My very close friend told me about it ASMR. He used to get it from films, from art, from music – a good piece that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up …
Q. How much has your belief in ASMR affected your experience?
R. I don’t believe in ASMR. It just IS. It’s rational, it happens to everyone.
There’s an amazing bit in Coltrane’s version of the Atlantic recording in 1961, the album ‘My Favourite Thing’ … Elvin Jones on drugs sounding amazing and Coltrane just soaring over the top …it was just the most uplifting thing …the autonomous sensory meridian response. I don’t think it’s scientific at the moment … For me, I don’t get it from anything but incredible music, rain sounds and massage. With powerful music – Ravel’s introduction and allegro, Hoagy Carmichael – it will come and go. With the rain sound it will be constant… it’s just a way of being incredibly relaxed and serene really.
I don’t go to bed listening to music … I go on YouTube and put on rain sounds and white noise, sounds of rain on … rain in a puddle, cars driving through the rain stuff like that, running water, stuff like that really helps me sleep – you don’t have to think about anything. Before, you’re just thinking a lot – thinking about stuff – reflective – there’s quite a lot of bizarre things in my [mind]. Music is not going on in my mind but I’ll be thinking about something music related cos I can’t really escape that … it’s about blocking out thoughts
Q You couldn’t do without it?
R No I’d really struggle unless I was like drunk. If I’m not sober then it doesn’t really matter, but if I’m sober – and I’m usually sober – then it helps …
Q What’s the transition?
R Absolutely no idea … it can be very quick. Also, if I’m worried about things it can be very slow. If I’m worried about things I usually just don’t go to bed because it’s just wasting my time. It’s easy to say ‘ just don’t worry’ but it’s hard not to, so I might stay up for an entire night – just go and sit in the living room and play some guitar or read a book. Books are good cos they can make you fall asleep.
Q Are they the same as white noise then?
R No cos they’re more active. White noise is passive – as if something is happening to you than you doing something … I don’t sleep a lot – I sleep 4 hours … if I’m looking at this wall I’m now surveying the cracks in the wall and the cracks in the bricks, the different colours, the blue and red. I’m not – that’s still not passive. If you look at something there’s a tendency for it to be active whereas white noise is totally passive. It’s just occurring – you’re not listening out for the deviations, the tone or anything. It’s just a noise that is there for you to relax.