Logo interviewATARAXIA, an all-time favourite band of ours from the neoclassical/ethereal spectrum of the dark alternative scene, released a beautiful album towards the end of 2022. This album featured in our playlist of favourite albums of September 2023, as we loved everything about it. The visuals and the video press release intrigued us further at a deeper spiritual level so, naturally, we wanted to catch up with the band and learn more about how they are and what inspired them this time. In this interview we talk about their inspiration, their collaboration with Insetti Xilografi, the role of nature and of memory in triggering moments of inspiration and much more. This interview is published in two parts.

Blauerosen: This album’s theme is summarized in its title which mentions the pomegranate, a fruit with a strong symbolic meaning, tied with the concepts of death and fertility. The color white which comes with its own symbolism is also prominent in this album. Why did you choose white and red for this album? What role does the pomegranate play in the story that you are presenting through this album?

Ataraxia: The pomegranate is a powerful symbol, some myths narrate that it was born from the blood of Dionysus who fertilizes the earth (Dionysus is one of the two deities to whom a song in the album is dedicated), it is also one of the fruits sacred to Aphrodite together with the apple (Aphrodite is the other deity to whom a track is dedicated). This fruit is a symbol of prosperity and luck and also represents the micro and macrocosm. This tree was also widespread in the gardens of ancient Egypt as it resisted drought and therefore denoted strength. It was also an attribute of the Great Mother in the ATARAXIA photo 2023Mediterranean world, the one who gives life and the one who takes it away. Pomegranate is an aphrodisiac fruit and Greek brides braided their hair with its branches.  This fruit is often found in decorations of the Renaissance in Italy. Abundance, life/death, vital energy, fertility. In esotericism we often speak of the “black night of the soul”, that phase of earthly life during which we descend into hell, we look at our shadow, we lose all certainties and our comfort zone, we get to know ourselves in depth by crumbling the mask that we have built and carried. Persephone, queen of the underground and chthonic world, the world of shadows, eats some of its grains to become a conscious woman. In the Greek myth, she is kidnapped and brought from the everlasting innocence of spring to a deep awareness of Hades, she consciously decides to eat a pomegranate grain, she knows the “low spheres” to then go back to the “high” ones as a renewed sentient being. We also find assonances with the saying “so high so low”. The role of the pomegranate is the one of being the medium allowing us to grow through the knowledge of our own shadow in order to be able to enjoy the light (the white that reflects every color and spreads it out).

Blauerosen: In your recently released explainer video you are talking about the miracle of creation both as a result of the influence of a magic power and as a divine substance. The idea that music, a gift from the Muses is life-giving is both inspiring and daring. You also talk about the idea of music as spiritual calling. Do you perceive sound in the same way? If music has lyricism and is indeed a channel of divine energies, then what is sound?

Ataraxia: The sound that we could also call vibration is the prime mover. Form and creation spring from the sound, vibration is the incipit. First there is the sound, the first sparkle holding ‘information’, then a messenger is needed who will lead the sound to us so that we can, actually and materially, realize a project. All that is static is dead, inert. Movement produces life, change, evolution. Every moment of apparent stasis is just a phase of integrating each progressive transformation. Projects are the countless forms we give to sound in order to

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play with and in life. Music is a sophisticated texture just like a tapestry; from a primordial, pure, original sound we create this elaborate, harmonious project. The singing voice is both sound and musical texture. Every ancient tradition speaks of sound as the creator of the world. It is a theme we will work on in the next album. Furthermore, water, which we often celebrate in our albums, is ‘the messenger’, Hermes, the angel, the substance that allows the vibration to reach us first in order to ‘activate’ us with those specific frequencies. We are made of water, living and sentient beings are made of water, our atmosphere is water in various forms. The only medium that can be aerial, liquid or solid and all the ramifications (veins, arteries, rivers, etc.) carry the messenger that brings us the Project to be elaborated.

Blauerosen: During the last two years, nature’s role has been discovered and appreciated even more by many people. To some, nature’s powers have been revealed like a best kept secret. Since it is the forest, its energy and its species, that keeps appearing in this album’s songs and videos, I was wondering which particular setting inspired you to create this album?

Ataraxia: All our albums have songs or parts or whole concepts inspired by nature. The thing we say most often is that what we create is nature in a musical form, our album are soundscapes. The places that inspired the videos, the songs and concept of the new album are our Apennines, a mountain range not too frequented and still wild in the Reggio Emilia area in Italy. We have always, but especially in recent years, entered mountain paths and forests, bathed in rivers of spring water, lived next to ancient plants and listened to the verses and energy of wild animals, remained in contemplation in front of lakes and stretches of water. These places are in the notes and images of the ‘Pomegranate’ video clips.

Blauerosen: This album has come after the trilogy that ‘Synchronicity Embraced’ completed. To me ‘Pomegranate- The Chant of The Elementals‘ feels like a restart – as if you are going back to the basics again, the four elements, archetypal ideas and symbolism in order to find again life at its primordial state. I am sure that you have made this spiritual trip before. Did you discover new dimensions of the elemental sides of life? Did this journey enlighten you?

Ataraxia: It is so.  As you say, after the trilogy that actually ended with the ‘Quasar’ album (in which we explored the cosmos and the link between our spiritual essence and the movement of the stars), and after Riccardo’s departure from the band (the drummer who worked with us for 18 years) we have returned to the origins. We immersed ourselves in purifying waters after a catharsis. By the law of the (musical) octave we know and experience every time a chromosomal reset and consequently also a creative and musical one, we pass through the same point (a sort of starting point) to a higher, finer, more subtle octave, full of elevated ‘information’. We experience music as a sort of ATARAXIA photospiritualized matter, no longer heavy and dense. We have also done an alchemical work by absorbing and balancing the four elements within us, we have experienced deeply each element since our body is actually earth blown in by the spirit. This journey has freed us, made us lighter, more alive and wilder.  For a few months we have been bringing the new album in concert and the freshness, the iridescent colors are palpable.

Blauerosen: This album has a very strong storytelling element. We see incredibly powerful hybrid creatures being imagined, sang about and depicted through video (e.g. Nevenhir, Ozoonhas, Oruphal) as well as fantastical places, like Aura Magi. You talked about looking for a door leading to a place of harmony and balance. For you all these fantastical places, visual and spiritual hallucinations are not just visual references but actual stations, steps towards reaching a destination. Can you share with us how you came about creating them?

Ataraxia: Everything that we sing, play, create and put into a story is a lived experience. Everything comes from an experience perceived and lived on another level. There are usually two levels, the one of personality and ego and the one of the soul. This second level is over the space-time dimension and connects us with the whole, the so called ‘mother field’ or morphogenetic field. Creating these mythological, allegorical figures, painting these landscapes is exactly what a painter does, he experiences a life situation, a place with a certain mood and becomes the ‘living filter’ of that  experience through his art pieces. He meets and creates relationships with human beings, explores the animal and vegetable world on a spiritual and magical level and then paints them. In ‘Pomegranate’ every place, every character portrayed in the songs is a living being of which we have perceived several environmental, animal and human nuances. Every place became a portal and made us feel vivid colors, metaphysical atmospheres, deep emotional exchanges. We enjoy and fell adventurous crossing every station, the destination is just the mission, the completed tapestry seen from a certain distance maybe just before or after having crossed the veil of death.

Blauerosen: What has sparked your interest in the history of the different languages that we can listen to in the lyrics of this album?

Ataraxia: First of all, we played with the titles as we invented these words by imagining the sound of the various elements. Each song is linked to a peculiar element, for each of them we have chosen a language more suitable to express one natural force rather than another. We have always played with languages (especially the old ones or glossolalia) as they feature onomatopoeic sounds bypassing the left hemisphere and stimulating the right one. So even if you don’t understand a language, you can understand the meaning that is being conveyed. We giveATARAXIA photo 2023 musical form to the revelations that each language conceals. Each language is a code that we like to reveal in the succession of songs. The word enchantment contains the words ‘in’ and ‘chant’, ‘inside the chant’, a series of hypnotic sounds that envelop us bypassing the ratio and taking us directly to far-off worlds and core of the experience.

Blauerosen: I was very inspired by the role you ascribe to memory, its relation to the alchemic path you follow as artists and the order of energy it brings about. How can memory be retained in such a meaningful way so that one does not lose grasp of a certain spiritual path?

Ataraxia: Human beings, are a living memory, we are incarnations of memory itself. The works of art are living simulacra that gradually give us the keys to understand everything on a subtle level. The mental level is heavier, it reassures us and puts order but it is useless if first the experience has not been inscribed deeply into our cells as a teaching of sorts. Nothing is lost if we live an experience thoroughly and, even if we avoid it, sooner or later it comes back to us. We can’t escape from life even now where rulers try to bring everything to a virtual plane without deep sensory, cellular memory. Music itself becomes cellular memory when it is listened to with the senses and with the heart in a particular phase of our life. Even if something seems lost as we bury it in our unconscious, then, like a seed, when the right conditions are present, it sprouts, bringing everything to the surface so that events can develop and go further.

Part II of this interview can be found here.

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