The musical entity known as Liquid Mind is the creation of keyboardist and composer Chuck Wild. After releasing ten albums, Liquid Mind arrives at yet another sonic destination with Liquid Mind XI: Deep Sleep. As the stress of life keeps piling up, fans of New Age and electronica are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting ways to tone down the background noise. Created to enhance the art of sleeping, Deep Sleep is much more than that. In fact, it’s a kind of mini symphonic album of deep electronica that just happens to be of a very relaxing nature. Being that Chuck was greatly influenced by progressive rock music in general, one can’t help but compare some of his soaring orchestrated keyboard imagery to that of Moody Blues founder and mellotron pioneer Mike Pinder, who was the main sonic innovator of progressive rock back in the mid 1960s. Some of Chuck’s keyboards do echo Pinder’s ‘tron like sonic web but there’s also a very unique musical slant on the slow moving sonic glaciers that make up Deep Sleep. So, sominex addicts beware: this album will not put you to sleep. It’s not boring or soporific in any way, shape or form. What it will do is inspire your muse and bring you to a place of sublime peace or bliss that will help to lull you into a space or place where sleep might be the thing that you need most. That said, it’s also a great album to play during the day to help you concentrate or to tone down unwanted thoughts. One of the finest instrumental New Age albums of 2016, Liquid Mind XI: Deep Sleep is an orchestral masterpiece of keyboard electronica from legendary music maker Chuck Wild. If you’re looking for a way to kick stress in the butt, then tune into Deep Sleep, the 2016 CD release from Chuck Wild and Liquid Mind.www.RealMusic.com / www.LiquidMindMusic.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
CHUCK WILD of Liquid Mind
mwe3: Deep Sleep is the 14th Liquid Mind album so why did you choose to call it Liquid Mind XI? You had earlier released a Liquid Mind CD called Sleep, which was subtitled Liquid Mind VIII so is Deep Sleep a follow up and did you bring in any new directions or new ideas regarding the aspect of “deep sleep”?
Chuck Wild: There are 14 Liquid Mind albums, 11 of which are what I call "studio" albums, i.e., albums of completely new material. There are also 3 collections - Relax, Dream, and Ocean And Rain Mixes - in the series, but they mostly consist of material that was previously released. I'm releasing Liquid Mind XI: Deep Sleep on the 10th anniversary of the most popular Liquid Mind album, which was the 2006 release of Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep. Both of these albums honor in us the need for deeply restful and regenerative sleep. A good night’s sleep is a miraculous elixir for the soul and body, but for many of us, living in an information-overload e-world, a peaceful rest is hard to come by. Liquid Mind is designed specifically with musical characteristics that enhance deep relaxation. You can read about those characteristics and how and where Liquid Mind is used at this link.
87 year old William Dement, MD, known as the "father of sleep medicine", and founder of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the famed Stanford University Sleep Research Program, recommended Liquid Mind VIII: Sleep as part of a pre-sleep program to enhance one's nightly rest. I’ve posted some sleep tips based on research and suggestions from healthcare providers at this link.
mwe3: What is music therapy in your estimation and why isn’t it being paid more attention to?
Chuck Wild: Music therapy is defined by the American Music Therapy Association as “an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. It improves the quality of life for persons who are well, and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses."
I compose music for music therapists, but am not one myself. Most music therapists have masters or doctorate degrees and work with hospitals and health professionals, using music that is proven in evidence-based research to: promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communicatio, and promote physical rehabilitation (e.g. from stroke or injury). For those interested in Music Therapy, there is a lot of information at my site at this link.
...but the best resource is the AMTA site where one can connect with a music therapist and learn more about what they do. MT's (Music Therapists) are truly angels... many of them play live music, or use recorded music in hospital, critical care, cancer, pediatric wards and hospice visits, and the use of music therapy has been proven to reduce reliance on pharmaceuticals in many cases.
mwe3: Do you find it interesting that most people spend one third of their lives asleep yet conversely, with all the pressures in the world are people sleeping as well as they did ten or even fifty years ago and what is your concept of sleep as it applies to the human psyche?
Chuck Wild: I'm not a sleep professional, but I do have an opinion, based upon my own experience.
I believe that life in our high pressure, high standards, social media and information overload, constantly-connected world creates chronic stress and raises the output of adrenaline and other hormones, which in excess can be detrimental to one's health and sleep. My own psychological state and cognitive functioning is noticeably affected by both the quality and amount of sleep I receive. A daytime power nap can help, provided it doesn't exceed 20 or 25 minutes, but the foundation-stone for me is 6-7 or so hours of rest during the night. Interestingly, since becoming a vegan about 5 years ago, I no longer sleep 8 hours, usually more like 6 or 7. I supposed my body isn't as busy digesting!
mwe3: People listen to your music for meditation or as a pre-sleep conditioning. What is the difference between sleep and meditation in your view?
Chuck Wild: I think the process and effects of meditation are distinct from those of sleep, both of which are necessary for good health. I view meditation as a conditioning the mind... I get clarity, a deeper life perspective, and equanimity of cognitive function from meditation. I do a simple clearing meditation from 5 to 20 minutes morning and evening when possible. I simply sit comfortably in a chair, close my eyes, breathe in and count 1, breathe out and count 2, breathe in count 3, etc. up to 10, then I start over. This is known as a clearing meditation. I like using numbers, because there is no cognitive meaning attached that would cause me to start thinking.
The gift of meditation is, for me, in the absence of thought. AFTER the meditation, I see things more clearly, am better able to make decisions in every area.
Sleep on the other hand is a necessary and recurring state of consciousness that inhibits certain parts of our brain, and whose various stages allow us to regenerate physically, mentally digest, and hopefully awaken refreshed. Deep sleep is thought to happen during NREM3 or slow-wave sleep, and represents about 1/4 of the night. This slow-wave sleep is believed to be the most restorative part of sleep.
I personally think both sleep and meditation are essential for me to live a well-balanced life.
mwe3: What were the main keyboards and sounds that you played on Deep Sleep? Have there been any new additions to your keyboard arsenal or other computer applications or sound enhancers these past couple years and what have you been listening to on CD these days?
Chuck Wild: I haven't added much to my studio setup, I still use various legacy synths like Yamaha, Korg, Roland, Supernova, EMU, Roland samplers, and about two dozen virtual synths - including Spectrasonics’ entire suite. As I'm no longer working in pop and TV/Film music, I'm less interested in the upgrade cycle, though I know great plugins and effects are now available.
I still listen to and am inspired by 19th-20th century classical composers: Brahms, Beethoven, Bartok, Fauré, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Rachmaninoff...
mwe3: You have said that music is first heard by us during our time in the womb and that’s why you often include subliminal vocal sounds to mimic voices that we hear during our time in the womb. How do you feel music impacts us even while we’re in the womb and also during our early formative years?
Chuck Wild: I don't pretend to be an expert in the effects of music during embryo formation and early years, but experts like music therapist Barbara Crowe have done research that has shown that music with low tones and other characteristics can be very relaxing, and it is assumed that's because we carry a positive, comforting association with those tones from early development in the womb. As far as early childhood years, I think that's a complex subject that would be interesting to research, but I have no knowledge in that area.
In my own case, music instruction, starting at age 4, gave me a sense of fun and structure, which has been beneficial to me all my life.
mwe3: Do you feel that music therapy can be applied to cure or lessen physical ailments and pain? I remember playing solo cello music with natural bird sounds (two separate tapes on a dual cassette deck) and seeing how it healed someone with a migraine headache. Do you enjoy seeing your music helping people with stress disorders, pain or sleeping problems?
Chuck Wild: I do believe music therapy can lessen physical, mental, and emotional ailments and pain. I've become friends with a trucker who was in a head on collision, was resuscitated 11 times and underwent a long and painful recovery. He underwent a long rehab, and has told me that Liquid Mind was very helpful in managing his pain. I've had emails from some folks unable to take pain medication who claim they are able to tolerate pain better while my listening to my music. I believe Liquid Mind is conducive to entering a meditative state, and it's that effect that helps to lessen pain. I donated a series of gait training music compositions to the AMTA which helps those with strokes learn to walk. The human brain, even after stroke, will respond to certain clicking sounds and attempt to synchronize muscle movement with those sounds, even if the muscle/nerve connections are not functioning normally. So gait-training music can jump start paralytic rehabilitation. This is a very exciting area of interface between neuroscience and music therapy.
Regarding my sedative Liquid Mind music and its uses in music therapy, I've received over 2,000 emails and messages about how Liquid Mind helps folks, and it literally brings me to tears at times, so yes, it's very fulfilling. My only vision since beginning Liquid Mind is that all those who need my music will have access to it, regardless of their ability to pay. That's why I allow my full catalog to be used on Pandora and YouTube, in addition to the other streaming services.
mwe3: You said you were planning to go back to classical piano music again at some point. I always felt that New Age or electronic mediation music was the classical music of the 21st century or classical music of the future. What’s your opinion of that and the artists who are bringing classical music into the future as played by jazz, rock and also New Age musicians? Do you think classical music is too complex for people’s attention spans these days?
Chuck Wild: Very good questions, Robert, and ones I've given some thought to... Yes, I am slowly changing my focus to what I call "concert piano" music in the classical tradition. I believe that classical music of today is what people value from the past, and is not genre-specific in any way. It may be film score, jazz, pop, R&B, hip-hop, New Age, African, Indian or many others. My point is that it's not possible to know what will be considered "classical" 100 years from now.
As to your question about the complexity of Neoclassical music. There is a large vibrant community of young musicians melding traditional classical music with electronic and pop. Nico Muhly and Mason Bates come to mind. EDM dance music is quite complex and widely accepted, so I think complexity doesn't enter into the equation. In my own case, I may expand into traditional classical + electronic at some point, but am more interested in writing music for solo piano at this point.
mwe3: You came from a rock music and soundtrack background in the 1970s. Do you keep in touch with any of your band mates from the original Missing Persons, such as Patrick O’Hearn or some of the members of Frank Zappa’s band and also fabled producer Ken and are all the Missing Persons albums still in print on CD?
Chuck Wild: Though I was for many years, I'm no longer in touch with old band mates, our lives have gone separate ways, and I look back with fondness on the good times we shared. There is one exception: My longtime mentor and good friend and five-time Grammy winner, Bruce Swedien and I are still in touch. I'm still in touch with Bruce, his wonderful wife Bea and talented daughter (a classical pianist) Roberta. Roberta is coming to LA and will stay with me next weekend while on tour for her series of Swedish music concerts.
mwe3: What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie? He was such a musical giant and opened doors for so many musicians. I was remembering his advocacy of electronic instrumental in the late 1970s, which was so influential for fans just tuning into that genre back then. Will we ever see a musical giant of his stature again? It’s very interesting to see how much the prog-rockers loved him, and the punk rockers and also the electronic musicians like Eno were so influenced by his music.
Chuck Wild: David was a true free spirit, very rare in our world. He was absolutely unaffected creatively by what others thought. I had the good luck to perform with Missing Persons just before David's show at the 1983 US-Festival in California, and always remember his courtesy and professionalism. He crossed all boundaries, and I'm not sure that the progression of music and culture will again intersect to produce such an icon. I do believe there are wildly independent thinkers in other areas of innovation and creation, but am not sure music will soon see another Bowie.
mwe3: I’m sure you’ll make a lot of fans happy with Deep Sleep. Any final thoughts or words to say to your fans regarding the Deep Sleep album, and what can we expect next from you in 2016? It’s shaping up to be quite a transitional year indeed!
Chuck Wild: My vision is and always has been to compose music that refreshes the human spirit. Liquid Mind is one aspect of that, and my piano music composition will, as time goes one, bring a different, perhaps wider spectrum of emotional content to my music, music that, I hope, will reflect the full range of who I am as a human being.
I did want to express my gratitude for the support that Terence Yallop and Karen Kael, owners of Real Music, and their fine staff have given me over the nearly 20 years we've worked together, first in distribution, now as artist/label. It can be challenging for artists to navigate the ever-changing business aspect of music, and I'm most appreciative of their help and guidance, which has smoothed my way.