Sp8ce Owl “The Underside Of Yesterday” (electronic)
One of the most treasured characteristics of music is its capacity to teleport listeners to distant places and worlds beyond our experiences and imaginations. Artists can spend years working toward this level of depth and virtuosity to create such eminently connective pieces of musical literature, yet it’s a power not all can acquire with such a sizable impact. Sp8ce Owl has felt disconnected from the world at large for much of his life, but the constant throughout has been his enduring passion and interest in music. For many people, music serves as an escape from reality and whatever may weigh on their minds and souls. It has the power to escort you to another dimension, across space through time, in a positive, heartening, and reassuring way. While it took some time for him to discover this propensity and his inherent skill for writing, recording, and creating, 2017 marked the beginning of Sp8ce Owl embracing his musical fate and beginning to build a fanbase and professional musical career.
Following the album A Room With No Walls in 2021 and the EP Echoes From The Ether in 2022, Sp8ce Owl has returned with the album, The Other Side of The Atlantic. “The Underside of Yesterday” is a track from that release, an atmospheric track designed to intrigue the listener and keep them on the edge of their seat: where, exactly, is this transformation taking us?
It’s paired with a video that Sp8ce Owl (Joseph Meyers) directed alongside Michael Perlmutter. With shots at street level and from the sky above, “The Underside of Yesterday” transports us straight to Paris, visiting iconic locales around the city. As we explore modern-day life in the city, intercut is footage of a man falling slowly, helplessly against a white background. Interspersed throughout are close-up portraits and wide shots of traffic in Paris from long and longer ago. Finally, as the video begins to come to a close, a modern woman is seen prancing along a ledge, the Eiffel Tower in the background, and soon, the sun begins to set over the city.
It’s clear how connected you are to yourself and the world on a spiritual level. How do music and spirituality build off one another?
Great question and one that is very important to me. Music has really opened me up to my spirituality. Music in its essence is about vibration, and as I became aware of this, I saw it everywhere. Everything in our existence, when you get down to its fundamental quality, is vibration and what I believe connects everything. I believe we are part of a consciousness and that is what connects us all together. This consciousness in each individual is our awareness of things like our bodies and thoughts as well as the physical world around us. I believe what we truly are is not these thoughts or even these bodies but our conscious awareness of those things, which was there before and will be there after our physical bodies. This part I still struggle with because I can often identify with my thoughts, and at times this identification causes me great discomfort. Getting back to spirituality and music, the reason I think music has such a power to connect people is that music can resonate with us on such a deep level that when you feel connected to a song and you feel that connection from other people it can create a bond. This is why concerts can feel so powerful. Music has always felt like one of the purest ways to express this connection, and why it feels so deeply connected to spirituality to me.
How did this connection influence you to begin your musical career?
The connection between music and spirituality always played a role in my musical career. In the beginning, making music was a way for me to self-heal. It was an activity to build my self-esteem and self-worth, which would tie directly into my spirituality. As music became something I wanted to share with people and make a career, it became about connection. I wanted my music to be something that music had always been for me, which is connection. When I listened to music, it was a tether to the world and people outside myself. Music always had the ability to make me feel not so alone, and my hope is that my music, which is created during different emotional states, can be a connection to people who have felt how I was feeling. I don’t feel that this is the only way to enjoy my music, but it is something that I keep in mind while I am making it. The more I made music, the more it opened me up spiritually, fostering more healing and growth. I feel while I make music, I am opening up my soul and becoming vulnerable to myself and the world around me. This vulnerability I believe has been key to not only my spiritual growth but my musical growth as well.
What tips can you give someone who feels disconnected with the physical world and wants to reach a degree of spiritual enlightenment?
Feeling disconnected is something that I can often struggle with. I find this can happen when I live too much in my mind, focusing on my thoughts that take me out of the present moment. What I have found that is helpful is connecting myself to the body. I found it easier to do this with guided meditation and yoga. Yoga has been something that changed my life in so many wonderful ways. I can isolate myself from the world, which just increases my feeling of disconnection. The community based around yoga is filled with kind thoughtful people looking for ways to connect to themselves and like-minded people, and the practices themselves can foster a connection to your own spirituality.
Now, for a long time, meditation seemed very unattainable because I thought it meant that you had to quiet your mind, which was something that seemed like it would never happen for me, but what I found is you use techniques to pull yourself out of your overthinking and a clouded mind by focusing on bodily sensations. Your breath is the one that I find is most talked about, but for me the one that is most effective is focusing on the sensations in my hands and then extending that awareness to other parts of the body. Now, for me, I could only pull my attention away from my mind for short moments at first, but when you feel this drifting, you just try and bring yourself back to the sensation in your body again like your hands, heart, breath, or anywhere that is easy for you to feel into. This helps connect me to the moment and even short durations of this help me be calmer and less reactive. It also helps that during this you realize that just attempting connecting to your body or meditating in general no matter how long or how many times you get pulled back into the mind that it is successful and shows yourself compassion and self-love.
Now, truthfully, I have many ups and downs. Some days I feel very spiritually grounded while other days I can struggle quite a bit from moment to moment. I know for me, a main reason for my exploring spiritual growth was a response to trying to heal trauma. This is a process I am still very much in the midst of, and I wanted to make it clear that it is hard to see the internal struggle of people from the outside and that most if not all people have struggles that they deal with. For me this struggle became so uncomfortable and exhausting that I was willing to try anything. Drugs and alcohol are how I first tried to cope, but I realize now it just kept me stuck in everything that drove me to drinking and drugs in the first place. Every time the effects wore off, all the things I was trying to escape came rushing all around me so I would numb myself again, creating a cycle that became difficult to break. I thought I could live my life feeling good or numb, ignoring all the other emotions.
I now understand that the uncomfortable or painful emotions can often be the things you grow the most from and connect us to other people. Spiritual growth can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but unlike the other ways I tried to cope with things, this has a lasting relief as one of the main benefits. Yoga and meditation are some of the things that have given me some relief and help me grow spiritually, as well as overall as a person, but these are not the only solutions music and the act of creating something has also been invaluable for helping me through difficult times. It is about finding something that brings you into the moment. I want to tell anyone who is struggling that you are not alone, and I know that in these times it can feel impossible to pull yourself out of it but I have found if you can just muster up enough motivation to try one thing all the other steps afterwards are easier. I also found that the effort I put into trying to avoid how I was feeling was often greater than the effort it took to try something new. Fear has been something that has kept me stuck as well, and I have found the fear that I built up in my mind was always greater that the situation that I felt the fear about. The mind is a strange thing. It gives us the ability to achieve some great things but it also can trap us in the past or the future. Doing whatever you can to connect you to the moment can be the relief and connection that can truly free us.
What influenced the sound of your EP The Other Side of The Atlantic? How do those influences compare to those of your previous works?
The EP The Other Side Of The Atlantic was mainly inspired by my trip to Europe. I brought a mobile studio set up with me, and that is where I created most of the songs for this EP. I feel these influences of being in different cities in Europe had a huge impact on the way each song sounded. Each place had its own unique sound that it brought out of me. These influences were different in comparison to my previous works because before the songs were mainly influenced by how I was feeling internally, but with these I was hugely influenced by the places I was drawing my inspiration from.
You recently released the video for “The Underside of Yesterday” off the recent EP. Where do you want this track to take the listener?
I want this track to take listening to the creative energy I felt while creating this track in Paris. While there I felt a pulsating energy surrounding me because of all the art and music that has been expressed there. It felt palpable how much art that has been born there, and I felt overwhelmed by a feeling of electricity flowing through every street and building. I wanted this feeling to come through in the track, and take listeners to a place of excitement and energetic vitality that I was feeling while I made the song.
The video sends us to Paris, with views old and new of the beautiful city. How do these visuals compliment such an otherworldly track?
Unlike most videos that I create where I open myself up and see what visuals come up, this song was directly tied to one place. Since this song is directly connected to Paris and the inspiration that it gave me, I decided to include it as the backdrop for the video. A window into what inspired my creative process for the song showing the environment that I drew from and the result of the inspiration it brought out in me.
What can you tell your fans about upcoming projects and where the future lies for Sp8ce Owl?
This year I am planning on releasing two Eps – one in the summer and one in fall – and a full-length album at the end of the year that will also be available on vinyl. I am also exploring the possibilities of live shows in the future. Unlike most videos that I create where I open myself up and see what visuals come up this song was directly tied to one place. Since this song is directly connected to Paris and the inspiration that it gave me I decided to include it as the backdrop for the video. A window into what inspired my creative process for the song showing the environment that I drew from and the result of the inspiration it brought out in me.