Dr Monika Demmler is a lecturer by day and Stony Sugarskull, underground musician, by night. Her main interest is in the functions of sound frequencies from the perspective of the science of sound.
Hereby she focus on the connection of nature/ecology and sound, the physical realm of sound frequencies, intergalactic communication, ecological soundscapes and sound healing.
When it comes to musical influences, with her avant-garde vocals and shimmering distortions, Monica is said to be as Mazzy Star, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground.
How do you manage your academic life with your underground side?
I’m learning to manage it daily. After I’ve lived in the academic philosophical side, I turned to music afterwards to realize my philosophical ideas I’ve had in my mind. And now I’m combining these two worlds. I have to be very self-disciplined to stick to my daily schedule as to me, both worlds go together and influence each other.
Does your music reflect in some way a certain philosophy?
The first EP Gaia obviously reflects Gaian philosophy. Gaia is one of the first goddesses human beings prayed to. She’s the incarnation of nature and is said to return in the 21st century. The female element becomes stronger in our age, replacing parts of the male powers connected with the capitalistic system.
My debut album Lioness touches the aspect of ecology while still referring back to Gaian philosophy with the female element – that’s why it was called Lioness.
Beauty is truth and a true artwork or musical peace has aspects of divinity. Which means it touches your truest self. For instance, in music theory or science of frequencies, you find all the same formulas as in nature.
I wrote the song on the day my grandma Veronica died. The lyrics tell about the feelings and the perceptions I had. I went for a walk to a nearby chapel in the countryside on 31 December and her face appeared smiling, in pastel colors in front of me. It was an exceptional day because even though it was high winter time, the sun was shining very bright.
I’m celebrating in this song my beautiful, lovely relationship with Veronica, my grandma. However, the song can also have a broader meaning.
Michele Brigante Senseverino (Paranoid Park) describes it very poignantly: “Veronica,” the last song of that record, full of passions that bite you in the throat, is a wide open window on the intimate courtyard of our memories, on those images, those people, those events that manage to touch the deepest chords of our soul. Stony Sugarskull, with her vocal harmonies, with the reflective textures of this song, allows us to escape from everyday life, to find ourselves in another place and another time – in New York, Berlin or elsewhere, it doesn’t matter – wherever there is a story to tell, a treasure to keep, a person to embrace again.”
Veronica was then recorded in Berlin at Impression Recordings, where I’ve embedded the song under certain healing frequencies for the listener. We’ve just recently released the music video by Gil de Ray with footage from me touring/traveling the US, UK, and my home in Berlin.
PH: Daniels Vasques Peralta