1. What do you usually start with when working on a new piece? How does your creative process start? How hard is it to stick to the original idea? What would you say is your most cherished piece of equipment?

When I start working on a new piece, I start with a sound, or voice, and start experimenting with that sound and see how it inspires me. I use arpeggiators to create the rhythms and just go from there. It is all improvisation and that affects my creative process . I like to deal with the moment in time when I am creating the piece and because of that, I am never really able to create the same piece twice. But that is pretty true for any artist even though they may say they play the same song, it's always going to be slightly different. As far as sticking to the original idea, I guess there is really no original idea since it is improvisation, so it is very, very easy and I like to see where it goes.

My Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver Keyboards are the foundation of my work. Back in the early 80s when I was doing this, I used three Sequential Circuits Pro Ones, also designed by Dave Smith. Ironically when I got back into music work and live shows in 2010 I ran across these, not realizing at the time the connection with Dave Smith.

I got a used Mono Evolver Keyboard I found on Ebay. I needed it for my first show. I got it about a week in advance and got familiar with it enough to use it in the show. As I found out with the Pro Ones, you never totally learn a synthesizer, it is kind of a continuous experimentation to see what you need to do for that particular piece you are creating at the time. I've grown to really enjoy the Mono Evolver Keyboards, I have three of those like I used when I had my original Pro Ones . I never understand why Dave Smith Instruments quit making them last year.

2. What do improvisation and composition mean to you ? How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

As I just described, everything I do when I am composing is improvisation. I do create some basic ideas, motifs or arpeggiations to build on and let it take off from there so the composition part is creating the foundation of rhythms and arpeggiations, just seeing how they evolve out and fit together, I just go with it. I like the term "moments in time," that is one of the reasons I chose the idea of the term "Time Traveler" after my trip to Europe. I was experimenting with timings, feelings and time, and using music to separate time from reality so that there is no time as you listen to the music.

3. Since your very beginnings you were interested in the research of the music and the mind. It seems that creating music for you was always together with influencing the listener's state of mind and altering the way he connects with the environment while listening to your music. I would relate this to your The Time Traveler concept, Would you explain it more in detail to us?

If you look in my webpage on "Music and Expanding Consciousness" - http://jdemmanuel.com/astm.shtml - there is a very good description of how when I was a little kid starting when I was 8 or 10 years old I discovered that music could put me into dream states. By playing an LP on my mom's little mono, portable Motorola record player, then laying down and closing my eyes, I would get lost in the music to the point that I wouldn't be listening to the music anymore but would go into a dream state.

Over the years I kept looking at that and realizing that I loved music to create altered states. Then I discovered that all music creates altered states for people, whether they are dancing, sitting and listening, observing a symphony or wherever they may be. My parents would take us to the symphony and I'd slouch down into my seat and close my eyes and just let the music take me off, wonderful experience.

So the whole thing for me is being able to create that type of experience for myself first through my music, and then if the listener can get into it, too, that is the icing on the cake for me. All this is designed for my meditations, or my altered states, and hopefully with the idea that other people could enjoy it for their meditations, too.

3. Regarding music you mention Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich as some of your early music mentors. Which authors would you suggest regarding the study of metaphysics?

What finally gave me the last keys I needed to making the type of music I do now was a book I read in the summer of 1979, Through Music to the Self by Peter Michael Hamel. It is also metaphysical in nature.

A few other metaphysical authors and books I can recommend are Wisdom of Solomon, a collection of lectures by Paul Solomon, edited and organized by Grace De Rond, any of the Dion Fortune books and Edgar Cayce's Story of Jesus by Jeffry Furst to name a few. This is just the tip of the iceberg of thing I could recommend.

One book I read about once a year and have done so since the year it was published in 1977 is Illusions by Richard Bach. It is one of the most powerful and simplest books that put it all together for anyone wanting to really want connect with and be an excellent representative of the Universe. It focuses on how you handle your daily life and personal interactions is the path to being a Messiah. There is a companion book, Messiah's Handbook, that I like to use for quick little bits of inspiration by just randomly reading one if its teachings every so often.,

Christ in You is another wonderful book of inspiration and guidance for me. It is not religious in nature but focuses on teaching you how to emulate the life of Christ in your own daily life. It allows you to explore the Teachings of the Christ in an open manner so that you can find your own relationship to the Teachings and create a personal lifestyle from them, again so you can be a wonderful representative of the Universe.

I would say that I work to handle life in a Zen manner, realizing that "the Moment," the "Right Now," is all that matters to create the past and future. So we do control our destiny in how we handle "the Moment." I also thinks that is reflected in my music.

4. What do you personally consider to be the profound moments in your artistic career?

Discovering the relationship between music and altered states for me was the first step. Then I had to continue to find music that I really liked for getting me into altered states. One of my early discoveries in the last few years of high school was Dave Brubeck's Time Out, with its marvelous use of odd rhythms as in Take Five, Blue Rondo à la Turk and Three to Get Ready.

As I got even older I discovered long jam music and that started again with jazz and rock music. I liked that it just played for a long time, you close your eyes and listen to it, you just kind of have fun letting the music move through you. As I learned more about meditation, I got better at deepening my altered states naturally as listening to my music. My favorite recording for meditation is "Wizards".

Somewhere around 1970's and through the demo LP, "The Wild Sounds of New Music" that was packaged with "Well Tempered Synthesizer" by Walter Carlos on the Columbia Masterworks label, I discovered Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Terry Riley's, "A Rainbow in Curved Air," and Steve Reich's, "Violin Phase," totally defined where I wanted to go in music. It took me another ten years to discover how to develop my own style.

Right after reading Through Music to the Self , I felt confident about how I wanted to approach creating music. I got my first organ in August, 1979, a Crumar Traveler-1, that I got from a pawn shop while in New York City. At that time I was also doing some guitar work with an Echoplex and it really started coming together and became my foundation over the next few years.

By 1984, I only started using electronic keyboards for my compositions, especially synthesizers. I finally had to quit playing guitar after my minor stroke in November, 2008. I was not able to finger pick anymore which I really miss and was very good at playing. My key guitar mentors were Stephen Still and Neil Young. Probably my favorite piece using the guitar is on Rain Forest Music, Alone By Myself.

Also another interesting thing after the stroke was that my right hand doesn't go where I want it to go all the time, my GPS for that hand is slightly off. So I have to watch it, direct it visually, it is off about an inch if I don't watch it. What is interesting is I would make mistakes when playing on my keyboard or live in the studio it would really bother me. Over time I got over it because I realized it is part of who I am now. I don´t do it very often but when it happens I just decide to stay in the music and don´t worry about it and just let it be a part of the music. Dissonance, then resolution from dissonance can add a lot to the music, so I keep it in the pieces I create. When people come to see me play they may notice that I stare down at my keyboards a lot, actually it is just to focus and make sure my right hand goes where I want it most of the time.

5. A few years ago you decided to tour and release new material after almost 20 years of silence. How was that decision made?

Starting in 2005, through an unusual chain of events that I call Divine Providence, I was contacted by Douglas Mcgowan, publisher of Yoga Records, and New Age Music writer and reviewer. He had found my Rain Forest Music and Wizards LPs, still sealed, at a Half Price Bookstore in North Dallas, Texas. They were there because when we moved back to Houston in 1988, I left several cartons of them in my attic because I could not even give them away. The new house owner apparently found them and sold them to HPBs around 2003.

Douglas and I became fast friends. I worked with him on mastering many reel tapes into digital masters for Yoga Records.

With Douglas' encouragement, I found out that people still liked my music so I started editing and making it available on the Internet. At first, it was free, then I started getting requests from publishers to reissue some of my work.

Since then, "Wizards" has been republished twice, first by Lieven Martens in 2007, Dolphins Into the Future, under his label, Bread and Animals, Private Press Weirdness (we called it the the "25th Anniversary Reissue of Wizards"), and in 2010 by Important Records in the United States. Aguirre Records, Belgium, published "Time Traveler European Tour" in 2013, and "Trance-Formations I: Ancient Minimal Meditations" in 2011. Deep Distant Records, London, published "Trance-Formations II: Into Separate Realities" in 2013.

I had never considered playing live again and did not have the instruments to do so anyway. However, in the fall of 2009, I was invited by a well known European electronic musician to perform at two shows in Texas in February, 2010 . This musician knew of my music due to our relationship with a mutual friend, Lieven Martens. She contacted me and said "Hey I am coming to the United States, if I go through Houston and Austin would you play shows with me?" and I said sure. I don t know why I said sure, but for whatever reason it seemed like something interesting and fun to do. The decision was nothing special as such, I just decided to give it a shot and since then there had been some wonderful opportunities to perform live but I don´t try to perform live very often.

What I did when I first started performing is that I took some of my old work that included my environmental/music compositions and my regular electronic music to create a set that usually played 20 to 40 minutes. When I first started out I would play one song and stop, then reset my keywords to play the next piece but I didn't like the break in the flow of the set. So within a few shows over the next few months, I would just play the whole set without stopping and made adjustments as the sound was still going on using drones and arpeggiations for a continuous flow to develop my current style of playing live.

6. You started out as a young composer yourself in the 1980s. 30 years later, how do you see the perspective for today's young composers and musicians?

I actually started composing music when I was back in high school while I was a bass trombonist. After high school, I got into guitar, percussion and improvisation. The kind of music I do now, I started working on in the 70's and created the final foundation in the 80's, so I have been composing music for a long time.

As I look at today composers and musicians I see a lot of what I would call "random noise music." Back in the early 80's when I was making music there was more organization in music from the different composers such as Roedelius, Kraftwerk, Jon Hassell, Harold Budd and Achim Reichel. I enjoyed Tangerine Dream from 1975, Ricochet album, until 1983, Poland album, when they were Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Johannes Schmoelling.

Now it has became very random, experimenting with sounds that can get very loud and it hurts the ears to listen to it. I respect what they are doing, but do I like it? Some I do, more of the drone stuff that seems to have more of a flow but otherwise I am not sure. I don't really get to hear that much new music, unless I go to a show and other musicians on the program. Overall, I seem to be creating music that does not reflect the mainstream of electronic music today but more of an older style, which is OK to me. Music, like everything in life, works in cycles and I think we will be hearing some very wonderful new styles over the next few years.

7. Would you recommend us one or two new artists?

A couple of my favorite new artists are Sarah Davachi - http://sarahdavachi.com/bio.html - who does some really nice work with older analog synths, and Marielle Jakobsons who works with violin and synthesizers producing some very unique work - www.darwinsbitch.com

My dear friend and close brother, Lieven Martens Moana's work as Dolphins into the Future is very special. One of the reasons we became close friends is that our love of the environment mixed with music is a common theme for our work. I was also blessed to do my European tour with Lieven.

8. Do you have Upcoming releases, projects or information you would like to share?.

I have a group of studio recordings I am going to make available for download in Bandcamp called "Moments in Time, Vol 1, 2012". These again are improvisations in the studio I do when I am experimenting, looking for new ways to do music, especially for performances.

Watch my Bandcamp webpage for new music - http://jdemmanuel.bandcamp.com/music