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Sun Through Eyelids - Interview

Interview with: Tom Necklen and Meghan Wood of Sun Through Eyelids
Conducted by: Michael

Sun Through Eyelids are an up and coming ambient/dark ambient group from New Zealand. While they are still early in their music career, they've already begun turning some heads with their skilled and emotional take on these genres. Catching the attention of Kalpamantra, Sun Through Eyelids have now released much of their music through the revered net-label. Their latest full length Pathways Of The Lost showcases Sun Through Eyelids fresh take on dark ambient; while the just released Divining The Last Light is a long-form ambient track focusing on winter landscapes, which is perfect for meditation and late-night listening sessions. I had a chance to speak with Tom Necklen and Meghan Wood, the two halves of Sun Through Eyelids. Here's what they had to say about a range of topics including their inspirations and their individual duties within the Sun Through Eyelids project.

Michael: Hi, Tom & Meghan, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions! To start things off would you like to explain a little bit about the origins of Sun Through Eyelids and where you intend to take the project in the future?

Tom: I had the idea of creating a project while laying under the sun listening to The Angelic Process with my eyes closed. The sunlight filtering through my eyelids brought the idea for the name of the project and the dreamy atmosphere I wanted to create. I intend to take the project further and further, hopefully bringing a solitary place people can come to and escape for a while bringing healing pure energy into people's hearts.
Michael: While, Sun Through Eyelids initially started out as a one person project, Meghan Wood later joined the project. What led to the decision to make this a two person music group?
Tom: Well I was actually at work and received an Email from her with a very heartfelt message and she seemed to completely get what I was trying to achieve with Sun Through Eyelids.
I knew of her project Crown of Asteria and was honoured to have her as a part of it as I already knew her talent, and I wanted someone who is on the same page as me.
Michael: Who is responsible for which instruments in Sun Through Eyelids?
Tom: I use a rain stick, singing bowl, Zoom H1 field recorder, sometimes a guitar, and a Novation Launchkey 49.
Meghan: I use guitars, djembe, hand drums, shakers, kantele, flutes, violin, synths.
Michael: What were some of your musical influences that led you in the direction of this obscure musical genre?
Tom: I firstly discovered this genre through hearing Atrium Carceri and Kammarheit which was my obsession for a while and was blown away and I knew from that point I wanted to evoke this type of atmosphere. My main influences are Steve Roach, Kammarheit, Mathias Grassow, Benighted in Sodom, Northaunt, Celer, Jakob and more.
Meghan: I listened to alot of meditation type music and ritualistic trance artists.
Michael: What are your greatest inspirations when writing music? Nature, emotions, politics, religion?
Tom: Nature for sure, and emotions like anxiety and depression even sometimes which I try to suppress through music.
Meghan: Nature, myths, world weariness, healing modalities, longing and old tired souls.
Michael: When you are working on music, do you both have a central studio location or do you tend to work on your parts separately?
Tom: I normally start the song off and work on it in my room with a salt lamp and some incense. Then I will send it to Meghan and she adds her touch to it.
Michael: In your short career as Sun Through Eyelids you already have quite a number of releases. Which one would you say you are the most proud of so far?
Tom: Our last one Pathways of The Lost because it shows all the different types of atmosphere we can do and the album that we took the most time on.
Meghan: My favorite is Svabhava because it shows versatility and is unabashedly  experimental compared to the other releases.
Michael: Coming from New Zealand, which internationally has sometimes been referred to as the edge of the world, and also as Middle Earth, referring to the Lord Of The Rings set location, would you say your country has placed any unique influence on your music?
Tom: Definitely, my country is magnificent and I am always surrounded by nature which makes me feel very at peace and inspired. And regarding Lord Of The Rings, I am very much obsessed with it and have been to the place it was filmed which was epic!
Michael: Have you ever performed live as Sun Through Eyelids, if not would you like to do this in the future, or is this more of a studio-only project?
Tom: Maybe some day, but i doubt it.. the atmosphere cannot be recreated as a live setting I feel.
Michael: Many dark ambient musicians have different rituals they conduct when they sit down to write, for some it is burning incense and meditating, for others it is working in the midnight hours only. Do you have any thing like this when you are writing music, or is it just a plain room with no side thoughts?
Tom: I work on impulse, sometimes I'll have an idea in the middle of the night and quickly work on it or write it down. But I tend to meditate and shut the world out for a while and burn some incense.
Meghan: I work with bolts of inspiration. I will wake up if something is ruminating even in the earliest of hours. I enjoy working in a dimly lit room, usually using candles and I burn incense as well.
Michael: What is your favorite piece of equipment, furniture, or the like in your studio space?
Tom: The view outside my window of the bush-land, and my calming salt lamp.
Michael: Do you know of any other similar musical projects happening around New Zealand or are you the only ambient/dark ambient act coming from there?
Tom: I know of Abby from Gydja who is very  talented, but that's about it.
Michael: Do you have any interesting hobbies, outside of your music, that you think your listeners would be happy to know about?
Tom: I am a part-time gardener for a retirement village which is very peaceful and inspiring, and I like to go take my  dirt-bike for a spin, and I love to go on long hikes.
Meghan: I run a part-time shop where I re-purpose animal remains that I take from road-kill or find while in nature and turn them into jewelry, obscurities, or instruments. I enjoy hiking with my dogs and photography.
Michael: Thank you very much for your time, I'll leave the final words to you!
Tom: Thank you for your time as well, warmth and blessings.
Meghan: Much Warmth, and thank you.

Sun Through Eyelids links: Facebook, Bandcamp