Meka Nism – Honoring the TribeWednesday, 13th June 2018
Dead Rhetoric: A lot of the talk we’ve been having is about spiritualism and shamanism. Metal, from the outside, is usually viewed in terms of its anger and aggression. What are the pieces that connect that spirituality with heavy metal?
Ms. Meka: What a great opportunity, because it’s not there as much. It’s not forced spirituality, it’s just naturally who we are and who our friends are. It’s authentic human experience. The cool thing about metalheads is that they aren’t afraid of their anger. They don’t just hide their anger behind doors. It’s part of their beauty. It’s really awesome how present metalheads are. Some people know that its on a spiritual level –who are the people that use esoteric imagery? Who are the people who aren’t afraid of using mystical forms of communication? It’s a lot of metalheads, really. I love the opportunity to speak my truth in metal format. I think there’s a place for it. It needs to be said – we are all going through this awesome human experience together.
Let’s talk about what really matters. Sometimes it’s about being angry. On the first album, a song called “Tyranny Reigns,” that was an anti-rape song. That is the only song that I chose to use explicit lyrics – vulgarity and profanity, because it’s an anti-rape song. It’s not just anti-rape in a sexuality way, which is included, but it’s also the way you feel on anything. You feel like your power gets taken away, you feel violated in so many ways. So many people aren’t honored in life nowadays, and it pisses them off. We have to get pissed off once in a while. I think the people who are doing the best healing work for their own enlightenment are people who aren’t afraid to get pissed off for a second and look at that and say, “Why am I pissed off? What can I do about it?” I think there’s a need for it, and that’s why I have to do metal. I do other genres too, but metal is where I feel the most at home. I love it. I express so loudly. If you see us all on stage, we have a crazy energy. We aren’t afraid of our anger, and I so respect it in other people. It hasn’t been talked about in metal, but it’s the best.
I think it’s such a great, authentic group of people that aren’t afraid of being truly genuine with all of their aspects of humanity. I think that’s why we come together as a tribe. People hear it and say, “Thank you for saying what I was unable to say.” How many people have emoted that over the years? It offers a lot of strength for people who come. It’s people who do tend to express themselves in more aggressive ways. You can be a warrior up on stage, but I still offer vulnerability and my authenticity in the lyrics. The whole band are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But we are not afraid of being ferocious. It feels more complete – it’s not like singing a pop song. I know a lot of pop songs will talk about pain and agony, but I don’t feel like they offer solutions. It’s like, “I’m lost, but I’m just going to drink now…and party.” Where’s the solution in that? There’s a place for that too, I’m sure.
I want to deal with people who are ready to fight for themselves, and that’s the metalheads. Those are the people who are making changes and talking about the real shit. Sometimes I’m very terrifying in real life and I scream a lot but at the same time I am going to offer my authenticity. Let’s be authentic together – that’s what the music needs to do, which is building a bridge between souls.
Dead Rhetoric: In metal, you can embrace those feelings that society tends to shun – things like darkness, despair – the gloominess of it. People say, “Why do you want to listen to something depressing?” But if you are depressed, you can relate to it. I think that’s where the genuineness that you mention stems from. There’s that feeling there, and people can connect to it. There’s all of those cheesy studies on Facebook about how metalheads are more well-adjusted, but I think there’s some truth to it. We look at all of those aspects.
Ms. Meka: Truly. Isn’t that cool [laughs]? I’m a smiley, giddy, cheerful person that screams a lot. When I was working on my Siberian Shamanism, it’s called Black Sky White Sky. In Siberia they have six months of darkness and six months of light. I came into there as a spiritual healing, and you get invited to learn from these shamans. I was so honored and intimidated. I felt I needed to be a light worker – help with the cosmic consciousness of enlightenment, and you are feeling all this positivity and you are doing all this work and they said I was definitely a black sky shaman. It’s cool that they were all listening to the music and were enthusiastic about it. These light workers were just rocking out – even in their seventies. My teacher, she recently passed, but she was in her seventies and making everyone listen to Meka Nism. She’s not afraid of that.
I felt so good about my path as learning spiritual healing when they were like, “You are a black sky shaman. You work with shadow self. You work with pain and anger and trauma. That’s the path to healing, you don’t have to be afraid of it.” Once you aren’t as afraid – you remember childhood. You must see it in your kids in teaching middle school – the fear of life that some people are trying to push on those kids. “You are going to get cancer. You are going to die.” They don’t expect to live very long. A lot of kids think their life is over at 20-25. They think it’s done. There’s no more life if they are not a kid. We have to be a little less afraid of our own existence. It’s the coolest thing in the world to be here and create – to make mistakes and try to fix them. Scream a lot, laugh, and enjoy all the shit we are going through. I’m not going to say it’s easy, because none of this shit is easy. How do we balance all of it? We have to remember to eat, we have to remember to pay bills. There’s all these forms of slavery that we are trying to operate within. If you are completely enslaved by like 10 different societal constructs, if you can go to a metal song and find some freedom, then go to that song and rage it all out and feel free at the end of it. I am very grateful metal exists.
I’m grateful to be someone who has freedom of speech. When we were doing this “Trailblazer” music video, I was thinking, “Oh my God! The women that did speak up back in the day – they could have been killed for hundreds of years!” The witches were definitely killed, and any women, even Queen Elizabeth, wasn’t seen as a woman but a prince, so she had a right to speak in public. It’s fascinating to me that people of any time – as a woman I wouldn’t have had the right to scream in people’s faces just a short while ago. This is unheard of – I might as well take advantage of it and be as loud as I possibly can in as many ways as I can, with all of my heart. This is a blessing. Whatever we have to work with is a blessing. I sure as hell couldn’t have gotten away with this in other lifetimes [laughs].
Isn’t it great that we have the metal concert to go to, or just turn on the headphones and just escape into a soundtrack that gives you permission to have all those feelings. I know I speak about it in a very esoteric way, but it’s true. And it’s needed. I feel like I need to be more honest – “I fucking need this shit to survive. How about you?” Even though I come across as super spiritual, I think it’s needed. I think we all need to be honest with ourselves and each other and have that permission too. I think I’m just taking it to the next level – we get to be angry and it comes up with solutions. Don’t you feel better? This shit rules!
Dead Rhetoric: Just to wrap up, what are your plans for the future with Meka Nism?
Ms. Meka: Right now, it’s kind of up in the air. There’s a lot of opportunities coming to us, but we haven’t quite figured them out yet. We have the “Trailblazer” music video coming out soon, and we have a House of Blues cd release party, and then we have a bunch of offers and opportunities to work out and see what we can make happen. We’ll see what comes to fruition. We are in the middle of what’s about to happen. Have you ever stood at the edge of a cliff and wondered what’s about to happen? I feel like I need a parachute on [laughs] because it’s wondrous and amazing, and we are really grateful for the support. It’s touching and impressive. Just letting this album come out, and seeing what opportunities will come out.
We are looking at touring, and even going to Europe. We are talking about maybe an Asian/Australian tour, so we have a lot of stuff to figure out. I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’d like to do a video for “Black Sky” and talk about communication bridges. I actually have someone who translates sign language and I’m going have her come on stage with me and translate that song into sign language and we will do something with that for the music video. My one friend is both Chinese and Japanese, and we are going to talk about the content of words and dance – come up with a performance art piece that expresses those bridges of communication. But that’s not completely solidified yet.
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