A conversation with Eric Slick

 

    We spoke with Eric Slick (Dr. Dog, Lithuania) about dolphins, Carl Jung, synesthesia, looking at the Earth from the moon and why there are major 7th chords in the chambers of his heart.

    Reincarnation is fascinating, but it’s heartening to think about becoming stardust again.

    1

    Morgan Enos

    What do you think about Carl Jung’s principle of individuation – the lifelong process where you become you, rather than just a drop in an ocean of unconsciousness? Do you think you’re still you when you die, or is death a return to that undifferentiated place?

    Eric Slick

    First of all, Jung is a major influence on all of my work. Individuation is at the core of why I make anything at all. My initial fear and subsequent embracing of death are pillars.

    When we progress and make great leaps in humanity, we are mining the subconscious for microcosmic ideas. You can’t access them in reality unless you start diving into the other 90% of your unused brain. The more in touch we are with our non-waking selves, the more creative we will be. I’d like to think that you’re still “you” when you die, but that is so unknowable. Reincarnation is fascinating, but it’s heartening to think about becoming stardust again.

    To me, death is equal to life. You can’t have one without the other. Maybe that’s why I’m repulsed by the concept of immortality by way of the Singularity movement. I don’t think humans should live forever. How are we going to rely on artificial intelligence if it was manufactured by a flawed human mind? How can something digital transcend? We’re already living in post-humanity – The Posthuman Dada Guide by Andrei Codrescu is an excellent resource for navigating this.

    What if my consciousness gets exported to a hard drive? Floating without emotion or feeling in the vast hive? That would be the deepest tragedy.

    2

    When I think about individuation, I think about what it’s like to be a kid who hits adolescence, and all these new social needs open up – I need to be cool, I need my own identity. But then you grow up, and it’s not all about you anymore, and you’re just another dot on an unfathomably large network of other peoples’ needs. What do your loved ones need from you on a daily basis – physically and emotionally?

    The word “need” has been on my brain a lot these days. I don’t believe that neediness is a bad thing. Without it, we’d have no meaning or reason to exist. In the 1980’s, “co-dependency” became the buzz word in divorce hearings and cocaine-addled psychology handbooks. It’s a nasty and insidious thing and people fall for it.

    I’m interested in interdependency, which is a fluid and beautiful version of understanding family, friend, and love relationships. We flow in and out of each others’ lives, fulfilling needs while practicing compassion and patience.

    People express their love and desires in deeply personalized ways. I don’t want to talk about what people need from me, because I still don’t know. It’s an endless process.

    3

    I have this childhood memory where I had a paperback of King Arthur with a deep blue color. Looking at it resulted in this satisfaction I couldn’t explain – I just liked it. Were there any textures, colors or sensations that calmed you down or made you happy as a child?

    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had synesthesia and perfect pitch. Every chord and song key has a color palette. The key of E flat major will always be snow white. G minor is somewhere between crimson and gold.

    The major 7th chord and tritones are my go-tos for some reason. They give me peace. A couple of years ago I studied with Milford Graves. He’s a holistic shaman, a genius. He invented bio-feedback software that translates the chambers of your heart into sheet music. Sure enough, the predominant clusters occurring in my heart were: major 7ths and tritones.

    Color can sometimes be a place of frustration for me. For example, I get emotionally attached to music when it’s in a certain key. There’s a visceral response that I have to stuff down when people change keys. I’m like, “This song was so good in blue, why are you changing it to yellow?! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

    I can’t wear neutral clothing. It’s why I couldn’t stand two chord music for a long time. It all looked brown to me. It makes my perception of things very unpredictable. I’ve had to learn to appreciate simplicity.

    Jimmy Buffett scavenging for food on a deserted island was my first thought.

    4

    Who is the last person you saw or talked to? Please tell us everything you can about them, and what your relationship is like with them.

    The last person I talked to is my girlfriend. She is the love of my life.

    5

    I’d like you to briefly enter a meditative state and consider three things: palm fronds, dolphins and violet light. What mental image or scenario appears in your mind’s eye? Where did it come from?

    I hate to say this, but Jimmy Buffett scavenging for food on a deserted island was my first thought. My subconscious has a lot of cobwebs.

    6

    I mention dolphins because I read an article today about how they can speak “almost like humans.” But I think all living things have communication systems, and maybe inanimate things do too. What do you think can be communicated to us from unlikely sources – a rock, a lizard, a dandelion?

    Oh, I’m so glad you asked this! Everything is alive. My friend Aldo once told me “Everything has to be electric, because we are made of electrically charged molecules!” How true is that! My girlfriend is sensitive to this too. If she sees a dying plant, she has to save it. You know that Stevie Wonder record, The Secret Life Of Plants? Huge influence in our apartment.

    I think inanimate objects are trying to tell us something. Like, “Stop destroying us, you selfish asshole.”

    I think inanimate objects are trying to tell us something. Like, “Stop destroying us, you selfish asshole.”

    7

    Socrates once said that if one could see the Earth from space, they would recognize “that it is the real heaven and the real light and the real Earth.” I’d like you to meditate on another mental image, where you’re an astronaut looking at the Earth from the Moon. What emotional feelings come up?

    Pure sadness.

    8

    Now we return to Earth, and the room you’re currently in. Can you take an image or video of it for us? What do you plan to do next with your day? The rest of your life?

    I’m in the back room of my new apartment. We’ve set up all of our musical equipment back here. I’m going to finish up a new suite of string quartet music and then get started on my first film score. That sounds pretentious.

    The rest of my life will be spent trying to be a better person and friend.


    The following is simply a numbered list, one through twenty. We asked Eric what each number represents or reminds him of in his life.


    One

    Two

    Three

    Four

    Five


    Six

    Seven

    Eight

    Nine

    Ten


    Eleven

    Twelve

    Twelve was my old lucky number. All of my Little League jerseys were emblazoned with twelve. Twelve seems to be the magic tracklist number for every Dr. Dog LP.

    Thirteen

    Fourteen

    Fifteen


    Sixteen

    Seventeen

    Eighteen

    When I was a teenager and I used to exaggerate about something I’d say, “I’ve been doing this for eighteen million hours,” and then breathe a long sigh. Perhaps I was obsessed with turning eighteen and when I did reach that day, I realized that porn and cigarettes were for dullards.

    Nineteen

    Twenty


    Thank you.

    Data


    Conversation: 8
    Curated by: Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: July 5, 2017
    Total questions: 8
    Word count: 1266
    Reading time: Five minutes
    Hyperlinks: 4
    Numerical elaborations: Yes
    Jimmy Buffett scrounging for food: 1
    Codependency: Bad
    Interdependency: Good

    Relation



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