Brad Stank has always been aware of the deeper impact music could have on his life.
A songwriter who feels things deeply, he wants to be able to communicate that in a way that goes beyond the logical confines of conversation.
Allowing spiritual themes to interweave around his work, he patches together diverse elements from pop to rap in order to find full expression.
New single 'Breathing Like A Baby' was prompted by Jack Kerouac's Wake Up, a re-telling of the story of the Buddha.
Featuring Philly rapper Ryshon Jones, it also samples the voice of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti.
A song about God, belief, and the role worship plays in the individual's life, 'Breathing Like A Baby' is remarkable.
Clash caught up with Brad Stank to discuss his meditative impulses...
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Krishnamurti has been a big influence during the process of writing and completing the album, so I had to sample one of my favourite quotes of his at the end of 'Breathing Like A Baby'!
He talks about meditation and self-observation very plainly, without the veil of any religion or thought process telling you how or why to meditate. Simply sit and observe yourself, with no judgement. Simply observe with no looking into the past, or the future.
“The moment I am aware that I’m aware, I’m not aware,” he says. He uses meditation to be exactly in the eternity of Right Now, not for any spiritual fulfilment etc, which is all past judgement. You get what I’m saying.
Probably the most sane man to ever have lived.
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George has been another big one for me over the past year, and to be honest all the Beatles! It’s crazy how accomplished all of their solo albums are, so I’ve been diving into John and Paul’s stuff heavily too.
But George is just The Guy For Me. I love the spiritual journey he seemed to undertake after leaving the Beatles, and how he put these ideas into pop music.
I could have gone for a few tunes here; 'Be Here Now', 'The Light That Has Lighted The World', 'Love Comes To Everyone' have all been massive tunes for me during the album process! A seriously beautiful guy.
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I read Yogananda’s book, Autobiography Of A Yogi, in late 2018. It’s one of my favourites, and gotta be one of the most beautiful books ever written. Just one look into his eyes and you can see this guy knows God, big time.
I took the idea for 'Ultrasensual Bliss' (on Kinky Om) from the book, meaning bliss experienced beyond the human senses, also known as samadhi, a deep deep state of meditation in which some Yogis can stay for days at a time, floating in divine light!
I obviously tried to turn it into a sexy thing because I just can’t bloody help myself, but that’s the real meaning!
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Jonathan's been a huge influence on my attitude towards music and my playing since I was maybe 17, and this is one of his most tender and beautiful songs. It's made me cry a few times!
My new album 'Kinky Om' features a lot of nylon-string guitar, and I think my love for that particular guitar sound stems from Jonathan, so it's only right to give him a shout here!
A true punk of the heart, his determination to be himself without worrying about what others think is truly inspirational. Also check out the live version of him playing 'That Summer Feeling' on his own, in which he makes himself (and me) cry.
He's proper weird and funny, but so pure. I love how he'll just stop playing the guitar to really get the words through to you. Truly gorgeous lyrics, and performance, the man's got it all.
Love you, Jonathan.
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Nina Simone is one of my favourite artists and always an influence. For me, she's got the best voice of all time. It's just full of power and human energy - she can get across any emotion perfectly.
This song is one I've heard recently and it just stopped the world around me and demanded my full attention. A lot of her songs have that effect! I'm always excited to hear songs by Nina that are new to me, and there's a lot out there. Maybe not so much an influence sonically, but her music moves me like no other.
I'd love to be able to make other people feel how Nina makes me feel, which I know is a lot to ask, but a boy's gotta have his dreams, innit? Enjoy this one, it's a bit special!
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Brad Stank will release his new album on June 5th.
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