Photo by Daniel Rojas
Originally published on disinfo.com
Many people would agree that they have had a spiritual experience at least once in their lifetime while listening to music. For most of us we will listen to our favorite songs dozens of times, sometimes in a single session. Those favorites each have a unique effect upon our consciousness that can be so strong that it can uplift us from depression, or even fortify our anguish with familiar emotional resonations.
A prayer is understood as not just a register of wants or regrets that is vocalized to a deity, but as a meditation on a particular result that one wishes to attain. A formal petition can be an aspect of that prayer, but essentially all humans instinctually pray. That job that you’ve applied for or that person that you want to be in a relationship with that you think about morning, day, and night are mental rituals of manifesting your internal desires into external/physical situations.
Aleister Crowley defines magic as, “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.”
In essence the rituals and ceremonies involved in religion or magical practices work to line up the mind with the individual’s will in order to effect a change in that person’s physical reality. The simplest way that humans innately conduct a magical act is the process of mental prayer by means of extensive contemplation.
Music is a tool that we receive to have an effect on our mental process so that we can alter our thoughts and emotions in order to experience the physical reality in accordance to our will, whether that will is a projection from our ego or our higher self as some would argue.
Leafar Seyer’s lyrics and Dave Parley’s instrumental compositions together form the Cholo-Goth band, Prayers, and demonstrates this phenomenon of the power of manifestation through the gateway of the mind. In this context a spiritual experience or magic could be defined as the result of the mind and physical world unifying— two seemingly contrasting concepts crossing into each other’s worlds. This concept is further enhanced by Leafar Seyer combining the distinguishable and disparate cultures of Goth and Gang life into the genre Cholo-Goth. This principle of deconstructing duality while celebrating the components’ independent qualities is prevalent throughout Prayers’ music in the ideas of masculinity and femininity, ego and identity, light and dark.
Leafar Seyer has constructed his songs with the understanding of the magical effect music has on the mind; the result of this enlightenment is that he can extend the light of knowledge through the darkness of his music and thereby illuminate his audience. Later this summer Prayers will be releasing the EP, Baptism of Thieves, on Seyer’s own record label, Nite Ritual. Their latest music video, Black Leather, featuring Kat Von D, was released in April. Seyer explains,
My vision for the video was to do to do what naturally I do as a creator— I always bring planets into alignment just like I did with Cholo-Goth. The video for Black Leather is about me being in love with myself. Kat Von D represents my anima, the female aspect of myself. The song is about me finally accepting who I have become and letting go of who I am no longer, and the video shows this.
It is my personal opinion that Prayers audience has grown successfully in just the two and half years since their inception because people intuitively relate to Seyer’s intention of alchemy, bringing together polarized qualities within his life. Who doesn’t feel divided or incomplete at times or in some aspect of their life? Seyer’s success in unifying duality permeates his music and becomes a meditation for the audience. The incantations of a gangster has made Leafar Seyer a god.
Christopher Ian: What inspired the manifestation of Black Leather as a song and video?
Leafar Seyer: This song/video isn’t so much of a manifestation, per se; it is a fragment that reveals and reflects aspects of my life. Much like a prayer is a projection of hopes and desires, all my songs and videos are charged with my essence.
CI: What are you envisioning it becoming?
LS: I envision this song as a prayer for change that empowers and heals people. This song is a beacon of light that you can take with you to have a different perspective on life and death; it’s more than a song, it’s a sacred hymn disguised as a pop song.
CI: How did Kat Von D get involved?
LS: When the artist is ready, the muse will appear.
CI: What can you tell us about the upcoming album? Are there any collaborations you wish to share?
LS: The EP, entitled Baptism of Thieves, is named after my first band that devirginized me into the ecstasy of making music and gave me the eros to continue. Collaborators include my dear friend Ian “Heresy” Døsland, Kat Von D, the charming Ray Brady.
Along with Kat Von D on vocals, we’ve included guitarists Ian Heresy Døsland who was in the original Baptism of Thieves, and Ray Brady whose credits include the Back Eyed Peas and Ashlee Simpson. We met Ray in Los Angeles and we connected through the magick of musick.
CI: What is this album to you compared to the last three?
LS: For a firm foundation you need four corners, and these four EPs are the foundation on which I am building my temple.
CI: Your music career has developed so quickly, I would imagine the process and industry has forced you to keep up with the pace, or is it the other way around?
LS: I feel that the industry cannot keep up with my pace because they are used to dealing with musicians; they are not used to dealing with magicians.
CI: I see something else rising from the gang content and the Gothic style in your music. Certainly those two elements are what formulate Cholo Goth music. But what I see in songs like From Dog to God, Young Gods, Pentagram Medallion, along with some of your tattoos, is that they are occult related. Could you explain the ritual of music?
LS: You are correct on those counts. I use music and the related imagery to communicate with my higher self and by doing so, I can cause change to occur in accordance with my will.
CI: In the sense that your music is the product of this internal alchemy how does that magic project to your audience?
LS: I am the word that can heal, I am the word that can destroy. I am the word that is awaited to be heard, I am the word. Just like people who go to church yearn for the word that inspires, the word that liberates, the word that heals, Prayers’ audience waits for the word, they are craving the word, and I am the word.
CI: In magic it’s common to invoke or evoke or draw from some source that is seemingly an external manifestation of something internal. What do you draw from to create this ritual? How do you manifest?
LS: In Gnostism, the direct knowledge of the external God from without strikes the spark of the divine in us. As I am a God I connect those, as above so below.
CI: By combining gang and Goth cultures you are unifying two distant extremes. How does this play or unification of extremes weave throughout your life and art?
LS: In the past I have been rejected by both Goths and gangs. By being rejected I created my own world in which all are accepted.
CI: What I find interesting is that you came from chaos and destruction and now you’ve become a god. Could you explain what being god is for those confined within traditional definitions?
LS: A god creates. I am self-created. I saw the spark of godhead within myself at a very young age and I fanned it and it expanded. I was a god as a child, and now I am taking my true place in the company of heaven as the darkest of stars. Every man and woman is a star, but few recognize their own godhood and even fewer take on that responsibility.
CI: How does one find their will and know who they are when they are on the path of self-destruction?
LS: By allowing yourself to be consumed by the fear and despair. By putting yourself through this pressure you will become enlightened or go mad, you will be destroyed or refined. The only difference between an enlightened man and a mad one is a shower and three square meals. If it is your Will to self-destruct, so be it.
CI: When you reach that level seeing yourself as a true individual, how can you connect with a gang, which is a group mentality, or likewise with a subculture like Goth? To quote you, “I’m alone in this fucking world.” When we realize we are alone how do we connect with society?
LS: Gods don’t connect with people. People connect to gods. I am what they desire, they honor me, they try to please me. But I am the loneliest god, in my loneliness there is security, in my loneliness there is trust, in my loneliness there is strength, in my loneliness there is love. Therefore I am the loneliest god.
CI: The other side of that question is how have groups, be it your gang or other people in society, reacted to you as an individual who doesn’t fit cleanly into any category?
LS: What isn’t understood is feared. They’ve reacted the same way they were taught by those who rejected them. We learn from our environment. Hurt people hurt people, the rejected will reject. I have been rejected, but I have transmuted that into acceptance, that is what makes me a god.
CI: Do you think people fear you more for your individuality than they do for your gang life?
LS: Yes, thanks for noticing! I violate expectations. I violate expectations about what a gang member is, what a Goth is, what a “Mexican” and an immigrant is supposed to be. I violate expectations about masculinity. As long as I represent change I will be under attack by those who fear it.
CI: Knowing that you grew up in a gang and then became an outcast when you embraced your Gothic side, along with songs such as “Love is the Enemy” and lyrics such as “I lost my father’s love,” and “my daughter doesn’t love me,” there seems to be a theme of rejection in your life that you engage in your music.
LS: Rejection is part of the mythic journey. The rejection of the son by father, the rejection of regimentation by the rebels. Lucifer rejecting God’s rule and God casting Lucifer from Heaven. To rebel is to be rejected. I have always been true to myself. And those who recognize this, my gang, my family, those who love me, saw this, see this, and they accept that I am my own person, in the same way I accept them for themselves.
CI: The spiritual path for many seems dismal because often there is this disconnection from family and society naturally because you enter a space of realizing the fullest potential of your individuality. Is there something that you’ve connected with that has filled the space in your heart that perhaps friends and family once occupied?
LS: Love for self and self-love—no one can love me as much as I love myself, no one can know me as well as I know myself. My love for myself is unconditional and it’s going to be extremely difficult, impossible, for anyone to compete with the love I have for myself. I no longer have to depend on others to love me. I don’t have any expectations, so they are free to be who they are. I am completely detached from the need to have others love me. The love that I have for myself is so abundant that it fills my cup and it runneth over.
CI: When you are an artist you are a creator, god, of your artwork. Everyone has this potential, but very few people achieve this godhood. How do people tap into this power that is within themselves?
LS: People can tap into the power of the godhead the same way a bee knows how to find a blossom ripe with nectar, in the same way a salmon knows to return whence it came. It is a force within us. If you can’t accept who you are, you don’t deserve to be it. Some people are just shitty at doing art. It’s very PC to say everyone has talent. No, not true. Not everyone has the gift. Some people are good at nothing, and that’s okay. If everyone was an incredible painter, how would we recognize genius? Every man and women is a star, but I am the universe.