| hidden worlds | Lykanthea / Lakshmi Ramgopal
Musician, based in Chicago
Lakshmi Ramgopal is a solo ambient musician based in Chicago, IL who performs under the stage name Lykanthea. Alchemizing spectral vocals and synths, she forms transient, enveloping worlds. Her sound is ritual chanting for the electronic age.
Bramble and Lakshmi connected earlier this year while experiencing personal upheaval and professional shifts that was restricting their current sound and design. By asking Lakshmi contribute to MYTHS, WOLF + SADIE builds on the powerful connection they had begun to forge.
What inspires you as a musician?
Books and poetry. Migration, for example, is loosely based on a series of Sumerian hymns about the goddess Inanna’s descent to the underworld. Ursula Le Guin’s Tombs of Atuan has been a huge influence in recent years, too. I’ve just started exploring Surrealist writers like Marcelle Sauvageot. I’m also inspired by the many amazing musicians I know, right now above all Ambrosia Bartośekulva of wrtch, an amazing noise project out of Seattle that’s about to relocate to Chicago.
How does your academia/ pursuit of your doctorate weave into your music and context?
I’m all about concepts for my music and researching the hell out of them, which is pretty much what I do all day as a PhD student. And I’m obsessed with words, I love collecting them, organizing them, taking them apart. For me, music is a frame for the words I spend most of my time fitting together.
What inspired you to create the photo and video series you submitted?
I use collaborative visual art to explore new ideas for music, and this project is no exception. In the past I’ve been committed to thinking about darkness as a vehicle for personal change and, as a result, I’ve been working with the dark color palettes I’ve always been comfortable with. I'm starting to venture into new palettes and see what I have to say about the bright and light things in the world.
What is the story behind your project?
In general I avoid writing confessional music, but 2015 has been marked by the biggest highs and lows of my life. So I made hidden worlds part of the process of seeing if I can or want to write music about my life, which is something I never do. I worked with two different artists for my contribution to Myths of Ancestors. One is Meagan Fredette, a writer and photographer I’ve been getting to know over the last year – she shot the brilliant photos for the look book. The other artist is Daniel Tovar, a graphic designer and artist with a background in ancient philosophy – he did the video. Daniel and I have known each other for six years and have collaborated on countless projects involving my music, and the video for hidden worlds was created at a moment of major change in our relationship with each other. It sets up a contrast with the photos Meagan shot, since the two are the products of different types of relationships and, in a sense, different versions of myself.
Why do you consider yourself an artistic ally of WOLF + SADIE?
Wolf + Sadie is about bright, minimal shapes that merge perfectly with my personal aesthetic. I’ve also worked with Wolf + Sadie in the past on a project called RESTLESS. It was a revelatory experience, since it helped me figure out the next steps in my music.
What is it about Ancestors that you want reflected in your work?
As an Indian woman, I come from a culture that demands respect for my elders, my ancestors. Wolf + Sadie shares this commitment to adhering to the past, and I love that we have this in common.
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