Liquid Mind XI
Liquid Mind VI
Liquid Mind V
Liquid Mind IV
Liquid Mind III
|Relaxing Rain &
Interview with Liquid Mind at Ambient Visions
AV: Before we get down to questions about your latest CD, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got started creating the style of music that you do now?
LM: Hi Michael... I've been playing music since the age of four, but didn't start doing it full time until I was about 26 years old, following college and service in the Navy. I studied music privately growing up and then with a professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music, concurrently with going to high school. I went on the road as a rock and blues keyboard player for about ten years, including four years with Capitol Records artists Missing Persons in the early 80s. I got my first real taste of composing and writing in the late 80s as a staff songwriter for Lorimar Telepictures and then Warner/Chappell Music here in Los Angeles. That period was a time of enormous loss for me: Many close friends died of HIV, family members were suffering from cancer, a lot of life change in a short period of time. This developed into a personal crisis for me when around the time I was co-scoring the ABC series Max Headroom. I started having anxiety attacks, and subsequently stopped working for a few months to reconsider what was going on in my life. That period seemed like the worst days of my life, but in retrospect, that pain led to a real healing for me, and was the reason I started composing Liquid Mind in 1989. I used to drive to Laguna Beach and just stand on the rocks listening to the ocean.... it was the only thing that would bring me a little peace in those days. That's where the name Liquid Mind came from.
AV: Your latest CD Liquid Mind VII: Reflection was released not too long ago. What was the inspiration for this project and when did you actually start work on it?
LM: Liquid Mind VII is the first album I've recorded for Real Music. It was recorded from December 2003 through the summer of 2004. Terence Yallop, one of Real Music's owners, has always been a supporter of Liquid Mind. He told me that he meditated to Liquid Mind every day for many years. When I decided to close my label due to an increasing quantity of work, I decided that Real Music would be a wonderful home for Liquid Mind. As for my inspiration for this album...the titles of the seven albums are a reflection of the progress of my own healing.... first Ambience Minimus (simplifying my life), then Slow World (slowing down the pace, working a bit less, more time for life), etc. Liquid Mind VII: Reflection is the most introspective album I've done, and the first where I verbalized in the liner notes what I was thinking as I wrote and recorded the album. Learning to listen in the silence of my soul has been a difficult at times, but I press on nonetheless.
AV: Once you get an idea for a project like Reflection do you set aside the time to work on the music and dedicate your full attention to the project or is it a little less structured than that?
LM: In the past, I was running my own label, working full time in music production, managing some investing portfolios, and recording Liquid Mind albums... all concurrently. In the last two years, I have divested myself of the label and more recently the investing management, and now am focusing on Liquid Mind and music production only for the first time in six years. So, in the past it was not so structured, but for Liquid Mind VII, having partnered with a label has allowed me to focus on fewer things.
AV: Did beginning this Reflection bring to mind echoes of your previous works and how do you let your new work be its own creation without becoming too derivative of what you have created before?
LM: Stylistically, I have not wanted to stretch the envelope too much on my Liquid Mind albums, because the intention is to help others heal, and the very slow simple nature of the music is essential to that. I wanted to record seven albums without varying too much from that, to give the many listeners who use this music for therapeutic reasons a good variety to listen to. Emotionally, however, each album has a unique imprint. I'm exploring a slight change of course.... still essentially Liquid Mind, but perhaps with a little more rhythmic influence.
AV: On a project like this do you isolate yourself during the creation process or do you sometimes seek outside opinions as to how things are going?
LM: I do isolate to some degree, but only when I am writing. I write everything first, in a few weeks, then it can take 4 to 7 months to arrange and record an album, depending upon my other activities. I've never relied upon the opinions of others, as regards the Liquid Mind series. I know it is for special tastes, and for those who use it in healing environments... hospitals, yoga studios, anger management, birthing centers, anxiety management, cardiac care, cancer treatments, animal hospitals, and more. Terence Yallop and I do have some interaction as to the overall experience of the album, the sequence, and the sound, but other than that, the healing intention is my only guide.
AV: Tell me about what you found satisfying within this particular work and is this feeling the same for all the music that you create?
LM: This is the first time I did not have to focus on business (running my label) at the same time I was recording, so I feel like it is a better sounding album than some of the earlier ones. I also believe it was more reflective emotionally of who I am at this point in my life.
AV: If someone were to pick up your latest release what would they find there? Give me an idea of the feel of your latest release as compared to some of your other work. Would your regular listeners recognize it as your style or might they be surprised?
LM: The new album is easily recognizable as Liquid Mind's work. Liquid Mind VII is a perhaps a bit more melancholy than earlier albums, but definitely in the same style. I used more live vocals: Michael Whitfield and A. J. Teshin both sing on various cuts, and I sing background textures on almost every piece.
AV: When did you know that this project was done and that tweaking the mix would not make it any better?
LM: I'm notorious for remixing and even re-mastering multiple times. Still, there comes a time when the business practicalities speak, and the mastering and remixing must of necessity come to an end.
AV: Do you ever feel apprehensive when it comes time to take a project like this to the next stage and release it to the public?
LM: In the early days, I was apprehensive, but as I realized there was an audience for ultra-slow music, I stopped worrying. I've had hundreds of emails from grateful listeners who have had babies, worked their way through difficult times, had healing experiences with the music.... even if I only please those few people and myself, I think I would still do Liquid Mind.
AV: What kind of feedback have you been getting since releasing this CD? How closely do you follow reviews or the comments you receive from your listeners?
LM: I've had similar feedback to previous albums, healing experiences mostly, gratitude from people who are helped by the music in their daily lives. As for reviews, I heard it said once to either read every review or read no reviews. I'm somewhere in the middle. I do listen to feedback from listeners, and I've had lots of listener feedback; also, feedback from grateful store owners who consistently have sold Liquid Mind for ten years now, and comments from distributors who continue to sell this music. Still, the most gratifying reactions are from people who have been helped by the music, who find peace, who are able to get their first full night's sleep as a result of the music.
AV: When you finish a project like this and it has had a little time to settle down after the official release do you ever go back and take a critical look at the project and think about things that might have been done differently or have you already moved on in your mind to your next creation?
LM: To some degree, I learn by listening to past albums.... I sometimes do this just before I start a new album. I am not afraid of being derivative of earlier albums (for the Liquid Mind series). In other creative endeavors, I try not to repeat myself, but with this particular healing music, I have established some creative limitations, and I want the slow healing thread to run through all the albums in this series.
AV: Being intimately familiar with this work what will listeners take away from this CD after they have listened to it a few times? What are your own hopes for this music when it leaves your hands and is given over to the listeners?
LM: I think most listeners will probably deeply relax or even fall asleep if they listen to this music for a period of time. That is the greatest compliment to me... because I intend for the music to be deeply tranquil, but musically and emotionally communicative as well. If someone is stressed out, Liquid Mind will likely just bring them down a notch or two. My hope is simple: that everyone who needs the Liquid Mind music will find it. It is for special tastes, those whose lives are moving just a bit too fast. Viva life in the slow lane!
AV: Thanks much for taking the time to talk to us and I wish you more relaxing times and stress free living for your future.