Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview with Michael Lombardi (Of The Earth and Sun)

We have a show at The Go Lounge tonight and I'm looking forward to hearing Michael Lombardi's new solo project "Michael Lombardi Of the Earth and Sun."

About Michael:

"I've been writing songs for over 15 years, playing in a few bands, but more often recording on my own, writing and playing all the parts myself. I released my first album "The June Bug" under the name Starshine in 2008. The following year I began my AEONs project which has been my primary musical outlet for the past few years, releasing several EP's as Aeon Solaris & Aeon Vespertine, the former more acoustic based songs, and the latter more electronic rock songs. This past summer I collaborated with my soul sister, Corinne Felicity, a fellow songwriter who I met back in high school, and we released the Aeon Solaris album "Brother Sun, Sister Moon." I have more AEONs material in the works, and many of the songs I play as Michael of the Earth & Sun, come from the AEONs catalog."

Tell us more about your new project, "Michael Lombardi and Of the Earth and Sun."

"Saying I am Michael Lombardi to me, is like saying I'm from Boston. Where as Michael of the Earth & Sun, is saying, I am from Earth. One is the child of a very specific family, a limb on a certain family tree. The other is saying, I am a child of all humankind, all the wisdom and experience from everyone who has ever lived, and beyond that a child of the galactic family of the Earth and the Sun, and of the universe. Many of us, fail to take into perspective, the relationship we have with our home planet, with the Sun that nurtures us, and the universe that houses us. I will always be that little boy who grew up in the suburbs of Boston, but the more I learn, the more the understand about the bigger picture of existence, and humankind's place within it, the more I become in sync with my roots in the universe. I don't anymore feel like I've been alive for just a few decades, I feel I've been alive for 14 billion or so years, that the elements I am, that we all are, can be traced back, at least as far as the big bang. I relate to the static on the TV, just as much as the heartbeat of my mother."

How long have you been performing with the new project?

"I've done many solo shows over the years, but I've only recently adopted this name, so this is the first show under this new monicker. Changing names, came from an escalating feeling that I've had in the past year, that I've been building myself up, training myself to be this person, that I feel I'm finally becoming. It is like the third phase of my life's progression. First the childhood years of being a Caterpillar, then the teenage to young adult years of hiding in a cocoon, I feel like everything I've done and been, has led to this rebirth, like I am a butterfly ready to break free and fly."

When I met you earlier this year, you were performing with the Los Angeles-based rock band, Lakookala. Are you still performing with that band?

"Lakookala has been on a bit of a hiatus, while she recorded some new songs for a 7" vinyl due out in a few months, and shot an amazing video for the song "Motherbiiiirds" from her debut EP "Songs for Zemean" which we be released next week (11/19)."

How does your new project differ from the music you performed with Lakookala?

"It is vastly different from Lakookala which is really the solo project of my friend Nico. She writes everything and plays most everything in the studio, I'm simply a member of the live band, playing keys/synth. Which I really enjoy, because I can just show up and play these songs that I love alongside some wonderful friends. It's so much more simple in that sense. This project of mine, like my AEONs project, is a lot more personal, it has a tremendous investment of my soul in it. At the end of the day, I consider myself a songwriter much more than a musician. That is why I switch around instruments so much. A guitar or a synthesizer or whatever, to me, is just a tool. Like a paint brush is a tool for a painter, the brush does not create the art, but merely helps translate it from an internal ambiguous emotion, to a form that others can then receive and hopefully relate to. This project is me, taking my inner most being and turning myself inside out, so what is usually deep inside me, and often hidden to the eye, becomes starkly visible."

Based on your online posts and the pictures that I have seen over several months, I have noticed your hunger for knowledge, expression as well as your receptivity to your own evolution as a person as well as an artist. What personal, world and/or local conditions have been inspiring you?

"I've always had a hunger for knowledge. I've never been one to be blindly satisfied with what I was told, or taught, whether it be from my family, from religion, school teachers, where ever.

I've always been one who needs to seek out his own answers and learn from his own experiences, and draw my own conclusions.

I recently began taking solo excursions out into the California desert, and have found it to be inspiring to me in an almost a religious way. There is something magical I feel, about the isolation, and the way the stars blanket the night sky, the way the Milky Way wraps across the horizon. It is a tremendous environment for escape and reflection. Out there, I can tune into a stronger connection with the universe around and inside us. Something bigger than out foolish human tendencies towards things like fear and greed. These things don't exist there, aside from what I bring with me, that which we all hold inside of us. I can lay out my entire being, my fragile flaws, and beautiful hope and sort through it. Slowly rebuilding myself, and little by little, piece by piece, into a stronger and more pure rendition of myself.

I believe I am, we all are, are own greatest works of art. We are what we create. I can go there and destroy, and recreate myself as a stronger and better me. In all my disassembling, I came to an understanding about what my role, as a human, and artist is. To use my accumulating knowledge and experience, and through art awaken people to their own ambition. To inspire and help people, especially those lost in darkness, a place I know all to well, to find their way back to their light, to that thing which makes them happy and complete. This is what inspires me and drives me as an artist. And what attracts me to the art of others. The way art can portray the most ugly things as beautiful, and give hope.

My mission in life and art, has become to be an agent of love, and as love, to instigate a revolution of the mind. To shift the paradigm of existence away from fear and greed, and towards love. I'm not naive enough to truly believe I can change the world in an magnificently monumental way, but I do believe I can have an impact of the people around me, and maybe they can impact the people around them. With this idea, I've found new courage as an artist, and new inspiration to keep creating, and to be supportive of others creativity."

You performed with Lakookala at the events that I produced to raise awareness about "Everybody Deserves Music's" youth music programs in Los Angeles. Have you been involved in any other youth-oriented projects in your community -- or do you have any vision of being more involved in such activities?

"I live in what is often referred to as an artist commune in Northridge, called Das Bauhaus. We, as a community try to work with our neighbors and the community, in encouraging the arts. We also occasionally organize street cleaning events, teaming up with local residents and CSUN students. Recently we organized with the San Fernando Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter, being built just around the corner from Das Bauhaus. I had an opportunity to talk with the man building/organizing it, about the possibility of creating some music and art programs that the Bauhaus can be a part of, once the facility is up and running.

I don't have specific plans as of yet, but it is something that really means a lot to me, and will jump at an opportunity to work for such a cause. I think that the financial cuts being dealt to education are heartbreaking, and it seems music and art are often the first things to go.

I didn't go to a school with great music or art programs, but they at least had some music or art classes, and they were crucial to people like me and many of my friends, in discovering who we were and shaping our ambitions and values. I can't imagine the impact it would have on future generations to not have, even that basic opportunity for experiencing and understanding the arts. Creating opportunities to help get, not only children, but also adults more involved and invested in the arts is something that I'd very much like to be a part of."

What can people expect in terms of style, sound and influences from your performance tonight?

"I've always been an artist who enjoys a very layered sound in music, but recently I've been eager to strip things down, to their most simple, raw, and honest form.

These songs I will be playing, are nude emotion. My sound is very tough for me to nail down, because my range of influences spans decades and genres, but I've been comparing it to some of the bluesy country-esque stuff by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, with the deep and dark emotion of Mark Lanegan, and the raw sentiment of Neutral Milk Hotel."

More information on Michael Lombardi is found on Facebook at

Michael of the Earth and Sun performs Friday, November 16, 2012 with Steve Harris and The China Clippers at The Go Lounge, 7123 El Cajon Bouevard, San Diego, Ca., 9 p.m.

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