Episode 93 of The JamBase Podcast, a partner of the Osiris Media Network, features an interview with Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson. JamBase’s Andy Kahn talked to the pair about their new ambient album, Refuge, which came out earlier this month.
The interview took place recently over a video chat, with Banhart and Georgeson calling in from their respective homes in Los Angeles. The setup was similar to their approach in creating Refuge which, despite living a short distance from each other, was recorded remotely last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The longtime collaborators discussed their individual histories with ambient and new age music and how the album — their first under both their names — was something they wanted to do for some time. They explained how initial inspiration came from wanting to capture the sounds of the natural world, creating a sonic refuge for the environment.
Both Devendra and Noah talked about musicians that influenced Refuge. Banahart named Harold Budd, noting that the renowned musician with whom he previously collaborated, sadly died last year from COVID-19, before getting to hear the album. Georgeson mentioned his mentor Pauline Oliveros as well as Lou Harrison and Paul Horn among those whose work he admires and draws from.
The interview went into the pair’s enlisting of guests to contribute to Refuge, in particular pedal steel guitarist Nicole Lawrence. They also described collaborating with Vajrayana Buddhism spiritual teachers who appear on the album, including meditation pioneer Sharon Salzberg, spiritual teacher and founder of the Escuela Valores Divinos Sri Mataji Shaktiananda and Banhart’s Bhutanese teacher Neten Chokling Rinpoche. The engaging conversation touched on a variety of other topics, such as Banhart’s desire to record a five-hour ambient cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star,” and much more.