On my second night back in Berlin I went to a dinner with one of my nearest and dearest, Irmi and met Ry. I had heard his song, ja it was howlin’ hahha, we had some German sausages on a balcony and talked about how much we loved Indonesia, how our beach and outdoor cultures are one and the same (I’m from Cape Town, he’s from a place in Oz near Byron Bay) and why he fucks off out of Berlin in the winter (like I like to do as well!)
I present, Ry Eden Cuming. He’s furry, as you can see below, and a soulful surfer squirrel with a beard and a penchant for yoga and peace. He’s a vibe, ja, and of course he can sing. And if you haven’t been living under a musical rock, you will have heard one of his most amazing collaborations with Frank Wiedemann: here
My current favourite is his solo single “Berlin”.
I joke about what drives Ry: babes rolling over him and touching his face in every one of his videos hahha. JOKEROO.
Here’s raw Ry – down to earth, a man of the sea and photography and all things simple and great. And he’s a pleasure to photograph, relaxed and the camera digs him too.
I wrote this piece originally and exclusively for Vice Magazine and Noisey (their online music news portal) and so if you are a German speaker feel free to read it: here. For most of my friends and readers who are English, I have translated the interview below.
The most inspiring thing you’ve been told, read or sensed?
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche.
Have you ever taken prescription drugs to cope?
No, I don’t agree with that whole industry. I think we work through things in understanding our context, humility and through consciousness. Everything’s passing, we have to be able to communicate.
Music, the Sea, Sensuality, Sexuality…
Honesty, but that took me a while to get to this point, as I had to get comfortable with being honest with myself, and then naturally to others.
Why anything? I don’t know if we have choices but ever since I was young, it’s always been with me.
Are your parents creatively inclined?
So much. My mom is a yoga instructor and so much an artist in a way, and my father is a man of the sea, a poet, so I guess it’s in the blood.
My mom’s a warrior, a descendent of the Maori (ancient Tribe from New Zealand) and I don’t just see her as my mother anymore, but a mother to the community, like an elder.
Have you ever had a major crisis and how do you cope?
Meditate. Have I had a crisis? We’ve all had crises, we all have it to some degree, and it depends how much we let it compound in our mind.
Words to live by?
It changes all the time, some days one thing resonates, another day it’s something else. My mom taught me a sort of mantra, when I was a kid, and I say it to myself when I’m in trouble, because I seem to get myself into all sorts of trouble…Om mane padme hum. No it doesn’t mean anything, it’s a meditation.
Best and Worst of your Hometown (seaside town of Angourie, Australia)
Best – it’s a paradise of natural beauty, the sea, and the beach.
Worst- a population of 200 people, which is also the best and worst part of it haha.
Are you religious?
No, I don’t believe in organized religion, I’m very spiritual.
Best places you ever lived, visited, and why?
Byron Bay, it’s where my heart is. Indonesia, Berlin, LA.
Best compliment you ever got:
Through music, people really open up to you and feel free to share things they normally wouldn’t – in a show recently in London someone told me I was an angel.
Greatest love so far:
Isn’t the greatest love always the current love? Unicorns – those girls, those rare ones, their aren’t many of them around.
Anything you are reading at the moment?
You mentioned in our conversation that Mercury is in retrograde. You believe in astrology?
I don’t read horoscopes, but how can the stars not influence us? I mean I’m a fucking animal when it’s full moon. If the moon pulls the tides around the globe, how can the planets not influence us?
When did you first realize the meaning of true human loss?
I think I really understood it more deeply when my parents had a really visceral fucked up separation, I think that’s when I truly felt it on a more fundamental level, I was eleven then, and you lose a father figure, and what you thought was forever.
You have to learn to let go of shit, it won’t get you very far, and it’s all about being present and the acceptance of impermanence.
It’s not loss if you let it go.
Time-travel? Where would you go and when?
I honestly don’t know. I’m having a pretty rad time now. We have this beautiful crazy stuff now, we have freedom of speech, freedom of behaviour, freedom of heart, and we have this crazy Internet and manage to still connect as human beings. Self-publishing, self-creation is more available than ever, you can find money (Crowd funding platforms etc), it’s becoming more egalitarian. We just have to shift power out of the political and corporate stuff and get it back into the human context and creative expression.
What you do when you’re not playing music?
Yoga, Photography, Surfing.
If I wasn’t in music, I would be more into photography, I have thousands of photos and I shoot 35mm analogue but don’t have time for it right now.
Who or what inspires you?
Jeff Buckley. Now it’s the rad people I meet in my everyday life, characters of my own personal life.
Eliot Lee Hazel (LA based fine art photographer), he’s a friend of mine and I think knowing people and their personal context guilds their art even more so.
Strangest encounter with a fan?
Oh had many weird things. It’s really beautiful, people get moved and open up and give you something they haven’t given anyone else…like special ornaments from their life, childhood, crystals and things, and photos. Photos are weird; I don’t really know what to do with the photos.
(I joked, like what gift? Their virginity hahah: Ry: No I really don’t take advantage of that. )
Anything you really regret?
Everything gets you to where you are now, no? You don’t know a positive experience until you’ve had some fucked up ones. I didn’t know at the time, things I regret, I knew better, but I did it anyway. It’s easier to look back in the past, not to swim in it.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Don’t follow commercial bullshit, follow your heart and make art, don’t get caught up in the major labels and major bullshit.
Did people ever discourage from going into the arts
They’re always someone, so don’t listen to them, I was lucky my parents were supportive.
If you had to give up one of your senses, which one, and why?
I would say smell, it’s the least, but guess it’s linked to taste and I love food! I couldn’t lose sight, hearing or touch – I’m a really sensual kinesthetic kind of person so those are really important to me.
What is your greatest mystery regarding women?
I tend to know women pretty well, I mean women are more open and I really love and appreciate that, at the same time they can be fucking crazy, they’re ethereal creatures, Goddesses.
Finish the sentence: Love is…