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Satyasena was founded in 2023 by Pej Mon, this being the debut self-titled full length. The initial idea for the band came in 2016, when Pej, after a long musical career as a drummer, decided to pick up and learn guitar/vocals from scratch and start writing an album. The inspiration was twofold: Having played in others’ bands like Secret Chiefs 3 and Ghoul, Pej was charged to see his own vision come to life. Over the course of 5 years, Pej wrote and recorded demos of the music for the debut self-titled album while practicing and developing the technique on these new instruments.
Musically, Pej’s intention was to be as authentic to the vision that inspired him, no matter how long or arduous the process might be to realize it. Comfort, and resting on one’s laurels, were ideas that were thrown out in favor of stepping boldly into the unknown discovery of following the inner voice. Every step along the way of this adventurous and vulnerable process, forced an intense confrontation within Pej and his own psyche. Upon completion of the album, Pej recruited drummer Michael Malinowski and bassist Caleb Schneider to create the raw live trio band, and they played their first show in July 2023.
Satyasena was engineered, mixed, and produced by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Tool, Big Business) at Sound of Siren studios in Los Angeles. Mastered by JJ at Golden Mastering. Cover art by Mackie Osborne. Satyasena will be released digitally as well as on CD January 22nd, 2024 on Sympatry Records. Preorder, here.
When it came to recording this album, Toshi Kasai was enlisted to produce and record. Connecting to Toshi was a pivotal moment as his production and engineering skills and general support helped propel Pej to the finish line of what was a very daunting task of playing drums, guitars, and vocals on the album. Production wise no ideas were left untried. With the help of Toshi, together they were able to give the attention to every part to honor whatever the music was asking for. Three different bass players were recruited including Jeff Matz (High on Fire, Mutoid Man), Joe Lester (Intronaut, Secret Chiefs 3), and Rusty Kennedy (Wax People, Red Fiction). Keyboards and synths were handled by K.J. Karam (The Locust, One Day as a Lion).
Already being used to prioritizing emotional healing and awakening in his life for decades, much of the lyrics reflect these themes as well. Pej writes:
“I pushed myself to the brink in order to get to the truth of who I am and what I experience into this music no matter what. This was an emotionally brutal, but incredibly cathartic and healing experience for me. Whether I am sharing about the pains of not belonging, self doubt, struggling to find my way, hitting dead ends, falling outs, striving to heal in conflictual relationships, the anger of ancestral wounding that lingers, or the indomitable spirit to rise and heal through any pain, or spiritual themes of oneness, surrender, and trust, I strived to represent the full range of myself, not just one side. Even musically, the process of learning and writing music on new instruments especially at this point in my career kept me constantly not just technically but also emotionally challenged and pushed to the edge. I often didn’t know if I would make it to the end of this album, or if even I could handle the intensity of transformation the recording and musical re-birthing process was forcing me through.”
Pej Mon has this to say about the single, “Draconist”, “Healing multidimensionally through art is my passion. This song helped me access the unconscious light within, the way my favorite music does to me every time I listen, though much more personal this time around. I see the creative process as a magical act, a transformational communication from our higher selves. May we all listen and express that. May all internal and external noise be cleared to create the space to honor art that reveals and heals.”