On March 3 Prince Rama will be giving their Lecture/Performance XTREME NOW! in Montreal @ Poisson Noir - "Can one break the barriers of time and space through extreme sports? A mix of discussion, concert, spectacle, dance, pop, blood, and mylar ... followed by mirrorball worship ceremony"
I had the pleasure of talking with Prince Rama's TARAKA LARSON ahead of the event
I want to ask you about Xtreme NOW, the energy drink & cultural manifesto that you are coming to Montreal to give a talk on - It’s the 3rd manifesto you’ve published . . . each one corresponding to a Prince Rama album. So how did your philosophy on the Sublime and zen ritual - The NOW AGE - get so JACKED and start embracing XTREME SPORTS AND ENERGY?
Extreme Sports are like the ultimate form of zen meditation because if you aren't 111% present, you can get pretty FUCKED UP. It is like extreme Ram Das-- Be Here Now Or Die. I think we are all practicing extreme sports just by being alive, we just aren't aware how close to death we are at every moment so extreme sports are a very tangible practice to help us remember that.
Coming from the American south and travelling around as Prince Rama, giving these psychedelic rituals, have you been met with a lot of resistance over the years? Like, any ppl you’ve particularly freaked out?
Oh yea, like every show. Freaking people out is half the fun. I'm officially banned from the Brooklyn Museum for life for using fake blood while giving a lecture. I have a lot of compassion and love for the haters though. People resist what they are afraid face within themselves. In that sense the people who are the most freaked out by us are deep down the people who probably have the most in common with us.
Yeah, when I was researching questions for this interview I stumbled upon this alt-right forum group that seems to single out your band as being baby-sacrificing satanists (i.e. Clinton supporters) - part of the PIZZAGATE conspiracy during the 2016 presidential election. You must have received some threats from these people? Whenever I go to the states I find myself watching reality TV a lot, and drinking energy drinks . . . both things that seem to have a place in your ideology! What does it mean to be AMERICAN to you in 2018 to you?
Besides being a complete moronic idiot?? KIDDING! Well, I've started becoming more and more obsessed with freedom lately. On an individual and collective level. Not just as a concept, but a living action-- an energy that is expressed through every action, large and small; from the way you deliver a performance in front of thousands of people to the way you pour yourself a cup of tea. It's the core energy of freedom that supposedly this country was founded upon, and yet I feel like our culture has been carefully choreographed over the years to give you an illusion of freedom, while behind the stage of the reality show the real freedom is kept locked away safe in the wings. I think deep down people are terrified of freedom. I don't know if this is an American disease or if it is world-wide. All I care about is just being free.
With the rampant nostalgia-fetishization that has suddenly dominated mass media, whether in the form of remakes (it feels like all the movies that are coming out are the same ones that came out when I was a kid, i.e. blade runner, twin peaks, jumanji etc), or revivalism (like media that is made to hit your nostalgic receptors in a more subtle way / collaged from our archival emotional memory - Lana Del Ray or Stranger Things for example) it feels we are headed into a loop of hyper-referentiality. Will we soon remember only memories of memories? CAN THE NOW AGE SAVE US?
Only you can save yourself by being present with yourself. The past is part of the present. The future is part of the present. Time is just a hologram. We are not nostalgic for a lost time-- only a lost feeling. These shows and movies you mention are just vessels for that feeling. It's kind of like when you want to date someone new but you feel like every new guy you keep meeting is some hi-def remake of First High School Boyfriend: The Sequel. There is an underlying feeling that you haven't yet resolved, which is why your reality hologram keeps reproducing this feeling for you in the shape of First High School Boyfriend. It is the same on a cultural level. There is some repressed feeling we have not yet resolved as a collective whole, which is why our collective unconsciousness keeps manufacturing remakes of the old so that the feeling is resurrected again and again in hopes that it gets resolved. The problem is that the remakes are hardly ever as good as the originals. It's really hard to reproduce a feeling, so we get only shadows of a feeling. We must dig deep within ourselves and reconnect with the feeling itself. That is our only hope.
What does the internet smell like?
Hmm... a bit like cucumber melon body spray from bath and body works in the junior high girls locker room.
A few years ago the gajillionaire RED BULL Music Festival came to Montreal and bought up all the ‘cool’ acts, leaving local lesser known energy-drink festivals like GURU Music Academy parched and sleepy. Would you consider making XTREME NOW a festival, hiring artists willing to brand their asses with your face to make up your CONTENT?
Xtreme Now is already a festival, and you are playing it as we speak.
My friend Neil runs a blog where he gets jacked on a different energy drink and makes a collage . . . would you send him an Extreme Now to imbibe and review?
We're sold out unfortunately. Sorry Neil. Tell him he can make his own knock-off concoction out of the medieval herbs and flowers featured in the Unicorn Tapestries.
When I asked you to come up and do the show you mentioned that you aren’t on the internet very much, and thats a relationship I relate to, like being influenced by novelty and futurism but also just wanting to smash my phone every day. Is the NOW AGE something that addresses our relationship with (to quote eXistenZ) “the most effective deforming of reality” I.E. THE INTERNET?
Oh yes-- I think about it quite a lot. It would be very un-Now Age for me to not observe our relationship to the internet because the internet is so much a part of the fabric of our day to day reality. It is a part of the present moment, although it also poses a path of resistance to the present moment. I wrote in my manifesto that we are entering into a digital dark age far darker than anything Brian Eno could have ever imagined. I compare it to the "dark ages" because in the dark ages the world was widely believed to be flat, and the internet has ushered in a retro-shift in perspective that is creating in essence a second wave "flattening of the world" in that the internet flattens all time, space, beauty, and danger on a horizonless LED void. This is less of a physical flattening of the world, and more of an emotional flattening, a scrambling to iron out all that is dangerous or potentially threatening to our concept of reality. With things getting so tailored to our personal preferences, the element of unpredictability is also being weeded out from the internet-- cookies trace what products you are interested in and doom them to the eternal recurrence of your peripheral vision. Facebook tracks whose profiles you are the most interested in and shifts the algorithm so that these are the people who's posts you see first. Spotify makes playlists for you based on what you listen to throughout the week. The list goes on. The point is that our virtual reality is gradually becoming more and more a bastardized warped reflection of our very selves and all our insecurities, obsessions, and secret interests. On a macrocosmic scale, the overlords of the internet can also tailor it to become more and more a warped reflection of their secret interests and agendas-- which is more insidious and a bit more 1984. Youtube has begun deleting tons of videos that question various facts about what mainstream media is reporting because "they" deem it "fake news". I am not saying I know what is real and what is fake, and honestly the argument is not nearly as important to me than the simple ability to post whatever you want and to choose to watch and believe whatever you want and allow space for differing views to exist. I am not critical of the internet per say and would love to believe a utopian potential still exists, but I think it is very important to maintain an objective arms length relationship to it so that we can retain our freedom as humans to use it as a tool to reflect on reality-- not mistake it for reality itself and reflect our life around it like a funhouse mirror.
Also ps-- I love that movie.
SO STOKED, SEE YOU MARCH 3rd!