I've been a fan of Jesse Sola's work as Numina for some time now. His sense of spaces, the
way he can so accurately capture an emotion, a sensation with his work, it's quite inspiring
to me. So I thought I'd ask him a few questions to see what makes him tick. And here's
what he had to say...
1) Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Numina as "a spiritual force or
influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place"
How does this define your work, your sound? Do you identify yourself with
that definition, or do you think it better describes the music?
I do indeed relate to the term "numina" in many ways. The idea or belief
that an inanimate object has a "life", something as simple as a parched
stone on the ground, or as grand as the Rocky Mountains sort of envelops
all forms of the definition and of what I belive in with regard to the
meaning of the music and the inspiration and emotions I create within the
music. There are other influences and inspirations to my music as well,
but "numina" means the most to me.
"Ambient music, for me, may be defined as music that takes you on a mental journey."
2) Still on definitions, how would you define the term ambient music,
and how do you see Numina fitting into that definition?
Ambient music, for me, may be defined as music that takes you on a mental
journey. A journey with intense imagery invoked by the various musical
timbres and vibrations. This definition lends itself well to the music
being very thematic, like a soundtrack to an intense film. I grew up
listening to a lot of film/instrumental music and never felt the need for
lyrics to define the song.
3) In addition to having created a niche for yourself in the ambient genre,
you've also developed a following in the darkwave genre and have worked with
a few people in that scene, most notably Tara Van Flower of Lycia. What
qualities link these two genres, and what brings together the two audiences?
Do you identify with yourself being a darkwave artist?
Yeah, it's been great. I'm also working with The Unquiet Void and Caul at
the moment. In addition to new age/ambient/film, I grew up on and listen
to a lot of darkwave, goth, and industrial music. I think there's often a
sense of mystery, meloncholy, and emotion amongst the darkness and minor
chords in both ambient and darkwave music. I always enjoyed this feeling
in music, and it just seems that there's natural attraction to both
genres. I do identify my work with darkwave just as much as ambient
music. The hybrid sub-genre title I often refer to my music is simply
4) If you were stranded on a desert island with your five favorite discs,
what would they be? If you had to eat two of them to survive (I dunno,
you're some kind of music loving aluminium eating kinda guy), which two
would you choose and why?
Ohhh, these questions are always tricky... yet fun! Here's the current
1. Lycia - "Burning Circle & then Dust"
2. Dead Can Dance - "Within the Realm of a Dying Sun"
3. Steve Roach - "Dreamtime Return"
4. Clan of Xymox - "Medusa"
5. Slowdive - "Blue Day"
I guess I'd consume the Xymox and Slowdive discs because I couldn't handle
not having the other 3 discs to listen to! But it would be difficult...
both not having those two albums and attempting to eat them.
"The format for collaboration takes a significantly different path for me than when I produce my solo work."
5) You've recently been doing collaborative work with IXOHOXI and together
have received some really positive response. How does collaboration in this
sort of music differ from writing solo? Do you think that the lack of a
verbal vocabulary to describe intent restricts or frees the collaborative
I always contact my collaborators over the phone, and get to know the
person better. It's not as good as meeting in person, but it clears up a
lot of potential conflict, confusion and complex issues that e-mail
correspondence just doesn't convey.
The format for collaboration takes a significantly different path for me
than when I produce my solo work. I prefer the other to initiate the
music which then defines the vibe/theme. I don't know why, but I prefer to
work with someone else's work rather than build it up first myself. I
think it probably mostly has to do with it being an opportunity to really
approach a recording with a groundwork already defined, which is
interesting, and challenging for me, but at the same time it eases some of
the pressure on my end to come up with something from scratch! I don't
really have a lot of source material lying around for me to just propose a
project to begin with in the way some artists in this genre seem to
operate. This is why collaborations for me take quite awhile to get out
6) Given your involvement with ACID, what are your thoughts about the
accessibility of creating music now?
It certainly is more simple for one to create music these days. At first I
was sort of leary of these software programs which really simplify the
process, and may spread thin the opportunity for trained musicians to be
able to fairly compete in the market, but the fact remains that it still
takes a certain amount of creativity to put it all together and make
something interesting. I enjoy working with Sonic Foundry and I get a big
kick out of hearing songs using the loops I've produced.
7) On a similar note, given the rise of technology to create music, how do
you think the genre has adapted to maintain a human element, and how do you
specifically try to add an organic component to your work to ensure it's
The human element is lost in a lot of it, in my opinion. I'm sure from the
perspective of the creator it's a different view, but relying on and using
so many software programs almost makes things too perfect and does
compromise the human element to the music. I have used programs like ACID
and ReBirth, but only rarely. To maintain that "human element" I almost
always overdub tracks in real-time with my synths, or overdub vocals,
guitars, or acoustic percussive instruments.
8) You been watching Buffy this season? Who do you think is going to
sacrifice themselves to close the Hellmouth? Do you think Buffy will ever
admit her love for Spike? And what's going to happen to Andrew?
As I'm not actually keeping up with the Buffy series, I am consulting my
fiance, Kirsten, on this one since she's hardcore Buffy-natic, here's what
she has to say:
"Hmmm, difficult question. If they have a new spinoff show, Buffy might
have to die in order for there to be a plot without her in the new show.
If it were up to me, Giles would be the one to sacrifice himself because
it would be the only useful thing he will have done all season. Of course
Buffy will admit her love for Spike, unfortunately, it will probably be
about 3 seconds before she dies. As for Andrew, he will go down in
Sunnydale history as the greatest Big Bad Evil of them all."
9) What can we look forward to from Numina in the future? New releases, new
shows, a line of clothing?
Hmmm... line of clothing, eh? Sounds like an idea! I should mention
first that I have a album I've finished titled "Sanctuary of Dreams" which
will be released on the Hypnos label (www.hypnos.com). The concept of the
songs are based around and influenced by my dreams. Kind of dark at times,
lots of choir sounds and stuff. I'm really happy with it. I have several
collaborations planned for this year including work with Caul
(www.caul.org), Exuviae (www.interstitial.info/exuviae/), IXOHOXI
(www.geocities.com/ixohoxi_music/), and The Unquiet Void
As for live performance, I am playing live on May 31st with Robert Carty
here in Denver, CO. I plan on recording the session and probably release
it as a ltd CDR or something. So far the practice sessions have gone well
and has turned out to be rather rhythmic oriented. Should be an
There's the potential for another live performance in Denver in June as
well, but not yet confirmed.
Then later this year I hope to have another solo release completed which
will be more tribal-ambient and feature guest musicians from Ma Ja Le and
10) Anything else you'd like to add?
Gosh... well, just a note to say I appreciate all the great people I've
come into contact along the way during this musical journey. Since my day
job is considerably less rewarding, well, not rewarding at all, getting in
touch with people from all over the world who tell me what they like about
my work really makes my day... and my life. Oh, also I'm getting married
this August. Wish me luck! :)