“They say I am a fallen Angel, I say I was pushed” – Prometheus
Prometheus was banned from Heaven and barred from Hell because both God and the Devil knew him well.
“I need challenges. This time, the challenge was to scale Mount Olympus.”
(THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS TERENCE TRENT D’ARBY)
"PROMETHEUS & PANDORA"
Released October 13, 2017
Listen to “It’s Been A Long Time” here
Sananda Maitreya has been facing challenges all his life. As Terence Howard, he boxed for a living and as Terence Trent D’Arby he left a five-album, boundary-pushing treasure trove.
Now, comes Sananda Maitreya’s Prometheus & Pandora, in all its three-volume (Prometheus, Pegasus and Pandora), 53-tracks, 178-minutes glory. Produced and entirely played by Sananda himself (except for a few instances where he teams up with old friends), his seventh album (after WildCard!, Angels & Vampires, Nigor Mortis, The Sphinx, Return to Zooathalon, The Rise of The Zugebrian Time Lords); since changing his name in 1995 and making it legal in 2001 , was recorded in weeks rather than months.
It might just be his masterpiece.
“Legends are immortal,” he explains. “They exist outside time, they are human archetypes writ large, which spawned the superheroes of today. There’s a time to meditate and ask for forgiveness, to use universal mythology to look at what my own life has been, so making this album, I tilted my antennae, transposed mythology to the 21st Century and created three different terrains to communicate where we are now. It’s about embracing all that you are, the shadow and the light and the enduring timeless relationship between the two protagonists: Prometheus & Pandora.”
In Greek myth, Prometheus was the god who created mankind, stole fire from Mount Olympus and gifted it to his creation.
“Man, Prometheus was flawed!” Sananda muses. “He took no bullshit, he was moody, he was aggressive, yet as a visionary he not only sees, but creates. He’s the male energy, he was bipolar and he was punished for what he did. That’s why there’s aggressive, kickass Gibson guitars on his volume.”
Made from the soil of the earth, Pandora was the first woman. She released humanity’s evils as punishment for Prometheus’s transgression.
“She’s very positive, very female, very pink, but she has a chip on her shoulder. She’s more settled in who she is than Prometheus and while she’s the woman we most fear because she represents truth, she has no fear of us. Her sound is Fenders: more indie, more Smiths, more introspective and more bold, but a little less alpha.”
As is his way, Sananda entered the studio in his home city since 2002, Milan, with songs, sounds and arrangements in his head. Luisa Corna, the Italian former Dolce & Gabbana model turned television presenter and singer, provided Pandora’s vocals and the album’s feminine undertow. Having dreamed of working with Sananda since they met 15 years ago, Luisa was nervous. Afterwards she said she’d never worked with someone who knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it as certainly as Sananda.
Pegasus, the immortal, white-winged horse, the calm between two storms, stands between Prometheus and Pandora.
“Pegasus is the communion wafer that unifies Prometheus’s swaggering alpha status and Pandora’s aggressive beta one. He represents perspective, so the vibe is chill-out and there are a lot of animal titles (Food For Trout, Zebra, Rhinoceros, The Marmoset) because animals are mirrors into our own consciousness, yet we don’t judge them as harshly as ourselves.”
And what would Prometheus and Pandora themselves make of Prometheus & Pandora?
“Ha! He’d be chuffed but he’d think ‘you cheeky bugger, assuming you could speak for us..,’. She’s in love with any asshole making an effort: especially if they’re sincere.”
Prometheus & Pandora is an album from a polymath who’s as at ease discussing politics and sport, as he is music. It encapsulates the 21st Century human condition and is a smorgasbord of conflicting emotions. There’s wit and wisdom, anger and contemplative sadness and each volume contains a version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s I Don’t Know How To Love (Him) sanctioned by the song’s authors.
“I am a big fan of their work and I was very fortunate and honoured to get permission to free the song from its previous identification, so now Rufus Wainwright or K.D. Lang or anyone can sing it from any perspective and any direction. This frees one of our all time great classics to be sung by more people, I should hope. Here, it’s about Pandora’s frustration: she can have any lover she wants, but she doesn’t know how to love this asshole Prometheus. I’ve wanted to cover it since I was a little boy, now was the time.”
Elsewhere, there’s political allegories on Rhinoceros (“They’re big, black, misunderstood, feared and fearful”) and Country Changes (“We’re at an evolutionary moment: everything changes but nothing’s changing”) and even a rare look back as Sananda’s own past on It’s Been A Long Time: “It’s the artist’s way of acknowledging 30 years of feedback”.
But why is Prometheus & Pandora so, well, big?
“I’m a son of Prometheus and I’ve seen friends who were also sons of Prometheus die recently: David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Chris Cornell. When you’re young you embrace your immortality, when you get older you face your own mortality. I know I’m in my season of mortality: that inspired me to cut the bullshit and really go for it.”
He’s just as clear as what he wants from this extraordinary album.
“I want this record to sell, of course I do, and I am happy to acknowledge that many people have already created a space in their heart for my Post-Millennium Rock music. But I want to offer an even greater space for the soul, an even more elevation. For people who give so much of their time to me and my communications, that seems like a fair exchange.”
“In addition, I have two primary objectives that I wish to achieve with 'Prometheus & Pandora': one is to buy a boat and perhaps christen it the 'BoyGeorgeMichaelJacksonBrowne' and set sail to Antarctica! The other is to help Pandora raise fertility throughout Europe and wherever she needs it. Her people are losing their confidence and numbers and they could use some help getting their groove back. I am quite positive that at least ONE of these objectives I'll be able to attain.”
To complete the picture, Sananda Maitreya is going to tour once more.
“Like so many bastards of my vintage, I’m becoming vulnerable to the suggestive nature of sentimentality. So I’m going to possibly let myself face the entire scope of my professional journey and I’m prepared to offer a sampling of my 30 years getting my ass kicked and showing how surreal keeping track of time is.”
And finally, what happened to that TTD fella, did you worry about changing his name?
“Oh he’s not here any more…. He is back on Mount Olympus, resting and awaiting his next assignment. Did I worry? My life has always been a great difficulty, I am not sent to do easy jobs. Were the task simple a simple soul would have been sent!
“A Name is Just A Label but…
Life is life and LOVE IS LOVE
& LOVE (like all good fables), LASTS!”
Dan Deacon @ Deacon
020 3176 6606