Q The Sun • "Psychic Spiral"

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Q The Sun is a producer out of Milwaukee with a style all his own. As a member of the collective New Age Narcissism, he creates thoughtful music that embraces the experimental, creation with purpose. Today he's premiering his new visual"Psychic Spiral", as much an art piece as anything else. This track uses symbolism to convey a message visually, laid on top of otherworldly production that stands out. Exploring Eastern music, unconventional storytelling and more, Q The Sun thought of everything with this track. Read below to get some insight into the mind of this unique musician.

Can you introduce those who are unfamiliar to New Age Narcissism?

New Age Narcissism is a group of artists from Milwaukee, which includes me (Q the Sun) WebsterX, Lex Allen, Lorde Fredd33, Siren, and Chris Gilbert. We also work with an extended network of musicians, studio engineers, film makers, and other artists who I consider to be an important part of the NAN movement and mythology.

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of excitement around our music, videos/short films, and high energy, charismatic performances. The national attention that WebsterX, in particular, is steadily gaining has not only increased our visibility, but our drive to get better and do more.

For me, the most exciting and fulfilling part of having the notoriety is that it allowed us to create important experiences and relationships with young people across the city. By teaming up with organizations like Milwaukee Public Schools, we’ve been able to provide a variety of workshops and services that promote self expression and help build confidence, motivation, knowledge, resources, and opportunities for the next generation. 

New Age Narcissism is about self-awareness and self-love.

What story did you want to tell with the visual component of "Psychic Spiral”?

The movement of the scenes is meant to emphasize the vibe and progression of the music. I didn’t have the intention of telling story per se, more so wanted to created something that would help the audience engage with the music more (like Fantasia LOL).

That being said, each aspect of the visual does represent something to me:

The briefcase contains the dope, the magic, the fire. You have to be careful when you play with fire, or it will burn you.

The hill represents isolation and self-absorption, or even depression. 

My two friends, the Pulp Fiction inspired fellers, represent cosmic forces. 

I represent the artist.

Something happens to me when I open the briefcase, the magic takes hold of me. I’m transported to an alternate reality, or dream state, where I’m led through an initiation ritual. I pull myself out of the dream, back to the hill. I enter the dream again, free of gatekeepers, and I hear my song. I stare into the fire contemplating how to wield it properly.

Was there any significance to the vocal sample? 

The vocal sample is the voice of an Indian philosopher, J. Krishnamurthi. I chopped up the speech a bit, but at the beginning it says:

“If one may remind you again, we are going to take a journey together into an extensive field of the psyche. We are going together as two friends… take a long journey into the area of the whole psychological state. One must take the journey to the very end of things”

And at the end it says:

“He is not speaking for his own pleasure. Because if he does, he can do that in his own room if he wants to. These two friends, you and the speaker, are taking a long extensive journey together… Together.”

Krishnamurthi, in general, has had a significant influence on me and my understanding of music, even though he’s not a musician (it’s the same for me with people like Bruce Lee, Dave Chapelle, and Wes Anderson). The words I chose spoke to the way the track made me feel, like I was traveling a great distance through unknown territory, but with a sense of calm/ease, even in the face of twists and turns. When it came to editing the visual, the words played a big role in how I chose to open and close the piece.   

You Expressed interest in combining eastern music and hip - hop, can you tell us a bit about how that resulted in "Psychic Spiral”? Is that something you want maintain in your music as Q the Sun? 

I’ve always heard Indian influences in hip hop, from Pharrell and Timbaland’s drums and samples, to Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Future’s melodies. For this track, the drums and percussion were directly influenced by folk music from different parts of India - the clapping, the tambourines, the kick and toms. I also feel like the synth chords that are held throughout are reminiscent of tones you might listen to while meditating (which is associated with Eastern culture). I grew up hearing a lot of classical, folk/religious, and pop music from India. I’ve been getting more interested in letting that influence come through in my music. I’m also very drawn to the Eastern-influenced spiritual jazz of artists like John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the seeking of connection with higher power through music. Their essence has been brought into the future by artists like Flying Lotus (who is a big influence on me as a beat maker). I’m working on making my lane in that sonic tradition.