Airdate: November 17, 2016
Mike explains that the album was inspired when he was on Facebook a few years ago. He’d heard a song called “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” by a group called Indeep and it got him thinking about how many times in his life the right song came on and music shifted his energy. He related to this idea of a song making a big difference. “I wanted to make an album that was a celebration of music, like an anthem of how music affects the spirit,” says Mike. He started writing it as an English album, but then the mantras took over, so it ended up being a “celebration of the vastness of human experience through music and through mantra.”
Crown of Eternity uses healing gongs in an amazing way. At Sat Nam Fest they do an all night gong session that really takes folks to another dimension. Says Mike, “We are always looking to invite people into the sound that we’re creating, regardless of the instrument we’re using, whether it’s gongs, voices, or electric guitars. We want to create a space where there is an entry point.” The listener then goes on a journey through various shifts within themselves. “It’s almost like we create a cinematic experience, using consciousness as the inner screen,” Mike says.
Mike always tells people to “Play the gong with your ears rather than your arms.” He continues, ‘The action of listening is more important to us, and we try to create a space for the listener to be able to expand into the sounds.” Mike and Gallina use various instruments to achieve that end. Perhaps a gong works for one person, but a bell, a guitar, or a voice might work for someone else. “We try to connect to every person we meet.”
The album opens with a short track called “Ong.” Producer Anthony Molina suggested they needed a piece to “tune in” with before the rest of the sound and texture would be revealed. One idea led to the next and the album unfolded in miraculous ways, says Gallina. “It’s like a short little tone poem,” adds Ramdesh about this opening piece.
“Sat Nam Wahe Guru” is next up. Mike says he came up with the track when he was kayaking on the Allegheny River. He was trying to time his breath with a mantra, and it was “the best kayaking I’ve ever done!” Mystical and otherworldly is how he describes the piece. He started with hammered dulcimer, then added harp and drums. “Enter into a deep rhythm and a very deep space within yourself as you listen,” Mike suggests.
“Wahe Guru Space Choir” is next. This was an intense experience, Mike recalls. They’d just come home from a grueling tour; it was the second week of January, and they found out their dog had an aggressive form of cancer. They were heartbroken, but that night he began writing the piece, and his cries of despair eventually turned into Wahe Guru. The mantra “really kind of saved me at the time.”
The title song is “When The Music’s On.” Mike wanted to create a piece that could touch the spirit, using very few lyrics and allowing the consciousness to shift and change. On tour he played a 40-minute version! This is “ecstatic music,” says Mike, adding that he used distortion on the guitar in a joyful way, sharing the joy of being into music. “Music can really be a miracle, it can really save you,” Mike says. Sound therapy doesn’t have to just be playing a gong in an austere setting; he hopes to connect with people in various settings, through rock ‘n roll or a handshake, in whatever way possible. “I just want to share the kindness and the love and celebrate music and how it affects us, how it affects consciousness and how it affects change.”
The podcast plays out to “Ong So Hung.” This is a joyful track that celebrates that “We are all creation, we are all aspects of the divine flowing,” and each creature is simply another aspect of the Divine. “We’re really owning that” on this “rockin, fun” piece,” says Mike.
Find out more about these unique musicians at Crownofeternity.com or come to one of their performances and talk to Mike and Gallina in person! They’d love to meet and vibrate the cosmos with you!