In Revolver's new Dec/Jan 2019 issue — which is on newsstands now and available via our webstore — we explore the theme of "Dreams and Nightmares" with the help of King Diamond, Myrkur, Alex Grey, Robert Englund, City Morgue, Venom Prison and others. Since the topic proved particularly compelling and revealing, we've asked some more of our favorite artists about their dreams and nightmares — including Vespera's Cairn Tse-Lalonde. In the following interview, the guitarist of the rising Seattle act reveals the surreal visions that visit him in sleep, his desire to harness that creativity and why he needs Elon Musk's help.
DESCRIBE THE MOST RECENT DREAM YOU HAD.
CAIRN TSE-LALONDE My most recent dream has made me skeptical about squirrels. It took place in a park with 80-foot-tall maple trees on a hot sunny day. As I began to cross a grassy field between the trees, I was suddenly subjected to target practice. A storm of acorns came raining down around me, and as I looked up, I found an army of hostile squirrels in the branches pelting them at me. I ducked for cover, but unfortunately I woke up before I could devise a plan to get to my destination in one piece.
WHAT GIVES YOU NIGHTMARES?
I think the biggest cause of nightmares for me is when I have unresolved issues in my life and try to deal with them by suppressing my emotions. As much as I try to live my life as in-control as possible, sometimes trying to keep your cool throughout difficult days isn't possible without bottling up emotions. As much as I'd like to move on, unresolved issues always come back to haunt me in my dreams. I guess I've been bottling up my fear of squirrels for far too long now.
WHAT'S THE MOST TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE YOU'VE EVER HAD?
I'm grateful that I never really end up terrified in any of my nightmares or during sleep paralysis. Instead, my dreams almost always consist of a challenge or an adrenaline-filled adventure. My most recent action-packed dream started off with me swimming stealthily underwater near a harbor. There was an armed helicopter flying overhead on the lookout for me. When the helicopter was far enough away, I climbed up a ladder onto a dock and ran inland to a nearby farm where I tried to avoid a squadron of diabolical farmers who were on their way to attack me.
As I traveled inland, I ended up on a gondola ascending ice-capped mountains while being chased by another helicopter. When I got to the top of the mountain, I sprinted to an abandoned house to try to find a weapon in the bathroom to defend myself with. To my dismay, there was nothing, and I could hear a bunch of people entering the house searching for me. As I was headed out of the bathroom, someone found me, and I was forced to silently knock them unconscious to try and escape the house. As I was running towards the door, someone yelled, "Hey!" and everyone saw me. That's when I woke up. Some people go to movie theaters when they want a thrill. I just go to sleep.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECURRING DREAMS OR NIGHTMARES?
I rarely have identical recurring dreams or nightmares, but sometimes, there are recurring laws of physics in some of my escape dreams. For example, trying to run on land sometimes feels like moving against water. My limbs move really slowly, and I know I can't get away running this slowly. My solution to this is imagining myself being able to jump incredibly high. All of a sudden, I'm able to jump about 20 feet into the air. It's kind of like in Inception where you can bend the rules of your environment with your mind. I'm always able to escape when I can repetitively jump off of higher and higher surfaces. It's usually pretty fun.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR DREAMS OR NIGHTMARES COME TRUE?
I can't say that any of my nightmares have come true. Neither with dreams where physics are altered. I'm thankful for that. On the other hand, I've dreamed about driving a car at a drag strip. You better believe I made that one come true!
DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR DREAMS HAVE MEANING? DO THEY HAVE A PURPOSE?
I think dreams are a tool that we can use to learn about and improve ourselves. Whether they have purpose or not depends on how you choose to view them. If you question why you might have dreamed something that made you feel a certain way, then its purpose is to point out issues that need to be confronted. If you're introspective, then dreams can help you become more self-aware.
HAVE YOUR DREAMS EVER INSPIRED OR INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?
I've dreamed up a good amount of music ranging from chord progressions to full-blown original songs with catchy hooks. I sometimes remember what I dream up and work with the ideas in real life, but more often than not, those compositions get lost in the sea of forgotten dreams. Someday I'd like to have an output jack installed into my head to record my sleep ideas. Elon Musk, are you listening?
WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM MUSICIAN TO COLLABORATE WITH, AND WHY?
I'd be really excited to collaborate with the up-and-coming electronic/pop duo Grey. Similar to myself, they come from a metal background, but now they're pushing boundaries in pop music. Not only do they incorporate unorthodox yet effective chord progressions, but the way they approach percussive elements in songs is really unique. They even used the sound of an axe chopping into a log from Game of Thrones in one of their songs. They seem like awesome people as well.
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM FOR 2019?
In 2019, I want to continue to pour my heart and soul into my craft, positively influence as many people around me as possible, and bring people together through art. This year is the biggest year so far with Vespera, and I'm excited for what's to come.