MESSENGER 11:11 is the next installment of planetary themed albums by Kris Vango.
Produced and recorded in Athens, Greece – the birthplace of democracy in a time of increased surveillance. With two sides; the lightening and the blackening – it explores through its 11 track twin sides the power of self expression, voice, thought and to master these in order to collectively combat increasingly predatory forces and digital colonialism.
The album is a queer space opera of voices heralding forth a new world. A world in which we coexist. We do not lead. We do not follow. We make space for all and not contract it for some.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing Kris and this has been the result.
Hi Kris, how are you?
This is a loaded question in this time haha. I’ve been better. But right now I am safe and surrounded by hope and potential. I am grateful.
How did your day start?
It started with a greek coffee and a mild panic attack at the state of the world, or probably the greek coffee, as most days seem to start. Then a meditation and a loving kick of myself into creating things so I can express the dissonance I feel about what is happening around me and how we are treating one another during this time.
What relationship do you have with Mercury?
I am obsessed with the planets name and its connection to alchemy. Both in terms of esoterically governing language and how we convert the suns light energy into expression; body, thought, spoken word, art, symbols. And also that it was the ingredient in many alchemic experiments to find the elixir for life. In a time in which science, which is the modern form of alchemy, also revisits the possibility of life extension and DNA manipulation. I think the consciousness of mercury of duality (extreme heat and cold) and non binary linguistic power is hyper relevant. The mercury elixirs resulted in death, as we tried to cheat it and maybe Mercury has again some wisdom to offer on our neo arrogant pursuits to control life and not to surrender to it and to a cosmic order. From exploring so many ways to interpret the planet and its energies; it seems somehow weaved into the fabric of science, alchemy and the use of symbols, language and words to shape reality. So it is super fascinating. To explain why it represents these, as the planet closest to the sun, it interprets its light first and is so the interpreter, the messenger, the translator of light (consciousness) into material. The vessel of this is language and communication.
What can you tell us about the creation process for Messenger11:11 – how did you meet the artists involved and what brought you all together in this?
I wrote down in a journal a few years ago this would be a queer poetry album about A.I. matrix futurisms. It kind of started that way. But morphed more into a gluttonous space opera because I am a little bit excess. 11:11 is the portal to age of Aquarius. Mercury is about balancing dark and light, twins and it is this power to be the alchemist over our own emotions. To accept both light and darkness. So it was me documenting this weird social collapse of capitalism we’re in into whatever is next and have a double album of two sides; one of the lightening (electricity/masculinity) and one of the blackening (magnetism/femininity). Bringing in some alien, technology, AI. Cyber mythology themes but presenting them neutrally – like the messenger. Who is neutral. Non Binary. I love that Hermes, the messenger, also Facebook messenger and messenger RNA are all very present zeitgeisty themes and somehow neutrally reference Mercury by name.
The artists are all people I know who have digitally or found each other in undergrounds organically and have been a force for massive creative encouragement for each other, I love them all a lot and to we have a great vibrant collaboration and trust in a network of people we can count on beyond money and materialism to support us in our visions and/or personal crises. It really feels like our silent shout for the world at the moment. In the end I really wanted to flesh it out as a kind of end of suburban capitalism and a confronting of death, of ego, of self, of society and to embrace the unknown and rebirthing process. It is has biblical themes and archetypes everywhere also to decentralise the idea of Jesus and Satan. Decentralise A.I. And to open source love. It is also heavily inspired by trans icon Lana Wachowski and Matrix futurism. I am a sci-fi geek. ANDDD I didn’t plan this but it comes out 2 days before Matrix 4 – and I met her once in Berghain. So in my weird delusional world. It is also weaved into matrix-reality haha.
What do you mean with digital capitalism and why fighting it?
I think it is more about confronting where we are going with our current social models. In a world where our dollar supports and builds the system around us. We ignore it too much and think that voting once every few years will change things. We don’t pay enough attention to the intention of spending, consumerism; who we enable… instead of blaming the “system” as being the problem. I believe we blame too much the system but do not take accountability for our ignorance to who we support, or who we enable our government or protecters to support on our behalf. I don’t support digital surveillance capitalism. Or the ideas being presented currently in terms of consumerist based digital matrixes or signing in and out of society. I think by not conforming to the centralised impositions of future social ideas, we are in a time where we must inspire each other to act in our own way and bring about a system based on encouragement and inspiration, not discouragement and fear. As mercury teaches, the sword, is double edged. So all technology must be questioned and embraced equally I believe. As it poses incredible threats to freedom, but also enables utopias.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
I know this is a charged issue. I support all our efforts to find ways to manage the pandemic. But it hurts my heart to see segregation. I know people have their beliefs and worries, but it pains me that some feel it ok that we withhold support and access to people to bring them into line, or force them to comply to a dogmatic solution. I would just never do this to my worst enemy – to deny them care. Even though not doing this may be threatening and our only choice. I do believe many people right now are mentally shocked and ill from the crisis for many reasons, beyond political or medical sides and I wish we would listen and comfort these people more — instead of judging them. I think witnessing this, without trying to comment of any anti/pro binary, has blackened my heart a little bit. I have so much hope for humanity. I think what I touched on in terms of mercury artistically bridging the realms of science and mysticism kind of explains how this pandemic has also affected me. I do believe alchemy is the antithesis to science. And astrology to astronomy. That our ability to gain inner alchemic knowledge can also protect us and to rely less on the solutions presented externally by science. It believe it is a delicate balance being lost in an increasingly materialist social construct. As a non binary person, who has always experienced life in a kind of mystical, immaterial and counter-social way – I feel incredibly frustrated to be forced into a binary right now. I have tirelessly tried to see things from all perspectives these 2 years and I don’t see a public effort to create dialogue. More to dictate and mandate. I don’t know where we will end up, or how we will find a way to face this challenge with the tools we have and hopefully new and more effective ones. But I do hope we take a step back from these divisions, binaries and listen to mercury’s wisdom – that the truth is always purple (red + blue) and grey (black + white).
What do you want to explore with the music within Messenger11:11?
To just combine logos/mythos. To explore the scientific themes of mercury, the symbology, the mythology and imagine what it would sound like. How it would want to speak. As the planet of language I had to let it open up my own fear to speak, to sing fully, to trust in my voice and my words. So it was a process through the planet of also embracing my voice and the power of it.
What other projects are you involved in?
Most of the artists on the album I am also currently producing EPs and Albums for. It is really exciting work and we are in such a beautiful state of presence and process that I am excited to share that energy in these tracks to whoever finds them in the infinite expanses of the digital world.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
You are conscious. You are proof of earths consciousness. Its intelligence is working through and in symbiosis with you. Just because the other planets do not have the same expression of consciousness, do not deny that it doesn’t exist. All planets are conscious entities. We are living proof of that.