I See Music: Night of the Lotus Eaters

By Erica Swanson

She betrays. Reveals. Ignites. Traces history; defines experience, and weaves the tapestry of life more clearly than any other sensory experience. She reminds when we’d rather forget. She tempts with memories when the present threatens to overcome. She seduces; brings us to our knees; inspires; leads us to the waters of our creative pulse. She taunts, teases, playfully begs the best of us, and leaves us once more to sink into deafening silence.

Music is a powerful mistress. Whether you’re a music maker or a music taker, she exposes your true nature; leaving you naked and heard.  And for the uninitiated, that first listen is like making love for the first time; beckoning and abandoning all at once.

Music and design: they’re the same, really. Both weave stories, with lyrics and melodies or colour and form, serving to refine and reflect, express and communicate. Design isn’t about creating pretty places for pretty pennies. It’s about interpreting, invoking. Bearing witness.

As an interior designer, I solve problems, yes, but my primary role is to express visually what exists purely intangibly. And designing to a sound—an idea, a mood—always risks revealing much about the interpreter.

A tricky proposition, to be sure. So when I was asked to create a mood board based on the song “Night of the Lotus Eaters”, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, I wasn’t entirely certain what I’d unearth. With an illustrious career spanning decades, Cave’s artistry is almost always dark and brooding. He has a knack for providing social commentary while exploring images of sex, religion, death, and violence.

My kind of guy.

I closed the door, turned off the lights, and listened:

If I had the strength, I might pick up my sword and make some attempt to resist

Mmm, yes. The push-pull. Temptation. Invitation. Resistance.

I kept listening; sinking into the bass line until the edges

began revealing themselves in the shadows. Hints of whispers, secrets, forbidden territories. The night sounds like decadence, dripping dangerously, dancing on the edges of decay.

They gilded my scales, they fish-bowled me and they toured me ‘round the old aquariums

And the visuals began to form, slowly.

The darling little dandelions have done their thing and changed from suns into moons

Indistinguishable depths of colour and pattern, like indistinguishable shadows in the recesses of our minds. The sharp, surprising introduction of a clean line is disturbingly off-putting, as though it could erase all the messy lines before it. Because this is how we imagine our lives to be, isn’t it?

But redemption is never easy. We keep making messes; de

licious, sensuous messes.

Get ready to shield yourself…grab your sap and your heater…and don’t you love my baby anymore?

So, like a criminal who wants to be caught, the plan invites; the textural seduction, overwhelming. The dark, brooding depths offset by the intricate, feminine drips of crystal and gold. Like an empire destined to fall. Much like I imagine that ‘Night of the Lotus Eaters’.

You must understand: this is the story music reveals. A betrayal through lyrics and pulsating rhythms; a story we do not speak in words alone. We stand naked; moods invoked and called upon at will. To forgive and forget, to incite and erase and begin again, always.

Photo credit: Marc Lagrange, a fine photographer. We adore his work and urge you to check him out.

Framing: Erica Swanson.


Erica Swanson is an interior Designer, which is a fancy-pants way of saying she creates kick-ass spaces for wickedly cool people. She listens. She translates. She initiates. And then she delivers you You.

She does that with her Design at Your Doorstep virtual services. She helps you get what’s in your head, into your space, all at a fraction of the cost of working with a designer in the traditional way. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too. Naughty, yes? Because it isn’t about trends or this year’s hottest paint colour or what the Joneses are doing. It’s about you. And it’s about time.

She’s been designing for over a decade. Shes been featured on national television, books, magazines and in both of Canada’s national newspapers. Oh, and she don’t just hear music, she sees music. She works by weaving music through the visuals like lyrics through a melody. Because design isn’t just about how you want it to look… it’s about how you want to feel. All of this means, of course, that she’s not your mother’s designer. Not by a long shot. Want more? Visit her at www.ericaswansondesign.com and follow her at @erica_swanson.

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