It cannot be denied that winter is just around the corner, it already snowed (a bit) and the days are getting shorter and colder. You could use a little sunlight?! I promise you that M.Rexen‘s new album “The United Kingdoms Part 1- An Endless Sea Of Honey” will be filling short and rainy days with warmth. Clearly, his journeys through unknown, vast worlds, such as India or Pakistan, influenced his style. The Globetrotter’s groovy and improvised, experimental beats will take you into a mysterious and complex but hopeful world of ideas.
We wanted to know more about his ideas and inspiration, experiences and of course the new record “The United Kingdoms Part 1- An Endless Sea Of Honey”. We met on one of the first cold and rainy early fall days. The interview took place in his home, a yurt somewhere in Copenhagen. We were drinking tea and began the interview. As we spoke rain started drumming rhythmically against the walls.
Good because Danish: What inspired you to make this record?
Rexen: I really wanted to find my own thing. Before I made this album I felt sort of schizophrenic with my voice. I have a very versatile voice and I was singing how the different bands wanted me to sing. That made me a little bit unsure of what my thread was.
It seems like the world in large; the music business wanted me to be a certain way. I am versatile and I sing in very different ways. I also have a lot of different feelings inside of me so I didn’t want to go in just one direction with my music. I wanted to be free. I don’t compose with necessarily just thoughts and melody it is with people and arrangements as well as time and significant atmospheres created by my friends and myself. I wanted to create a project that could show me and my friends.
You refer to yourself as a globetrotter; you have been to a lot of places. How did it influence you as a person and the album?
My life starts in a multinational community in the United Arab Emirates and I can’t be anything else. I do not have a national identity. In no way, I identify myself as an Emirati nor Danish. I can’t take an identity on me which would not slip off.
I just had the possibility to work in many different places in the Middle East, Asia and then Europe. Even though I have been here for 12 years I would say 5 of them have been away. All my heroes live like that and I wanted to be like them.
In what sense do you add with your music to the Western World, especially Denmark?
A fresh aspect of music as a life aspect. Our band, a big and real band that comes and blows your socks off. They are amazing instrumentalists. A wonderful show that is a modern look at the cult of the personality. Here I am referring to Salvador Dali or Andy Warhol who set the cult of the personality. I hope that I can bring another person into that cult that shows a little bit broader a less self-centred style.
You are very interested in spiritual development and you use a lot of symbolism in your songs. The Banana has been used in many teachings in Buddhism to understand how the human mind works. At one of your concerts, you also talk about the uniqueness of the banana. Could you explain the symbolic meaning of the banana?
The Banana story is about giving. As far as I understand the Banana grows a lot of bananas which does not have any seeds inside it. So the bananas are not being made for a reproductive reason which is probably a reason for everything in the world. The only way a banana exists is to give substance to the beings around it. It is a beautiful symbol of existence. It is quite restful, peaceful and endlessly inspiring. Because then you do not have to suffer guilt for creating without a reason or without a concept in the modern world. Be like the banana.
Music gives substance. Life is hard for everybody.
What is the reason you make music?
Who knows, to stay alive?! To not become self-pitiful. I was put on this earth to make music who knows why. Because I had to survive. I was put under so much pressure as a child and as a young man growing up. I found the pillar where I could find my safe place in a world of chaos. I do music to feel safe.
A helpful channel to deal with experiences.
Totally, the other day my dog ran out on the street and nearly died and from now on I will always have a trauma from that experience. I was sent to institutions as a child and they were very bad these institutions. I was violently beaten and through my life I reflected terrible pain on to others and on to me because of having experienced those things, so I think I have had my fair share of traumas. In Lemony Snicket “A series of unfortunate events” (read more about it here), a children book, one of the sentences is: “It was such a terrible experience that it could make any person want to leave civilization and live by a lake”. That was me. I got handed some cause that made it a bit intense for me to be a part of society, but I really want to give and I find my little areas.
In your song “We all wanna be better” you sing “We all want to be better but we can’t do it on our own”. Is it something you learned, a life lesson?
It is an improvised song. It was created in one take and has a very clear and true spirit. Life is extremely hard. I always have been interested in self-help and what it is that people go through, what it is that I go through, and that is really never something you do alone. It is a song about helping each other through those processes.
It took you eight years to create the song “Love in three stages”.
Probably all of my songs took the amount of time to write, even the improvised ones, from the moment that you think about it until it was there. “Love in three stages” is exactly that. I start singing and then I put the guitar away and live life and do not think about it again for weeks. Then you hear someone say something like “oh yeah Pinocchio was in the whale, it must have been filled with rotting wood and strength”. What a beautiful sentence! The next thing you know you are stealing and singing it.
I take steps that I purposefully do not think about when creating a song because it would be the problem-solving state of consciousness. I was just doing it. So after 7 years, I asked a friend of mine “would you write some violin for this guitar piece?”. Then it came into floatation and got its life.
What is the song “Christchurch” about?
The whole song title in my head supposed to be called “passing leaves evergreen through the trees ahead of me I can see Christchurch town”, so it is about travelling in Christendom. Christchurch is the most named city in Christendom. There is a Christchurch all over the place. There are many just in England. In New Zealand, it is one of the larger cities and it was just to signify a small hike. Anywhere you go in Christendom “through the trees ahead of you, you will see Christchurch town” The music was created at that moment. I decided to do it in a tact of 9. Because if you do it in 4 I always have the feeling you are dealing with a kind of birth trauma and if you can’t break out of that, you are not going to be in a higher state of thinking. So I thought Christendom and travelling should be a new experience. So it should be in a different rhythm than normally.
In the song “Wild Flower” you sing that you have to be like a Wildflower to break through that bright light. What do you refer to?
That is also an improvised song. The song is very thematic about just Wild Flowers. The bright light is referring to normality, your own restrictions, and your own thought patterns. Your brain makes so many things look like they are in a particular way. This can be a very brightening light. You are like a fox caught jackknifed in the things that you think you are supposed to be doing and if you want to be a wildflower you have to break through that jackknifed feeling that you have from existing here in that modern world trying to survive.
What do you think the album “The United Kingdoms Part 1- The endless sea of Honey” reveals to us of the world?
I just want to make a fanfare of my personality. There is a great lady, a very angry drunken man, and me who is talking right now, the problem-solving guy. Those characters will be revealed. I just hope that it can along with the rest of the United Kingdoms, there will be a couple more albums, shine a light on some of the tender and disturbing aspects of peoples secret lives. I think I can represent that through personal experience and improvising through intuition. This intuition is a sea of knowledge which I have acquired and which I am able to access.
So the Endless Sea of Honey refers to Platon’s idea about the deep world of ideas. All the ideas just exist at the same time in another world. When you get the ideas you grabbed it from that place. The endless sea of honey is the world of ideas that is endless.