An interview with the Thelemic band IllumineNaughty
March 9, 2008
1) When and how was IllumineNaughty started?
The band IllumineNaughty was started by guitarist David Cherubim on the Vernal Equinox of 2005 in Los Angeles. It all began with the recording of his song Thelema.
2) Who are the current members of the band? What previous projects are the current members also from?
The current band members are David Cherubim (vocals and lead guitar), Elisabeth Night (keyboards and back-up vocals), Matt Ompehda (drums), Kris Stone (rhythm guitar) and Michael Vajra (bass). (There have been other members of the band, including the legendary Eva O from the famous Los Angeles gothic punk band Christian Death.) Beside various musical projects in the past (solo and band work), band members have been deeply involved with Magick and Thelema which is how some of them originally met. Founding band member David Cherubim also founded the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn in Los Angeles on the Vernal Equinox of 1990, and it was through this Magickal Order that David and four other band members were originally linked, and three of them were directly initiated in the past by David into the grades of this Magickal Order.
3) What genre would you classify your own music as? Why?
We can easily be identified with various genres (such as gothic rock or metal, apocalyptic folk, alternative, and so on) due to the various musical influences we integrate in our sound. However, we have boldly created our own genre and brand of music which we call Ritual Rock. Our live performances are literally magical rituals. It is magick and music in one, a union of the two which we call Musick. (We use the letter “k” on the end of the word music to represent certain significant ideas, one of them being that it represents music approached from a magickal perspective, since in the Qabalah the letter “k” represents the number 11, which is the number of Magick in and of itself.)
4) Is there an overall message IllumineNaughty attempts to convey as a band through your songs?
Illumination or, if you prefer, enlightenment through Musick. To do this, we bring to life the Spirits of Musick in ourselves and others through the manifold mix of melodies and harmonies incorporated in our songs. The Spirits of Musick give us illumination. A quote from the article “The Major Scale of Musick,” by David Cherubim, is appropriate here: “Yes, there are Spirits of Musick whose work is to inspire humanity with the selfless and spiritual quality of Musick. Musick represents the selfless and spiritual aspect of existence. Musick is invisible, like the Spirit, or like the Air that we cannot see, but which is all around us. The Spirits of Musick permeate the air of the earth, creating melodies and harmonies for all to hear. They are in every tune or song that you hear. They are also within you.”
5) How does Thelema influence the music of IllumineNaughty and the lives of the band members?
Musically, Thelema inspires us to create sounds outside of the box. Our Musick is the creative product of our True Will, containing the technical elements of musical structure but nevertheless not conforming to any standard music out there due to the colorful combination of influences we have and our own unique quality of sound.
Personally, Thelema inspires us to do our True Will and it is our point of view that if Thelema is to genuinely survive the times, it must be expressed through the arts. Thelemic organizations, books and other intellectual tools can only serve Thelema to a point. There is another side of the coin which is to be found in the arts. Musick especially has and will even more so become a creative channel for Thelema. It is proper to the times.
6) Tell us a little about your involvement with the “Abbey of Thelema” production.
We were contacted by the producer Vincent Jennings to include a song or two in this movie about Aleister Crowley and his life at the Abbey. Then Vincent and his wife met with David in Los Angeles in the Summer of 2007 and they decided to use the song Thelema. Soon after this the band attended a private screening of the movie in Glendale, CA, and then band members David and Elisaebth attended a public premiere of the movie at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA on October 27th. The movie was both entertaining and illuminating. It is now being revamped, restructured and re-edited to greater perfection before its commercial release to the public on DVD this year.
7) Is there any final remarks you would like to convey to our readers?
Musick and Magick go hand in hand. They are like Venus and Mercury in Astrology, or Netzach and Hod in the Qabalah, which are the foundations for the balanced Pillars of Life. Most magicians are too intellectual, just as most musicians are too emotional, imbalanced in their bodies and minds. Without artistic expression the magician becomes the prey of Reason, and without intellectual endeavors the musician becomes the prey of Emotion. Art and Philosophy must work side by side in the Spirit of Thelema. After all, equilibrium is the basis of the Great Work.