“My grandmother said to me…‘isn’t time such a wonderful gift?’ Trevor explained. When my grandmother looked up to me from her wheel chair on that golden afternoon, something happened. I didn’t know it then, but that one remark would stick with me for weeks and months to come. That was the seed. That was the beginning … ‘Time.’”
That was the beginning of KALA, which means ‘time’ in Sanskrit, and what has become Trevor Hall’s most eloquent expression of coming into his own musical identity.
Hall’s music is an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae and Sanskrit chanting that echo the teachings of divinities, while maintaining a harmonizing tone amidst a universal message.
In an exclusive interview, Hall discusses the surrender that was necessary to let KALA emerge:
BJB: An integral part of the spiritual path is the awakening and expansion within yourself. Can you talk about how the expansion within you is expressed through KALA?
TH: I think that we’re all divine beings, we’ve just forgotten that and are distracted; so it’s not like our divine essence is something that we have to gain because we already have it within. It’s something that we just have to remember.
There’s obviously many different ways to tap into that essence. You know for some people it’s writing, for some it’s walking and for others music. So music for me has been the thing that has helped me come inside because music is like a mystery to me. It brings me into a place where I know there is something much deeper within me.
I released an album called Chapter of The Forest after I had taken a year off. I was kind of going through a tough time and just tired from the road and burnt out. In Chapter of the Forest (COTF) I wanted to do an album that was healing for me.
I felt like with that album I was really coming into my sound, whereas like all the other albums before I was still exploring a little bit.
By the time KALA came around, I was going deeper within myself and deeper within my musical and spiritual expression.
BJB: If you have to go deeper in, it’s almost as if you had to unlearn smallness; like being afraid of change or of failure or doing what you think other people would want you to do. You have to be authentic. That seems to have come through COTF, Unpack Your Memories and KALA.
KALA feels deeply healing.
TH: You have to understand that I’m a listener too. I’m the most privileged listener because
I get to hear it first, before it comes out.
For me the songs aren’t necessarily speaking from where I am presently, these are things that are talking to me, they’re like meditations for me and they’re helping me heal. Each time I play them and each time I share them, I get a new perspective of the message and the healing.
KALA, by God’s grace, brought me back deeper into that space.
We’re conditioned to so many different things and as an artist, you do have a lot of pressures of what’s main stream and what is success. Some of those things are good but some of the things you have to unlearn and go within. COTF was the beginning while KALA was definitely the journey of going further into that space of what’s in my heart.
BJB: What is the highest vision you hold for your music?
TH: I try to be as sincere as possible.
Unfortunately, no matter even if it’s a pure thing, we take it and market it and try to make money off of it. I think people can trust when they know if somebody is being authentic or not. I also think they know within themselves too, ‘am I being authentic or not?’ It can be a battle because there’s a dance that has to be done.
I just feel weird if I’m not being true to myself, and I can’t go on like that. I can’t fake it.
The purpose for me playing music is to go within. Yeah it just happens to be my job and I get to share it with people, but in its deepest sense I was playing music way before I shared it with anybody. Why? Because it was my way of going within, my way of talking to spirit and my way of spirit talking to me.
I’m not going to abuse that relationship with spirit.
BJB: What have you not experienced that you want to call to you now, or let emerge?
TH: So many things. I have visions and dreams and ideas of things that I want to happen, but I still struggle so much with balancing spiritual and work life.
BJB: Do you mean an inner “push and pull?”
TH: Yeah, just being in the world. I eventually want that line to go away.
BJB: I think I would like that line to go away too!
TH: It does get blurred. It gets blurry sometimes which is really beautiful, but then when it’s two distinct worlds, I think you have to be on your guard to deal with that separation and that struggle. I want to get better at that. I don’t want to see two, I want to see one.
I want to see the One in everything.
BJB: That would be great, but it seems like when one layer falls away there’s another one.
TH: That’s the journey. There’s a saying, “It’s better to aim at lions and miss than to aim at jackals and hit them.”
So it’s like, I’m going to go for it, you know, even if I might miss I’m still going for it rather than saying, “Okay I’m comfy here.” I don’t want that. I’m going deeper.
BJB: Can you tell me about your creative process?
TH: It’s funny because the music is so heavily spiritual, but it can come out of the most non-spiritual places.
For me, my writing process is just to remove myself, because as soon as I start thinking, it’s ruined.
When I’m out of the way and it just flows out and I write it down, I don’t even know what it’s about. I have no idea what it’s about, but I trust that it’s about something. So I’ll record it and it’s like I don’t know, three months later, a year later or five years later, I’m like oh my gosh that’s what that’s about.
So on KALA, “You Can’t Rush Your Healing” (YCRYH), when I wrote that song I was completely fine. I was in Hawaii, I was feeling great, like ‘oh this is an interesting song,’ YCRYH, whatever I’ll record it. Two months later I’m in the hospital and there’s the song, “You Can’t Rush Your Healing,” and I’m like, ‘What the heck?!’
BJB: But it was perfect because your wife didn’t go to Nepal.
TH: And that’s it, the divine timing. Everything is being perfectly arranged.
In the Western world we look at time as numerical and a mechanical thing that we’re trying to beat. There’s another side of time that is so important and it’s about space, cycles, patience and healing.
When I found out my wife would have been in Nepal if I didn’t get sick, I was like, that’s not a coincidence.
BJB: No, it’s not.
TH: So when I think about that, I think about time and how everything is being arranged perfectly, perfectly, perfectly. If we, if I can learn to remember that, then man, I’d be so less stressed. You know?
BJB: It’s the frustration that it’s not happening fast enough or the way we think it should happen, and it really is that trusting and just standing in the faith of it all.
TH: You don’t have to be a religious person to think that. That’s the biggest thing I take from KALA and it’s something that I’ll work on for the rest of my life. It’s such a journey.
BJB: I can hear the sincerity in your voice. You’re making a profound impact with your music, and I’m so grateful to be here to hear it and spread the word on your behalf.
TH: Thank you.
It’s crazy, because I still get so blown away and I almost get uncomfortable when people come up to me and say, “Your music has done so much for me.” I don’t really look at it as my music. I’m listening to it too and it’s helping me too.
BJB: It’s coming through you as the vessel. Each person brings a valuable piece to all of this. Thank goodness you’re listening. Thank you, Trevor.
“The one great gift we all share, without exception, is time. The value of time is incalculable because it is an immeasurable part of eternity, consisting of moments.” As we recognize this we see just how super special the present moment is as the only real moment.
These moments are continual gifts that allow us to make good and right use of our time by striving to better express the perfection within us.
As Hall continues to reach toward that connection to something bigger through his musical expression, we get to listen to what happens as he “dances” in and out of time as a conduit of remembrance.
When it comes down to it, ideally, that is what spirituality is about; improving the state of your fellow human beings, yourself and the world at large.
Hall was the featured performer in Deepak Chopra’s 2nd annual Global Meditation for Compassion at the Deepak Chopra Center, and on the Emmy Award winning PBS show On Tour.