Episode 1: Blue Mind, Green Mind
Just as it is with the sea itself, for me, Hæckels has so much to do with the senses. The look, the smell, and all that entails. Not only does the engagement with these senses keep your focus locked in the present, it also conjures memories in an instant and can really tickle those nostalgia points.
I was born about 5 minutes from the sea, and it’s always been a fixture in my life. Even for a few years spent living in Surrey and London, while the Thames was a very present feature of my environment, it always felt like it was the little sibling of the sea. Being in Margate and having that unstoppable horizon, that expanse of simultaneous nothingness and everything in the distance, it’s put so much into perspective with these memories I have, as well as the senses it triggers.
Hæckels has found a way to distill so much of this whole package into not only a wide range of constantly evolving products, but also their retail and therapy spaces (in Hæckels House for instance), and being a part of the team there has introduced me to some truly wonderful and unique people with enthusiasm, spark and creativity.
My involvement with the crew started with sound. I spoke to Dom the founder on my own podcast a while back, and we started chatting about all these other podcasts we listen to and it almost felt like the plan was starting without us realising. It turned out that that’s exactly what happened, and from then on there was a motion to get a Hæckels podcast off the ground and build it from scratch.
That’s why I bring up the senses aspect – I’ve spent the majority my life listening to music, editing it, producing it – I guess just getting down and dirty with it, to be frank. Rolling around in it. Marinating in it. Kind of like when I’m in the sea, in many ways. So it made sense that the podcast to come would involve that deep sensorial experience – a kind of a bubble away from the world. That was part of the original idea – we were talking about it being this escape capsule, like this little pod that was a place you could be within and just listen and get away from it all.
Dom and I both have our podcast touchstones and listening backgrounds, and we connected on a few matching points on the Venn diagram there, but of course it was always designed to be a unique and individual world. From the intonation, to the music, to the way it was put together and all the rest of it. It also wasn’t based around the selling and promoting of products. You won’t hear adverts for the latest invention or a big feature on the making of the newest product. But it does carry the spirit of that invention and creativity for sure.
I’ve been producing an archive of music together for it for a while now, as well as arranging field recordings from the local area (including some I already have from places further afield), and interviews which were mainly carried out during the more strict lockdown period earlier this year. It’s designed to be organic and evergreen, and hopefully a timeless production which will hopefully age gracefully too. Time will tell of course, but that’s the hope!
The name ‘Blue Mind’ is a respectful nod to Wallace J Nichols, who literally wrote the book on Blue Mind (that literally is the name of it). Wallace is a true expert on all things water and sea, and the book itself is an amazing meditation on all aspects of the ocean world – but specifically how our minds behave when near, on, and in it. This is also some of the sound focus – that meditative part of the mind which the sea really teases out of us and inspires.
In episode one, Blue Mind, Green Mind, you’ll hear excerpts from my interview with the incredible photographer Nadia Huggins, who is based in St Vincent in the Grenadines. Dom introduced me to her stunning Instagram feed and I became instantly hooked – it came at a time when I think we all felt like we needed some form of escapism and her photos provided exactly that. She talks about fear barriers, life in the Caribbean and the relationship with the sea there, and her photography practice itself. I also spoke to studying neuroscientist Russell Marx, who has been developing photos on algae to incredible effect. We spoke about his origins in the field, revelations about working with algae and the many and varied qualities of using algae as a medium. You’ll also hear from Lottie who is part of the Hæckels House team, who has written a unique meditation for this episode which should take you to a very special place indeed.
This podcast has sea water running through it. It’s a calm space, meditative and peaceful, and one which will hopefully provide you with enough mental space to relax or get inspired. It’s an experience, and designed with a slower approach and an intentional move from the fast paced and choppy elements out there.
So whatever your relationship with the sea and your own blue mind, find a place you won’t be disturbed, get yourself comfortable, and join us for episode 1.
It’d be wonderful to have you on board.
With love ///