Aaron Coyes is a true craftsman of DIY nuance. An existential perfectionist, he builds much of his own musical apparatus, seeking truth in its myriad dimensions and indulging the creative impulse as a means of therapy and comfort. The sun pours its love through the enchanted electronic grooves of Peaking Lights. Follow the light, and ignore all ill-informed detractors
Interview by Samuel Huxley Smith
Autumn’s coming fast and I just discovered Seasonal Affective Disorder shortens to SAD. Kind of insensitive! How do the seasons affect your craft? Do you care what the weatherman says?
You know it’s tempting for a lot of people to get holed up in winter. It evokes a different kind of creativity. But I guess naturally I do work better when it’s nice. The flowers and trees in bloom always offer new possibilities. SAD is real though! I grew up in central/southern California and to go to the Midwest where the winters are brutal really harshed my mellow!
It must be nice creating music that casts people to a place of warmth and joy though… You kind of offer a permanent summer for those with a vivid enough imagination… It is your intention to transport?
Well I guess it’s what’s in our blood, not intentional it just happens to come across that way… It’s just the vibe we are familiar with. But yes to send one on a sonic journey is always great!
Have negative reviews ever altered your approach or do they leave you cold?
Well, it depends. If the criticism is constructive, even if it’s harsh then yeah its good to listen to. We have thick skin so you’re not gonna really hurt our feelings. But I can’t stand when a reviewer interjects their subjective opinion into writing – there are no writers as good as Hunter S. Thompson or Lester Bangs or Nick Kent. To interject shit like “I like” or “I don’t like” is just laziness and bad writing.
In your latest single Breakdown, Indra sings “Breakdown, I wanna, break free, of breaking down” That’s definitely a problem that resonates! What’s the main cause of breakdowns in your world and how do you transcend them?
Everyone has those feelings you know, of being on the edge of losing it, and it was kind of about that, feeling the stresses. Indra was saying we made this record with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. We were really harsh on our creative process cause there was something new we were trying to do with recording the record in a studio at home. We basically only had each other to bounce ideas off of, so we were very critical of what we were doing and pushing each other to do it better. And I think it was a little bit about that, how can I free myself from having that feeling that I’m gonna lose it all the time?
From the video it’s clear you find smart phones and social media pretty imposing. I guess transglobal telepathy is no substitute for a felt connection…
When we did the video we were thinking of something that was based more on the lyrics, but then Eugene came with the idea about the cell phone, and yeah it was kind of funny and it catches the idea. And so he wrote the script and we went with it.
You’re into the Eastern Masters. How do you think they would receive these new kinds of technologies?
Well, I personally believe that you have to participate in the culture that you’re in. It’s not what the whole world is into. It’s what we exist in so how could I ignore that completely? But there are a lot of people who have been really active, able to break away from major news sources and see things at a grassroots level.
You and Indra also have a shared affinity with mysticism… From which elements do you currently seek comfort?
Vedic astrology has been a big help. We’re still using numerology. I gave the title of the new record to Indra spelt Cosmick Logik, and the numerology was 8, so Indra asked, “What if we spell it the regular way? What’s the numerology on that?” It came out to 936*… Her mum is really into eastern mysticism, she had a lot of that growing up, especially PROUT (Progressive Utilisation Theory), developed by the indian mystic Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. When we started going out we went to see Amma together. She liked the hugging thing…
I hear you dig magick too… Can you offer a spell to ward off the cold?
Just meditate and think about the sun, think about the light breaking into your body. Surround yourself with light.
Peaking Lights are at Melkweg, Amsterdam on 29 October. They’re joined by Ghostly duo Xeno & Oaklander. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.