Field Tripping

Music for Psychedelic Therapy | Jon Hopkins

Episode Summary

Jon Hopkins, a highly acclaimed musician and electronic music producer, joins Ronan from across the pond to discuss the inspiration and creative process for his new record “Music for Psychedelic Therapy,” his own journey with psychedelic medicine, posthumously collaborating with Ram Dass, and more! Jon’s works have been Grammy and Mercury Prize nominated, he has done film scoring, and has collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Coldplay, Purity Ring, and previous Field Tripping guest East Forest. “Music for Psychedelic Therapy” (which is out now, available at https://smarturl.it/MFPT/) signifies a seeming departure from Jon’s trajectory as a more techno/club-centered act. The album’s first single, Sit Around the Fire, features the words of Ram Dass from a 1970’s recording as well as contributions from collaborator East Forest. To check out the music mentioned by Jon in this episode, visit: www.instagram.com/mattheis_ www.ishq.org

Episode Notes

Jon Hopkins, a highly acclaimed musician and electronic music producer, joins Ronan from across the pond to discuss the inspiration and creative process for his new record “Music for Psychedelic Therapy,” his own journey with psychedelic medicine, posthumously collaborating with Ram Dass, and more! Jon’s works have been Grammy and Mercury Prize nominated, he has done film scoring, and has collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Coldplay, Purity Ring, and previous Field Tripping guest East Forest. “Music for Psychedelic Therapy” (which is out now, available at https://smarturl.it/MFPT/) signifies a seeming departure from Jon’s trajectory as a more techno/club-centered act. The album’s first single, Sit Around the Fire, features the words of Ram Dass from a 1970’s recording as well as contributions from collaborator East Forest. 

To check out the music mentioned by Jon in this episode, visit:
www.instagram.com/mattheis_
www.ishq.org


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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Jon: And I got far more deeply into transcendental meditation, which I think opened up a very deep part of my creativity. And, um, at the same time I was kind of aware with this one more towards the time it was finished, that there's still, there's still a certain kind of, there's a sadness that I'm processing, you know? It's the sadness from, you know, we've all been through difficult things in our lives and I'm immensely privileged in lots of ways, but you know, emotional pain, um, that's been there since childhood has definitely feeds into this music and because it's more of a direct record, I think to me, at least when I listened back that that is kind of apparent. And I'm obsessed with this, like the crossover point between sadness and beauty. There's some point if you, if you, if you, I suppose pursue trying to make something or trying to express feelings of beauty [00:01:00] far enough, there's a point of which the sadness creeps into it. And, and the same, if you- extreme sadness sort of starts to veer into beauty after a while. There's something fascinating about those two core kind of emotions and feelings.

[00:01:25] Ronan: Hello everyone, and welcome to Field Tripping. Today, we are talking with Jon Hopkins, Grammy nominated, world-renowned musician who, fittingly enough, just released his new album Music For Psychedelic Therapy on Friday, November 12th. Our conversation touches on the inspiration and creative process for the record, his own journey with psychedelic medicine, and more. Before we get started, here's your reminder to subscribe to our podcast so you never miss an episode. Towards the end of the episode, we'll dive into our, "how to" segment, where listeners call in and ask a question for me to answer. If you have a [00:02:00] question about mental health, psychedelics, or anything we've chatted about drop us a note at fieldtripping@kastmedia.com or leave a voice recording at speakpipe.com/fieldtripping. And if you love the show, leave us your thoughts in a review on Apple Podcasts. It's much appreciated and helps us reach new people to help educate them on psychedelics. Just go to our show on the app, scroll down and click "five stars" then drop us a review where it says "write review". Now let's hit up some news to trip over.

Compass Pathways announced the results of their Phase 2 trial with psilocybin. They explored three different doses of the drug for treatment-resistant depression, finding that a psychedelic dose of 25 milligram promotes rapid reductions in depressive symptoms. Not only were these positive effects observed only a single day after dosing, but they were sustained for three months in some of the patients. As expected, not everyone benefited [00:03:00] from the drug and some serious adverse effects were observed, including suicidal behavior and intentional self-injury. This is the largest controlled psilocybin trial to date, and marks a huge step forward in our understanding of psychedelic therapies. The city of Detroit, Michigan decriminalized psychedelic plants and fungi. This means that people can possess and use these psychedelics with less risk of prosecution, at least from local police departments. The drugs are still illegal at a federal level, meaning there's still a legal risk involved, but it reflects a growing shift in public sentiment in favor of psychedelics, particularly those that are naturally derived. More than 10 cities across the US have decriminalized this particular category of psychedelics. 

Onto today's conversation. Today I'm here with Jon Hopkins, a highly celebrated electronic musician and producer who has championed both conscious and complex music, as well as uptempo dance records throughout his catalog. His works have been Grammy and Mercury Prize nominated. He has scored films [00:04:00] and his frequent collaborators include Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Coldplay, Purity Ring, East Forest, and so many more. Jon's musicianship is one of a kind and every record he's released takes you on a remarkable voyage. His new album, Music for Psychedelic Therapy is no exception. Jon, thank you for joining us today and welcome to Field Tripping. 

[00:04:22] Jon: Thanks very much. Yeah. Great to be here. 

[00:04:24] Ronan: Thank you. First off, Jon, thank you really so much for joining us on the podcast. Your album drops on Friday, which is tomorrow. You've been interviewed by the New York Times, The Independent and other publications orders of magnitude larger than us. And yet you're still here spending time with us on this small as esoteric podcast. So thank you, truly. It is a genuine honor to have you on today. 

[00:04:48] Jon: Thank you. No, it's a pleasure. I like talking about esoteric things. 

[00:04:52] Ronan: Excellent. So my first question is how are you today? 

[00:04:55] Jon: Yeah, I'm very well. Um, I'm excited about, um, finally revealing [00:05:00] this record to people tomorrow. And last night, we had a kind of immersive playback in London, um, on like multichannel- I've done like a multi-channel mix of the album, so it was really exciting to present that to people last night, and start to confront the reality that like, suddenly everyone's going to be familiar with this thing that was really just for me for so long, you know? You just go through that transition. So, yeah, it's a, it's an exciting week. 

[00:05:26] Ronan: Is there a level of extra nervousness that comes with the release of this album, given the vulnerability involved with it? 

[00:05:34] Jon: Yeah, I've been thinking about this. I think, um, it's a far more personal thing, which in one way means I feel more vulnerable. In another way, it means if it's not received well, it's, it, I feel like, like being completely honest, being completely truthful in music is kind of a validation of whatever happens, it just means it might, you know, if someone doesn't like it just means they probably wouldn't get on with it, which [is [00:06:00] fine]. You don't have to get on with everyone. 

[00:06:02] Ronan: That's a fair point. I had this question here that I'll ask, even though, you know, it may not be relevant given the first two questions, but if you had to pick a song from Music for Psychedelic Therapy to describe how you're doing today, which one would it be and why?

[00:06:15] Jon: Wow, um, I think you'd probably be Welcome, because, um, we are about to welcome this stuff out into the wider consciousness and, uh, yeah, I mean, that track was like, that's exactly what it says, you know? It's supposed to be a kind of gentle ushering in of the, you know, the sensations at the album will hopefully produce. Um, I guess what I'm trying to do this week. 

[00:06:40] Ronan: I had the chance to listen to an advance, uh, record or advanced release of it late last night, because I had been traveling for the last couple of days. I finally got a chance to sit down with it and I found, uh, the most haunting track for me, at least on the album, was Sit Around the Fire. And the moment that, uh, powered through me [00:07:00] was when against the backdrop of what I think was a C major chord, I sat there with like a little electronic keyboard, trying to figure out what the notes you were playing were. Cause it's, you know, typically the two, two, uh, piano chords going back and forth, um, and Ram Dass says "I want to know who I really am." Um, and I, my question for you is, how has making this album helped you find out who you really are? 

[00:07:26] Jon: I suppose by working without any expectation or with any plan. I mean, the previous albums I've- maybe only subconsciously, but there's been a part of me that's been trying to make something that's gonna, you know, hit hard or, you know, be, be great for a dance floor or, you know, do well, commercially, whatever. There's a part of your brain, whether you like it or not, that's thinking about those things. Now, there is the reality of reality of having to make a living from music and all these things. And also I've always been proud of what I've [00:08:00] released and I'm not denigrating previous releases. But this one, I just didn't think that any of that stuff, not even for a minute. And, um, it was so liberating. Not so much for the record label, they've been very supportive actually. But I think by working in that way, um, I feel like I- to me, it feels like the record is like a, quite a deep translation of who I am really. Maybe described or, you know, on a deeper level, like I'm not music is there to, to communicate things that cannot be communicated with any other medium. So it's a, it's almost like a kind of love letter to everything, really. Um, so maybe I found out that that's what I wanted to do. 

[00:08:43] Ronan: I imagine, as you were writing it, there was, and certainly reading how you described, you know, your response to it and your reaction to having it played live, like, you learn something about yourself on a, on a deeper level, maybe that was in the caves of Ecuador or maybe it was in the process of creating [00:09:00] the music. Is, is there anything that kind of stands out of, you know, around, like, I didn't really know that this is what motivates me or this is who I am, or this is what I'm passionate about, or this is what I've been holding onto for way too long. And through the process of this album, maybe you've released it, or maybe you've just been like, oh, I just became aware of that and that's good to know, and now I can work with that. 

[00:09:23] Jon: Well, I think it's, um, it's just been like another step along the journey with, with each album, revealing certain things. I think between this one and the last one, and then even more, the one for that, I went through a lot of life changes. Um, and I got far more deeply into, um, transcendental meditation, which I think opened up a very deep part of my creativity. And, um, at the same time, I was kind of aware with this one more towards the time it was finished, that there's still, there's still a certain kind of, there's a sadness that I'm processing. You [00:10:00] know, it's the sadness from- we've all been through difficult things in our lives and I'm immensely privileged in lots of ways, but you know, emotional pain, um, that's been there since childhood has definitely feeds into this music and because it's more of a direct record, I think to me, at least when I listened back, then that is kind of apparent. And I'm obsessed with this, like the crossover point between sadness and beauty. There's some point if you, if you, if you, I suppose, pursue trying to make something or trying to express feelings of beauty far enough as a point of which the sadness creeps into it. And the same, if you- extreme sadness sort of starts to veer into beauty after awhile. There's something fascinating about those two core kind of emotions and feelings. And, um, with this one, like they collide, I think. And then I think particularly through the writing [00:11:00] of the Tayos Caves piece, th there's a, there's a sadness about, you know- one of the ideas going there was to be inspired by the place in order to make this piece and to, you know, to be there. I didn't do the field recordings, but I was standing next to the guy, Mendel Kaelen, who was doing them. And, um, and I think what came across in that track was my sadness about the destruction of all these incredible environments. 

[00:11:27] Ronan: Right. 

[00:11:27] Jon: You know, one of the purposes behind that trip was to shine a light on a rare, um, pristine, perfect part of the world that hasn't been touched by mankind yet. And, um, yeah, I discovered through this process, there's a heartache, a genuine sadness for what is lost as well as what can be saved. 

[00:11:47] Ronan: And one of the things you said just then that really struck me, and I agree with you, talking about the crossover point between sadness and beauty. And it seems in most conceptions of [00:12:00] emotions, sadness and beauty, um, tend to be at the opposite ends of I think what would imagine people, uh, think of like the emotional spectrum. Um, but I can totally resonate, uh, with the idea that sadness and beauty can actually co-exist and overlap quite significantly, that you can find beauty in sadness. And I think where that comes from is beauty being a kind of transformative energy. You know, when you experience true beauty, it fundamentally changes you. But I'm wondering if you can offer a little more color or insights about how you see sadness and beauty interacting or overlapping, because I think it's really important. Um, but it's, it's a hard thing to reconcile, even in my mind. 

[00:12:48] Jon: It's difficult because I think, you know, I'm not really, um, so much of a communicator in, in words. I can try, but you know, the music that I make is, is [00:13:00] there to do that. I'm not trying to dodge the question. I'm just more thinking that, you know, to try and to translate that feeling. There's a part of me that just intuitively does that into the music. And I don't remain consciously aware of that process, particularly. I do know that it's been something that I've noticed is present in my psyche in the way operate since I was, since I was a teenager, since I first experienced difficulties in life. Because I had a very idyllic childhood and then things went wrong a bit in my teenage years. And, um, I think going through that stuff at a quite a formative time when you're transforming a lot, anyway, it went in very deep and, um, so that stuff is just present in me and like I celebrate it, really. Um, and, and think there's value in trying to translate it into music.

[00:13:54] Ronan: That's really cool. I like how you said you you've celebrate it, um, because it, it it's part of who you [00:14:00] are and therefore it's part of what empowers, you know, the music and the beauty that that's contained in the music. And it, you know, your comments actually touched on, um, my next question, which I was really proud of because I thought like, no one's ever asked him this question, but you've totally kind of laid into it because my question was, one of the things that struck me as I was listening to Sit Around the Fire was the elegant interplay between the music and Ram Dass's words. It gave me a new found appreciation for just how textured and complex and beautiful and subtle and nuanced communication is. And as I let that in, it helped me understand just how deeply intertwined community- communication and connection are, whether through words or energy or whether the communication carries information or emotion, communication is what I think breeds connection. You don't need to respond to this at all, but I would just want to share that with you, that it was actually a quite illuminating insight [00:15:00] for me, and that just came from listening to, uh, uh, Sit Around the Fire and, and just realizing how much more powerful it was, uh, with that interplay. Um, so it gave me a new, new found appreciation, certainly for, for lyric writing, and, uh, I think an awareness of how a lot of music, uh, the lyrics and the music don't nearly contain the power of what I heard in that song. 

[00:15:27] Jon: Well, that's amazing. I mean, that's, uh, it's lovely that you put it that way and that you felt like that, because that is- I had a very magical experience making that piece. Um, so I had the, um, like the talk that he gave phoned in my headphones. I was quite immersed in it and I had the fire sound and I had East Forest's vocals in the background. And, um, and I wasn't aware of what I was going to play on the piano that I always hit record. And there was just this, like I said, as I got older, I've learned that my [00:16:00] hands would just go where the need to go. And, um, there was a point where he reached a natural pause and then I was like, okay, they're going here. This chord, which is, it was actually C minor, but you were very close. C minor with a fourth and a seventh, and then going to A flat major and then E flat major, and then back to A flat major. And the, and it was so simple. It's like only four chords, I think, in that whole track. But it was about, it was about when to shift between them and letting an interplay exist, you know? And it was, it felt like it was dueting with him, even though he was, he's not alive anymore. And you're listening to the recording from before I was born, even. So there was a sort of poetry in that I thought, like dueting across the different realms of reality and technology.

[00:16:50] Ronan: Yeah, no, that's beautiful. Um, I like the thinking of it as a, as a duet, cause you typically think of a duet as it, you know, at least for me, um, not being [00:17:00] a musician is like two people singing together, two people playing guitar together, two people playing piano together. But I've never really thought of a duet between, uh, you know, vocal and the music. That's always been lyric and music in mind, but, um, but I think that's like the perfect articulation of what I was trying to say is that there was a definitely, I don't know if duality is related to the, the word duet, but I think, you know what I'm talking about. 

[00:17:24] Jon: Probably. One other point on the duet thing, which is the same process happened on other tracks, but with start- the starting points being, um, the sounds, the field recording sounds the sounds of nature. So whether it's the English Woodland on- the English Woodland features heavily on about three of them. And then there's the Ecuadorian rainforest, obviously on, on Tayos Caves section, and using those as starting points. Like in the past, when I've used field recordings, I've tended to layer them in at the end. Um, but with this one, I started with them and then responded to them. So there was do anything [00:18:00] with nature as well. And, um, yeah, that was a new experience, but I found that certain things just would call to me when, you know, playing an instrument with those sounds in headphones. 

[00:18:11] Ronan: Very cool. Can you, I mean, you started to touch on a little bit with a reference to the, the chords of the piano that you were playing, but can you break down that song for us a little bit more? Like, I wrote down it's underpinned by the chanting that- I called a chanting. I don't know exactly how you describe the singing in the background. It starts around the two minute mark and then around the two minute mark with a piano kicks in, um, with the two, or four alternating chords. And then there are a variety of very subtle elements. Certainly it starts with the sound of the fire, but can you share a little bit more about what's happening in the track and, you know, I have to give full credit that I've recently discovered the podcast sound exploder. Um, 

[00:18:48] Jon: Song Exploder? 

[00:18:49] Ronan: Yeah. Have you heard it? 

[00:18:51] Jon: I've done it, actually. I went on it. There's a track called Luminous Beings from Singularity. I did the, um, Song [00:19:00] Exploder, I think 2018. It's an amazing, it's an amazing thing. I really like it. And the guy, Hrishikesh Hirway, he does the interview and then cuts himself out. So it sounds like I'm just talking quite eloquently about my album, whereas I don't, I'm not really able to do that without questions, or as some would say even with him. But, um, to answer your question, so this track was- I mean, compared to the rest of them, it's sonically, very simple. It's it's, you know, if you were to do a Song Exploder on it, this would be the shortest one. And I felt like after the previous seven or eight tracks- I can't remember to how many tracks on the album now- all of them are quite, um, you know, there's a deep kind of immersive cosmic strangeness going on with a lot of them, quite a lot of, particularly towards the end that it takes off, you know, into some of a different realm. And I wanted the last piece, Sit Around the Fire, to be like a, like a feel like a coming home, you know? Like a grounding. So there was a conscious choice not to use any- well, only to have the lightest [00:20:00] touches of electronic stuff, but mostly it's it's acoustic sounds. So it's, there's the fire, which has been processed in my, I think I've reversed the sound of the fire, so you hear the fire kind of crackling, but also the reverse crackling, which I think was an interesting texture to base it on. And then East Forest's vocals, and he- I did a lot of processing on what his sung. He had, um, he'd sent me a kind of a whole other composition actually, and just said, you can just use what you like from this and discard the rest. And I picked the vocals out cause they were really amazing, sort of harmonies, and I processed them into this big, um, impulse response reverb, which means, uh, a reverb that is based around, uh, a real physical space. Um, And there's a program that has loads of these in them. So you can literally, essentially seeing into the natural reverb of like the King's Chamber in the pyramid in Giza, or, you know, like a mausoleum in India or [inaudible]. It's incredible. Yeah. And I use these [00:21:00] things all the time and, um, but very heavily, like, you know, to, to really put things really far away. So East Forest's voice is like, miles away and really it's really ethereal. And I'm under that is, um, sometimes, um, if I'm in the countryside, I'll just record out the window, when there's nothing to record. You know, sometimes you think it- because there's never silence, there's always something. And it's actually often just the sound of, I dunno the sound of- like, there's this there's certain sounds you hear at night that you don't register, but whether it's just very faint, wind in trees or something. So I, I, off, I have like a library of that kind of, they're almost like silences. There's almost nothing there, but I've noticed that if you layer those into pieces of music, it gives you a kind of spatial setting for it almost. Um, and also an energetic setting, so the kind of- the album ends for me, almost like as the sun is coming up, you know? It's the sort of the end of the [00:22:00] night. Um, so that those elements are there. And then, um, the piano, um, just two microphones hanging right in, like deep down into the actual instrument, which gives a certain weight, I think, to the sound. And then it was quite- it was interesting mixing Ram Dass's voice because it was on a- you know, presumably recorded on tape in the seventies and quite a lot of noise. East Forest managed to clean up a lot of the noise. And, um, we did some editing on it together. And then I just wanted to make sure it's sat really softly, and it really sounded like him because, you know, sometimes with an older, slightly low tech recording, speed might be slightly off, making him sound a bit high-pitched or too fast or whatever. So I kind of spend some time on that. It's really, it's all about him. It's all about his, what he's saying and everything I've just described is in service of that talk really. Yeah. And then there's a couple of other elements, which I would wish are more abstract, and you're talking about the sort of [00:23:00] subtle electronic, like they're more like natural sounds that are processed and try to, just to give a little, um, a little kind of unearthliness to it. And there is one last cool thing, which is that when he says, "We know we're of the spirit," I took the S separately and made the S reverberate. So he kind of like, "sss" and you can, if you can, you can hear it on headphones. Like the S kind of rises up. And I love the idea that, that one, that one syllable, that one sibilance that this man uttered all those years ago becomes a sound that then wraps around you and disappears.

[00:23:38] Ronan: That's so cool. I'm going to have to listen to it with the headphones much better than my AirPods at 11:00 PM and really lean into it. I didn't quite catch that, but I appreciated your comment about silence. Um, I was in, uh, Las Vegas for a conference last week, and I escaped out into the desert and went on a hike and at various points I stopped and I [00:24:00] listened and I've never heard silence of that nature. It was the middle of the day when the sun was shining. And I, you know, it was so silent to the point where, when an airplane flew overhead. It was, uh, almost offensive in, in terms of how it cut into the beauty of the silence. And it was also remarkable how long you could hear the airplane for. You know, sometimes you hear a plane overhead and he was like, "woosh," and like, you don't think about it anymore, but in the middle of the Nevada desert, this may have been that Arizona, actually the sound trailed for about 10 minutes. And it was still inter interfering with the serenity and the silence that was there. Um, but, uh, I think it was very cool that you sit there and record just silent- what would appear to be silence and then find the subtleties in that. You must have a pretty big library of collections, uh, or a collection of different soundscapes. How do you keep, keep track and be like, oh, you know what? I need the silence for the two weeks ago on Monday. Like, how do you track that? 

[00:24:59] Jon: Yeah. It's [00:25:00] interesting. There's of, they're mostly attached to different projects. So sometimes there'll be like, um, I have like a big archive of drives here and they've all got things on them. And so I'm a big believer in things landing where they're supposed to land, um, and embracing the synchronicities that happen. Um, so very often I'll grab something without knowing how it's going to sound from the library, which might not necessarily be particularly clearly named and just drop it. And almost always, it works first time work straight away. Um, I don't know why, but, um, that happened a lot with this record. 

[00:25:34] Ronan: Cool. 

[00:25:34] Jon: There's a track called Love Flows Over Us in Prismatic Ways, which is the fifth track on the record, and, um, it starts with this kind of- it's actually a piano, but it's been processed beyond the point of recognition into something more drone like, and, um, I remember when I was making that, like made that drone melody, and I had a glass next to me, a glass of beer. It happened be I only have water today, but I flicked it like [00:26:00] that. [clinking noises] And it just happened to be on the exact note, um, that the chord needed. And so you can hear that in the track quite clearly. It sounds like a little bell, but it's actually like a very precise amount of a particular kind of beer that led to that note coming up at that exact second, and had not- had it been out of tune and I'd flicked it, I might not have had the idea to put it in. So I like to be open to all these things if they want to get in there, they will. 

[00:26:26] Ronan: Have you ever tried to create, recreate that note or did you just take that moment, appreciate it and not, not seek to recreate the grandeur?

[00:26:34] Jon: Oh, well I just got the mic and stuck it on the thing and I liked doing that to it. And, um, it's actually a really nice, um, sound I feel like I could do more with, you know? The great thing about the stage that music software is that now is that you can kind of create an instrument now of anything. So you could map that across the keyboard. And have, um, have this really interesting texture going on. So yeah, I mean, sometimes I will do that. I'll [00:27:00] go back to these moments. Yeah. 

[00:27:01] Ronan: Cool. Do you have a particular approach when it comes to writing? You know, for, for instance, uh, my favorite author, Tom Robbins, you know, he had a process where every day he would sit down at the keyboard- at the typewriter, I think he would start at 10:00 AM and it was every single day. And then he had a process that he'd follow every day and that was his creative process. And clearly it worked very well for him. Um, at least in my humble opinion. I'm wondering if you have a particular process that you follow or do you just inspiration guide you?

[00:27:31] Jon: Yeah. So before I answer that I have to tell you that Tom Robbins is one of my favorite authors as well. 

[00:27:36] Ronan: Amazing. 

[00:27:38] Jon: I would say Jitterbug Perfume is maybe my favorite book. I absolutely, absolutely love every page of that book. It's unbelievable. 

[00:27:46] Ronan: A hundred percent. 

[00:27:48] Jon: Yeah. Just, I love the way he just uses mythology to tell the story of everything, um, and integrate it with the modern time, and he's even got a Timothy Leary character in there [00:28:00] as well. It's incredible. It's really incredible. But yeah, so my process is, is not like that at all. I kind of sometimes feel like I could make more effort with routine, but, um, I'm also, I'm very much about synchronicity and about what the energy is and for the particular day I'm in. And, um, you know, I'm not very good sleeper. So a lot depends on how my sleep is and if, you know, I I've taken to kind of sleeping in longer in the morning and I'm now feeling more- I've very much linked to sleep to levels of inspiration. And sometimes not enough will create a different kind of inspiration. Sometimes it will create the inability to do any work. Um, so I'm quite, I try and be gentle on myself with it. I mean, when I was writing this album, um, I was pursuing it like almost in a trance flow state for like many months. And I wasn't really thinking that much about anything else. Um, so I would turn up at the studio at maybe two, three PM and do- [00:29:00] keep working until it's like probably eight or nine. Um, and then, but these days when I'm kind of, yeah, I think my brain likes, um, irregularity in work and it likes to be inspired. This studio where I am now is attached to my house. So I can kind of- I've kind of integrated it more into my day, so I can kind of go in and out of here and do bits and pieces here and there. So yeah, it's kind of, um, kind of the opposite. I think of Tom Robbins in that case. 

[00:29:31] Ronan: Much of this album was, uh, I guess, recorded and or inspired, uh, probably in the, in the deepest depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. And one question that I've posed to many people have been on the podcast is, um, you know, uh, people had a lot of different experiences during the pandemic. Um, but one of the ways that I've liked to consider it is that it was a great pause. It was a great pause that gave everybody some time for reflection and you know, [00:30:00] who like it or not brought a lot of, uh, the things we deal with in our lives emotionally to the surface. Um, and I'm wondering to what extent did the fact of the pandemic, uh, inspire the writing. Uh, and beyond, uh, that how has the pandemic, you know, influenced or affected you personally, and what have you taken through the experience of, you know, something that hasn't been experienced in a good couple of generations?

[00:30:27] Jon: To skip back to the 2018, when I went to Ecuador originally, which was the starting point for the album. I didn't then actually have time to start working on that piece. And, um, you know, things percolate on the subconscious level for me, um, um, I'm sure for everyone. And so I, I don't like to rush to start things. I do believe that when the right time to start something, um, suggests itself, that is it. And you can't force that or rush that. It just so happened that, um, I didn't have any time at all to even [00:31:00] think about that track until the pandemic. And then, um, I had the field recordings and I, one day I just, it was June of last year. I just woke up. I was like, I want to make some music and I want it to be this Ecuador piece. So, and then of course there was no interruptions. Um, and that is very unusual for me. I've been- I've got quite varied life. I do a lot of live shows, and I do occasionally work on films or TV things or whatever it is. Um, and none of that stuff was happening. So I think it allowed me to go deeper, you know, in a sense that the record I think, was always going to exist. Um, I would have, I would have made it regardless, but it would have been split up into way more chunks, you know? Way more different bursts of work rather than one burst. I think for me, the reason, the whole thing sounds like one cohesive organism almost it's because of the, yeah, like you said, everything was paused and, um, there was this, there was this opportunity to focus. I think we all did [00:32:00] this. Well, certainly everyone I know here that I talked to. We put extra pressure on ourselves at the beginning to suddenly be creative. We call this time, this is a gift. Let's let's, I'm going to write my first novel or whatever. Actually, I, you know, I, I went into that as well. And I took on a couple of remix projects that I wouldn't normally have done. And I was just like, why am I just continuing? This is an opportunity to stop and do something different. Um, so yeah, before I started the Ecuador place, I took a good few months just to sit really, and, um, you know, I remember it was a particularly beautiful spring here. It was really hot and everything was blooming and it was- people were, I think, confronted by, or perhaps aware for the first time of just the magic of nature through being just not really able to go anywhere. You like, people who have, I don't really have much of an outdoor space here, but just the tiniest thing, like your houseplants, or I got a little area on my roof where things grow, and just observing the way things [00:33:00] bloom. Um, lots of people talked about that who I'd never heard talking about that before. So, and, you know, you're allowed to go out to exercise. So I was going on these runs, um, and just seeing things almost like in a different way and life moving at a different pace and a bit slower. And, um, and yet at the same time, it was kind of counteracted by an underlying sense of fear because we didn't know at that point, you know, the nature of it. And, um, there was obviously still a present thing. It also allowed me the opportunity to be more deeply involved in my relationship that I was in at a time. And something about the touring musicians life is that sort of thing can be really difficult, you know? If you're going away a lot and focus is taken. Um, so a lot of things changed very quickly. I went from this sort of itinerant, traveling music to quite a domestic quiet kind of enjoying puttering at home and [00:34:00] doing more normal stuff, I guess. 

[00:34:02] Ronan: Yeah. Do you find that, uh, you, you crave the puttering at home, um, you know, and, and appreciate that lifestyle a little bit more, or you keen to get back into, into the road and, and resume the lifestyle that you had before? How was it, how was it going to be different? 

[00:34:17] Jon: Yeah, it's interesting. So I've already done a few shows and I did a small tour in the USA in September, um, which was supposed to happen the year before. And it was, it was alarming in many ways, doing it. Suddenly there were like 15,000 people in front of me and I haven't done anything like that for about a year and a half. And it was daylight and it was just something I also don't often perform in. And everything about it just felt, yeah, alarming is the only word I can think of really. It was like, this is so extreme. How did I ever get used to this? And at first it was not, um, it took me a while to, to settle down into it. Um, I've had, uh, I sort [00:35:00] of had a handful of shows since then back in the UK as well. Um, and, but I, what I've started doing is just carving out one or two days a week where I do, where it's just a kind of self care day and everything is, all the technology is off. 

[00:35:16] Ronan: Right. 

[00:35:16] Jon: And I do more exercise, long, much longer meditation. I might fast until dinner, you know, that sort of thing. Um, just to try and get a reset point every week because, um, that was something I wasn't really particularly good at before. So, and then also even earmarking maybe five days, every couple of months where I just disengage from everything, um, that's work-related or tech related in particular. Try and have no screens, and I feel like, yeah, I am enjoying being at home. Well, I'm not like- I'm in a strange combination of introvert and extrovert. Maybe everyone is to a degree. I have wildly extrovert moments, but ultimately I do feel that the pandemic has made me more, more content to not see [00:36:00] people, or content to just be at home or, or just hang out with my closest friends or whatever. I've definitely noticed this in other people, they, there seems to be a kind of almost increased awkwardness in socializing. Maybe we'll- I feel that we'll all get back to how we were, but you know, suddenly not even knowing if they're going to want a handshake or a fist bump or a bow or a hug or so, like, it feels like we're all being slightly regressed to teenage years, that sort of thing. 

[00:36:31] Ronan: Awkward grade eight dances, or you're standing really far apart-

[00:36:33] Jon: Yeah, exactly. 

[00:36:34] Ronan: Swing back and forth, yeah. One of the things I have found personally is that, you know, uh, people kind of went in two ways. People either learn to find appreciation in the simple, you know? And, and, and going deep with what, with what is available or, um, people lost their minds and hated being cramped and stuck and not being able to do what they want to do. Um, [00:37:00] you know, I found, uh, I found the same, which is I I'm like you I'm, uh, I'm, uh, I'm very much an introvert, you know, you see me on stage or speaking. I, I come across as extroverted and like well-spoken, or even outspoken. Um, but inherently I'm, I'm an introvert. And so, um, it's, it's really, you know, and, and my wife is the same way, actually. I think we've both kind of leaned into it. And so finding a new balance, um, and that appreciation for the things that we have as opposed to a want for the things that we don't. There's one of the things that I've, I've really taken away from the last year and a half or so. 

[00:37:35] Jon: I can fully relate to that. Um, I think so much- I remember like here, people were describing it as a, as a, as almost like an equalizer, but I don't agree with that because it's- your experience of it so much depended on your situation when it started. Like if you have, if you're lucky, like I'm privileged to have this space here, and, um, you know, I live on my own and I just- imagining [00:38:00] like living in a small place with a whole family and not being able to go out, I feel like it's, you know, vastly different. It's a very simple example, but you know, this was not, people were not having equal experiences at all. We all had something changed, but if you are fortunate at the beginning, then you tended to be more fortunate throughout. So, um, I felt like grateful to be able to just continue working and just to be able to write this album, but also aware that, um, it was immensely lucky to be able to do so really.

[00:38:29] Ronan: You've, um, at least according to the New York Times album or New York Times article I read yesterday, you've never played the album live and don't know if you will. Um, can you tell us more about that? 

[00:38:40] Jon: Yeah, I think when it first started, it doesn't suggest itself as a live performance. I mean, when I listened to it, um, last night at this, uh, immersive playback thing, which is far more what I think it suits. I just, you know, I hear these sounds that go on for many minutes and they evolve very slowly. And I [00:39:00] just don't know what, in what way you would- I think certainly now when people are only just gonna, we're just about here for the first time, the idea of tearing it apart and rebuilding it in front of people seems entirely unnecessary, you know? I feel like it- my ideal, um, way for this to go would be for people to, to get, to listen to it and familiarize themselves with the landscape of it. Cause it is like a place that is like a landscape for me, like an energetic landscape that you move through gradually. Um, and then maybe later on something will suggest itself to me, but I, I'm not, I'm much more interested in the idea of having maybe a structure at a festival where people could go in and lie down. Um, and there'd be like a Dolby Atmos system in there. So you've got 30 speakers with all the different sounds coming in different ways we've mixed for that. And more of a, more of an experience that you go to rather than something that you watch, because there also wouldn't be much to look at if I was performing, because [00:40:00] the pace of it, you know? So, um, that's kind of where I am with that, but I would never say never to something like that. It just would need to be the right, um, the right ideas would need to appear, I think.

[00:40:12] Ronan: Is there an aspect of vulnerability, like the vulnerability and honesty that you put into the album that may cause hesitation around performing it? Or is it more about the sort of mechanical performance aspects of it? 

[00:40:26] Jon: Yeah, I think it's more about the style of the music just not lending itself and the nature of the sounds. Um, I mean, you could kind of do- you could maybe try and work out an orchestral scoring of some of it, like you could get- at the end of the Ecuador piece is all strings, and that could be played by an orchestra, but then the other sounds are not re-creatable apart from, by playing them back. And it just keeps leading me back to the same point, which is how would it be different and why, why would it need to be different? And then, um, I think that I already- I mean, the shows I'm doing, I haven't managed to bring this to America [00:41:00] yet or North America at all, but, um, the shows I've been doing with, um, grand piano and the band over here in concert halls have involved walking on stage without any idea at all about what I'm going to play at the beginning and just improvising and very quietly as well. And that's, I first did that in Sydney Opera House at the start of last year as a real, like, let's just see what this feels like, you know? It's an amazing place to do that. Um, but I've been improvising since I learned the piano and that was my first love with playing the piano already. So I think I get enough of that vulnerability through just walking on and like seeing what comes and inevitably, um, what comes out has a pretty fragile, intimate sound to it because that just seems to be, you know, more, um, Well, I'm wired for. 

[00:41:53] Ronan: Keith Jarrett and the Köln Concert. Um, you know, I recently discovered that, I guess it's not that [00:42:00] recent anymore. It's a couple of years ago now, but, uh, I was- I've always been a person who aspired to be a musician, but, uh, I was born with a distinct lack of pitch, uh, or rhythm. So I was never destined to be a musician. Um, but listening to the Köln Concert by Keith Jarrett and how, you know, it was improvised and, and the crazy story about how there's, you know, the piano was out of tune. It, it just, I have, it's a long way of saying I have an incredible amount of respect for people who can improvise musically. I have incredible amount of respect for people who can play music properly, unlike me. But, uh, the, the skill of improvisation is so far outside of my realm of comprehension or understanding that I have a lot of appreciation for people who do that. So hopefully I'll be able to, uh, to catch you one day doing so. 

[00:42:47] Jon: Yeah. Well, I mean, I can't, but you know, I couldn't stand on stage and do a talk like you do. So it's, it's very much, um, you know, we're, we're doing what we're supposed to be doing and it's, it's important to recognize what you can and can't do. And you know, [00:43:00] many things- most things I can't do, but I can do improvisation. It gives me, um, a great kind of freedom. Um, and I was talking to my friends who is in the band with me at the moment. Um, cause we both come from a classical background just about how much more nerve wracking it was to perform pre-written classical music, that there is a perfect way of doing it, that preexists.

[00:43:23] Ronan: Right. 

[00:43:23] Jon: Um, and it was set in stone like 200 years ago, whatever. Um, whereas this, you know, we we've been playing together, um, for nearly 30 years, um, since we were at school together, um, we just, we just feel so comfortable playing in front of hundreds of people without having a clue where we're going with it and that I would have, you might imagine it might be a way round, but there's just something freeing about it. I think. 

[00:43:48] Ronan: No, I can totally see that. It resonates with me on actually a deeper level. So, uh, a friend of mine, um, just launched an app called Othership, um, which is a breath work app, [00:44:00] but it also hosts, um, experiences, uh, that are a combination of, of sound experiences, both recorded music, but they also have live instruments, uh, which are also, uh, I guess, facilitated through, um, various psychedelics, uh, as well. And it becomes this incredibly immersive experience and powerfully moving experience. Um, I should, I should connect you guys because I think, you know, when you talk about having people go on, lie down, when they listen to this album and an immersive sound experience, I think there's some probably pretty amazing ways that that could be enhanced, um, through different techniques. And I think it'd be really cool to experience it that way. Uh, on that note, actually, I mean, the album is called Music for Psychedelic Therapy. And was it your intent for it to be used in conjunction with psychedelic therapy and, you know, as, um, you know, East Forest who's been on the podcast, um, talked about, you know, he wrote in with the idea of having ketamine assisted therapy in [00:45:00] mind and obviously music for mushrooms speaks to itself as well. But was that in your mind or was it kind of the output being like this is perfectly suited for, for psychedelic therapy? 

[00:45:11] Jon: No, the title, I mean, I think I've been making music for people to have altered consciousness experiences to, for a long time, since, you know, teenage experiences of my own experimenting with cannabis and music in conjunction, sowed that seed a very long time ago, you know, things to enhance your inward journey, um, and turn music into place. That's how it always feels. Um, so I feel like I'm always doing that. And then I'd, um- but between the previous album and this one, I met a lot of the therapists and scientists who are working on the psilocybin for depression trials that we've had over here at Imperial College. And just talking and become, becoming interested in the subject and, um, and the methods they use and it's just, [00:46:00] you know, listening to podcasts on the subject as well. So I think my subconscious was intrigued by this and, um, the title itself came to me after a ketamine experience. And I had a very deep listen to some music that I loved and I don't think it was after listening to early version of the album. The album wasn't ready enough then to be tested in that way. But, um, it's probably halfway through, and it was as if that name just got beamed into me and it, I was sort of hesitant in a way, I felt like I had no choice about it, like that had to be the name, but I don't regret it, but it very much, it sounds quite prescriptive, but really it's partly, I think they're beautiful words and it's kind of an homage to Brian Eno. Music for Airports. That's not only supposed to be listened to in airports. 

[00:46:46] Ronan: Right. 

[00:46:47] Jon: This music is also just an album that, um, that I personally find can be quite, uh, powerful in conjunction with these things and, you know, the [00:47:00] influences I have are coming from that world. So it was written, I think there's a part of me that knew his writing for that purpose always, but yeah.

[00:47:08] Ronan: And, and have you listened to it while having a psychedelic experience? 

[00:47:11] Jon: Yes. Um, well, I, I have several times, um, and different stages of its completion as well. It was really important to, um, to make sure that it works in that space and that it's, you know, so it's really to take care with it. Um, I liked the idea of taking care of the listener, um, you know, really paying attention to what feels like the right thing, you know, to, to happen in the music, um, for someone in a vulnerable state or for someone that's looking for- you know, there's, um, my friend Mendel Kaelen, who is founder of Wavepaths, who you may have encountered. He always says that music is the strongest therapist, music itself. And you know, his app Wavepaths has got absolutely stunning music. And I actually, um, [00:48:00] sound like I'm playing my own trumpet. I did contribute some of the music to that app. You know, anyways, so it's this AI controlled thing where the music just can be controlled, the mood of the music and the depth, and the intensity can be controlled by the therapist via this interface. And, um, that on its own, I've listened to that for, for a couple of hours. And I feel like I've had a therapy session. So I think, you know, it's, um, it's inherent in certain forms of music, I think anyway, to be therapeutic. 

[00:48:31] Ronan: Is there any particular psychedelic in mind? Uh, you know, uh, like I said, East Forest wrote IN for ketamine assisted therapy and Music for Mushrooms for psilocybin. Uh, was there anyone in particular in mind or is it just, uh, just broadly a psychedelic experience?

[00:48:46] Jon: For me, it was ketamine. Because it's the, that's the, the experiences I'm currently resonating with most, I've had quite a lot of DMT experiences in my life, which I feel have possibly come to an end [00:49:00] now. And I feel like I was doing them on one level in order to gather information in order to make this record. So for me, it feels like it's a translation of that kind of experience. Um, specifically DMT, not, not ayahuasca, which I haven't done. Um, but then the current, I mean, I felt, I dunno, maybe other people can relate to this, but during the pandemic I found I did not want to have any of the plant-based psychedelics. I just found that mushrooms tend to leave me- like they gave me this great kind of optimism and guidance for the first half. but towards the end of the trip, I'd find myself getting a little over-analytical my mind. Just really, maybe it's like my mind kind of kicking in as a sort of revenge, for having been bypassed for a bit. I don't know what it is. It's something I need to work through, but I didn't feel like working through that in the last period of time, so I found ketamine to be a, you know, once a month, maybe for the end of the [00:50:00] last few months of the writing of the album, just testing with quite a therapeutic level dose. Um, I would find that I would have almost like safe revisits of some of the DMT moments I've had. Um, but also found that it was a great release, you know, through, through this, through these early versions of this music, which was encouraging, you know, to getting it finished.

[00:50:24] Ronan: I was reading that you were bullied as a kid. Um, and that's actually a, an experience- you and I share some synchronicities. We were both born in 1979. We both have a fondness for Jitterbug Perfume and Tom Robbins, and we both were bullied as a kid. Um, how do you think that experience has influenced your music and has the helping, uh, has the making of this album helped to heal that experience? I know you touched on the sadness, uh, earlier in the conversation, which if your experience is anything like me, you know, a lot of the, the sensitive points, uh, for me, you know, probably arise out of being bullied as a kid. Um, so just, just wondering if, [00:51:00] if some of this process has been addressing that?

[00:51:02] Jon: Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it was quite, um, I think the bullying itself was not anything out of the ordinary. It was quite a common thing that lots of other kids at my school went through it, but my nature was not really able to cope with it. So I became very reclusive and, um, what that led to was the discovery of these internal worlds and disappearing into music and cannabis and things like that. Um, not necessarily in a healthy way, more of an escapist way, but the sort of knock on effects of that time and that reclusivity meant that I was quite behind socially. And as I became like in my early twenties and had written an album and just started very much focusing on music, my romantic life of kind of had stopped at the point of which the bullying started because just the opportunity to meet girls that had disappeared. So I think [00:52:00] I just ended up quite kind of immature in that way for quite a long time. And that just led to some loneliness, I guess. So, yeah, it's something that kind of echoed on for a bit. Like now it's, it feels like it's processed really well. I'm even kind of friends with the people who were involved, but you know, I'm 42 now, so, you know, it's time to, it's time to move on. But at the same time, there is still living inside of me, that kind of lonely teen, maybe you have the same in you and, um, you know, through a hypnosis session I once had, I was able to kind of go back and reassure that, that teen, but he's, he's still still in there somewhere. And, um, no doubt playing that piano quietly. 

[00:52:45] Ronan: It's funny. So the, the sound bath, um, experience I was mentioning before, uh, that I just had, um, ketamine was also offered during it. And during that experience, I went back and there's like an image of me I have of myself when I was probably [00:53:00] 11 years old or so, um, fishing and just looking back at that, that child and, and, you know, giving him, you know, a lot of love that I don't think he experienced or wasn't able to receive at that time. And it was a really magical experience. Um, so 

[00:53:16] Jon: Yeah, that's amazing. 

[00:53:18] Ronan: What's the one song you can't get enough of right now? For me, it's, uh, I Don't Live Here Anymore by The War on Drugs, but wondering what it is for you. 

[00:53:26] Jon: Wow, I need to listen to that. I had such a profound experience with a War on Drugs song called, Thinking of a Place. You know that one? 

[00:53:34] Ronan: I don't know that one, but I will definitely check it out. 

[00:53:37] Jon: Yeah, you must. It's from the previous album. It's like 12 minutes and it's just, it's my favorite thing they ever did. Um, I really, there's a, I really love this artist called Mary Lattimore who plays the harp and the chords and manipulates the harp in a beautiful way. And, um, and I wish I could remember. I'm really bad at [00:54:00] remembering track titles, but, um, she released a new EP recently, so you can check that out. Um, really absolutely stunning stuff. It has a kind of inbuilt wistfulness and a nostalgia, but also a strength and, um, yeah, I, I do listen to that a lot.

[00:54:17] Ronan: And the last question I have for you, um, because ultimately this is still a podcast that centers around psychedelics, um, if not your own music, uh, what other albums or artists might you recommend to support a psychedelic experience, excluding of course, uh, our mutual friend East Forest, because that's a given, but I'm wondering if any of them other ones might be up there for you?

[00:54:40] Jon: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I have these playlists that I've, um, worked on for my own experiences over the years and I really like a variety of things. Um, I really like there's, uh, an artist called Mattheis who is from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Um, M A T T H E I S. And he makes [00:55:00] this extremely, I haven't, I don't know the guy, but I I'm a fan and, um, hope to be working with him. He makes extremely, sounds highly spiritual, um, and it's nature to me, but it's made electronically with modular synthesis. Um, and then there's an artist called ELVE, which is spelled E L V E. Mysterious guy who lives lives in Cornwall in the west country here. Um, and he made an album called Emerald, which I would say is the single biggest influence on this album and on my current direction. It's an extraordinary translation of, um, of the natural world into electronic music. I mean, honestly, there's nothing really like it and I'm on a mission to get more people to listen to it. So I'm always talking about it. 

[00:55:46] Ronan: Excellent. Uh, we'll we'll share that, um, with, uh, with our listeners and make sure we link to all of those artists. And, uh, one, one final question before we wind up, uh, what's next for you? Um, [00:56:00] obviously supporting this album, but, uh, do you have anything in mind for what your next great adventure is going to be, whether it's musically or personally? 

[00:56:07] Jon: Um, I'm, I'm really someone who doesn't, um, think ahead that much. I think I've got ideas for like maybe a DJ-able versions of some of the tracks on this record so that I can incorporate them in some of the upcoming more, you know, more dance orientating shows I've got. Um, have a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which is, um, you know, an incredible, incredible venue. So that's, that was supposed to happen in March last year, then that's coming up in about 10 days.

[00:56:36] Ronan: Oh, cool. 

[00:56:37] Jon: Um, so that's a big deal. So yeah, I'm kind of preparing for that. And then as looking, looking to next year, there's some collaborations on the cards with some people that I really like. Um, there'll be, um, some follow-up releases to this record, I'm sure. Um, different versions of things. And, um, I sometimes toy with the idea of going back into film scoring, but I [00:57:00] just, I don't know. I feel like I feel just very much a very strong sense of purpose in making this kind of stuff. So, you know, maybe in volume, two of this will happen at some point as well. 

[00:57:10] Ronan: So one of the things I'm working on on the side is actually a documentary called Ordinary Trip, um, which is about trying to help normalize the conversation that psychedelic assisted therapies can be very much meaningful and impactful for, um, ordinary people, you know? You don't have to be a military veteran who has experienced the worst traumas that many people can imagine, and you don't have to be a Lamar Odom, uh, you know, who has so far, uh, you know, I think emotionally just destroyed from his experiences that he effectively killed himself. Uh, and it's been to some degree brought back to life by this, but these things can be things that can enhance everybody's life, uh, in, in small and incremental, but really meaningful ways. So if you're ever inclined to score another, uh, record, I would be certainly happy to talk to you about that, but [00:58:00] you don't have to respond to that here cause I put you on the spot, so- 

[00:58:03] Jon: It sounds very interesting. I'd love to see it for sure. 

[00:58:05] Ronan: And with that, I am going to say, uh, I wish you the very best, uh, for the launch of Music, uh, for Psychedelic Therapy, it's, uh, an amazing, an amazing experience. And I certainly encourage everybody listening right now to, to check it out as soon as it becomes available, because it is, it is quite powerful. Uh, and I want to thank you again very much for, for joining us. It really is an honor, uh, that you chose to spend some time with us today. So thank you and, um, best of luck for tomorrow and, and hopefully it's an extremely well-received.

[00:58:36] Jon: Thank you so much. And, you know, thanks for the wonderful questions. So it was good to meet you hope to meet you in real life sometime. I'm sure we will. 

[00:58:42] Ronan: I look forward to that. 

Since I've embarked on my own healing journey with psychedelics, one of the key themes that has come up for me is about finding my voice again. Although to the outside world, and [00:59:00] as I said to Jon today, I may seem well-spoken or even outspoken. When it comes to those closest to me, I've lived most of my life afraid of holding boundaries or speaking out. And so my path to healing has been to find that voice again. And in listening to Music for Psychedelic Therapy, I can't help, but get the feeling that this album was Jon finding his voice again. It is a far cry from his previous albums. Instead of dropping "bangers", as he's called them, this album is quiet, vulnerable, and sensitive. And my guess is that the real [Jon] Hopkins is just that, quiet, vulnerable, and sensitive, but who has for most of his life, much like me, adopted a persona and an artistic style that would tell you otherwise. But he's now finding his true self. And that's a wonderful thing, for as it's been said by Tom Robbins, our shared favorite author, all a person can do in this life is gather about him his [01:00:00] integrity, his imagination, and his individuality, and with these ever with them out front and in sharp focus, leap into the dance of experience. And with Music for Psychedelic Therapy, it sure seems that Jon is doing just that.

[01:00:20] Caller: Hey, Ronan, big fan of your podcast. Quick question for you. How do you think we can break the stigma of psychedelics? What is it going to take for society to really accept the healing potential of these amazing medicines? 

[01:00:32] Ronan: Thank you for the question. I'm a big believer that stigma cannot stand up to scrutiny in the face of data. And so what it is going to take to overcome the legacy stigma associated with psychedelics right now is really just to continue to fund research, continue to get conversations going, and then basically get out of the way. Right now, the evidence in support of [01:01:00] access to psychedelic therapies is overwhelming. The safety profile of most classic psychedelics is extremely well established. The therapeutic potential of many classic psychedelics as well as new psychedelics is being more and more established every day. The number of people coming out of the psychedelic closet talking about just how impactful psychedelic experiences has been to their growth and their evolution and their healing is increasing every single day. So all we have to do is continue to move this forward. Just keep working at it. Keep having these conversations, keep raising awareness. And I think things will happen. And it's bound to happen because one of the most beautiful things about psychedelics is not only the healing potential of them, but those who have experiences with them often report that they are amongst the most meaningful experiences of their lives. And with that kind of passion and with that kind of evidence, with that kind of data, it seems that [01:02:00] overcoming the stigma of psychedelics is an inevitability as long as we keep the course. 

Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast that's dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host Ronan Levy. Until next time, stay curious, breathe properly, and remember every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy. Our producers are Conrad Page and Harley Roman, and associate producers are Sharon Bhella, Alec Sherman, Macy Baker, and Tyler Newbold. Special thanks to Kast Media, and of course many thanks to Jon Hopkins for joining us today. Check out his new album. Music for Psychedelic Therapy, wherever you listen to music.