Having obtained a permission from Chris Phillips of Hillingdon Mind (many thanks!); I'm presenting you an outtake of the interview which is to be published on their respected website in December. The outtake is omitted from the final product and it is, unlike the rest of the transcript, related to The Empyrean. I sure hope you will enjoy it. Do not hesitate to leave comments, as usual! There is also a whole discussion about it on the forum.
Can you describe the essence of your new album?
(Long pause and a groan from John)
"Ah man. I guess... yeah I don't know if I can answer that. I find myself thinking of the places it was coming from or the things that tied it together. I feel like I'd be doing them a disservice to try to put them into a paragraph or something. I'm sorry about that. I never felt so much like I'd put myself in a state where the record that insisted on being made. It was almost more like the record made me- like the record as a sort of a… I guess you could say like a level of existence that isn't expressed through matter or through people in their activities, that the level of existence that is always there and I had put myself in the right place for that level of existence to express itself through me- and that is just what occurred.
I've just never felt so much like, except maybe with the exception of my first solo record- it felt like that same thing was happening. That it felt like there's some other plane of existence that's expressing itself through me that couldn't be expressed any other way than for somebody to be in exactly the mental place, the mental and spiritual and psychological place that I was at, at that time. And for it to be through music and could not be expressed in any other way but music and words set to music.
The essence of it is some immeasurable, unfathomable, unquantifiable place that's not a place that anybody could put their finger on. That’s the best way I can describe it without just trying to reduce everything to understandable things- that would be true to what happened. It was almost like I've had ideas for things and they would just seem like ideas of a direction I wanted things to go, or sound that I was looking for- and the way that circumstances would end up, so in harmony with that, whatever that vague spot was: as a concept. What was happening a lot was that these vague ideas of a concept or direction or continuity in the lyrics, as things gradually came together as I worked on this record, every so often over the course a year I would find that things that would seem to be chance would end up having a direct link to fleshing these vague ideas- that wasn't something vague at all. And so it carries that feeling that this is something trying to express itself and it's using me to do it. And although I had specific conceptual ideas in relationship to it- they were much more vague than the final result was. And for that reason I felt that my brain and my soul were a sort of a middleman, and felt like the real participant in it was something unknown, and the final result which couldn't be anything other than it ended up being.
That's the closest I can come to describing the essence of it because it's something that isn't accessible in any other way than exactly the way I went about accessing it. I was really wanting to make a record that I could sit down and listen to late at night and it would trip my head out. I really wasn’t listening to much rock music and was really wanting to make rock music that had all the qualities that I was wanting to hear in music. I can't go too deep into it but things like tonal variation and things like sonic effects and certain psychedelic... the music sorts of builds like a… the music builds spaces. You might be in a room with a 12 foot ceiling but the music you're hearing makes you feel like its a hundred foot tall or something. I wanted to produce those kind of effects with music. It was important for me to need to create these spaces with music. So I think a lot of my motivation was wanting to build rooms and spaces and create a certain artificial environment through the electronic medium of the studio. I guess I don't want to ...I'm not prepared to go into the lyrical aspect now, but what I wanted to achieve with the lyrics was also very specific. And again I had no idea how specific it was gonna be. As specific as it was to me in relationship to anything else I've done- it was still very vague in a lot of ways compared to how specific it ended up being. And for this reason I feel like I was just some sort of a link- that there was something that needed to be expressed. So the essence of it is probably all unknown stuff.’ (John laughs)"