Chain D.L.K.: So tell us a bit about the origins of the group and where the name Butterfly Messiah was derived from?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Robert and I have been doing music together for years, experimenting with different sounds and such. Within the past year Josh has come into the fold and our sound has continued evolving. The name Butterfly Messiah refers to a transformation of the spirit and being your own guide. To me it translates to spiritual bliss.
Robert: On a spiritual journey, the Moon’s dreamtime message was “Butterfly Messiah”. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but Shannon asked me what we should call our project as soon as I gained consciousness and control of my faculties. For me, it was a typical day in the life, with a powerful message given to me at just the right time.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of your influences as far as inspirations from bands?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Many things influence me; as far as music I’ll say Miranda Sex Garden, Depeche Mode, Front 242, David Lynch, Anonymous 4, various classical artists. Though I am just as likely to be inspired by a painting, the stars or a good book.
Robert: 90% of the music I’ve listened to in the past year or so have been ours. I’ve been studying and working on production technique and we’ve been writing and recording a lot of new music.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of your external influences?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: Nature, the cycles of life, from the Atom to the Galaxy, birth and death, growth and decay, night and day, etc.
Shannon: Sex? Though that’s kind of internal, at least for me. Some of my other influences are: love, the whispers of trees, stuffy books on the history of paganism, a good beer.
Josh: Beer? None of that watered down American shit I hope.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice an interest in the Pagan/Wiccan arts on this CD, as well asthe occult in general. What role does this play in the group and in the CD?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Well I would say it’s more than just an interest; it’s very close to the center of my spirit. I’ve been a pagan and a practicing witch for over 10 years now, unconsciously for much more. There is a sense of urgency in the air right now, like things are on the brink of a big change and the sense of meaninglessness people feel is going to crumble away if they follow what their heart is telling them. We hope to make music reflective of change and transformation, passionate and alive with tiny deaths and rebirths.
Robert: I’m currently writing a 3 volume series on Metaphysics and Intuitive Spirituality. Yeah, that’s a plug.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you formally trained musically in any way?
Butterfly Messiah: Josh: Nope, straight from the streets. Everything I know about music I taught myself.
Robert: We’ve been in bands since we were what, 14? I’m not formally trained. Lack of formal training has probably encouraged us to try things that traditional musicians would be terrified to consider. Like the bass chord textures created in the second half of Reverie – a complete change by the addition of the sequenced bass part. Subtle to a normal listener, but enough to make a music fundamentalist jump up and say “You CAN’T do that! “
Shannon: I’ve had some guitar classes in my teens and percussion in elementary school. Just practicing and doing what I love has made me a better musician and without limitations that can sometimes come up as a result of extensive training. I’m certainly not against considering violin or voice lessons in the future though.
Robert: I was in an all-day African Percussion class a few years ago
Chain D.L.K.: On the song “When Autumn to Winter resigns” there –seems– to beanother vocalist singing along with you. Is this just you or another vocalist as well?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Just myself and 2 other tracks. The whole composition was written and performed in 45 minutes. I wanted to capture the feeling of impermanent death within eternity, Autumn to Winter, resigning to the inevitable changes…and so the wheel turns.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the intended mood of the CD considering the multiple layers ofsound and emotions?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Within our lives there are reflections and within the reflections there lives a tiny voice of intuition, our inner Priestess. She holds the wisdom you need to see yourself in mirrors of others and the wisdom to step in and out of patterns, to change, to grow. It was my hope that the CD reflected the many facets of our inner Priestess.
Robert: I think the mood was more of a “sober sadness” with wise-heartedness, a sort of “this is how it is” and a dream type of thing. Unveiling things. Breaking down barriers can be hard, but that’s what the idea was: a lot of moods smoothly evolving from one to the next.
Josh: Each song is different in its own unique way, constantly changing.
Chain D.L.K.: How has the use of Mp3 services and Mp3 technology helped you, being a big supporter of MP3. com?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: We were big supporters of mp3. com before Vivendi-Universal bought it and purposely ran it into the ground. We still use it as a promotional tool – a way for people to discover us and to share our music with others. It’s still good for sharing bandwidth and storing our mp3s. But we don’t actively promote mp3. com in any way except linking the song page from our Website and for meeting other artists we like (or discovering who they are). Apparently Vivendi-Universal is going to sell it to someone else, probably with hopes that it will be destroyed once and for all. It’s surprising that nobody else has come along with the same formula and simply replaced it.
Chain D.L.K.: There seems to be a certain Goth-rock slant in the style of playing. Was this intentional?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: It may sound unbelievable, but it was unintentional. We never set out to be a “Goth band” or to make a “Goth album”. Our goal musically was to make music that we’ve always wanted to hear and nobody else was attempting. I’ve liked Joy Division/New Order and Depeche Mode and stuff like that for a long time, so it’s unsurprising that some of that would rub off musically. But I like a lot of very un-Goth stuff too. Like everyone else, we’ll go through phases and what we want to hear in the moment will grow and change. So don’t expect our albums to sound the same. The next album will be more upbeat and a bit more “poppy”, while at the same time more experimental. Oddly, we’ve all been longing to do some other things, so who knows where we’ll be this time next year?
Josh: Goth Rock?
Chain D.L.K.: How does the sunny music of Florida contrast with the mood of the CD?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: Sunny Music? Like Jimmy Buffet?
Josh: With the heat and weather, its no surprise that death metal originated here. Goth must be popular here if SNL is making fun of the Goth scene in Tampa.
Chain D.L.K.: Does the inspiration come more from the city portion or the parts such as the wetlands, or a mix?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: I would have to lean more towards Nature, though there is a mixture of both. When I’m writing something about where we went wrong as people, I’ve gleaned inspiration from the architecturally unpleasing city buildings casting their gloomy shadow on the concrete jungle. The spiritually centered music comes from the part of me that wants to live inside of a tree.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you come in contact with The Soil Bleeds Black and Fossil Dungeon records?
Butterfly Messiah: Shannon: Michael e-mailed me one day and I found our aesthetic visions for music and art to be very similar.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for a new work in progress?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: Our new single/EP “It’s Time” was put out by Fossil Dungeon in September. A new mix of Serpentine is being included on a DJ sampler by FD (also in Sept). – I mixed it a lot better this time and the vocals are a lot more interesting. Cleopatra is going to finally release their Black Sunshine compilation in October. We’re working on another EP and a follow-up album, which will be out sometime in 2003. Like I said, we have a lot of material written.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you actual believers in the occult or is it more of an emotional metaphor for the music?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: The Occult arts and sciences are very important to people. Things like Astrology and Numerology are ancient systems, which are both accurate and powerful. Secret societies that have a hand in running the world make extensive use of arcane symbolism. You can see ancient sacred symbols in advertising, national flags, building design, popular art, and just about everything we’re exposed to as a society. Some of these things are intuitive – a reflection of a deep connection we all have with our true spirituality that always rests within us. Some of these things are used to control us subconsciously. It can’t be a huge coincidence that the yin/yang, pentacle, triskelion, Celtic cross, stars, ogham lines, runes, pagan gods and goddesses and many other sacred symbols are so widely used by multinational corporations as “logos”. It’s no coincidence that psychologists have come to the conclusion that children have an instinctive affinity for animals, and cartoon animals are widely used as mascots in advertising. The symbolism of totem animals is very precious to us as humans, and we allow that to be abused by corporations (usually) without ever realizing it.
Shannon: We live in the Occulture and most people aren’t even aware of how they are being manipulated. But these same symbols can be used in a positive life changing way.
Josh: I’m just learning, but the stuff I see and hear and experience is fascinating.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about some of the social commentary that’s mixed in with thelyrics?
Butterfly Messiah: Robert: I like to paint social issues with visual words and symbols rather than say “Hi I’m Bob and I’m an alcoholic. I got fired because my corporation is downsizing and the executives need new Porsches”. Instead, I’ll say something like “Your walls are crashing around you, your pity is back in place. And as you swarm into it, I spit some of it into your face”. Visually describing people losing physical aspects of their paradigm, feeling sorry for themselves, acting like sheep following whatever they’re told, and then being forced to see the truth. That line would be easy to see in a sexual light as well – which would probably explain the reason BEHIND Bob being an alcoholic and taking his job too seriously. See? Or “Living life like an assembly line” – everyone can relate to that. That’s how we are taught to live. The USA has become Wal-Mart and McDonalds. How can we allow things to keep going as they are? Although people may have their own private meanings for the songs, I’ll still paint pictures with the words I write. Shannon is more straightforward in her mysticism than I am. We both use a lot of positive symbolism and multiple meanings that are hard to detect consciously.
Chain D.L.K.: Any closing words?
Butterfly Messiah: Josh: The new EP will shock and please every orifice of your being! Be PREPARED!
Robert: You are the only god you’ll ever need.
Shannon: Love your reflection.
Visit Butterfly Messiah on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]