Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Cover photo: Lionel Samain
Lian Ray is a French musician and songwriter.
If you could be remembered with one sentence, what would it be?
“Il est mort, il est mort!“ (he is dead, he is dead! in French). That sort of answers your question, and wouldn’t look so bad on a tombstone either.
Do you think we are witnessing the loneliest generation this world has ever seen?
Quite possibly yeah – too much screen time, not enough meaningful human connections. I think there is this movement in South Korea, where people truly embrace their loneliness, not having any friends, lovers, etc, by choice. Quite spooky, but I can relate.
What is one thing that you would want to wipe out from existence?
That’s a very loaded question…from existence…or from my existence? As cliché, as it may sound, wiping out any kind of suffering from existence, would be…it would feel like a high now wouldn’t it? One has to be careful of what they wish to remove…ying and yang,
pleasure feeds on pain
and so on.
Do you often feel lonely in life? How do you react to that feeling?
A LOT. I always say that I live life like a hermit in my own head. I try not to be too reactive to it, I try to tell myself it is part of being an introvert, it’s just how I am wired, I guess. The opposite of loneliness is as much a burden to me. I very quickly feel overwhelmed and overstimulated.
What does music mean to you?
Music to me is like an extra, invisible limb that keeps me balanced. It has always been the cure to everything for me. Very early on I used music as a coping mechanism, to soothe myself. I couldn’t imagine my life without any kind of music.
What have you learned about yourself through your music?
My music has taught me that I can be very hard on myself. And that most times I’m enough, most times I’m not half as bad as how I portray myself in those songs. It has taught me to be kinder to myself.
What was your mindset when working on your last release “Rose”?
I became totally, absolutely obsessed with the subject at hand: Rose, my muse behind those songs. I was operating almost like a serial killer, or a forensic officer? Everything in my recording room was arranged to keep an obsolete focus on her. Photos, emails, etc. it was total immersion.
You’ve mentioned the hardships that you’ve experienced. How did the bad experiences change your perception of life?
It surely has made me appreciate the little things, the little moments of bliss that we take for granted. I’m afraid it has also made me into a pessimist. I’m much more of a glass half empty than a glass half full these days.
How to get through hard times? Could you give a piece of advice for those who are struggling to.
Reach out to other people, call someone, try to build some kind of support circle.
There is truly no way out of hard times alone. There is no special award given for surviving hardship alone. Grab your phone, text anybody, ask for help.
12 steps support groups are also a great first step.
What makes you feel truly alive currently?
Reading people’s reactions to my music never ceases to give me goosebumps…
How are you trying to be a better human being and how do you seek the best within yourself?
This is a hard one, hardship has a tendency to make you very self-centered and focus on your own problems…I am trying to be more mindful of others around me. Trying my best never to forget that every decision taken somewhat always ends up involving other people.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud to be alive. It truly could have gone terribly wrong so many times, but somehow there is something inside me that pulled through all those 39 years. Whatever that is, I am proud of it.
What is the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
I have no answer to that question, but please know that when I do, I will have Morgan Freeman read it for us.
There’s this film by Yorgos Lanthimos ‘The Lobster’, where single people are meant to find a partner in 45 days, and if they don’t, they must choose an animal to transform into. What animal would you choose and how would this choice reflect your personality?
That’s a very interesting concept…I would have to go with the Fox…he’s playful, creative and cunning. You rarely see him coming and he can really screw you over.
Are you driven by an obsession or rational logic? Has it changed over time?
I have always been driven by impulse or obsession…My astrological sign is Aries. I am very very impulsive. I don’t understand rational logic, which is why I’m somehow always attracted to rational people. They balance me. I listen to my gut-feeling a lot. My gut feeling is my rational logic.
What would you do differently if you had the chance and why?
I would go back to that one evening in October 2012 when I first tried hard-drugs and give myself a black eye instead. That evening changed my life forever. I think about that night a lot.
What is next in your journey?
My goal this year is to finally find some peace and balance in my recovery journey. It’s been such a destructive rollercoaster and I’ve hurt and lost a lot of people around me because of it. I’ve made some powerful steps lately.