This blog post belongs to Why I live in Antwerp, the new musical solo project of Isle of the Sky

By now, the first album of Isle of the Sky is a fact. While Why I live in Antwerp takes you on an extraordinary adventurous journey, I had a little interview with myself as a (provisional) conclusion to this project. You can read the result of this interview below.

Tell me Ilse, why do you live in Antwerp? 

I moved here because of Studio H. Teirlinck, the famous theatre school. After an intense year, I went to study in Ghent for a couple of years at the art academy, but then returned to Antwerp again. At the time I thought Ghent was too much of a student city. Antwerp, on the other hand, was more cosmopolitan. And although it had the allure of a big city, it felt like a village. In any case, I got to know a lot of people here very quickly. Why I still live here today, however, has to do with quite different factors. I feel that I am close to the heart of Europe (energetically) and that my presence here can really make a difference.

How do you mean: a difference in what? 

We are at a special time; a turning point in history. Different timelines are possible in the future. What the outcome will be depends on each of us: on the degree to which we have discovered ourselves and on the degree to which we consequently take responsibility.

What do you mean by ‘the extent to which we have discovered ourselves’? 

By that I mean that it doesn’t so much come down to what we do as to how we do it. And how we do it has everything to do with our state of mind. See, the more developed a consciousness is, the more the coherence of everything and everyone is seen. A lower consciousness, on the other hand, will always try to split up and divide things, losing sight of the coherence. In short: war is based on an economy that is based on division, while peace is based on a harmonious spirit and a warm, loving and wise heart. My goal, my mission, is to help create a better world.

How do you do that concretely?  

By working on myself. By learning from my own experiences. As the saying goes: Improve the world, start with yourself. And also: Self-knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom.

What do you prefer to do? 

In general, I like to keep my finger on the spiritual pulse. Just like a dog sticks its nose in the wind, I like to search for signs and signals that tell me exactly how things are going in the world. I sometimes compare myself to a detective who likes to bite into himself. Or a pearl diver in a vast cool lake. The pearls I discover are pieces of memory that I puzzle with.

How would you describe yourself? 

I am a multi-dimensional being; an extraterrestrial human being; the main character of my self-written novel. I am alternately an old man and young woman, a sage, magician and shaman, a scientist and creative and free spirit, a goddess and heroine, a brave little girl, a carefree child, the eternal dancer, a timeless traveler, a modern mystic, a seer, a barefoot native American, a monk and a watchman. A professional dreamer too. A translator. A bookworm, an adventurer and explorer. I am a lightworker. In short: I’m here on a mission.

And in doing so, you also write and make music…

I try to translate what it is that I feel and see. That is the responsibility I have taken upon myself.

So what do you feel and see? 

O… so much! People here have only realized a fraction of who they really are! Reality is so much bigger than fantasy! We humans have all had so many experiences… Most of us have lived on so many other planets… It is particularly strange to experience daily how much amnesia has taken hold here…

Will that change soon? 

That depends on the people; on each one of us. On the inner work we all perform. Some are very afraid to go inside and open their eyes. Others, on the other hand, experience it as a relief and finally come Home. That too is strange to experience. But also very interesting of course.

Don’t you ever find that frustrating? 

I used to. Wisdom effectively comes with age. Which is not to say that I never lose my temper anymore. I am no saint! I too have my moments… But fortunately I recognize them more and more quickly. And then I also know what to do.

Tell me…

Then it is also time for me to go back inside and fold myself back to myself. To confess myself to myself and to forgive myself, to empty myself, to lick my wounds and then to quietly gather new energy. Nature plays a wonderful role in all of this. She is the ideal life companion. She provides me with incredible pleasure.

Hence the song Mystery Land

Definitely! Mystery Land is the eighth song on the album and is about the invisible worlds that lie hidden behind this visible world and which are much more extensive than many people suspect. This certainly includes nature or nature-worlds. In fact, Nature acts as a portal that can lead you to these other worlds. And in to the forest I go, to lose myself and find my soul. I can’t remember who this beautiful lyric is from…

And True Love?

True Love (the fifth song on the album) is, as the title suggests, about true love. Love with a capital L. That Love can come to you through another person, but it’s best to find it within yourself first. For it is the basis of everything. Many people never find that Love within themselves and that is a great pity. Like I said before: everything is connected.

Besides these two songs, there are 8 other songs on the album? 

That’s right. Ten songs and soundscapes, ten translations of the first 10 months of the year 2020.

Where did that idea come from? 

I became very much inspired when the prevailing circumstances forced me (and the rest of the world) into a forced quarantine. I felt the time had come to finally get back to working with sounds, music and singing. I had been working on sound recordings before but the final form was slow in coming. And then, during the summer of 2020, all of that finally grew organically and naturally.

What does music mean to you? 

Music is fantastic! It can really go straight to your soul, speak to you, ‘transport’ you, lift you up…. I can completely lose myself in music! It’s wonderful!

What kind of music do you like the most?

I have a very broad taste in music. From Jan Garbarek to Underworld, Paul Kalkbrenner, Madensuyu, Björk, Vangelis, France Gall, Lito Vitale, Mongolian shamanic music, African rhythms… to just name a few… I used to put a record on every day. Nowadays, much less. I also have a collection of cassettes. It’s great to rummage through them now and then. As I get older, I can also enjoy silence more. Oh, and since I’ve been working as a performer for the Opera (Ballet Vlaanderen) on a regular basis, I’ve really learned to appreciate opera music. There are some fantastic pieces in there. The Song of the Moon by Antonin Dvorak (Rusalka) for example, is such a real gem.

What did you want to convey with your album? 

That the world and the people are like an egg which is / are breaking open. That the darkness and dissonance and discord are gradually giving way and / or transforming into more harmonious sounds. That the Light is flowing in and that there is no turning back. That a new world is in the making that reconnects us with our origins and our future. Each of us still still carries within the blueprint to Paradise or Heaven on Earth. The Indiginous People have tried incessantly to remind us of this. That’s why the album closes with an ode to them: the true protectors of this planet.

Thank You! 

You’re welcome!

(Interview with myself: conducted on 14th of May 2021.)

To go back to the blog, click here.