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Archive for the ‘Conscious Evolution’ Category

Mr. Shastris Objection to Congress Resolution. – The Tribune

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WE have in our leading article referred to that part of the interview granted by him to a New India representative, in which Mr. Shastri expressed his disappointment with the Congress resolution on the Government of India Act. In a subsequent passage, Mr. Shastri explained the ground for this disappointment. The first essential for working the new Reform Act, he said, is to get the people to enter upon the new era in a proper spirit. I am afraid the Congress resolution does not help us very much in that direction. It seems to concentrate rather on the further stages than on the full utilisation of the Reform Act. Parts A, B and C of the resolution occupied disproportionate space. Our partial agreement with Mr. Shastri is confined only to his last statement. We do think that part B ought to have been so expanded as to make it clear that the Government of India Act, though unsatisfactory, was an advance upon present conditions and a real step towards full responsible government. But subject to this observation, we fail to see why the Congress resolution should not be regarded as a substantially correct lead to the country. Mr. Shastris objection that the Congress resolution seems to concentrate rather on the further stages than on the full utilisation of the Act is clearly based on a misapprehension. Are not the two in this case intermingled? Is it possible to utilise the Act without having the further stages constantly in our mind? Is not the process of conscious evolutionand surely Mr. Shastri would not have of the day throughout dominated by the consciousness of the end, and is it not the fact that the stronger, the more vivid and the more pervading the consciousness of the end, the surer and speedier is the process? On the other hand, who among us really believes that the further stages can be obtained without our fully utilising the Reform Act?

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Mr. Shastris Objection to Congress Resolution. - The Tribune

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Nicklaus: The greening of Wall Street is more evolution than revolution –

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BlackRock Chairman and CEO Laurence Fink is interviewed by Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network's "Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo," Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Superlatives make me suspicious, so color me skeptical when one of the worlds biggest money managers talks about a fundamental reshaping of finance.

That was the headline on a letter that Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock Inc., sent this week to CEOs of major companies. The letter said climate change and sustainability have become central to BlackRocks investment strategy.

You may not have heard of BlackRock, but the CEOs certainly have. Finks company manages $7 trillion in assets, and it voted against 4,800 directors at 2,700 companies last year. Finks letter said it will increasingly use its voting power when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability.

The firm plans to introduce sustainable versions of its iShares index funds. Instead of weighting investments by market capitalization, the new funds will concentrate money in companies that get high scores on environmental, social and governance issues.

Over time, Fink predicts, the sustainable funds will become BlackRocks flagship offerings, with traditional index funds fading in importance.

Finks letter comes as Australian wildfires dramatize how climate change can affect a national economy. But will it send CEOs scurrying to make their companies greener? Are his superlatives justified?

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Nicklaus: The greening of Wall Street is more evolution than revolution -

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

If You’re in the Song, Keep on Playing: An Interview With Pharoah Sanders – The New Yorker

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Jazz musicians have always placed a premium on saying something. Technique, training, and theory will only get you so far, and may even lead you in the wrong direction; what matters is the ability to hit on an emotion or an idea that feels at once familiar and revelatoryto speak a common language in a decidedly uncommon way.

From this standpoint, few musicians have said more than the saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of a school-cafeteria cook and a city employee, Sanders moved to New York in 1962, at the height of jazzs postwar avant-gardealso known as free jazz or the new thingwhich was spawned by the late-fifties experiments of the saxophonist Ornette Coleman and the pianist Cecil Taylor. Sanderss dbut album, recorded in 1964 for the ESP label, garnered little attention, but his playing caught the ear of John Coltrane. Coltrane invited Sanders to join his band in 1965. The following year, Impulse!, the label that had been exhaustively documenting Coltranes evolution, gave Sanders another chance to record as a leader. The result was the surging and expansive Tauhid, an album that positioned Sanders as both Coltranes foremost disciple and an artist with ideas of his own.

Coltrane died in 1967, and Sanders recorded some with his widow, Alice Coltrane, a multi-instrumentalist and composer, before returning to the studio for Impulse! two years later, with his own group. The resulting album, Karma, set the template for a remarkable five-year run. While remaining as fiery as ever, Sanders had developed an interest in soaring, magisterial melodies, and the rhythms of his recordings, while dense and multi-layered, often hewed toward a steady groove. He also incorporated unexpected elements: non-Western instruments, yodelling by the sui generis vocalist Leon Thomas. As the title of Karma suggests, Sanders, like Coltrane, felt that music had a spiritual dimension. The whole musical persona of Pharoah Sanders is of a consciousness in conscious search of a higher consciousness, Amiri Baraka later wrote.

Subsequent Impulse! releases, such as Jewels of Thought, Thembi, and Black Unity, extended a musical quest that has now, in one form of another, lasted more than fifty years. But for someone who has said so much through music, Sanders has said very little to the press, doing only a handful of interviews in the course of his career. I spoke with Sanders earlier this fall, in Los Angeles, where he had just celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday by playing two shows in the area. Sanders still projects a distinctly Southern brand of soft-spokenness, one thats equal parts humility and aversion to fuss. Although he is an acknowledged master who has been honored at the Kennedy Center, he speaks of himselfand seems to sincerely regard himselfas just another working musician trying to make a living.

We talked about his beginnings as a musician, his approach to recording over the years, and his collaborations with jazz legends. But Sanders was more inclined to reflect on the challenge of finding a good reed than to dilate on his legacy. What really mattered, it seemed, was his feeling that he could never get it right. Over the course of the conversation, it became clear that he wasnt being compulsively hard on himself or willfully oblivious. Rather, he was still searching, possibly for something that he knew he would never find.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

You just had your seventy-ninth birthdayhappy birthday!

Thank you.

What keeps you going, musically? Why are you still out there touring?

Well, I still try to make a living. I havent retired. Im not working that much, but, you know, jobs come through.

What are you trying to accomplish artistically at this point?

Right now, I dont even know myself!

Your sets these days touch on all the different things youve explored in your career. I saw you play in Portland earlier this year, and you played some standards and ballads as well older, more open-ended material, like The Creator Has a Master Plan,1 from Karma.

I just play whatever I feel like playing. Its hard to keep a band together these days, so I never know most of the time whos going to be in the band. Whoever I decide to use, if I can use them, well, thats it!

Lets go back to the beginning. Before you took up the saxophone, you played the clarinet in church?

I started playing drums first.

Oh, I didnt know that.

Then I wanted to play clarinet. I went to church every Sunday, and there was this memo up in church that someone had a metal clarinet. That person just passed away maybe a few days ago. He was about ninety-three or ninety-four. Thats how I got my first instrument. Seventeen dollars!

When did you switch to saxophone?

Well, in high school I was always trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career. What I really wanted to do was play the saxophonethat was one of the instruments that I really loved. I started playing the alto. Its similar to the clarinetif you can play the clarinet, you can play the saxophone.

Why did you switch to tenor from alto? What did you like about the sound?

Tenor was the most popular instrument at that time to get work. I would rent the school saxophone. You could rent it every day if you wanted to. It wasnt a great horn. It was sort of beat-up and out of condition. I never owned a saxophone until I finished high school and went to Oakland, California. I had a clarinet, and so I traded that for a new silver tenor saxophone, and that got me started playing the tenor. The minute I bought it, I wanted an older horn, so I traded my new horn for an older model.

I read that you went to Oakland because you were studying art and you were going to go to art school.

I was painting all the time, pictures. I got into music very late. I used to do all that kind of work.

Have you painted at all since then?

No, I havent done anything for many, many years. Ive wanted to go back into it, but I just havent.

After just a couple of years in Oakland, you moved to New York. Had you decided to focus exclusively on music?

I had to get it all together. I didnt know enough about lots of thingsbasic things. I knew I needed to get some studying in, in order to get into playing saxophone, because I wanted to play jazz. So I had to cut out a lot of activities that I was doing and spend more time practicing scales and stuff like that.

Is it true that you were homeless when you first moved to the city?

I didnt have nowhere to stay. Everybody was talking about, You should go to New York. They said, Thats the place to go! So thats the reason I went to New York. I hitchhiked a ride to New York.

What year was this?


So, when you get there, the avant-gardeor whatever you want to call itis in full swing. Its been three years since Ornette Colemans residency2 at the Five Spot.3 Sun Ra has moved the Arkestra4 from Chicago to New York. Were you following all of this?

I didnt know what was going on. I was trying to survive some kind of way. I used to work a few jobs here and there, earn five dollars, buy some food, buy some pizza. I had no money at all. I used to give blood and make fifteen dollars or ten dollars or whatever. I had to keep eating something.

But you managed to establish yourself as a musician.

I always wanted to work with my own band, so I got some guys together and started working down in New York, in Greenwich Village. I could pick up a few little weekend jobs. You had to do something to survive.

Who was in that band with you, your first band?

I would ask around for some musicians, and we playedI didnt even hardly know their names.

Was Billy Higgins5 in that band? I read that you two knew each otherand that he was homeless, too.

Billy Higgins, he would come around in that location a lot, in the Village. I met him, and I heard him play. On occasion, we kind of talked a little bit about the music, and I found out how great he was. I started listening to some of his recordings. Like I said, all the time, I was still trying to find some type of job or workit didnt matter whether it was playing music or whatever it was. There was one time I got a job being a chef, cooking, in order to survive.

You started working with the Arkestra in 1964, and then, in September, 1965, you joined Coltranes band.6 That was a lot of peoples first exposure to you. Do you know why he chose you?

I dont even know the reason myself. I dont feel like he needed me or another horn. I think he just felt like he was going to do something different.

What was it like to work with him? Theres an idea of him as this saint-like figure.

His whole demeanor reminded me of a minister. He didnt act like a lot of musicians that Ive met in my life. John, he was always extremely quiet. He didnt say anything unless you asked him something. I never asked him anything about music.



But he was making a conscious choice to work with younger musicians.

He always had some kind of a way of looking to the future, like a kaleidoscope. He saw himself playing something different. And it seemed like he wanted to get to that level of playingI dont know if it was a dream that came to him, but thats what he wanted to do. I couldnt figure out why he wanted me to play with him, because I didnt feel like, at the time, that I was ready to play with John Coltrane. Being around him was almost, like, Well, what do you want me to do? I dont know what Im supposed to do.

He always told me, Play. Thats what I did.

What was your relationship with him like?

I loved being around him because I dont talk that much, either. It was just good vibes between us both. We were just very quiet. All the time that Id been listening to John, Im hearing something else, just being around him. He would never start some kind of conversationhe would say something, but it wouldnt last that long. He never would elaborate, or go deep into it. He said a few words, and that was it.

Was he funny at all? Did he ever joke around?

He had a sense of humor about him, I think. One time, Jimmy Cobb was playing with him, and his stick got loose, and it went across to John and hit him, or something. John said, Yeah, hes just trying to get back at me.

His sense of humor was in his music. Sometimes hed remind me of Monk.7 John would play things Monk would play, but it was a little bit different, faster. Id turn around and look and say, Oh. O.K.

Monks music is definitely humorous, but I dont think many people hear that in Coltrane.

He got a lot of stuff from being around Monk. He didnt sound like Monk, but he understood the humor.

After John passed away, you continued recording with Alice Coltrane.8

You know, her playing was amazing. I loved what she was doing. But I always felt like what I was doing wasnt good enough. Maybe I was playing a little bit more dominant than what she wantedshe seemed more intellectual than I was. But I tried to play something close to the concept that she was doing.

At one point, I had told her, I dont know if you like the way Im playing or not. I dont know whether this fits, or what. She said, Youre doing O.K. Just keep on playing. Keep on blowing.

Around this time you also start leading your own bands, and you start recording for Impulse! as a leader. Did you feel like you knew what you were doing then?

No, I dont think I was really ready. But I had to go on anyway, and study while I was trying to get it all together. I knew I had to be better than what I was. I had to keep moving. I learned a lot from John. I remember I used to talk to Philly Joe Jones.9 I talked to a lot of different people.

On those Impulse! records, youre experimenting a lot with non-Western instruments, finding ways to use vocals in a freer context, and getting into more groove-oriented rhythms. Were you thinking through things in advance or just figuring them out in the studio?

We just worked it out while we was there. That kind of spontaneous move.

You started working with some musicians who people didnt know well at the time, like Leon Thomas,10 Lonnie Liston Smith,11 Sonny Sharrock.12 What were you looking for when you heard them?

I was looking for musicians who played with lots of energy. I wanted to be able to play that way myself. In order to do that, I had to find musicians to work with who had that kind of energy.

You were making incredibly intense music during this period, on albums like Jewels of Thought and Thembi. Was that just where your head was at that timeconstantly in a kind of heightened state?

I dont know. I was still trying to reach for something, I didnt know what.

Today people call this music spiritual jazz. But it wasnt like anyone sat down at a table and said, Lets invent this whole new kind of music.

It just happened. Thats the way I look at it. It just happened. I was never satisfied with my playing, for a long, long time. Still sort of have problems like that.

Still? Do you feel like youve ever had a moment, or a record, where youve been, like, I got this one right?



I used to hear other bands, other groups, when they were making a recording. And a lot of musicians Id hear would be working on one song maybe for, could be a week, or a few weeks. Make sure everything is right.

You, on the other hand, were recording two or three albums a year with Impulse! Was that how often the label wanted you in the studio?

Well, they wanted a certain number of records a year, being signed with somebody. The thing you dont want to do is make them too close together, playing the same way as you were before. Youve got to do something fresh. Some people like to wait for that kind of thing to happen.

But thats not how you approached it.

I just felt like going in there and doing what I wanted to do.

Would the label give you any direction, or were they hands-off?

They tried to let you know how many songs to play. I just kind of ignored it. Sometimes, I would just play one tune for the whole side. I just kept on playing, like it was a suite. Looking from one thing to another. If youre in the song, keep on playing.

Did you rehearse?

No, we never rehearsed.

Did you ever do more than one take?

Maybe on a few things we did, something where I didnt really like the way I first got started up and started out playing. But whenever I heard it back, I kind of liked it, so I said, Well, I should have kept it. Anyways, its too late now.

It kind of taught me something else. It made me think, Why do I have to do it this way? Lets keep on playing until it all comes together. Thats what we did. Thats what I always do. You know, try to keep on creating.

Youve mentioned several times now having not liked how your playing soundedthis seems tied into the idea of your always searching for something new. Is there any recording where youre happy with your sound?

I havent made it yet. Sometimes on my horn, a couple of notes, Im feeling satisfied with it, but the rest of the notes just is not sounding right. So Im still working on that.

I have a problem with finding the right reeds, and the right mouthpiece, the right horns. I used to buy boxes of reeds, and if they dont play right Id just throw them right on the floor, put them in the trash. Maybe a box of threes, or a box of fours. They never sound the same.

Do you think most musicians think this way? Are you all just perfectionists?

I dont know. I know when I listen to other musicians, they sound beautiful to me. When I hear myself playing, I sound like They sound beautiful. I just wonder, what are they all using?

What do you listen to these days?

I havent been listening to anybody.

Not even older stuff?

I havent been listening to anything.

I listen to things that maybe some guys dont. I listen to the waves of the water. Train coming down. Or I listen to an airplane taking off.

Have you always been listening for sounds like that?

Ive always been like that, especially when I was small. I used to love hearing old car doors squeaking. Maybe its something youre really into, then maybe youll get a sound like that. I just wondered, Would that be a good sound?

Sometimes, when Im playing, I want to do something, but I feel like, if I did, it wouldnt sound right. So Im always trying to make something that might sound bad sound beautiful in some way. Im a person who just starts playing anything I want to play, and make it turn out to be maybe some beautiful music.

When you were first in the public eye, with Coltrane, people didnt get that.

I dont know if I got it myself.

Do you go back and listen to your recordings?

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If You're in the Song, Keep on Playing: An Interview With Pharoah Sanders - The New Yorker

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Nicole LaPerla, The Holistic Psychologist, Is Radically Changing The Business Of Mental Health – Forbes

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Dr. LaPerla takes a more comprehensive approach to mental health and getting vital information to ... [+] masses of people.

When psychologist Nicole LaPerla started sharing some of her insight on Instagram to an audience of a few hundred, her only goal was to create the content that she needed on her own healing journey. That audience has now grown to over a million and a half strong, and LaPerla is sticking to her principles. Im very connected to my community, she shared with me. I spend a ton of time in the comments and the DMs, and that is what helps me create thing that might bring the most value.

Youve probably heard of LaPerla, or at least, seen her posts shared by one or more of your friends. Her work has gained a cult following for being, well, that good.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, LaPerla always knew she wanted to be a psychologist. Her fascination with the human mind and behavior, as she describes it, made it the perfect fit.

However, through her training, LaPerla found fault with the traditional mental health education system, citing the major problem being the disassociation between mind and body. Its focused on the diagnostic model, she explains, which means labeling symptoms as disorders. I was trained that all people can do is basically manage symptoms. I wish I had been taught more about trauma, epigenetics, and the importance of conscious awareness.These are things I teach every day now because they lead to immense healing.

The main issue with clinical psychology is there is a lack of empowerment.We are now showing people the power of choice, habit, and environment that they can change if they do the work.

She believes that trauma is at the root of our mental health crisis.

We have more mental health practitioners than ever, and yet mental health issues are on the rise, which is something we need to look at, she says. We are alsojust now beginning to talk about things like polyvagal theory to understand how trauma impacts the body and entire nervous system.Many of us are living in bodies that keep us stuck in states of disease, and we arent even aware of them.

LaPerla shared that she perceives the biggest mental health misconception to be that mental illness is a genetic chip that we are destined to live with forever. Our symptoms are powerful messengers from the body trying to get our attention, she said. Ive seen radical healing so many times from people who were told there was no hope.There is hope for everyone who commits to their healing.We need more practitioners speaking this truth.

Right now, LaPerla is leading that movement, and innovating the way we access information in the process.

Recognizing the natural and inevitable evolution of the digital age, she believes that the Internet should rightfully play a role in mental health counseling and the promotion of better education. Therapists are creating amazing content every day.Never in history have people had free access to such valuable content that can actually help them heal from things they may never even knew they needed to heal from, she said.

Its no secret that therapy is expensive and out of reach for many people.Of course, social media is no substitute for therapy, but it does give people tangible tools to create deep change in their life.

LaPerla recognizes that her field is at a pivot point. This is a very important time of waking up to the reality that we need a collective healing, she says.Its not something we can outsource to anyone else, though of course professionals can be a help to us on our journey.We need to be active participants in our own healing, or these numbers will just continue to rise.Thats the message I am passionate about getting out there.

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Nicole LaPerla, The Holistic Psychologist, Is Radically Changing The Business Of Mental Health - Forbes

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Q&A with British Lions – Herald-Whig

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Posted: Jan. 17, 2020 12:01 am Updated: Jan. 17, 2020 8:27 am

Ahead of both the album release and the US tour, I was able to spend a few minutes talking to Richard Taylor, lead singer, and separately, Steve Harris, bass player of British Lion. They shared some of their thoughts on making the new album, winning over new fans, and what they're looking forward to with the upcoming run of shows here in the States. First up, Richard Taylor:

Mike Sorensen: Thank you for a little bit of your time. I know with the new album coming out, and the new tour on this side of the world, I know your time is probably pretty spare at the moment.

Richard Taylor: Yeah, it's no problem! It's about 6pm here in the UK, so I'm just kind of relaxing, really, getting ready for next week!

MS: Well, I'll try to keep this short so you can enjoy your evening! I wanted to start with the fact that I know British Lion has taken a path that is unusual for most bands. Do you think that's been helpful in the creative process that you haven't been on any set schedule like other bands may have been?

RT: Yeah, I think it has helped, really. You know, Steve, and I, and the other guys, have known each other for many, many years. I don't know if you know the beginnings or not, but I knew Steve when I was really young, back in my early 20s, in the 1990s. I was already writing songs, and I started writing through songs with Steve back then. That was a younger band, and Steve was my manager then. There's a lot of years in between, and that band didn't happen, it sort of imploded, but Steve and I stayed friends, so we had been writing. It is difficult, I do a lot of the writing here in the UK, and I submit my ideas to Steve, and then we get together when we can. So it's been a long break since the first record, but there's an awful lot of material around, and ideas from way, way back, ya know?

I don't think the break in between has been bad for us, and we've been continuously touring, and really working at our craft. I think that's really helped us. We've had like eight years of touring now, and the band has really developed in a way since the release of the very first album in 2012.

MS: I noticed, even just since November, you guys have been all over the world, and everything coming out about this new tour, I keep seeing that it's the first US tour, and that shocked me because I keep thinking 'That can't be right!' But this is the first time you guys have done a US tour. Is that something you've intentionally waited to come to the US, or was it just a matter of the timing being right?

RT: I think it was just timing, ya know? We had our first American audience, it was a couple of years back now, we did the Monsters of Rock cruise. That's only a few days away, out at sea, but it's a great gig, and there's a lot of great, cool bands on there. For British Lion, that was our first American audience. A few Europeans, but the majority of the audiences on those Monsters of Rock cruises are American. We loved it, and I think we went down really well. It was always planned, to come to America, and personally I've been fascinated by America since I was a child, and I draw many influences from all types of music, particularly American music as well! It's an absolute dream to come and do a real tour there in the States.

MS: Well, we're excited to have you! I've been listening since the first album, and the new album sounds amazing. I know you were talking about the writing. You and Steve and David (Hawkins, guitarist) do the majority of the writing, is that correct?

RT: Yes, that's correct!

MS: I know the new album, while I've been going back to the first album lately, the new album sounds heavier to me than the first. Not a drastic change, but just a heavier sound. Was that, again, something that was done intentionally, or is that just the way the music's evolved for you?

RT: Again, it's just a natural progression. The thing is, hopefully you'll get to see us when we come out, because people get a real shock at how powerful the band is when we play live. The first record I don't want to go into too much detail but it goes a long way back in the fact that Steve and I had been writing for years and years and years, and we just took little bits here and there, it was never intentionally as a record. We ended up with a whole bunch of songs, but it wasn't where the whole album was recorded in one place. So the production is definitely weaker, if I may say that, compared to when we play live.

This record is very close to how we do sound live. We all went in together and recorded it at the same time, in the same studio. It didn't take long, only took a week, we recorded it as a live band, all in the same studio, I sung as the band put the tracks down. I mean, you know, it's still a studio so it's not a live record as such, but it was kind of performed the way we do live. I guess that's why it sounds more powerful and more heavy.

MS: Well, the sound comes through, and I think the energy translates when a band plays together, whether it's on stage or in a studio. And I am excited, I'm currently hoping to see the show when you come in to Joliet, which is where I'm from. I'm just excited that you guys are coming over to see us at all! Do you have any plans for yourself, personally, during any of the limited downtime that you might have during the tour? Anything that you want to see while you're over here?

RT: Yeah, lots of places! As I said, America's a big part of my influences growing up. Particularly, I remember when I was really young, I had an older sister that loved Elvis. I've loved music for as long as I can remember, as long as I could talk, and I remember hearing Elvis, so I'm really hoping to get to Graceland. Anywhere in the States, really! Nashville, particularly, because I love country music, as well, so to get to Nashville would be great! Everywhere, all over the States. I've been to Florida before, been to LA before, and I've been to Canada before, the closest we've toured, but on this particular tour we're getting to see a lot more states and cities. And New York, I did visit New York last year, it's just fantastic for me, it's a wonderful, amazing city! Jimi Hendrix's studio is there, and we went to his studio.

Just generally, really, America is such a big country, and all the states are different, so in my down time, I'll definitely be out and about and trying to take it all in, really!

MS: There's plenty to see, and just looking at the schedule it amazing to see how much you guys do in such a small timeframe. With that, I'll skip the usual what's next for the band? because the calendar shows that what's next is a lot of time on the road! Let me ask this: What would you like to see over the next four or five years for British Lion?

RT: What I'd really like is continuing touring, that's what the plan is, some big festivals this year. And then really just kind of going up the ladder a little bit. It's a humble start! It's absolutely fantastic to have Steve onboard. Obviously Steve's other band is vastly known all over the world, where British Lion is completely different to that, and we have our own audience, as well. And we've got to work at it, ya know, so we're playing smaller clubs. So we're just going to continue how we're going! We're all in 100%, and it's a great band, a powerful band, it's an honest band, and we're very sincere, we really mean what we're doing, although it's very personal to me, as I'm the majority writing the lyrics.

I think in the next four or five years, it would be fantastic to put another album out, certainly in the next four years. Funnily enough, we already have some ideas. There's a song left over from this album, The Burning, we left it off specifically because it's got a really strong title, and it's more than just a song. It seems to have a huge kind of story behind it, and it's kind of given the focus behind the idea for the next record. So we've got to finish that.

And I hope this isn't the only American tour! The whole point of what we've been doing for the last eight years is we've been playing Europe, and in Eastern Europe, when we're lucky to go back a few years later, the clubs are getting fuller from word of mouth, and we'd like to do that in America, as well. Hopefully we'll put on a good show for everybody, and they can go and tell their friends for the next time we come back. That's sort of the way to build things.

And following that conversation, I then spoke with Steve Harris:

Mike Sorensen: I appreciate you taking a little bit of you time, I know it's got to be a busy week for you this week!

Steve Harris: No, it's all right, it's good! And I appreciate it, as well!

MS: I'm privileged to get to speak with you, I've been a fan of all of your work for a long time. I know the tour that's getting ready, you guys are starting this week, it's the first British Lion tour in the US. Are you excited to bring the live show to a bunch of different cities over here to us colonials?

SH: I'm very excited, 'cause it's the first time ever, so it's nice, yeah! Obviously the guys are. A couple of them never even played in the States before, so it's gonna be great! I'm really looking forward to it!

MS: Hopefully we make sure we give them the proper hospitality over here!

SH: Well, you never know, when you play a place for the first time, a country or city or whatever, the first time, you never know what you're going to get. And I don't mean even the reaction so much, you just don't even know how many people are going to turn up! It was like that when we first started playing Europe and other places, too. It's all turned out really well, and as long as people come along and give it a chance, we can go out there and do what we do, and I'm sure they'll have a good time!

MS: I know, personally, I'm looking forward to it! I've seen some of the clips from the live shows, and I love the albums, both of them so far, and I can't wait to see the energy on stage!

SH: Yeah, we give it a lot of energy! We give it 110%, and we enjoy it! We have fun when we play, so that's the main thing.

MS: Do you have any different process that you go through when you're playing in a smaller venue, before you get on stage?

SH: For one, we do soundchecks, which for Maiden, we don't. With Maiden, we do one or two at the beginning of a tour, and all the arenas, all the stage sizes, are set to the same size everywhere, indoors or outdoors, it's always the same stage sizes. So you don't really need to do soundchecks, we just get our crew to do line-checks to make sure things are functioning and whatever. But when you start playing in clubs, every club is totally different from one place to the next. Size-wise, sound-wise, everything's totally different, so you need to do soundchecks. So we do 'em, and that's the biggest difference, I would say, in that sense.

MS: I did get a moment to speak with Richard (Taylor, British Lion vocalist) last week, and I wanted to get your take on this: Do you feel that, from a creative point of view, do you think there's a benefit that British Lion is not on a traditional 'album cycle,' if you want to call it that? That you get to do your own thing, that you get to take a little more time in doing the albums?

SH: I can't speak for everybody, but for me, it's just a question of trying to cram it all in! I mean, with what I'm doing, the rest of the guys have to sort of work around me. From their point of view, I would even say it may even be a little bit frustrating, possibly, because it's taken so long to get these albums out. Having said that, we've been having great fun playing live in between times. It is what it is, but in an ideal world, I'd love to be able to record an album like we do with Maiden: write, record, and mix an album all in one go. But that's just not possible, so we have to do it in a different way. But we make it happen! We find a way and we make it happen!

It is a little frustrating, I suppose, but I'm sure it's more frustrating for them than it is me! 'Cause I'm still out there doing other stuff with Maiden and having a great time with them, so it's tough. But we all enjoy it, the end result is worth it.

MS: Well, having gotten a sneak-peek of The Burning, the new album, I can say that I think it sounds a little heavier than the first album. Do you feel that was a conscious effort, or was that just the evolution of the music from where you were writing?

SH: I think it's the natural evolution of playing live. The first album, we hadn't really played live together. I think it happened a few years before that, when I went out with the early incarnation of British Lion, I got up and did a couple of songs with them, but I never really played a full set with them or anything like that. It's just a whole different thing once you've been out playing live everywhere. The same line-up we have now is the line-up that we went out and toured the album with, even though there's a few different people playing on the first album, as well.

The line-up for the live thing has stayed the same for the last seven or eight years. It's evolved into a really tight-knit unit, we all have fun, enjoy each other's company, we get on really well and enjoy working together! It's a lot of fun, and that's enabled everybody to be able to do more stuff and do whatever, because we have spent more time together.

MS: The sound is fantastic on the new album. I've really been enjoying it and, again, I really am eager to see it performed live, as well! It just lends itself to that energy.

SH: Well, I think we have really captured, as much as possible, we've captured what we are like live. Quite a few of the songs, we were already playing live anyway for a while, so we went and recorded them straight off of playing live, and it shows! Of course, the tough thing after that is all the newer material that we haven't played live yet, it was more difficult to try and get that same feeling, but I think we managed to capture it! And we've played a couple more songs live in the UK and, just before Christmas we played London, and we've still got some more songs for the US that we've never played live before. We're really looking forward to that!

MS: When I had spoken with Richard, he had mentioned a song that was in the mix for this album, but you had decided to pull it back that may be building for a next album. I don't want to put the cart before the horse and talk about another album, but

SH: We've got a few songs, we've probably got four or five songs. It's not that we had songs that were just not good enough to get on this album or anything like that. We had some other ideas that we felt would be better on the next one. So hopefully the next one won't take as long to come out! It's great, because there's so many ideas that are flying around the place, for both bands British Lion and Iron Maiden! it's just great to have that problem, having too many ideas than not enough.

MS: The impression that I had gotten was that it may be leaning more toward aI don't know if concept album is the right phrasing, but that it may be a more structured album, telling a fuller story within the album. Is that something that you would be interested in doing with British Lion?

SH: I think we've got to wait and see once we've got all the songs and decide at that point. But, yeah, there's a rough idea of what we want to do with it. We've even got some bits and pieces which we even feel would work well with it. But I think it's better to talk about this album now, really, because we're excited about this one coming out, and it might be a while before the next one comes out, but not too long, hopefully.

MS: Absolutely, and I just mentioned it because of his comments, and I'm a big fan of those concept albums, so I was just curious on that process.

SH: Well, I know (guitarist) David Hawkins would like to do something like that, because he's kind of into all of that stuff, as well. But we'll see. We'll just have to see what the rest of the songs are about, and see what happens.

MS: With what I've heard, I can't imagine there's many ideas from British Lion that wouldn't thrill me, so I trust what you guys are going to be doing going forward, including this tour. Is there anything you might want to say to fans coming out for these shows who might not know what to expect from a live British Lion's show?

SH: I think they just need to grab a couple of mates and bring 'em with them and say 'come and give this a chance!' Because it's a really good live band, really good songs, and they'll have a good, fun night out. I think that's the thing, we've just got to get people in. It's tough, even with a name like me in the band or whatever, it's still tough to get people to come and see something that's new. But once they're there, you get 'em in there and you prove what you can do. That's what we want.

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Q&A with British Lions - Herald-Whig

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Fashion 2020: China, India, ecommerce, and athleisure boost business up to 1.9 trillion dollars – MDS

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Mature, still with potential to grow. Despite the slowdown in the developed market, the risk increase in the global economy and the challenges faced by the sector itself, fashion continues to grow and will reach up to 1.88 billion dollars in sales, according to Euromonitor International.

The consultancy emphasizes that clothing and footwear make up the second-largest consumer goods industry in the world.Despite its maturity, its outlook is positive, although, its growth levers are not the same as ten years ago.

The progress of ecommerce, the enormous potential of China and India and the growth of mens fashion will compensate for the flawed traditional channels and categories, which continue to representthe bulk of sales of the sector: developed markets, physical retail, and women.

Ecommerce is one of the main responsible for the progress that fashion sales will experience in the upcoming years: in 2019, a quarter of the sales of the sector were already made online.

On the other hand, mens fashion has become, together with athleisure, the main category of growth: menswear clothing sales have been growing for several years more than womenswear, and sportswear sales will grow by 8% this year, compared to 4% of the sector as a whole. Last year, leggings was the category that progressed the most among apparel, amidst athleisure's growth and the increasing evolution of the practice of sports among women.

As a whole, the consultancy expects clothing sales to grow by 4%, up to 1.5 trillion dollars, while footwear will grow another 4%, up to 384 billion dollars, driven by childrens footwear.

China and India together with the United States, will be the worlds largest markets for the sector in 2024. Fashion sales in China will amount to 435 billion dollars within four years, surpassing the United States, with 384 billion dollars.

Each of them will generate more sales than the following three markets together: India, with 101 billion dollars; Germany, with 79 billion and the United Kingdom, where fashion will reach sales of 76 billion dollars in 2024.

Man and ecommerce remain the main growth levers in the sector. Euromonitor stresses that the growth of mens fashion continues to outrank womens and that a quarter of the sales in the sector are already made through the Network.

Another factor that will change consumption in the middle term is the growing role of sustainability, proven in recent years by agreements such as the Fashion Pact. After living in the era of fast fashion, consumers are now re-evaluating their shopping habits and showing interest in adopting more sustainable practices, says Ayako Homma, fashion and luxury consultant at Euromonitor.

60% of consumers are concerned about climate change and 64% try to have a positive impact on the environment through daily activities. While consumers are becoming more environmentally-conscious, apparel and footwear companies are attempting to curb fashions environmental impact from various angles, adds the expert.

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Fashion 2020: China, India, ecommerce, and athleisure boost business up to 1.9 trillion dollars - MDS

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

The Supply Side: Resale, personalization, experience will dominate retail in 2020 –

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The retail sector will continue to face headwinds in 2020. The National Retail Federation (NRF), with the help of its members and researchers from Bain Capital, TrendWatching, Code Commerce and New York University, recently outlined several predictions for retailers in 2020.

NRF expects ambiguity over the next 12 months as the 2020 presidential election will dominate the airways and could put a damper on consumer sentiment. Consumers are the lifeblood for the economy, and by standard metrics, the state of the consumer is solid heading into 2020, according to Wells Fargo chief economist Jay Bryson. But, he said, there are some outlying risks to the growth.

Not only would another increase in tariffs weigh further on investment spending, but higher prices for consumer goods would erode growth in real income that could exert headwinds on growth in consumer spending, Bryson said.

Retail experts also expect greater attention focused on continued growth in the sharing economy and its disruption to traditional models. They expect heightened speculation about a recession, raised eyebrows about the likelihood of more autonomous-driving cars, and more context about 5G cellular technology.

RISING RESALE Consumers continue to have a big appetite for resale and recommence, which NRF said will be voracious in 2020. The rising resale market is the new disruptor in the sector, and its poised to double in size over the next five years. In 2019, the secondhand apparel market was worth an estimated $24 billion, according to retail analysts firm Global Data. They expect the resale market could reach $41 billion by 2022. The used-fashion industry could climb to $64 billion in the U.S. by 2028, which is a major disruption to an already beleaguered retail segment.

The trade group said frugal consumers, led by value-conscious Millennials, will continue to fuel the resale segment. Younger and older generations are also getting into the resale mindset with the ease of selling items on eBay, Etsy or Facebook Marketplace and popular apps like Poshmark, ThredUp and Mercari.

Consumer attitudes toward ownership have evolved from stockpiling fashion to a more circular motion, with the desire for greater sustainability at the forefront. We look for more retailers to dabble in rentals, targeting a piece of Rent the Runways sweet success to win favor with shoppers who will forever be seduced by whats new and now, but are refusing to compromise their environmental ethos, NRF noted in the report.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS The trade group said retailer success in 2020 is grounded in offering an incredible retail experience. That entails how retailers tell a story, how shoppers experience it and the emotional connection left behind. That will allow vigilant businesses to raise the bar.

The retail industry has been talking about experiences for decades remember The Experience Economy, written by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in 1999, the report stated. Today its imperative, regardless of whether a company is selling apparel, personal care products or tires. Customers can buy just about anything online, so its important to snag their attention with storytelling and hands-on interaction and your audience will remember the experience, the report stated.

NRF said the concept of experiential retailing is speeding toward a mainstream business practice. The newest crop of retail businesses were early adopters.

Now, shopping malls are embracing the idea, infusing entertainment options into the mix and beckoning mall-goers with the promise of environments that will transform periodically not just at the holidays, the report said.

Experts predict there will be some challenges with experiential retail, noting the importance of regularly refreshing the experiences.

While experience matters to consumers, the trade group said retailers who refuse to change will be the most vulnerable. The experts said the key to success is to create an experience that makes shoppers want to return again and again. They say while leveraging technology is wise, it is not a substitute for human capital, which is vital to experiential retail.

BLURRED LINES The lines between channels, products, technology companies and social media entities are no longer clearly delineated. Retailers have been branching far beyond familiar channels. Theyre continuing to try their hand at hospitality, health services and rentals.

Over the past six months, Walmart, Kroger, Macys and e.l.f. Cosmetics launched campaigns on social media platform TikTok, garnering impressive levels of consumer engagement along with millions of views, according to NRF.

Under the heading of strange bedfellows, the report states: Le Tote, a relative newcomer in subscriptions, inked a deal to acquire legacy department store Lord & Taylor in August. Sams Club recently acquired the technology assets and some of the advertising team from Triad who work on their accounts, opting to bring the segment under Sams Club management. And Target Corp. announced in October it was teaming up with the owner of the Toys R Us brand to relaunch the companys e-commerce site.

Dont even try to keep score. Its futile. Its also brilliant. Driving this blurring of lines is retailers realization that the newest evolution of retail is about providing a holistic experience for consumers. Always looking for ways to create a competitive advantage, retailers are opening their minds to innovative ways of servicing and supporting the customer journey, the report said.

PERSONALIZATION IMPROVEMENT Personalization has been a buzzword in retail for the past few years, but few companies have achieved the level that consumers have come to expect.

NRF said Netflix, YouTube and Spotify have been leaders in personalization by developing artificial intelligence recommendation engines to suggest new content to people based on what theyre already listening to or watching and what people with similar interests are enjoying.

Most retailers are still struggling to get there, the trade group said. Researchers applaud Stitch Fix and Rent the Runway for their personalization prowess. Nordstrom leads the personalization push from a customer service platform, and Sephora topped Sailthrus Retail Personalization Index for the third year in a row. Sephoras score of 79 out of a possible 100 comes in part because the beauty retailers mobile app, in-app messaging and links to its loyalty program are top-notch.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning should be making it much easier for retailers to personalize their efforts in ways that go beyond email. Still, every indication suggests that most companies are still swimming in so much data that figuring out how to tap this repository in a way that engages shoppers, not enrages them, remains a challenge, NRF researchers said in the report.

Editors note:The Supply Side sectionof Talk Business & Politics focuses on the companies, organizations, issues and individuals engaged in providing products and services to retailers. The Supply Side is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored byPropak Logistics.


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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

"We need to create things that last" says Michael Anastassiades – Dezeen

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It's easy to shock with technology and innovation, says Michael Anastassiades, but the real challenge for designers is creating objects that stay relevant over time.

Anastassiades who is Designer of the Year at the Maison&Objet furniture fair in Paris this week has built his business around producing lighting designs he believes will become timeless.

Speaking to Dezeen at his studio in north London, he explained that, despite being a designer, he is against consumerism. He believes new objects should only be made if they are going to last a long time.

"What is the need for constant change, as if we don't have enough?" he said.

"Nothing in this world is new"

"Being a designer and being against consumerism in that way, it's a bit of a paradox," he continued."Our culture tries to encourage this change,this ephemerality, this newness, whatever."

"But it's all fake, it's all artificial."

Anastassiades believes that no new design can be truly unique, that all ideas are recycled from somewhere.

"Nothing in this world is new, not even ideas; everything has been done before historically," he told Dezeen.

"We have evolved as human beings, but the notion of creativity hasn't really evolved over thousands of years. It's a moment to really accept what your contribution to the world of design can be."

"I didn't fit in a mould"

Anastassiades, aged 53, is today one of the world's most highly respected lighting designers, thanks to products like his Mobile Chandelier series.But his route intothe industry was a long and unconventional one.

Born inCyprus, he always aspired to be an artist but, to satisfy his parents, he chose to study civil engineering at Imperial College London.

After realising that he wasn't suited to engineering, he took up a masters in industrial design and engineering at the Royal College of Art, but even after that he struggled to find a career path that suited him.

"I didn't fit in a mould of anybody; there were no designers that I could relate to," he explained.

"Flos gave me the freedom I needed"

After over a decade of soul-searching, which saw him produce experimental designs while also working as a design tutor and a yoga teacher, Anastassiades finally decided to set up his own lighting design business.

A breakthrough came in 2011. Presenting his designs for the first time at the Salone del Mobile in Milan,he caught the attention of Piero Gandini, then-CEO of prolific Italian lighting brand Flos.

This was the start of a collaboration that has endured for nearly a decade, and produced many iconic designs, including the String Lights, Copycat and the popular IC Lights.

Anastassiades explained that Flos gave him an opportunity to test ideas at a scale he would never have been able to with his business.

"Many people ask me what I give to Flos and what I keep for myself," said Anastassiades. "In a way, I gave Flos a little bit of my image and Flos gave me the freedom that I needed."

"I don't feel the need to say yes"

The designer believes the success of his career and his collaborations, including recent partnerships with companies like Herman Miller and Bang & Olufsen, come down to his maturity.

"I think that arriving at this stage of your career at a mature stage in your life is much more rewarding," he added. "You know when to say no, when to take something on or not take something on."

"I don't feel the need to say yes," he added."Had it happened to me 20 years ago, I wouldn't be the same."

Anastassiades is presenting an exhibition of his Mobile Chandeliers at the entrance to Hall 7 at Maison&Objet, which opens today and continues until Tuesday 21 January.

Read on for the full transcript of the interview:

Amy Frearson: How did you start your career in design?

Michael Anastassiades:It was never straightforward. Design was not a clear direction from the beginning. As a child growing up, I always wanted to do something creative. I wanted to be an artist, but that was also all I knew existed at that time. I grew up in a very small place, Cyprus, where I didn't have exposure to all the creative disciplines that you could study. You could either become an artist or you had to do something else entirely. And unfortunately it was not an option for me to become an artist because my parents wanted me to get a job. They always associated the idea of being or doing anything creative as a kind of failure.

Amy Frearson:What did your parents do for a living?

Michael Anastassiades:My mother didn't really work, she was mainly at home looking after us. My dad was a self-made businessman, of course retired now, but he never went abroad to study. That's why he wanted both me and my brother to pursue further education and have that structure in our lives that he didn't have. Somehow the idea of doing something creative was not structured enough.

Amy Frearson: What did you do instead?

Michael Anastassiades: I decided that engineering would be a good thing for me to study.I was very good at maths and physics, so I thought I could get into a good engineering school. So I came here, to London, and I went to Imperial College to study civil engineering.

Engineering seemed like a good compromise, because I thought it would allow me a little bit of creativity. Although I have to say that there was not much of that. That was the reality. I figured out pretty quickly that I didn't want to be a civil engineer, then halfway through my degree I discovered the Royal College of Art. I figured out that, because it's a masters college, it could enable someone with an engineering degree to do a masters in design.And the Royal College is a very reputable institution, so my parents could not say no, now I had the degree they wanted me to get.

That changed everything, in terms of exposing me to a creative environment with other creative people. The course itself was not ideal, it was industrial design and engineering. I felt I wanted to run away from engineering, but I had to be constantly reminded of it. There are designers that are more towards the James Dyson end but I felt that I was completely at the opposite end. That part of design was not really my preference.

So after the Royal College, I spent many years trying to really figure out what I wanted to do, or at least what I wanted design to be. Two years of design education hadn't given me any defined direction. I didn't fit in a mould of anybody; there were no designers that I could relate to.

For many years I ended up using design as research. I did a lot of experimental design, some quite interesting projects that were shown in various institutions around the world, like MoMA. They were interactive pieces designed to raise questions, rather than to become real products.

Amy Frearson:Can you give some examples?

Michael Anastassiades:My graduation project was the Message Cup, a cup for people that share the same household to record messages. Another was the Anti Social Light, a light that glows only when there's absolute silence. These projects were really questioning the role of electronic products, particularly within the domestic environment. I was very much intrigued with the psychological dependency that existed between objects and users.

Amy Frearson: How did you move from these experimental projects to lighting?

Michael Anastassiades: Design as research remained from the early 1990s up until the early 2000s, and I did a bit of teaching to support myself. Design was not a job for me at that time, it was very much research.At the same time, I figured out that I had a big passion for objects. I had a passion for everyday things and I had an opinion on what was going on in the world of design at that time, although I had never really tried myself in that area.

It was an interesting period because it coincided with me buying my first house. I decided to settle in the UK, and bought a small terraced property in south London and started doing it up. I figured out what objects I needed, particularly lighting, but I couldn't find what I wanted. I couldn't afford the pieces that could possibly fit my brief and so I thought I might as well make the pieces myself.

I had also met and become very close friends with Bijoy Jain from Studio Mumbai. He was shortly based here in the early '90s and we worked on a project together, an interior. After that he asked me to help him in a lot of his projects, not only in terms of interiors and furnishings, but also in terms of the bigger concept.

I think the conscious point when I said 'okay this is what I'd like to do' was in 2007. After the encouragement and response I got from all these objects, the next step was to create my own brand.

Amy Frearson: So you launched your own brand before even creating products for other brands?

Michael Anastassiades:Yes, 100 per cent. For most designers, their work is developed before. The first pieces I made were not pieces that could convince any brand to invest in me. They were great ideas, but I don't think they would be ideas that could attract a manufacturer.

Amy Frearson:How did you get your business off the ground? What were the first designs you produced?

Michael Anastassiades: I decided to focus on lighting because it was much more manageable for me, rather than opening up to the whole spectrum of furniture. I was encouraged in lighting because a lot of architects and friends were telling me they liked my ideas in lighting. So I thought, it had to be a lighting brand.

The first few years of the brand were a lot of hard work but the main breakthrough came in 2011 when I decided to I present my brand at the Salone del Mobile in Euroluce. It was quite amazing that they gave me a stand in such a competitive setting. That changed things because it was where I met Flos, where I met [former Flos CEO] Piero Gandini, and we embarked on this long journey together.

Amy Frearson: What was is like working with Flos and what impact did it have onyour own business?

Michael Anastassiades:It was an interesting match, an interesting moment. I was suddenly given this platform to approach design with a completely different level of freedom, in a sense. I wasn't 20 any more, I was already mature and I had some experience in lighting, so things were very different. I already knew what worked and what didn't work, so everything started in a very focused way, and it was enabling me to do all the things that I couldn't actually do with my own brand, because of the scale of it. Suddenly working on a much larger scale, I could use complex processes, interesting technology and more extreme ideas.

Amy Frearson: So with Flos you were able to test the kinds of ideas you weren't able to with your own brand?

Michael Anastassiades: Yes. Sothat allowed both companies to exist and support each other. Many people ask me what I give to Flos and what I keep for myself, and how these companies can work together.In a way, I gave Flos a little bit of my image and Flos gave me the freedom that I needed.

Amy Frearson: Will your relationship with Flos continue now that Piero Gandini has left the company?

Michael Anastassiades:It's different but it certainly will continue, there's no doubt about it. It's different people, different management, but the same history. I'm very hopeful that we'll find a way to figure it out.

Flos has been an amazing platform for a lot of people, butespecially for me. If you look at the experience that other designers have had within Flos, the span often goes over 15 or 20 years.In my case, it's all been so accelerated.That acceleration is also now happening for me in the furniture world. I had to catch up for all those years, but I don't feel I'm rushed into anything. It feels right.

I really feel lucky that I've been given all these opportunities to try my ideas in different fields with amazing companies. I couldn't think of myself in a better place.If I was to repeat my career, I wouldn't do it in any other way. I think that arriving at this stage of your career at a mature stage in your life is much more rewarding. You know when to say no, when to take something on or not take something on. I think that is absolutely fundamental. I don't feel the need to say yes, if I don't think something is right I will often say.Had it happened to me 20 years ago, I wouldn't be the same.

Amy Frearson: Would you advise other young designers to do the same as you, to take time finding the right path?

Michael Anastassiades:Not necessarily no. It felt right for me at that time, the type of character that I am, but some people need a more clearly defined career path. I took a very long way. It's been a long journey, but a great journey. I've tried different things and that's good because it's given me a different perspective about what I think design should be. I created this distance so that I could step away and see design in a much more clear way.

For many years, when I was struggling financially, I used to teach yoga to support myself, because I wanted to distance myself from the need to use my profession to make money and survive. I wanted to be true to my ideas so I'd rather keep my ideas independent of the idea of survival. Yes I taught a little bit and earned some money from that, but I never wanted to be a teacher in design. I preferred to be a teacher in yoga it paid the bills so I could keep my design research going.

It's funny that today very few people remember the other type of design that I used to do. It doesn't bother me of course, because it's a different audience.Identity, at the end of the day, doesn't have to be one or the other. It is what it is and that's great for me. What I've realised through my career is that I've always felt the urge to be boxed inand I never wanted to be in any of these boxes.

Amy Frearson: What otherchallenges did you face in the early days of your brand?

Michael Anastassiades:I had to learn to be an entrepreneur, which was not a skill that I had, or at least I felt that I didn't have it.I never had a finance person behind me and I never had money behind me either. I took my first loan out of the bank to subsidise the production of my first lights. It was a scary moment, but that was the only way I could do it. I had to try it.

You learn through all your mistakes and hopefully you don't make that many. The problem for a lot of people is that they start something and they feel that they hit the wall. That's human nature. We're presented with obstacles that we need to overtake and if we are not able to build up a resistance then it is easy to give up. If you do not know exactly what you're looking for, it's very difficult. You can stop many times and you can give up many times. I surprised myself sometimes when I kept going, because I really figured out what I wanted to do through a process of elimination, by actually doing the things that I didn't want to do. The sense and the logic of the sequence has only really come in the last 10 years.

Amy Frearson:What is the ethos behind the designs that you produce?

Michael Anastassiades:Nothing in this world is new, not even ideas; everything has been done before historically. The problem is lack of education and information; people are not really aware how many ideas have been recycled over so many years. Creativity dates back to human creation and it's amazing that the evolution of creativity has not been that great. We have evolved as human beings, but the notion of creativity hasn't really evolved over thousands of years. It's a moment to really accept what your contribution to the world of design can be.I relate to this kind of aesthetic that things are there and they can still be relevant over an extended history so I try to find the qualities that make timeless design.

I started going to the Salone del Mobile pretty much as soon as I graduated, trying to really understand the world of design. What I was doing at the time was nothing to do with that, but I was still fascinated with it and very attracted to it. It wasinteresting to see how all these big historic brands had this fascinating way of revamping themselves through the old classics. I wondered, what is it that makes these pieces timeless? Why do people buy the same things over and over again? Can you possibly create something new with those values in mind? I think we can.

Amy Frearson: How do you go about making an object timeless?

Michael Anastassiades:I'm not saying that everything I produce will be timeless but at least I'm conscious of it. I'm not thinking that I'm going to change the world. What is important to understand and acknowledge it that it's a much bigger challenge, to work on that level of subtlety and make a difference, rather than trying to shock with technology, new materials, innovation. I'm not saying that those things are not great, of course they are important. But it's easy to shock somebody with something new, because you attract attention. The question is, are they able to sustain that? Probably not, because if the innovation becomes an everyday thing. In less than a year that shock is not there anymore. After that, there's nothing that pulls you in.

As a designer, I believe that we need to create things that last for a long period of time. This for me is fundamental, I don't think an object should be ephemeral. I don't deal with technological products, I'm not in that kind of world, at least not yet. In lighting there is a little bit of technology, but I still don't see why things shouldn't be relevant after long periods of time. What is the need for constant change, as if we don't have enough? I think we have enough things.

Being a designer and being against consumerism in that way, it's a bit of a paradox. Our culture tries to encourage this change,this ephemerality, this newness, whatever. But it's all fake, it's all artificial.

Amy Frearson:How do you rationalise the paradox of beinga designer and being against consumerism?

Michael Anastassiades:At the end of the day, I think this iswhy people come to me andwhat attracts companies. This is my approach to design.

I don't use design as a profession, I use design to express my ideas. I think that's important. You could argue that I have a successful business, I have a successful studio, so I'm not really saying anything different. But it is different. Many times I've figured out that, if I really wanted to succeed in a certain type of design, I would be doing completely different things.For me, the idea of launching my brand was to keep full control over my ideas.

Amy Frearson: How do you develop ideas in your studio?

Michael Anastassiades:It varies. Sometimes a very abstract concept leads me to a more defined idea. I'll have a vague picture of something that actually doesn't exist, but deals with certain concepts. It's only through the process of thinking over and over again that the idea starts getting a little bit more defined and then eventually becomes something, so that when you see the end product you think it couldn't have been anything else. It's so straightforward, but it's not so simple.

Other times it's an image and you know that, by replicating that image, you can arrive at something in a different sort of process.

I enjoy the bigger concepts much more and I'm able to do that in some designs. A few of my projects for Flos are like that. String Lights, for example, were quite a new way of lighting and that started as an abstract thought.

Amy Frearson:So you never really work to briefs?

Michael Anastassiades:No never. Usually with brands it gets defined in terms of the type of object, butfrom then on it's up to me to come up with an idea that satisfies that. I think it works in that way.

I've never worked on a single brief for Flos.I've always presented concepts that I have worked on for long period of times and they have never been turned down. That's the biggest satisfaction. I believe in this level of communication that exists between manufacturer and designer. I think great things happen when that relationship is mastered.

Amy Frearson: A more recent definingmoment of your career was your retrospective exhibition at NiMAC in Cyprus. What made you decide to hold an exhibition in your home country rather than somewhere more mainstream?

Michael Anastassiades:I had various informal proposals for a big show from different institutions and in different parts of the world, but it felt right for me to do it in Cyprus. That's where I grew up. I'd never had a show of that scale before, so it made sense for it to be there.It didn't really matter whether commercially it made any sense, because it didn't, such a small place and small audience, but hopefully with the book it did travel.

Amy Frearson: What did you show in the exhibition?

Michael Anastassiades:We showed one complete body of work, which was the Mobile Chandeliers. We showed 13 mobiles in that show.You can argue that these are mobiles because they move, but they are not really mobiles; they're not structures in perfect equilibrium.But balance has always been an important concept in my work.

Amy Frearson: What elsehave you got coming up this year?

Michael Anastassiades:I have lot of new projects and new collaborations for Salone. We're extending some collaborations that we started with some brands last year, there are some new things with companies that we work with, and there are new things and new companies that have been added to the list. Last year we were given so many opportunities; it was amazing to be able to realise projects beyond the world of furniture and lighting, like the Bang & Olufsen speaker and the water fountain project. It makes me very happy to receive these invitations from completely different parts of the design world.

Amy Frearson: Is it a challenge to ensure that your brand doesn't become secondary to these new opportunities?

Michael Anastassiades:Absolutely, but my brand still remains the ultimate platform for me to express my ideas and my real passion for lighting. I need to keep that alive.

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"We need to create things that last" says Michael Anastassiades - Dezeen

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Landfill Compactor Market Exceeded Industry Evolution in Coming Year’s – Fusion Science Academy

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Landfill Compactor Market Exceeded Industry Evolution in Coming Year's - Fusion Science Academy

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Mirror ball spins anew as Moon Duo take a shine to disco – Sydney Morning Herald

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Disco was overthrown in a rock supremacist coup in Chicago in 1979. The White Soxs stadium was packed with mostly white folks bearing records by mainly black artists. An angry radio DJ named Steve Dahl led the chant of Disco sucks! before literally detonating a crate of the offensive product in centre field.

The politics of the game-changing stunt went largely unremarked at the time. But looking back from a world where every kind of music goes, cohabiting and cross-marrying in a fabulous multi-coloured and genre-fluid dance party, its hard not to be disturbed by the act of cultural fascism.

In that light, the sudden disco embrace of Moon Duos latest album is a timely gesture. Known these past 10 years for their darkly simmering psychedelic rock, the San Francisco-based duo of Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada have set the mirror ball spinning over Stars Are the Lightwith conscious intent.

Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson, aka Moon Duo.Credit:Brett Johnson

I wouldnt say that we made a disco record necessarily, keyboard player Yamada says, but starting some kind of creative conversation with the ideas around disco definitely led us to a different place.

While she was too young to observe the '70s club revolution first-hand, she believes that the concept of the space of the disco is something that holds a lot of relevance today.

It was a space of fluid identity and self-expression for people who maybe felt marginalised by mainstream culture. In a disco youd have amazing fashion and amazing dancing in this very expressive space where people could go and do whatever they had in mind to do and be whoever they had in mind to be. I think that type of inclusion and that type of liberation is something that holds a lot of appeal.

That might be part of what we still feel whenever a Chic or Donna Summer record throws a party into hyperdrive: freedom hardwired to the groove by the dark art of the disco beat. Whats certain is that compared with the density of Moon Duos previous two albums Occult Architecture Vol. 1 and 2 this new one is a decidedly feel-good affair.

Yamada says she was wanting really effervescent textures: sonic glitter, kind of.

Our music has always been a kind of conversation between guitar and electronic music; synthesiser and drum machine and stuff like that, so we wanted to bring the machine-type elements more on top on this record. When we finished the Occult Architecture pair of records, we had the sense that we had completed a cycle of our musical project. We had sort of found this sound as a band and cultivated it over a series of records and both Ripley and I had this sense that we needed to change our tack a bit; that to keep going with that sound, we would just end up repeating ourselves.

Its a slightly ironic turn for a band that has valued repetition, at least as a compositionalelement, for so long. While they never actively pursued the psychedelic label, fundamental elements of reiteration, drone, obscure lyrics and impressionistic sound layers have always applied.

As a member of San Francisco drone-rock experimentalistsWooden Shjips, Ripley Johnsons psychedelic allegiances are well known. Yamada met him through mutual friends when she moved there in 2004. They promptly went to a Bob Dylan concert in Berkeley (it was a great one, actually; he was playing piano most of the night), but it was in a shared love of the Velvet Underground that they found their essential aesthetic.

In that respect, Moon Duo is far from a lone voyager. Lou Reed and John Cales marriage of rock and avant-garde birthed a movement that echoes seemingly eternal, wherever walls of electric sound collide.

Yamada expresses reservations about the guitar-worshipping limitations of the so-called neo-psych movement but concedes that the ideas of transcendence and the psychedelic are in the DNA of what we are doing.

To me, the idea of psychedelia is an idea of endless expansion; an idea of revealing things in a different light; turning the mundane inside out to show its extraordinary essence somehow. Ive always loved that as a concept. I think thats a really expansive concept and it applies to a massive range of artistic expressions so Im perfectly happy to fit in with that concept of psychedelia.

Visually, Moon Duos emphasis on stage projections and trippy lighting design also draws clear lines from the mid '60s experiments of the Velvets and Pink Floyd. But inevitably, the new-found disco undertow has brought a new shimmer to this ingredient too.

Trippy lighting design accompanies Moon Duo on stage. Credit:Benny van der Plank

Last April in Manchester, in collaboration with local projection artist Emmanuel Baird, the band unveiled a show called Stardust Highway: Experiments in Stoner Disco. The intention to explore ideas of time and ritual, as well as the human desire to transcend material reality has since evolved into their current stage show.

The good news, 40 years since the night of the White Sox smackdown, is that this disco insurgence has largely escaped the wrath of the rock police. Sure there was the odd music press sulk about duff synth and tinny drum machine, but for such a brave evolution, critical response to Stars Are the Light has been overwhelmingly positive.

Thats transcendence for you.

One of the big things is just the need for connection on a really human level, Yamada says of the Duos renewed intention. The lyrics are less esoteric, less occult, as it were, than they may have been in the past. Theyre more about just the struggles of humanity. Love and loss, feeling lost and seeking out other humans. Thats kind of where this is coming from.

Moon Duo perform at Melbourne Recital Centre, Feb 11; The Zoo, Brisbane, Feb 12; and Sydneys Oxford Art Factory Feb 13.

Michael Dwyer is an arts and music writer

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Mirror ball spins anew as Moon Duo take a shine to disco - Sydney Morning Herald

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January 17th, 2020 at 1:43 pm

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