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Lofiles is a music and mp3 blog contains a collection of songs I love. MP3s are for sampling purposes only. If you like the music as much as I do, please go out and buy the records! .If you have a complaint about the ownership of a track, please contact me directly and I will be happy to take it down ASAP.
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The Pantaleimon Lofiles Interview

Q: Pantaleimon, the pseudonym you use, what can you tell us about it? Were Philip Pullman‘s books a source of inspiration to your creative work? And if so, in what way?

A: The character Pantalaimon (different spelling) in Phillip Pullman’s books was a shape-shifting dæmon of a pre-pubescent child. Once the child became an adult the dæmon became fixed in the form of the most predominant trait in the child. So I liked the idea of the playfulness of spirit, the connection with the animal world and differing perceptions of Truth depicted in his books. But I wasn’t truly inspired until I came across Saint Pantaleimon after I did a little research into the meaning and origin of the name. I found that he was a healer born of a pagan father and Christian mother. The name means ‘all- compassionate’ or ‘all merciful’. I felt an immediate affinity for him and was inspired by his story. When I was considering a name to work under, Pantaleimon just seemed a natural choice given that the music has a healing and spiritual quality to it. And besides I could not and cannot think of any other name to create my work under, so it remains.

Q: You seem to be the sort of person who is always surrounded with nature, living in a little cabin in a midst of a wild fairytale-like forest, or by the sea, for that matter. Not much of a city girl. Where do you actually live?

A: It’s true I’d rather be in nature. And it’s interesting you mention ‘a little cabin in a midst of a wild fairytale-like forest‘, because that’s exactly the kind of place I’d like to end up in eventually, although it would have to be a forest by the sea! At the moment, I do live by the sea, in a small town called Hastings, on the South coast of England. It’s a colorful place to be.

Q: When did you realize you want to become a musician? Did you grow up in a creative (musical) home? What is your earliest music-related childhood memory?

A: There was never a moment where I thought I’d become a musician. It just happened out of a love of music and feeling the need to express myself through that particular art form. I did not grow up in a musical home. Neither my parents played any instruments. However, my mum would always be playing her records. She loves music, so I think her record collection was my first influence. My grandmother had a piano, but I never saw her or anyone play. My mum’s grandparents had Irish background and she says they all played music, but again I never heard them, as they were a few generations away in time. I was drawn instinctually to music very early on though. I had a little Casio keyboard that I’d work out how to play a tune I’d heard by ear. I used to sing Beatles songs with my friend Elaine. One time we were to sing ‘Hey Jude’ on stage in front of the school assembly. Elaine bottled out just before we were to perform, so I ended up having to sing it all by myself. That was the first time singing in front of an audience and I was about eight years old at the time. I also remember my dad buying me my own little cassette recorder to record songs into. I felt so touched, that I cried. Another influence on me at that time was my Auntie’s boyfriend. His name was Tony and with his friend Paddy they had a band and I used to hear and watch them rehearse. Tony taught me my first few guitar chords.

Q: What is your musical background? Did you learn music and music theory?

A: I have no formal training in music or music theory. Although, when I was a kid I had a few basic classical guitar lessons and piano lessons.

Q: Appalachian Dulcimer? How did you start playing that? Is it a difficult instrument to play? Tuning wise – how do you tune it?

A: I had never heard, let alone seen an Appalachian Dulcimer. I was given one as a birthday gift back in 1999. I remember opening this very strange shaped birthday present in bed and the moment I played it I fell in love with the resonant drone sound. I took to the instrument almost straight away and found it easy to play. When I like a sound of an instrument then it is easy to play. Easy to recognise the sounds you’re looking for, the notes you’re looking for when you find them. I don’t use any traditional or conventional tuning, for either the dulcimer or the guitar.

Q: How do you go about writing a song? Does it start with a lyrical idea, or with a musical lick?

A: Both. Sometimes the music comes first. Sometimes the words come first. Sometimes they come all at once. When an idea comes it’s normally connected with a feeling, a yearning, or a memory. The music normally comes from noodling, just sitting playing for hours, and then some wonderful little gem magically appears out of seemingly nowhere. That’s a good moment when that happens. You know immediately that you’re on to something.

Q: In a 2007 review on Mercy Ocean, Charles Franklin from “Foxy Digitalis” wrote: “songs like these could only emerge from a soul that has been through a great deal of pain, only to emerge stronger and more resilient than ever. This is completely real and powerful music that can change and heal. The simplicity is monumental and the intent is strong.” What can you tell us about the way your music gets a voice? Where does it come from?

A: I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, just comes through me whilst I go into a feeling. I have experienced a lot of pain in my life, that’s true, but I seem to find ways of looking at my story in an objective way. Everyone goes through some kind of pain in their lives. It is what makes us human. It is what makes us grow spiritually and helps us come to an understanding of ourselves and our most inner needs and desires. However, most of the time I’m not conscious of what I’m creating until I’ve created it. I think a lot of artists are like that, whatever the medium they work in.

Q: How do you record an album (like ‘Trees Hold Time’ for instance)? Do you record at home, or do you use a recording studio?

A: In hindsight, I see ‘Trees Hold Time’ as being a naïve piece of work. It was my first record. Most of the music on that album, I made up as I went along whilst recording. It was recorded, in two sessions lasting a week each time, with Christoph Heemann at his studio in Germany. Almost everything I’ve created so far has been recorded in studios. Now I have a little set up at home. I’ve recorded some narrations for Cam Archer and some vocal tracks for a few collaborations. I’m presently recording most of the new record at home, and then I’ll take it into a studio for mixing and producing.

Q: Do you have a favorite stage in the process of making music?

A: I have two favourite stages; when a song or piece is first formed, and then, because I’m such a geek and perfectionist, I enjoy the editing and mixing stage too.

Q: ‘Heart of the Sun’ is all collaborations. Are these friends, session musicians, hired guns, contributors or writing partners? (Colin Potter, Fovea Hex, Susan Stenger, Andrew Liles…)

A: Everyone who contributed a remix to ‘Heart of the Sun’ are friends. I sent them the tracks and just waited for their mix to come back to me. I was really happy with the results. It was a kind of experiment in how others perceive the music and then hearing their relationship to it.

Q: Following that experience, what would you prefer, working alone or collaborating?

A: Both. I love working alone, especially in the early stages of writing my own music. But I also love to collaborate with others. I learn so much about myself, and my perceived limitations, through working with other artists’ projects. I’ve recently finished a couple of tracks with a group called Lüüp. I wrote the lyrics and recorded vocals on both tracks they sent to me. And I’ve also just recorded some vocals on a track for Strings of Consciousness. It is an improvised jazzy piece of music. Not my usual terrain at all. At first I thought I’d never come up with anything, but then I surprised myself with something that I‘m really happy with and so are they. Working with others helps me to break down previously held assumptions regarding my abilities as a musician and artist. So the opportunity to work with others is such a gift and also a lot fun.

Q: Tom Sekowski wrote on “Mercy Oceans” that it’s “a sort of catharsis that one needs to undergo during ones lifespan. It’s music that is whispered. Notions are suggested while Degens’ heart bleeds all over the speakers. This is as naked as music gets.”

After listening to your albums for quite some time now, I envy this bravery of yours, the fact that your music is so naked and minimalistic, no need to cover it up with endless tracks, parts and sounds… It is something I have always tried to do as a musician and it never worked out. Is there a secret you can share about making such music?

A: I have no secret formula. I don’t try to do anything with the music. It just comes and I never feel that I want to make it more than it is, because then you lose the essence of what it was that came to you in the first place. It’s like a stone you’re attracted to when you’re out walking. You admire the irregularity of it, the individual features, the way the light reflects in some places and not in others, the feel of it. So you take it home. After a little while, you think it could be more than it is, and so you polish and polish stone, but then you find that you have lost what you admired about it in the first place.

Q: There is something real naïve that comes across from listening to what you do? Are you really like that?

A: I’ve created some naïve work, especially at the beginning, but I am not naïve as a person. No I don’t think so.

Q: There is also this uplifting spirituality in your music and your voice, a sort of prayer. Are you a spiritual person in the religious sense of the word? Or perhaps inspired by religion?

A: Yes. I am.

Q: You quote James Allen and Chuck Palahniuk as influences on your MySpace page. Are you inspired by the words? Do you have a favorite writer / favorite book?

A: Yes, I do love those quotes. Last year, my whole life changed quite drastically, so those words, gave me some strength and clarity at that time. It seems difficult to pick just one author and one book. But I would say ‘The Ramayana’ is my favourite book, one I go back to quite often, and my favourite author would be CS Lewis for the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’.

Q: Who would you like to collaborate with?

A: David Bowie.

Q: Your drawings, illustrations, do you do them as a hobby? I love the cover of the Pantaleimon album – Trees Hold Time, the composition and mix of colors.

A: I do love to draw and paint, when I draw and paint, but I have not done so for a while now. So I wouldn’t say it is a hobby, more an intermittent urge.

Q: Is music your main occupation, or do you have a day job?

A: Music is my main obsession, yes. I spend most of my time playing and creating music. Since last year, I’ve had a part-time job in a whole-food store though, but previously I was co-running Durtro Records with David Tibet and Mark Logan.

Q: Which records would you take with you to a deserted island?

A: Not sure how many I could take with me, but here is a selection: Arvo Pärt “Für Alina” , Brian Eno “Music for Airports”, Soundgarden “Superunknown”, Temple of the Dog, David Bowie “Hunky Dory” and “Space Oddity”, Kate Bush “Hounds of Love” , Mississippi Fred McDowell “The First Recordings (1959)”, Mozart Sandor Vegh Serenades & Divertimenti, Vol.03, Beethoven Nelson Freire Piano Sonatas, Pergolesi: Stabat Mater, Salve Regina, Swami Harshananda “Bhagavad Gita”, Djivan Gasparyan “I Will Not Be Sad In This World”, Prince “Around The World In A Day”, Kloster “Do Not Be Afraid”, Lilium “Transmission Of All The Good-Byes”, Bonnie Prince Billy “ I See A Darkness”, Johnny Cash “American Recordings”, Tom Waits “ Alice

Q: New great music that you heard and wanted to share with our readers.

A: Well, new music to me at least; Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Chris Cornell. I was recently introduced to them through a friend and I love the drive and aggression, but also Chris Cornell’s lyrics and voice. I did wonder why I had never heard them before and then realized that when they were most popular I was out of the country for two and half years traveling, and so missed out on some cultural phenomenon, like them and also ‘Twin Peaks’. I recently played a festival with a group called Kloster and found that I fell in love with their music, it is so beautiful. Also, Sarah Hepburn, she has the most gorgeous voice.

Q: The bio is mentioning a project of a different nature that you are currently working on? Is it still a secret? Can you tell us more about it?

A: Well, that project is still percolating inside my head. Not sure when it’ll see the light of day, but there is a certain musical direction I would like to go and explore outside of the realms of Pantaleimon and also I’d like to start that new project with one other. Be good to work with another person. Presently, my focus is on the creation of the new Pantaleimon record, which will differ somewhat from what I’ve done before. So we’ll see. I think it’s always important as an artist to explore areas I’ve previously overlooked or dismissed for one reason or another; to keep my mind open to new ways of being and thinking, as that is what makes me feel truly alive and inspired.

To buy Pantaleimon albums

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