Lauren O'Brien

The words come through your speakers. Tense words. Sharp words. Hypnotic words. Words couched in grinding guitars and thudding drums, words thick with emotional desperation that also reveal the strangely paradoxical beauty in suffering; the diamonds in the cave, waiting to be mined. The words are those of Lauren O’Brien, one of the most exciting young poet-performers on the scene today.

“I love rock ’n’ roll, the passion and rebelliousness of it,” says Lauren. “But I want to be part of it in my own way—I want to take poetry and rock it out.”

Which is exactly what Lauren does—and then some—on Inconsequential Dream, her astonishing debut album. Take “color code,” a menacing, tension-rich rumination on love’s blurred lines of communication or the hard-hitting title track, which was inspired by the numerous mystic predictions about the year 2012 and the letting go of old ideas in order to live more fully in the new age. And then there’s “To Let Someone,” an acoustic guitar-laced allegory likening newfound spiritual energy to the acceptance of a former lover’s new mate. Much like Lauren’s riveting live performances, Inconsequential Dream is a cathartic, emotionally cleansing experience that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat throughout—only to find them back in line when the last track stops, eager to sign up for another wild ride.

How do you describe your music to people, Lauren?
I say it's rock poetry. Possibly the love child of Henry Rollins, King Missile and Ani Difranco. My friend and promoter David Tanner recently came up to me after a show with a huge smile on his face and called me an "emotional terrorist".  I kinda like that too. 

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Ya know, I've been pretty consistent in this life.  I started composing stories and poems before I could even write! I'd get struck with some kind of inspiration and beg my mother to write everything down for me.  I think she still has some of those early works of genius. 

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I love creating.  I also love practicing Buddhism. (Ok, that's two things...) I think my Buddhist practice is what allows me to be fully creative in this world.  Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Probably switching between my artist mind and my business mind.   

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress.  I studied acting in school and worked in that field for a while.  But, I started feeling really constrained by it.  I felt like I always had to fit myself into someone else's mold.  I had (and continue to have) a deep desire to create something that is an authentic expression of the truth who I am.  It is my wish to free other people to access their own truth through my artistic expressions.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
My Buddhist practice has had a particularly profound effect on my development as an artist.  I have the incredible fortune to be a part of a community that is constantly encouraging me to make my greatest dreams come true. 

I have a great teacher, Daisaku Ikeda, who is always showing me how to expand my life in ways I never thought possible.  In his essay "My Vow for the 80th Anniversary" he wrote, "... You have as yet tapped only a fraction of the boundless power of Buddhahood you possess and revealed only a tiny portion of your limitless Buddha wisdom...."

Now that's encouraging!  I love feeling that possibilities are limitless.

What other artists out there do you love?
I recently saw Sirsy perform at the Bitter End and they totally rocked.  I also developed a minor obsession with the band Lourds.  And I deeply admire the songwriting of Rachael Sage.

And of course, I love Gary Pickard.  We write together, and we have really different perspectives.  In my opinion, he is a musical genius.  He teaches me to hear the world in ways I never did before.

What does your future hold?
Total world domination!

Honestly, I'd love to tour and perform my rock/poetry show all over the world.  I think that the songs on Inconsequential Dream tap into some universal human truths.  I would love to bring them to a global audience. 

August 27th 2010 6:00pm
acoustic set: Lauren O'Brien & Gary Pickard
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St, NYC

*** September 4th 2010 at 7:30pm  ***
@ Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, NYC