I’m sat upstairs in The Joiners, sitting across from Henge frontman Zpor. It’s a bit of a journey from his home in Agricular in Cosmos Redshift 7 to Earth, so I ask what brought him here. It turns out this isn’t the band’s first foray into Earth either:
“We’ve been to Earth many times” Zpor explains, “we’ve always had a close relationship with the planet and I’ve been keeping tabs on human evolution – it’s working out very interesting.”
Why now though? “This current trip to Earth, we received a distress signal from a human being called Grok, who contacted us through the astral realm. He’s an extremely proficient lucid dreamer and managed to work his way into the realm; we were in a trance at the time so our consciousnesses intermingled. He let us know that human beings are in a moment of crisis and he was able to put out that distress signal and guided us to a safe landing here on this very dangerous militarised planet which you have.”
I’m intrigued. And more to the point, what does Zpor think about the UK in particular?
He begins “Well, we are having a lovely time. We set up a little base there in Manchester – lots of lovely people there, and we’re here in Southampton [he emphasises the ‘TON’] tonight. We’ve had a lovely time wherever we’ve been in the UK actually, this is our second tour [in the UK] and we’ve found that the people of the UK are quite receptive to our transmissions.”
Given that the band have played a number of dates in the UK lately, I ask how it’s has all been going. Zpor couldn’t look more satisfied as he comes up with his answer; “It’s been bloody brilliant! Yes, lots of people have been coming to the shows, which is reassuring. This evening we’re in Southampton – this is our first time here. Last week was our first time in Bedford, and we went to Nuneaton; all these small towns that we’re just learning about.”
And what of the people?
“We’re having lots of wonderful interactions with the very cute sweet people that come to the concerts and they are very willing participants in the cosmic dross experiment. We’ve observed some very positive results so far, such as the proliferation of joy amongst humans. Outwards signs of ecstasy: clapping, cheering, the raising of voices, and the hugging of human on human.”
Now, onto the music that producing this ‘proliferation of joy’ in us humans. Henge play a form of cosmic dross – has it been at all influenced by our Earth music?
“Yes indeed” Zpor begins, “Cosmic dross is an ancient art form developed on my home planet Agricular, in Cosmos Redshift 7, and it’s a kind of traditional, ceremonial music, if you will. I brought that with me on my travels – the form has mutated several times, especially when I met Nom, who plays the membranophones, and his amphibious rhythms have fused together with my more traditional roots in the cosmic dross of Agricular. It’s become a different music entirely – a positive mutation and evolution. And since we’ve been here on planet Earth we’ve met a lovely human being, Grok, and he’s proficient at the synthesiser, which is a lovely electronic musical instrument you have here on Earth which we particularly like. You can control all frequencies, which means we’ve been able to recontextualise and retune cosmic dross for human ears so it can be more readily absorbed into the nervous system of human participants.”
Henge’s most recent export of cosmic dross has been in the form of new single ‘Demilitarise’. It’s a tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking, who has “encouraged us, because in our observations of planet Earth and in our own experience on other planets we know that planet Earth is delicately poised – you’ve had these devastating asteroid strikes in the past. It was great for humans but it wiped the dinosaurs away; these threats from space are present all the time.”
Hailing from the planet Agricular, Zpor has more experience than most in how to deal with this sort of thing. He explains: “What the Agriculans managed to do, is they left their home planet and set up colonies on other planets. This has preserved our species way past the end of habitability on Agricular, and so with human beings and their marvellous potential we see a species that could live beyond the habitability of its own planet. But time is limited! The potential’s there but the will doesn’t seem to be there to unite and colonise other planets, and so many resources seem to be wasted on making weapons of war and destruction for profit when it is clear that a united effort on the part of the human species is needed to help and preserve the species. We were very encouraged, when we came to planet Earth, to hear that certain individuals – and the most prominent of these was Professor Stephen Hawking – and we as great admirers in his way of thinking and his tenacity and his insistence on sharing this message that could help to save humanity.”
It’s thought-provoking stuff. Does Zpor feel that Henge will stick around on Earth for a bit, trying to continue the legacy that Hawking has left?
Zpor doesn’t even have to think about it. “Yes, we’re determined to continue, and we shall only leave this planet when all hope is lost. Or hopefully, we can leave this planet knowing that human beings have made those changes and demilitarised their planet, and are working towards making colonies on other planets, and we don’t need to help anymore. And we can go and make merry with some other intelligent beings elsewhere in the galaxy, I’m sure.”
What’s in the pipeline for the future in terms of making music, I query.
“Music is a natural process. It’s a continued way of being, and making time for music is extremely important for balance, for health, and we intend to continue. We have another album of cosmic dross – we have extremely advanced rhythms, extremely advanced synthesiser sounds, and we’re just finishing tuning those. Then we will be recording them, making another listening disc for the consumption of human beings and for the edification of your species. So we are very much looking forward to a busy summer of playing lots of music festivals and wonderful gatherings of that sort, and then we shall delve into the studio.”
“I think we might go to the moon actually because we have a little recording studio there on the other side of the moon, free from distraction, and it’s also got a lovely view out into the cosmos, you see. And we can be inspired there, so we’re going to do that in September, and then we’ll take a bit of time to tweak it, twiddle the knobs a little bit, and then we’ll see that come out at some point here on earth.”
Can Henge be just what Earth needs to save itself? They just might be.
Words by Adam England