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The SPECifics: Vinyl Williams on Art, Egyptian BioGemetry, Ego

Lionel Williams, Lionel Williams interview, Vinyl Williams, Vinyl Williams interview, Lemniscate, Austin Psych Fest, APF, APF coverage, Austin Psych Fest coverage

Vinyl Williams is the moniker of musician and collage artist Lionel Williams. In April 2012, Williams released the Ultimate World EP, followed by his debut full-length album Lemniscate in November. Creativity seemingly runs in the bloodline of the young artist, who is the son of a classical pianist mother and producer and session drummer Mark Towner Williams, and grandson of cinematic composer John Williams.

Williams was on the bill for LA Psych Fest earlier this month and will perform at Austin Psych Fest on Saturday, April 27.

Read The Spec‘s recent interview with Williams below and stay in tune with the continuing APF coverage here

Music has been a major part of your life since a young age, can you share with us any childhood (musical) experiences that stand out to you?
Playing keys on “I’m All Out Of Love” with Air Supply live on stage, 1998…best, worst, most vital, and most traumatizing musical experience of my life. My father (drummer of Air Supply at the time) transcribed the song a half step higher than the key they were performing in. So…every note I played was a dissonant horror. To top it off, when the band was bowing and I was walking off stage, they reeled me in to bow with them, and I was lifted in the air by the lead singer in front of the whole crowd… like Simba in The Lion(el) King… ah kill me.

Your father is a musician who has played with some notable acts. Has he passed on any professional advice to you regarding your music career? Or, have you learned anything from seeing him work in this industry?
Never transcribe a song for your son to play live in front of 3,500 people a half step higher. And never play a shuffle beat unless you’re reincarnated Jeff Porcaro (drummer of Toto) or a cracka monster (white guy with a lot of soul).

Lionel Williams, Lionel Williams art, collage art, Worship Rite

“Worship Rite” by Lionel Williams

Does your music ever influence your art, or vice versa? That is, has an art piece you’ve done turned into an element of a song? Or a song you’ve recorded elicited an art piece?
In language they reference each other, I’ll name a piece of artwork, which will later be included as a song title or a lyrical line. Both the visual and music are constantly in equilibrium trying to define and reach out to each other. They are of the same origin, and that origin is rarely tainted by conscious thought, so they spill out as very interrelated.

What is your favorite song on Lemniscate and why?
I really like how the bonus tracks turned out, “Shield Zavior” and “Harmonious Change.” At least those have definitely evolved as some of our strongest live tracks.

You are currently working on a degree at California Institute of the Arts, correct? How do you manage to juggle so many things– touring, art and school– and keep your focus?
It’s impossible… I miss many opportunities because of how many extra-curricular things I’m doing. My strategy is to live illogically, I don’t make too many plans for the future, just treat each moment very definitively for what it’s worth, and try and be as generative as possible in those moments. Usually I let the pressure create the result, with compressed time one doesn’t have time to stop and reframe their thoughts, you’re forced to let it spew, flow, stream, and if you allow anything to come into being, it’s usually more pure, and more surprising in terms of your own known abilities.

Do you read reviews of your art or music? If so, what are some common misconceptions people have about your work?
I don’t like to read reviews. Namely because I don’t try to make music or artwork for any reason, it’s somewhat of a direct expression, not bound by a set or structured narrative, metaphorical value, any value is based on qualitative thinking. My goals don’t lie in seducing people to remember me or my work, my intentions are to export my essence with as little a filter as possible, and to give rise to that possibility for everybody, to contribute to CELESTIAL INTELLIGENCES.

Can you elaborate more on how the new and spiritual sciences have influenced your art and/or your mindset?
Simultaneity is forming throughout the old classical spiritual traditions, in which veils are intentionally placed over their deeper knowledge… now they’re seeming to mix together into each individual’s idea of how to access some kind of spiritual reality. This is related to sensual simultaneity, an interrelation of the senses (synesthesia) where you can experience the miraculous without the need for justification or explanation. It influences my work in the way that I try to create non-systematic systems that are meant to be experienced rather than logically broken down. This work has no clear context to the specific incorporation of religious symbols, monuments, locations, cultures… these known elements end up appearing less separate, although I am exoticizing them in the process. I would make a terrible anthropologist, I simply have the incessant need to give a glimpse into the unknown, which ends up figuratively resembling all spiritual aspects together in harmony, although they may not be related in context.

Egyptian BioGeometry is an incredible spiritual science that is already being implemented into modern science, labelled “vibrational engineering” – the science is based around measuring energy qualities from any shape or piece of matter. What it’s doing is converting detrimental rays (3G networks, WiFi,, satellite signals etc) into extremely beneficial rays through the relationship of shape to energy. It can only now be pragmatically measured in modern science because the entire spectrum of vibration is now known. In ancient Egypt, they seemed to have a perfect intuitive sense, understanding, and even sensation of these vibrations and could act accordingly. We’re finally going back to this sensitive state…

How difficult is it for you to just “let it happen” and work creatively from a place of improvisation and intuition? And why is it important for you to do this?
It is incredibly difficult…to bypass the ego. If you can drop the ego, or if you’re an all-around kind hearted person, improvising won’t be a problem. Because you listen, and breathe. Becoming too self-aware of those improvisational moments is a huge problem, sometimes people see a camera angle of themselves doing and thinking, that does not harness intuitive forces. Most musicians and artists try to do through manipulating forces or materials, rather than allowing them to exist as they exist anyway. Improvisation is incredibly important because it’s an extension of a moment. The Flaming Lips put it well: “All we have is now.”

What do you hope that people take from your creative work?
A better understanding of magical possibilities.

Who are you most excited to see/play with at Austin Psych Fest?
Lumerians, Clinic, Warpaint, Tinariwen, Deerhunter, Spectrum, Woodsman, Acid Mother’s Temple

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