San Diego’s EST speak on cults, nature and “The Everies”

Becky DiGiglio

Note: This interview was initially slated for release in June

Early spring at the onset of lockdowns across North America, San Diego trio EST released three-song EP, The Everies. This release paired nicely with my own self-isolation, so much so that it became my go-to music for much of March. The Everies touches a lot of what I’m into genre-wise, bringing together elements of goth, shoegaze, and darkwave in a short but sweet sample of what’s to come from the group. We had a chance to speak with Charlotte Noelle Miller and Christopher Ryan Braciszweski about cults, nature, and The Everies.

How did you meet and when did you decide to start making music as EST?

Charlotte: We met at Soda bar! JC had just played a set for one of his solo projects, Mystery Cave, and it had blown my mind. I had never seen anyone play live music like that before. After the show I went outside and saw JC and Chris, who were already good friends, standing outside chatting. I went over to say hi and to tell JC that I loved his set. The three of us hit it off immediately and just hung out forever talking about music and plants on the sidewalk. I had moved to America, from England, about 5 months previous and I remember being so excited to finally have found people that I could connect with. It was the first time I felt like San Diego could maybe become my home. We decided to make music together pretty much instantly. It just made sense. Within a couple of weeks, we were already in a studio recording our first songs. I am so grateful that I decided to go to that Soda Bar show. I had no idea I was going to meet my best friends.

I’m always curious about how musicians relate to their own music. What do you hear when you listen to The Everies?

Charlotte: I have so many feelings associated with this record. Each time I listen to these songs I hear something new. I guess it depends on how much I can disconnect or how deeply I choose to connect with their narrative. I think, as a trio, they tell a really beautiful, very human story of love, friendship, vulnerability, and survival. I’ve always been in love with songs that have the ability to carry you along with them; songs that create a new world, within which you can just be; songs that kind of become your companion. I feel like The Everies allow for that experience. Like all of us, each of these songs has its own story to tell but also its own secrets to keep. They create a dreamscape, within which you have permission to just feel how you feel, without judgment, and with no expectations. I also love how understated these songs are. The Everies make me feel a similar way to how my favorite movies make me feel – the ones that tell the story of just a single character. Nothing dramatic or shocking needs to happen. Instead, you just enjoy finding beauty in the details of the characters’ experience. I think about this a lot, but I’ve never tried to put it into words before……

Is EST a cult? What’s up with the band name and its relationship to Werner Erhard?

Christopher:  Some may view it as a cult, but it’s a branch of the human potential movement. The band name is less about Werner himself and more about the goals set out to transform and evolve and act as a bread crumb trail to our overall ethos. It’s a multifaceted acronym that has its own evolution. Starting as a genetic insinuation to expressed sequence tags, which are markers in DNA, then alluding to the Electronic Social Transformation which was coined by the creator of “The Outer Limits” which actually influenced the acronym for Erhard Seminar Training through the book “est: A Steermans Handguide” in which “The “est people” were a new generation of postliterate humans who were to bring about a “transformation” of society. The “est people” were to be technically minded, eclectic, and computer literate. They would possess qualities necessary for social transformation, integral to Earth’s survival”

In the press release it states that you are, “plant scientists who absorb the dark and healing frequencies of nature to create a medium for communication”  Could you elaborate on this relationship to the natural world? 

Christopher: This is an allusion to a shared interest in the spirituality of nature as well as an expressed interest in the science that grounds its power. Through Charlotte’s work as a plant geneticist at the Salk Institute and my personal work with various labs in the cannabis industry, we can share enough knowledge and data to bring these influences into how we structure and think about sound design, from frequency to texture and intention to outcome. Our human connection to nature and emotion is deep and the frequencies both emit are powerful on a cellular level. We intentionally structure the essence of our sound organically to represent the natural and filter it through more contemporary genre devices and modern digital software standards to represent the human interaction and essentially paint nature into music with a human touch. 

In the video for “Every Echo” electronic, natural, and human elements are beautifully intertwined. I think of music videos as a form of alchemy. We combine symbols and sounds transforming them into something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. How did you come up with the concept for the music video and why did you choose these elements?

Christopher: Alchemy indeed. The overlap of the natural world and the digital realm we all are enraptured by is an interesting juxtaposition of our current experience. I feet there is a relatable crossover in nature and code if we really looked behind the curtain. As humans, we are so complex and how we interact with the world around us is so intriguing to me. I wanted to portray not just mysticism in nature, but also the dynamics of growth and change. In the video the sorceress represents society, wielding influence on her surroundings and calling out the viewer to think and feel deeper, all while nature and technology are constantly evolving and interacting in synergy and disarray. It’s a visual interpretation of the Electronic Social Transformation, that I hope to extend and elaborate on it the bands future works. 

Becky DiGiglio

Speaking of the world in a state of flux…The pandemic and self-isolation have collectively brought a lot of social and personal issues up to the surface. With all this time in isolation, watching the world deal with the virus, are there any surprising realizations you’ve come to about yourselves as individuals or society at large? 

Charlotte: As for most people I guess, this experience has been many things. It has definitely brought up a lot of feelings for me related to what it means to be so far away from home. We would never choose to leave our families at a time like this. Of course, this wasn’t happening when I left England, but regardless, it’s made me really aware that I did chose to leave them. I wasn’t quite ready to think about that to be honest. I guess it’s just an example of how these experiences will inevitably make us realize what is truly important and maybe make us see that we might have some apologies to make.  I’m grateful for that, even if it does bring up things that are uncomfortable to sit with. This time in quarantine has also made me really aware of how much richness I have in my life, outside of a social setting. I’m thankful for that. I’ve also really appreciated having time to get to know the little streets of my neighbourhood – finding beauty within the context of a much smaller, simpler world. All that being said, I miss hugs and I cannot wait to hug absolutely all of you in 2021.

Christopher: I’ve been thinking a lot about the collective consciousness and how it can be interacted with as individuals or in groups to perpetuate positive change on a societal level. There was a campaign for millions to simultaneously meditate early on in quarantine and there were schematics released days later showing spikes in the earths electromagnetic field during the times of the group mediations. It got me thinking, while the world social distances and while there are social justice protests, can we all feel connected to each other and improve a greater sense of health, wellbeing and positive change through intention and group soul? Can we find Justice and Peace through putting positive energy into the ether together and separately. I guess it’s highlighted how much drastic chance is needed and inspired thoughts on what are constructive ways to get there. The power of intention is strong and now more than ever we need to utilize it for positive transformation.