One World (R)
Evolution featuring vocalist
Astrum Lux Lucis.
I recently had the privilege of reviewing the latest CD by One World (R) Evolution featuring vocalist Astrum Lux Lucis. Little did I know I was about to listen to one of the hottest CD's of the year. “Transitions” is an amazing musical statement from start to finish & has some very impressive moments on it. The music is clean, but has a jagged edge to it. All the messages are passionate & are sung from a deeply honest perspective. It’s strong suit – the writing & singing abilities Astrum Lux Lucis. I really admire artists out there who are themselves & just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to those artists that can show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Astrum is one of those artists. Astrum. She possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. Cheryl Hill or Astrum has clearly proven herself yet again with this release, & she is an artist worthy of attention, spotlight, & praise. I guess could go on and on all night about Astrum, you simply have got to get your hands on some of her music., but be careful it's highly addictive.
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
IMD To help newer fans understand – what made you decide to make the transition over from Cheryl Hill Band over to Astrum Lux Lucis & One World (R)evolution?
ASTRUM I’d been desiring to become a “band” for a long time. The musicians who were backing me as “Cheryl Hill” told me to keep it like that. I felt it was a misrepresentation of the music being that I was heading in a heavier direction, and most solo artists are not really hard rockers. I also wish to collaborate with other songwriters and musicians and being a solo artist made it hard for some people to get past that whole “ego” thing associated with solo artists. The name totally speaks to what I am about as an artist, songwriter, creator, and human being – we are one, the world is one, and we must evolve spiritually or consciously in order to have a true revolution. That is why the “R” is in parenthesis – to show that it is two words in one and you can’t have the one without the other.
IMD Can you tell us more about the name Astrum Lux Lucis?
ASTRUM A few years ago I met a woman named Chavah Aima who is now a dear friend and spiritual advisor to me. She did a few astrocartology readings on me and I began to feel like it was time to change my birth name and become a “band”. She had changed her birth name and I asked her about her transition and how she acquired her new name, which was through meditation. I had already come up with the band name One World (R)evolution, now it was time for a new personal name. I did a meditation where I asked the Universe to reveal my real name to me. The first hit I got was “starlight”. I remember thinking to myself, “No way am I calling myself starlight!”. I was like, “really?”. Then I got “shining” and I was like, “OK, there is no way I am calling myself shining starlight!”. Then I remembered that Chavah’s name is actually a Hebrew name. So the next day I called her up and told her what I got and we began to look at different language translations for “shining starlight”. “Astrum Lux Lucis” is “shining starlight” in Latin. I thought it sounded cool, like a super hero, so here I am, the artist formerly known as “Cheryl Hill” now Astrum Lux Lucis.
IMD How has your music changed over the years?
ASTRUM Well, I started off playing drums in a punk rock band. I went from that to playing rhythm guitar in my metal band. I was also the main songwriter in the band. I was heavily influenced by early Metallica (Kill ‘Em All & Ride The Lightning albums) and also Ozzy, Sabbath, Dio, and bands like that, so my style was sort of similar to them and I hadn’t really found my own style yet. I became a solo artist in 1993 and that’s when I really began to study and hone my craft. I studied classical and jazz voice at the University of Miami and read every book I could find on songwriting. I also began to be mentored by some experienced songwriters as well who taught me some tricks of the trade in regards to lyric writing. For some reason, this took me on a journey into the world of country music. Not that I played or wrote country music, although some of my music in this era of my career has a country vibe to it, it was more for the song structuring and lyrical discipline that comes with that genre of music. It’s very formula based and follows the rules of songwriting very strictly, so I studied/listened to acquire those skills. My heart is in music that is heavy with a good groove. Queensryche is my favorite band of all time. Operation Mindcrime totally changed my life, although my favorite album is Rage For Order, totally brilliant! Some newer stuff I like and am influenced by are bands like Dark new Day, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Live, 3 Doors Down, I definitely like having an aggressive edge in my music. I worked with this amazing songwriter and producer on my solo album “Change”, his name was Johnny Pierce. He taught me so much about songwriting and really helped me pull out my own unique style. My music is basically a summary of where I am at in time. Since I’m doing this solo acoustic thing right now, when I sit down to write new songs, I think about making this song be able to cross over into a hard rock format with a band behind it. The key to a great song is if it can be pulled of solo on it’s own without all the production behind it, and that is what I strive for now.
IMD Who have been some of your favorite bands & artists? Who have been the most influential on your music?
ASTRUM So much music has influenced me. As a kid, I grew up on 70’s pop radio stuff, that is where I get my love for funky groove oriented music. Stuff like The Eagles, Pat Benatar, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, etc. In the 80’s I spanned a few genres starting off with hardcore punk and some new wave stuff in the early 80’s, then becoming a metal head in the mid to late 80’s. In the 90’s I got lost. Some of my favorites from this decade are The Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, Suicidal Tendencies, The Go-Go’s (yes, I say that), Ozzy, Dio, Queensryche, Metal Church, Testament, Kind Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Megadeath, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Rainbow. I just didn’t get the music in the 90’s. I think the only band to come out of the 90’s that I really dig to this day and they are in my top 10 of bands is the band Live. I bought Nirvana’s first album and Pearl Jam’s first, but the rest of the stuff wasn’t resonating with me. Soundgarden was cool too. In the early 2000’s is when I got into country music. Garth Brooks is super bad ass, especially his weird side project “Chris Gaines”. The late 2000’s see me getting into some of the modern rock stuff coming out. I totally dig Dark new Day, Breaking Benjamin, Seether, Maroon 5, Train, Tonic, and 3 Doors Down. All of these bands and music has been a major influence on me.
IMD Listening to your music I keep hearing Melissa Etheridge for some reason, am I off the mark there?
ASTRUM I get that a lot with my older stuff, and of course when I had my long hair, people would say I looked like her. When I wrote the Cheryl Hill album “The Road Less Traveled” I was listening to a lot of Melissa and country music. Some songs off that album are on my current album “Transitions”. I think the stuff I write now will no longer get that comparison. If it does, I think it will come from having a string powerful voice like Melissa has. Musically, I am edgier than her.
IMD What inspired you to start writing & composing in the first place? Do you have a favorite song of yours that you feel stands out as one of your personal favorites that you wrote?
ASTRUM I had been playing guitar for about 2 years, playing covers of Metallica, Ozzy, and Dio songs. I thought to myself, if I am to develop my own style I’ve got to stop playing covers and start writing my own songs. So in the summer of 1987 I began composing my first music compositions. I didn’t sing at the time so I didn’t write lyrics either, just wrote music. Shortly after this, I began putting my first band together, a metal band called “Knightmare”. I began writing lyrics after I became a solo artist. I was at a family gathering in like 1992 and they had a karaoke machine, so as a joke, my cousin and I went up and sang Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”. When we got done, my aunt, who was also a songwriter, told me that I should sing. I never really thought about it because I always thought women couldn’t really sing hard rock and metal as well as the guys. But she insisted. I was in community college and enrolled in like group singing class or something like that and then I started on my path of “singer/songwriter”. My favorite song to date is a song I co-wrote called “Goodbye”. It’s such a powerful song all around and the production takes it to a level of giving the listener chills. Lyrically the song is kind of an animal rights song. It refers to the fact that if we don’t change the way we eat and the way we treat animals, we as a species will end. But we have to power to change. The music and production really make the lyrics have so much power, especially at the end when I start to belt it out and the music gets really intense.
"New World” is about the world I desire to live in. Everyone is free to be.
There is no hate, there is no blame, there are no games, no lies, etc.
Everyone is living in the light of unconditional love and in harmony with
one another. Heaven on earth..."
IMD Tell us what motivated you to become a Vegan & adopt that kind of lifestyle?
ASTRUM I had been a vegetarian off and on throughout my life. I always felt it was kind of barbaric to eat animals, and being that I love animals, consciously it was a challenge to eat them. I’d think about what I was eating and get grossed out, I made the connection to the cow in the field and the steak on my plate. I became vegan in May of 2005 when a friend of mine told me about factory farming and all the other horrors that go on in the animal and aquatic agriculture industries. I always knew that we killed the animals to eat them and figured we got byproducts like leather from slaughter houses, but I had no idea of the mass scale of killing, and more importantly, abuse that was going on daily in the lives of these animals. It sickened me. When you hear a number like 53 billion referring to the number of animals that are killed yearly for food throughout the world, well, that’s staggering! There is no way to kill that many animals “humanely”. I no longer desired to be a silent partner in that slaughter. I was instant vegan. My journey into raw veganism began in early 2006 after discovering I am allergic to soy. Most of the vegan junk foods and faux meats are made from soy, so the only other thing to eat is good old fashioned fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. As of this interview I am not 100% raw, but I am and will always remain 100% vegan. My goal in life is to be 100% raw vegan. It’s a challenge at time because of old food addictions and habits, but I feel best when I do eat 100% raw vegan, and I tend to follow Dr. Doug Graham’s 80-10-10rv plan.
IMD What is the best concert you have been to over the years?
ASTRUM I saw Dio on the Last In Line Tour. I was front row, mashed against the wall, singing along, banging my head, making the “devil” sign, having the time of my life! I found a back stage pass outside the venue and snuck in to the after party. I was hanging out in the green room waiting for Ronnie to come out and the road manager saw me and started questioning me. He’s like “Where did you get that pass? Who do you know?”, being the cocky smart ass I was back then I said, “I know Ronnie James”. He’s like “Get the fuck outta here!”. Just then Ronnie comes out and is like, “It’s ok, let her stay.” I was surprised at how short he was. I proceeded to germ out on him and tell him I was front row and he rocks and all this stuff and he said, “I know I saw you.”, and then he signed my tour book “You rock!”. I was like HELL YEAH!!!! Another great concert was the Metallica/Queensryche tour – that show ROCKED!!! I met Queensryche earlier that day at a record store meet and greet. I was so in love with Geoff Tate and always germed out on him when I met him and would say the stupidest things. Like I had this red pen, and I said it was magical and gave it to him to sign an autograph and he’s like “It’s so magical it’s doesn’t work.” We somehow had back stage passes to that tour too. We hung out with Metallica for a bit, they were crazy! I also snuck in back stage at the Motley Crue Home Sweet Home Tour and Vince saved my ass from their dick head tour manager. That was fun too. Those guys are crazy!
IMD I especially enjoyed the piece “The Road Less Traveled” can you tell us about that particular piece, what inspired that one?
ASTRUM “The Road Less Traveled” is my finding God song, or more specific, me finding the God within me. I’ve always been a “truth seeker” and enjoy reading about different religions and spiritual practices, although I never found one resonating with me. I had been reading books like “The Celestine Prophecy” and the “Conversations With God” series by Neal Donald Walsh, and been listening to tapes by Deepak Choprah, and then it dawned on me, what if that voice in my head, not the one that tells me to kill people (kidding!) but the one that seems to be me but not me, my intuition or gut feeling voice. What if that voice was really just God in me talking to me? All the religions, prophets, and spiritual teachers all talk about going inside yourself, trusting your heart, stuff like that. So this song is about me realizing this and it becoming my truth. Unfortunately, people have twisted the teachings for the purposes of power and control and miss these great teachings of oneness with God and of us human beings being gods, spirit beings having a human experience. We all know on some deep level that we are more, but we are programmed to believe we are separate and powerless and not worthy.
IMD How about “Voice Is Calling" or "New World" could you tell us more about those songs?
ASTRUM “Voice Is Calling” is my wake up call to myself song. In February of 1997 I had a breakdown and tried to kill myself. “Voice Is Calling” is the first song I wrote once I was on the path to healing. My therapist told me that depression was anger turned inwards, and I was a very angry young woman, angry at myself and the world. I was a total victim of myself. So combined with the realization that the voice in my head is my God-self, and the realization that I didn’t love myself, I had this awakening that the voice in my head was calling me to start loving myself, and loving myself unconditionally. My songs are my own form of self-therapy. They are like my affirmations and decrees for myself. “New World” is about the world I desire to live in. Everyone is free to be. There is no hate, there is no blame, there are no games, no lies, etc. Everyone is living in the light of unconditional love and in harmony with one another. Heaven on earth.
IMD What’s next for Astrum Lux Lucis & One World (R)evolution?
ASTRUM Immediately on the agenda is a solo acoustic tour – The Rock Out & Recycle Tour Benefiting Dogs Deserve Better. The tour kicks off September 11th and has me performing 70 dates through 17 states. It’s a really cool concept and I’m excited to collaborate with a great group like Dogs Deserve Better http://www.dogsdeservebeter.org. Basically people bring their old/used/broken electronics, inkjet cartridges, and gold/silver/platinum jewelry to my show and drop it in the designated recycle bin on my merch table, pick up a tax donation receipt, and I do the rest. The proceeds benefit Dogs Deserve Better. I’m also taking the show to the next level with a video screen showing mini-movies of my songs while I perform them live. I’m also making some really cool backing tracks to make it like an acoustic ensemble presentation. It’s gonna be awesome!
interview conducted by Cyrus Rhodes. Property of Indie Music Media LLC.
Copyright © 2010
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