Interview with Heather Daniels : Sound Wave Goddess

i. What was the last thing you ate?

A banana with peanut butter, two eggs scrambled with avocado and lemon ginger tea...full day of wooded adventures here I come!

ii. Your favourite State in America?

Having just drove cross country, it’s hard to say. Rural Tennessee is unbelievably beautiful, Marfa Texas is another world, but I guess I’ll go with the place I have always felt most at home, in Northern Coastal California. More specifically, Point Reyes. Spending a day hiking the expanses of the park, sitting on a secluded beach with its giant waves and wildlife and then heading into town to grab a glass of wine, popovers and beet salad at Station House Cafe, only to go home full, happy and satisfied, ready for a deep sleep, is basically heaven in a day.

There are some people in this world that just inspire you to follow creative pathways. Heather Daniels is one of those people for me. She indulges in many creative endeavours whilst finding time to vagabond around the beautiful U. S. of A. 

Living and exploring from her base camp in Maine, Daniels an Ithaca College graduate has roots in audio engineering and video production. Daniels who loves to immerse herself in nature and would explore the wilderness daily if she could, has chosen a career path infused with the tools of modern technology. Her day job at Compass Light Productions and running her own studio, Heather Daniels Productions provides a platform for her to explore a thriving passion for mixtapes and a love of blending this with stimulating visual commentary.

We talk to her about these two energies in her life - and how they've helped her wild spirit flourish. Whilst getting the low down on this sound wave extraordinar's many collaborative and independent accomplishments. 

You love music – what draws you to it? 

I’ve always had an unbelievably deep connection to sound waves. It’s my blood, my lifeline; it’s really everything to me. I’m aware that I have some form of synesthesia, which makes the connection that much greater, but in general music is the purest form of joy, sorrow, life, death, future, past, present, shimmering, vibrating and enhancing the world around absolutely everything. My foundation is made up of a belief in the rhythm of nature and interconnectedness, and I feel music is the only human creation that is as pure as nature itself. 

You have produced some mind blowing mix tapes. Tell us about your creative process - where does your inspiration come from?

Each of my mixtapes are a reflection of a specific time period in my life. I collect songs, from all time periods, cultures and genres, until I feel like the collection fully reflects what I’m experiencing. Then I spend an enormous amount of time shifting around the songs until it flows in a way that creates a sort of storyline in my mind. 

As a creative experimenter and experiencer… what are a couple of your most memorable projects or artistic endeavours? 

Conceptual Ambience / Nag Champa show: The radio show I started in high school and continued to produce through college. I met and discovered so many amazing artists over the years working on that show. One of my greatest pleasures is sharing music. When the radio ended, so started the mixtapes. 

I am reality. reality is me. reality is nothing. nothing is reality: My first piece that successfully reflected what I’m trying to do with moving visuals. Although it looks old now, I still wouldn’t change a thing about it, and hope to build off the foundation of it for years to come. 

Mud Holes: 6 months of trying to teach myself stop motion, holed up in a basement, because I felt it was the only way to truly showcase the story my brother wrote that it’s based off of. Still yet to be finished… 4 years after production. One day. 

Woman Was The Word: An amazing collaboration between extremely talented people.
From Eloise and Tyler: "Woman Was the Word is a project Tyler and I envisioned in observation of the nature in which women are present in the art world, specifically in regards to music. We found that though women are present, their presence is often unknown or unrecognized. While most fields are male dominant, this may not be entirely true in visual arts and music. Women are present, but in a community like the blog community, the presence of their talents can often go under-appreciated in the almost camouflage nature of blogging. The idea of the project was to unveil and illuminate the persistent talents of females whilst tying together all aspects of this community. We asked three remarkable female bloggers to write pieces, poetry, stories, about anything that made them feel inspired to put pen to paper. The three bloggers who participated were Holly of East to West, Katie of Heavy Percussion, and Nada of Friends With Both Arms. Those three pieces they wrote were then interpreted by three female musicians who we asked to make original songs inspired by the writing. The three musicians who participated were Elizabeth Rose (who’s song was inspired by Holly’s piece), Rachel Levy (who’s song was inspired by Katie’s piece), and Yohuna + Adelyn Rose (who’s song was inspired by Nada’s piece). All three songs were then sent to a female artist and videographer, Heather Daniels, who created one video for all three tracks. In result, we’ve received art across all mediums that pay magnificent tribute to the work of women in this world and we’d like to share it with you. 

In The Light Of Awakening: 16 layers of video interweaving at one time; so satisfying. 

Tiny Planets: My latest obsession. The perfect way to document all the little worlds I find myself in.  

Your projects are diverse and mixed it seems you have quite the footing in the local creative community - What is the value for artists to immerse themselves around likeminded folk? 

If it weren’t for the Internet, I most certainly wouldn’t be creating what I do today. My videos rely heavily on public domain archive footage as hints and accents. My mixtapes would never be as rich and diverse if the world of music blogs never existed. And my graphics would never come to life without archival and public domain images that I can layer and layer and layer for days. I’ve honestly never been great at the “like and comment” side of the online art community, but I deeply appreciate the ability to forage for what I need in all kinds of nooks and crannies. My collaborations also stem from the ability to share my work through easily accessible outlets, which has helped me produce some of my favorite projects, without ever actually meeting my fellow collaborators.

A great example of this was the Woman Was The Word collaboration put together by Absent Fever, where we had 3 bloggers, 3 musicians, the creators of Absent Fever and myself as the visual artist all working together from distant parts of the country. And I can say I am very proud of the result. 

Do all artist's struggle as a rite of passage? 

I think creating anything is a struggle in itself, and depending if life struggles fuel your creative fire, some artists struggle more than other. I think life struggles can help people see life from new perspectives, which can be very helpful in the creative process. My background heavily influences the visions in my head and my ability to see the connective string in everything, which is a driving theme in most of my work and how I edit. 

How do you fuel your creative energy? 

To keep my personal frequency buzzing I turn to the outdoors, to music and draw on a life full of interesting experiences. However, my creative energy has a mind of its own. I tend to feel like an artistic tool or passageway, not the actual creator. I put my blood sweat and tears into producing every new piece, but when I’m done I think, where did that come from? 

Where are the sound waves taking you next? 

I’m craving the pure outdoors and a flowing creative process. I’m absolutely hooked on productions like Camp 4 Collective and Sherpas Cinema and hope to work on projects similar to theirs; inspiring humans to get back into the natural world.

Another passion of mine is helping awakened wanderers find healthy and hopeful outlets. People rarely find relief from their perceptual suffering, especially in Western society.

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you've got to be kind."- Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)

In the first few weeks of an infant’s life, I like to think they see the world for what it actually is. No one has told them how to see this or that. Instead, there is a complete lack of symbols, stereotypes, background information or personal beliefs to taint what is actually there. The baby is viewing true reality, taking it all in, and in the process creating his own reality – or more typically – the reality humans have created for him.

“Some believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their estates, because they are born heirs to them.” - Alan Watts

“Distinction and identities may be so deeply embedded in our discourse and thought about the world whether this be because of their role in our practical lives, or because they are cognitively powerful and are an important aspect of the way in which we appear to make sense of our experience, that the theoretical challenge to them can be quite startling.” - John Mepham

In our own culture, I think it’s easy to get lost once a perceptual separation from the human reality occurs. Many see this altered perception as their inability to fit into their own culture and spin quickly into an extremely negative and hopeless mindset. To add fuel to the fire, many of these people start to use substances – usually governmentally created – in order to bring them back into an even more confusing fabrication of the already fabricated human realm. I believe the governmental “fixes” for “depression,” “anxiety” and the like are becoming more and more common because the Western world has few outlets in understanding these new forms of perception.

I’m working towards creating visuals and auditory stimuli that hopefully help in the absolute liberation to someone’s “depression,” the mental clarity to someone’s perceived “psychosis.” And I’d like to mix in a physical counterpart of healing through holistic tools.

“Man finds his freedom through faith in his own universe.” - Alan Watts

Follow the links in this post to check out all the awesome sh*t Daniels has created.

 Photos courtesy of Heather Daniels