A talk with Jane Penny, TOPS’s vocalist, at her home back in Montreal
Spencer Clark is a keen explorer of this wiggly world. Formerly one half of The Skaters with James Ferraro, his latest musical alias Typhonian Highlife has just released The World of Shells. Clark also runs the label Pacific City Sound Visions, which delivers a panoptic aesthetic that strives for higher forms. Here he delves into the importance of realms within and beyond our terrestrial life
How did you end up in Belgium?
In Belgium the life is full and private at the same time; I feel free to be social and to be within my mind’s creative techno bowl.
What’s the story behind this space?
For each album I make, I attempt to make an environment so that the essences arrive quickly through customs! In the picture I have sent, it is me completing the album, and in the background you can see the figures of a DEMON MASK atop a cylindrical aquarium. There is intense orange-red to season the music with intensity and heat, and the aquarium is blue, which you can’t see, but that colour was to then create simultaneously a meditative water quality, as ‘THE WORLD OF SHELLS’ endeavours to imply desert and aquarium.
You’ve had many monikers in the past for your music. Do they correspond to different creative processes you were exploring or to different phases in your life?
Yes. Exactly. All titles are just there to expound on the aesthetics and ideas. Typhonian Highlife relates to the the world of snakes shown in a high form.
I read that, before you started making music, you used to take photos of flowers and transform them into cosmic landscapes. Are you still compelled to do that kind of thing, working on symbolic transfigurations not only musically but visually as well?
In the beginning my imaginings were almost purely psychedelic, I think, but as I have grown, there begins to be a formulation to a definite communication of the moments I have experienced. For me, now, my actions are to remember what I have experienced and to arrange them in a way to show how colourful and vivid and full life is.
What does the idea of utopia evoke in you and your art? What would your iteration of it be like?
I don’t think I go for Utopia. It’s not so good to want to be somewhere else. I want to be right here. Planet Earth is a miracle. Nobody’s going to Mars. All imaginations we have on Earth are of and for the Earth. When I dream or intuit what I think are fantastic ideas, that seem to point to other realms, these realms are still a facet of the Earth experience!