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Interviews

Into the Sacred Hoop with Darwin Frost

My name is Darwin Frost. I am a musician. I am an artist.  I am a human being foremost and I am a child of the universe.

Darwin Frost aka the Impossible Nothing has released six albums in the last couple years and his hunger for music isn’t even close to being satisfied. He recently joined Skookum Sound System, a collaboartive multi-media crew and is ready to show the world exactly what he is all about. 

Marika Swan @RPM: What have you been up to recently, musically?

Darwin Frost: I believe that all of us are able to sit in a circle and share with different viewpoints. And musically we all have different ways of hearing and understanding music. Part of my work on the planet and part of the reason I am here is to shed light on that so that we can come together in a circle or a hoop or in a wheel.  Because that is really the way that we work together instead of against each other. A lot of things get made while there are certain people left from the circle. My perspective is that you can’t have a healthy humanity without having a syncretic viewpoint and music is a big part of that.

MS: How do you express those values in your process of making music?

DF: I just try to use lots of different sources.  The interesting thing about humanity is that we all tell our stories, wherever we are from and who ever we end up being. It comes out and you tell your story. The whole thing is to not have fear to tell that story.

MS: How did you come to be where you’re at?

DF: I grew up in Soho, New York City. It used to be called South Village. It became remediated. The place I grew up in no longer exists. It has been carved up and sold off to the highest bidder. I lived in Brooklyn for a few years after that. I came to the point where I could no longer sit by and abide by what I was watching happening. I couldn’t really understand why my perspective was so different than other people’s. I wasn’t militant but I was seeing things in a new way. I could see a giant system that was just consuming people. I felt a great sense of family with my kin, other humans. I saw that this system was dividing people by class, by race. It’s colonialism. There is no post-colonialism, it never stopped its continuing.

When I was in university I realized that a lot of the things that were affecting me were not affecting other students. There were parts of US history that really didn’t matter to people. The part that really spoke to me was the Indigenous history, knowing lots of things were built on top of other people’s suffering. It made me go deep inside and question who I was myself. So I went back to Australia and spent some time with my family and really started talking.  While I was there, I really got in touch with who I was as a person. What my story was and what had happened in Australia which is very much the same thing. It was a wonderful trip and I’m still on it. But it’s been very painful and the work never ceases. It’s the type of work that every Indigenous artist takes on in the world. It’s difficult – you really want love and prosperity to carry people through but it isn’t always the case. You can get lost in anger but what happened to me is that I got lost in love. I got lost in music. I got lost in the things that I knew could actually affect change in people.

I’ve been working on it the entire time and I finally feel like I am ready to show people what my perspective looks like and how I have come to see the world. And how I hear music as just a spiritual version of what we are actually living right now… wanting to come together. All the sounds want to come together. All the music wants to be made. It just needs a switch to turn it on. It needs a guitar strumming or a hand hitting a drum.

MS: Do you find music healing?

DF: Very. It’s probably the most spiritual thing I have ever been involved with. Actually I was part of a ceremony that took all night. It was extremely special to me and there were rattles and people dancing and people moving in a circle. There was so much noise from all the rattles and the shakers and I realized this sound and this space for this ceremony to happen was an absolute gift. It centered me right into where I had to be, right inside. And it was the music that did that. I traveled along the sounds into my inner core and when I got there I realized, huh it’s not so bad. Everyone is in a similar position. There are options out there to heal.  Art is one of those things that a lot people don’t explore to get that message. If I can help and have people explore that more, then that would be really wonderful.

MS: What’s up with Skookum Sound System?

DF: Skookum is Amphibian 14 aka Bracken Hanuse Corlett (live visual mixing), Dean Hunt aka DJ Deano, Csetkwe Fortier (vocalist) and me. Together we make up a multi-media hoop. We take spaces and we transform them into places where people can heal, where people can feel good. Where there is sound and there is visuals and activity and loudness and bigness. Where they can go inside and take part in this and they can take it inside themselves and they can leave with something. The hoop of all four of us doing slightly different things and working together is us taking our ceremony to different places.

MS: How fun is that?

DF: It’s pretty fun. I don’t think there is any way to get more joy than to do what you want to do in life and do something that makes people smile and makes people happy. And for us to even have this opportunity, to have the gifts and be able to give them is the blessing. Here’s the thing with Skookum: it just came together with no bumps in the road at all, just sheer magic. We just all converged at the same time and it just happened.

Skookum Sound System – Familiar Pickoff (ft Impossible Nothing & Amphibian14)

Skookum Sound System – Hollerin’ (ft. Impossible Nothing & Amphibian14), Snoop – Pharrell Mashup

Skookum Sound System – Ay I Oh Stomp into Operator – Produced by Deano, Video Mashup AMphibian14

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