you a little story about the effect of your songs. A person close to me was listening to “Mysterium Tremendum” from the album “Forever is Forgotten” (2004), while she was reading a medical record about the mental disease oneiroid psychosis. Suddenly, her door was moved by air draft, it creaked and she got quite a shock. The song plus the eerie reports about losing one’s grip on reality created such an intense atmosphere that a tiny noise made her jump.
“Oneiroid Psychosis is both inspiring and frightening at once”, she said.


Your lyrics deal with painful things in life, such as death, disease, loss…  The major theme seems to be “mental disease”, such as oneiroid psychosis, when one can’t distinct reality from dreams and vice versa. The first pages of the booklet from the debut album “Stillbirth” (1995) tell us a story of a 20 year old woman describing her oneiroid psychosis breakdown. As it is known, OP started with the name Psychosis. You had to change its name, because there has been another band with this name. Why have you chosen the oneiroid psychosis disease? It doesn’t seem as it was only a quick idea to solve the name problem. Beginning with the debut album, with the story of the ill woman, until “Forever is Forgotten”, there are textual references to this kind of psychosis all the time. It fascinates you, doesn’t it? How have you come across such a rare disease?


**I came across it in a medical dictionary as I was looking into different types of psychoses. It really seemed to fit the type of atmosphere and mood we were creating with our music. And In Greek mythology, the Oneiroi (Oνειροι) were the brothers or sons of Hypnos, the god of sleep. They were personifications of dreams-black-winged demons. It just fit so perfectly with what we’re creating…..

Have you ever stumbled across lucid dreaming? Even tried on your own? What do you think of this technique?


**Yes. But I have had many astral/flying dreams that become lucid dreams. I love it. It is amazing and so intense. I recently had one of these experiences before I even fell asleep. I had just lain in bed and was not feeling well at all. I curled up into a fetal position. My body started tingling very intensely. Then I laid on my back and felt I was going to leave my body. Even though I wasn’t asleep, I had to force myself out of this because I worried I wouldn’t return back to my body. Some of the music I will be writing for the next OP release will be inspired by these flying dreams.

There were rumors about a contribution of OP to a video game. The album “Dreams” (2001) had been inspired by another video game. You seem to be fond of game soundtracks. I must confess that my first contact to spooky ambient music has been made by the PC game Privateer 2. What are the influences for your music in general? You told in an interview that you like the movies from the Hammer studios. But it isn’t film music you compose. Is it a reflection of movies, games? Or are such stimulations only the initiation to explore the feelings evoked by horror movies?


**We have always wanted our music to take you to places in your mind and emotions. We wanted it to inspire different atmospheres and moods. All of which are dark or sexual in some nature. That is because, for us, it is those moods that affect us the most. They invoke the most power and release of emotion. I do feel that OP should be in more movies and video games. And Midwest Studios will feature us in an upcoming movie 2012 DEVOLUTION. And not only will our music be featured in it but Leif and I will be acting in it as well. Look for that in 2010. We will be posting info on myspace and facebook.

Your songs tell stories. Even the ones where there are no lyrics. Once you said that your music helps you to get close to the unpleasant parts of people’s minds. It even helps to encounter fears or unwanted emotions like hate. After so many years of psychonautic trips, what have you learned? What has been the most interesting thing you realized?


**For me it has made me realize how many people are caught up in mundane lifestyles. Working just to pay the bills, going out and distracting yourself you’re your self-etc. Most people are afraid of looking deeper and looking into themselves to find happiness or healing. And I don’t feel a deep connection with people too often. But we have so much potential as people. So many places we could go just within our own minds. But few of us take advantage of that.

One line in the booklet of “Dreams” is very sympathetic: “All creations of Psychosis Laboratories are created without the use of mind altering chemicals.” As it goes for me, this is also my maxim to create art. I want to create it on my own. What are your reasons to avoid drugs, beside that they are illegal and not very good to your health.

**Drugs were just never something Leif and I got into. It was always so pathetic hearing about how people “got so messed up last night”. And never found a need to try to escape through drugs. We were both very creative and escaped through art and have always looked at music as an art form rather than a way to make money or get famous. So when some people insisted we HAD to be on drugs to write music the way we do, we were both insulted by that. There was a lot of work put into our music and people can’t understand that? It shows the simple mind mentality. Plus I like to be in control. I hate the idea of taking something and not being able to control my feelings or actions.

You work as a cutler and armourer at Albion Swords. Have you ever thought about sampling the sounds of sword making for an OP piece? It would be very fascinating.


**The sounds there get pretty annoying to me. Grinders and banging. It’s rather loud at times. So I haven’t thought about adding them to music. But it really is something to think about . . . maybe I will one day.

Do you have an idea where your musical journey will lead to?


**I have no idea. After 14 years it never went as far as I had liked. And it may never go any further. I had wanted to tour more often and have a larger stage presence. But it always came down to money. And we always lost money every time we performed. I took over releasing OP music on my record label Psylab Studios (psylabstudios.com) so I could have more control over the rights and money. And there is no plan to stop writing. But I never thought I would become a sword maker for a living or even have a tree fall on my head and nearly lose my life. So the future is uncertain.

You are someone who is aware of the inner processes of the mind. What have you learned about yourself as a man and an artist from that accident?


**To be honest I don’t really know. Im still healing from it and often in a lot of pain. I didn’t have a  “near death experience“  so there wasn’t any feeling of enlightenment as some have discribed in traumatic experiences. And I don’t have a new appreciation of life just yet. People still stress me out and the pain stresses me out. I feel very weak mentally and physically still. I feel bitterness about it but don’t expect I will for long. However, it does show me that you can be doing anything at any time and lose your life or have something horrible happen to you or someone you love without warning. It truly is important to live life to its fullest. But sometimes it’s just not that easy. But so many people showed me that they care for me. My family and a select group of friends went above and beyond anything I would expect to help take care of me. I am truly thankful for that. And I do feel life is short and I have made it my goal to have no regrets when I die.

In a time of growing awareness of one’s vulnarability of putting too much information online, why have you posted such personal data like the photos of yourself after the accident?


**Im not worried about it. What can they do? Normally Im a very private person and rarley talk about myself unless asked. But i’ve never had anything like this happen to me. I want people to be able to see the pictures if they desire. There is something to be learned I guess and if people are curious I want them to be able to satisfy their curiosity. I feel very open about it and am very willing to talk about the experience. I have gone back to the spot where the tree fell and I just can’t believe it happened.

Is the reason for putting such images online connected to your fascination with clinical themes and images (as can be seen on OP’s website)? Do you see yourself as an objet d’art inside of the aesthetics of Oneoiroid Psychosis? Or do you distinguish between the aesthetics of clinical images, your fascination about it and the very personal experience?


**I have collected some medical tools over the years and love the imagery. And I admit it’s kind of cool be carrying around medical impliments in my head. My friend had collected some of the stuff used on me in the hospital that the doctors just threw away like my IV and things. So Im glad to have those things to look back on and I can add them to my collection. But these will have a story to go with them.

Do you think that this experience will influence your work?


**Yes. It was a very fascinating experience for me. Pain does very intense things to the mind and influences your thoughts and the way you see the world. I have already started writing music to reflect some of those emotions.

After so many years since I heard “Succubi” at gothicradio.com (2002?), it has been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for the interview and best regards to your brother Leif!


**Thank you so much for this opportunity and Leif says hi.

Visit the band’s homepage at: www.oneiroidpsychosis.com

Interviewer: Boolk

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One Response to Realities inside and outside – An interview with Oneiroid Psychosis

  1. Pingback: Texts by Boolk « Boolk.de

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