We are delighted to present a new interview with contemporary mystical psychedelic folk-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist; Imaad Wasif.
The illusive artist has captivated our imagination for many years now with his illuminating esoteric themed music leading to somewhat of a cult hero following in the underground scene amongst his listeners worldwide.
We regard him as one of our favourite alt-rock musicians of a generation, and upon reaching out to the artist to chat we received this response which said all we needed to know...
"I’m in Death Valley right now so have very limited service. I’ll bE back in Los Angeles this Friday/sat."
Having released his self-titled first album 'Imaad Wasif' in 2006, the gifted artist of universal origins is here to stay and was kind enough to give his time to discuss life, mystery, and the sources of his inspiration...
Read the interview & listen to an introduction of his music below:
Where are you from & what initially inspired you to make music ?
I don’t know...Cosmically speaking, I have an unfixed origin. On this earth I chose a conflicted bloodline that was synthesized from a Hyderabadi singer/poet and a bi-polar Mumbaikar painter, and entered birth consciousness in Vancouver, Canada. After ensoulment my childhood was spent in the California low desert, where I struggled to understand a hazy but burgeoning awareness of my purpose as a seeker. I suspect I’ve moved in and out of lives to try to understand what I am and where I come from, but in this one I have pledged my journey to music.
It stems from the alienation I feel. A sense of being lost is the first sound I made. It represents the inner emotions, obsessions and fears, it’s a narration of a waking dream. In the end though, I’m a spider spinning my web.
Would you be able to define the highlight of your musical journey thus far ?
I have a superstition about defining my own timeline and being caught in a linear direction stream, being cast as a shadow of former self. Time is cyclical, non-existent and folding over upon itself. There are so many ups and downs in the life of a musician that we have to commit to change so that we can be continually reset. Memories are illusions, they aren’t real.
But If I go back, I can still see a flicker of all the beautiful experiences from the old world. I opened for Elliott Smith towards the end of his life, which was such a huge honor. The shows were strange. We’d go out and do our set and then Elliot would come on afterwards, but he was pretty far gone and he’d barely make it through 2 or 3 complete songs. It was so sad to see such an amazing, gifted musician losing his mind.
One night, his girlfriend came backstage and said ‘you have to go out and help him, he can’t play!’ ... I said I didn’t know how to play any of his songs, and she just screamed, ‘well just go do something!’... So I went out and I played a handful of Neil Young songs I knew by heart and he stood over the microphone singing them in his beautiful haunted way, ”See the lonely boy…” I’ve replayed the scene in my head many times. It was a rare moment of magic, that felt like an out of body experience, where I was both the famulus and a witness to the spectacle.
What ideas have inspired your music the most and why ?
I am inspired by the idea of the visceral and what is created out of the phenomenon of love, what can open into the fourth dimensional world - what is free from fear. This manifests as a kind of perceived purity, it may be just in the eye or ear of the beholder but it’s a feeling that transmutes into creation within.
Sometimes I wonder if I have a twisted need to lie to myself and if I would go along with the deception just so I never have a reality. Music is too beautiful of a force to fuck with. This belief seems to go hand in hand with early corporeal death but when I lived past that age I saw that it could recur continually and that age was irrelevant to the process. Archetypes must die or be killed so that the narrative can change. That’s what I’m working on now. A new album of songs called ‘So Long, Mr. Fear’.
What is your relationship with spirituality like and how does that influence your music ?
If God is the awareness of being then it is true that I seek God in my music.
How does nature inspire you ?
More the effect of nature, the silence and the space. Witnessing the expanding universe, the joyous cosmology. I feel the vastness in my blood, the vastness of the oceans of desert sand, the night, the stars.
What are your views on esotericism & mysticism ?
There are ideas in this world that are deemed esoteric because they don’t fit nicely into the headspace of the masses or certain automatons. These ideas aren’t really that strange at all, but rather the expression of logical thought. They have been obscured and hidden, deemed smoke and mirrors, but they are truths there for the seeking. One leads to another and you realize that the whole of it falls within a matrix and that you are the genesis point, that everything is a mirror of you. For me the process of writing music demands a return to the beginning, a stripping away until a primitivism is revealed, a descent into the dark depths of the unconscious.
To move through these depths is a journey to “death.” If you are able to come through the sound you are reborn, with new knowledge and wisdom, equipped to deal with the outward and inward pressure of life.
Imaad Wasif's most recent project 'AfterImages - Rarities & Demos' was released in 2020 and is available alongside his full discography via his Bandcamp (click to visit), support the artist by purchasing his music.
You can also listen to his music via:
& follow his Instagram (@imaadwasif)
- PSYCHIC GARDEN