What do a post-industrial, alternative music group from Dallas, Texas and a highly anticipated, black bath bomb have in common? Mike Graff of course! Who is Mike Graff? I bet a lot of you will be wondering, so let us bring him into your lives through the words of Hal Samples and Iamesh.
Lush and stories go hand in hand, like two peas in a pod. We love to dig deep and use them as our source of inspiration. So when Hal introduced Mike into the conscious of Mark and Simon Constantine, the Gorilla Perfumers, we knew something beautiful would come from that new relationship.
It all started with Hal and his connection to the song Dawn of the Great Eastern Sun - an instrumental piece by the band Course of Empire, in which Mike Graff played the guitar. This piece of music gave comfort to Hal, in the wake of losing his grandfather, a story he shared with Lush’s two perfumers.
The song, which opens on a bird song, progresses into softly delayed guitar, which gives the feeling of warmth and movement. The movement can be visually interpreted in the changing of colour within the bath bomb and the changeover of fragrance between the outer and inner layers.
“I spoke to Mark and Simon about the significance of art in my transformation and how there was a song early on in my story, when I was going through a metamorphosis. This particular song I’d have on repeat and I played it and immediately saw how it affected, not just Mark, but also Simon.
“The significance of the song for me was that I lost my grandfather when I was 19 years old, and I lost my mind a couple of times. I think everybody does, so it wasn’t just a story into Hal’s metamorphosis, Mark took it back away from me when he said: ‘Everyone in the human condition has a metamorphosis that they go through, it’s not limited to one.’
“Today, the song still has significance. Our relationship with the song is that I saw it on MTV, and I was a fan - this guy was a rock God, who used to live in Dallas and was now doing music for films like Hellraiser and was on MTV. It was cool to say I came from the same city as he came from. Jump forward 17 years later, there’s a knock at my door. One of my friends had referred him for me to do portraits of his child, so I let that last three or four minutes before telling him, in a Wayne's World kind of way: ‘Dude, I was totally your fan!’
"I invited him back to do a show at my studio - this is the video I played in the lab with Mark and Simon and the video starts off with Mike saying: ‘my father was an artist’. He wanted to share some of his work and do an instrumental interpretation as he went around the room in front of the artwork, telling you a little about the work. I thought it was very appropriate for the lab I was sitting in with Simon and Mark, and they got to have that experience watching Mike. We called it Night Gallery.
"Showing the video to Mark and Simon in the lab, I can’t remember to quote them, but they were like: ‘Wow, this is great’ and I said: ‘Yeah, the guy is a friend of mine, I can call him if you want?’ and Mark goes: ‘Do it’, so I did, I rang him up and he answered.
"Dawn of the Great Eastern Sun was significant, because it was medicinal for me. It grabbed me in this place and I knew it worked when I was nineteen, so I’ve gone back to it over the decades and found it still has the same significance. After I’d shared with Mike how this has affected me and I saw how it affected Mark and Simon in real time, it lead to Mark asking Mike: ‘What do you think the fragrance should smell like?’ Mike answered: ‘It should be elegant.’"
Metamorphosis was first introduced at the Lush Creative Showcase 2016 and since has gained a mystical attraction, due to its alien-like appearance and inviting, transformative scent. The wait is almost over, however. The Lush Summit will see the launch of Metamorphosis, as well as a documentary of the same name.
The Lush Summit takes place 8th February - 9th of February, at Tobacco Dock, London. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.