featured artist


Last updated 01/24/04

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 dark-ambient.

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 list:

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 approach?

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 the door.

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 humanity?

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 (www.fortunecity.com/marina/skipper/1583/)

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 interesting outcome.

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 Biff Johnson.

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! :)