by Arvo Zylo
Sarah Wreck came into my life under strangely auspicious circumstances. She sent me a friend request and said something like, “I just had an instinct to get in touch with you.” Within three days of that, I’d commented on one of her posts and met a new circle of friends, some of which that, within a year, facilitated my move across the country to a place I’ve never been to before. But enough about me. The point is that Sarah is a real psychic. I have been to fake psychics, and obnoxious ones at that. Sarah is not that, not even slightly. She was able to tell a ridiculous amount about me with just a selfie that I poorly grasped with my cheap old flip phone, my only camera at the time. She has also taught me a few things about being a seer myself.
And all that aside, she is an artist, and an open-minded yet diligent occultist. Her balance of these things pleases me. Her noise music does not follow format. It doesn’t even regard format. It is raw and uninhibited, dare I say unlistenable… as noise should be. It is not pruned and primped with subconscious navel-gazing, gear talk, or “what will they think of me?” internal chatter, and this is clear.
The early noise artists packaged their tapes with porn images on the cover, not so much because they were necessarily perverts, but because they knew that what they were doing was not something that could be commodified, measured in terms of talent, or exploited. At the same time, too much of noise music today is split with a binary of overly self-conscious / serious / sterile works trying to impose meaning on an inherently meaningless concept, what with so many covers imbued with occult references and symbols, or quasi poetic rhetoric (myself included—it is a difficult line to walk). Conversely, the other side of the coin is a silliness with no inherent vitriol: just neckbeard twiddle and meme-influenced workshop dreck—self-congratulatory smugness and little more. The early Dadaists were regarded as pederasts for their work, which, in its essence, was intended to free up the spirit of the artist to be ecstatic and in the moment, under very conservative restrictions of the art world.
Well, here we are. We have a twenty-one-year-old girl reminding us what it is there for, and Sarah Wreck has not had it easy. Her sense of humor clearly comes from her ability to handle very difficult experiences. The majority of her life she had mistaken herself for being severely mentally ill because the adults around her did not recognize what was happening to her. In psychiatrist offices somewhere, there are photocopied pages of her automatic writing, descriptions of her unorthodox convulsions and personality changes, as well as depictions of the hours she spent in an unblinking trance state. Due to the concept of channeling having never been approached, she was considered an enigma by psych specialists. Her parents tried to protect the rest of her family from what she was dealing with, and part of that was seeing entities all over the place and hearing communications/attempts at possession from them (also feeling other peoples’ thoughts and emotions and having to parse out which of them were her own and which were not). To top this off, she was not only being hit with a barrage of tests and medications and being peppered with gaslighting, but she was sexually assaulted, and later also faced with the notion of hearing someone’s “hard-considering” the possibility of raping her, via his thoughts. As if that were not enough, she was later possessed by a malevolent entity named Astaroth. As one can imagine, a teen with this kind of trauma may act out in ways that are unexpected. All this time, Ms. Wreck was reading occult texts, not for ego gratification or world domination, or even having anything to do with psychic ability, but to prevent unfortunate circumstances such as being sent to a group home. Agrippa gave her a sense of solace.
There was an extraction, commonly referred to as an “exorcism,” and it is still fresh enough that the recovery process can still be said to be underway. During this time, Sarah petitioned an archangel, Saint Michael to help her recover, create better boundaries, and continue to be receptive, but in a healthier way. She wrote a small memoir of this period under Michael’s direction. I have read this book in a time when I was living in a haunted house and being tormented by a (benevolent but highly disruptive) ghost. After I finished the book, I asked aloud if Michael was there, and I heard a clear “yes.” To that the ghost said hello and it was a pleasant exchange. He didn’t bother my sleep at all from that point on. To this end, there has been some controversy with regard to Sarah’s involvement in Right Hand Path ceremonial magick (and exorcisms) from folks more involved in Left Hand Path backgrounds, and this may be what makes her situation even more unique; where most regard Christian work as empty gestures, there is a significant minority who have found this to be a more purely effective way of transcending materialism, and beyond that of the gestures of Buddhism, for instance. One can also imagine having this level of scrutiny compounded with a very regular amount of short-sighted skeptics of every stripe.
With that, I’d also like to point out that Sarah Wreck has operated a Tumblr page that contains digital pamphlets about self-care for seers, empaths, and people who have undergone possession. The site links to a portal where one can ask anonymous questions, and also where one can get a reading from Sarah, provided she has the time. In addition to that, Wreck writes for Disinfo.com, CVLT Nation, and a few other occult journals, usually expounding upon scientific and psychological verification of psychic phenomena. It seems like many have come to know her especially as the person who is responsible for her “Shitty Occult Comics” which have been published in a full volume, with volume two soon to follow. And as if that weren’t enough, Sarah Wreck is also an artist who produces her own mixed media prints. T-shirts and other things are currently for sale for the purpose of opening a school to “help hypersensitive individuals.”
Suffice it to say, I’m grateful and excited to spread the word about her work. I can only imagine where she will be in ten years, and I think many readers here will be pleased now to say that they heard of her before she “got big.”
Heathen Harvest: Noise music seems to have come out of different backgrounds for you than usual. How did noise music happen for you?
Sarah Wreck: I got into noise around late high school and immediately wanted the fuck in. I was obsessed with things that demonstrated a person’s ability to fuck off and express as much emotion and angst as possible. I had a brief period of time in middle school where I was making digitally altered rhythmic noise compilations, but I had no idea it was a real genre. I remember my favorite was a track that sounded like a very catchy factory environment. I was probably better at this at age twelve, to be honest.
HH: One thing I like is that you are definitely an occult enthusiast and seem to have always been, but you don’t name yourself Lucifera or try to do gong washes with your recordings, etc. With that in mind, there is definitely a gradual change evident in your work, where there is now more clearly occult intention in your performances. This seems to contrast with the material on your bandcamp. Care to shed more light on this?
SW: My solo Bandcamp discography and live performances from 2016 are very Astarothian. The tracks are usually heavily saturated with that energy, even if I always experimented with humor. The manipulation and sexual pull serve as documentations of a time period for me.
Big City Clits‘ Celibate Sex Doll was made around the time of my extraction. I remember, because one of my songs there was written about my confusion and betrayal surrounding events within that time period, and a couple songs were still reveling in it. Half the album had nothing to do with my spiritual state, and everything was generally under the theme of how I expressed my sexuality, so it’s a lot easier and more fun for me to perform or listen to, than, say, Endless Sea.
Endless Sea was made during the month I went from experiencing influence to full possession. I was trying to express what I felt like during what seemed like a very strange and intense time.
I totally often used occult concepts or symbolism in my work, while I also treated my project like a diary. I recorded Actual Holy Shit while crying in a bathroom after a stranger got past my intimidating-yet-thin shell of an exterior and took advantage of my passiveness in order to assault me. Maybe I should have done something or called a friend or the police while it was happening, but I was really lost at the time.
I began to embrace this “Whore of Babylon” role, that maybe if I passively gave myself away completely to everyone, I would find power in that absolution. That’s probably when things started to get worse for me spiritually. I think about deleting or unlisting that album all time, because now I strongly dislike the role of The Scarlet Woman, and I don’t think the album is generally strong material.
HH: I don’t know if that type of power dynamic (possession) has been explored too much in power electronics. How much of a role or influence is the genre as a mode of expression within the milieu of “industrial music” for you?
SW: Possession isn’t publicly or knowingly explored much these days at all in most mediums in the West. Power electronics was huge for me, and still is, because that amount of anger and expression was severe but also nihilistically Dada until people, as they always do, started giving a fuck about emulating a template. I feel like I was and am (when I participate these days) very good for the culture because I wasn’t “bringing a female perspective” and watering something so abrasive down by making it less niche insofar as expressing different ideas than the usual kinks and severe discomfort, but to similar levels of extremism (such as sexuality from the opposite end of the table, spirituality, manipulation, but every bit as depraved, especially within the context of performance). I remember playing a festival that was a sausage fest of noise boys thinking, “I can do whatever I want, I can lick someone’s ear, I can pour my drink on someone’s head slowly, and they’ll love it, because that’s how this culture is.” I remember breaking forks while convulsing and sticking my hand in someone’s drink to take out the ice and rub it on their face slowly. I remember thinking about how great of an outlet it was for me.
HH: I’ve seen a couple videos where I thought you were clearly channeling, and definitely one where the room was largely empty, and you were really intimidating a guy that was much taller than you, in what looked like a concrete basement. I thought these were more recent performances, so my initial thought, having known that you had previously experienced extraction, was that some kind of channeling / ritual / symbolism was going on there. In short, what is going through your head during those performances?
SW: No videos of me after my extraction are of me channeling an entity. I push and channel negative emotions, play with reading audience members, and impress emotions upon them, but I haven’t channeled anything in my performances after Spring of 2016.
The feeling you get is different, it’s more lucid, more myself. It isn’t as intense because it doesn’t make people generally feel as “sick,” but it’s more human.
HH: What other power electronics artists have made an influence on you? Or maybe you came into the vocal aspect of your work from metal or punk?
SW: Yeah, I had been in the goth scene before I gravitated towards the noise scene, and wasn’t really inspired in terms of creating my own work as far as other noise or power electronics artists. I was really inspired by everyday life, my sense of humor, and my emotions. I felt like everyone was just venting in a way that only they could, and I didn’t want to be anything but my own outlet.
I remember telling Rosemary Malign that I really appreciated the song “Dirty Girl” because I related to it a lot, having grown up as a very crass, awkward, and sarcastic female that gravitated towards angst-charged art and subcultures. Diamanda Galas, while skilled vocally in a way I am not, was relatable in the sense that I had the way paved for me in terms of ridiculous and intense vocals. She has a lot of pain pushed to flamboyancy that I think is really important. My harsher vocals come through on Celibate Sex Doll, but also in my solo live performances. I found that it’s much more difficult to scream extremely loud in English than it is to scream extremely loud in German.
HH: The psychics that I know are usually into new age music and gong washes and whatnot. I’ve always thought that noise was more conducive to transcendence and other levels of consciousness than that. I can’t help but imagine people with hallways lined with plaques that say, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I know it’s good to focus on the positive, but do people really not get bored with that? You may know more than me about balancing lunar and solar energies and whatnot, but I feel like a person is more balanced when they have the positive and the negative sorted out in a more multidimensional way. What is your angle on it? What percentage of you is self-help versus… I don’t know, reckless self-destruction with poor boundaries? How do you suss this stuff out in your mind?
SW: It was always a means of expression for me. I wish that I spent a lot more time in better states in the past. Maybe my expression would have been less rough, more constructed. I almost regret channeling a subservient for a lot of my performances. I hate to think that maybe I introduced a feeling to someone, or affected anyone negatively.
I want people who are unaware of my reality to understand that it exists, but beyond that I just want to help my own kind build themselves up and survive.
HH: I can’t help but wonder what it is like to be psychic to the degree that you are and experience noise music. You are not only able to see auras, but you can also see spirits, archetypes, and all manner of entities. Does this happen with a higher frequency than normal while doing a noise show?
SW: I mean, a lot of people into noise tend to, on average, have more stuff going on. I try to block a lot of it out. Noise was always really good for expressing the levels of overstimulation and intensity that I feel a lot of the time.
HH: You said you are quitting with noise music in order to start the process of opening a non-profit place for psychics. Care to fill the people in on it?
SW: Yeah, I really need to figure this out in order to be the resource that I needed as a kid. I have to start being more approachable and professional, so that parents trust me. You know, take a breather from venting about my sexuality over feedback. The usual. If I ever get a Wikipedia page, lord knows it’ll have the coolest “early life” section.
HH: Couldn’t you just get a pseudonym? Pretend you are a twin sister from Italy?
SW: I don’t think I can get another alias. I actually already mildly worry about what I should do with my current one! [laughs]
HH: Do you intend to have the center teach people to be psychic? Or is it only for people with an already verifiable skill?
SW: I think that the main part of the organization, the online portion, would cover a large range of topics and interests.
HH: As an Aquarius, what can you tell me is the most succinct and important trait of an Aquarius? I recently found out my moon sign is Aquarius, when I’d previously thought it was something else all this time.
SW: Well, I can’t speak for Aquarius moons (I’m Aquarius sun, Mercury, and Uranus), but realistically I will say that sometimes we gotta lay off the aspiring projects and process our feelings slower.
HH: I will direct people to your pamphlets and things, but what would you suggest for an empath that is wanting to be better at handling things and/or wanting to be more clairvoyant?
SW: I feel like those are two different scenarios and stages. Regardless, something that’s important for both situations is learning how to trust one’s own instincts; what that feels like.
HH: It seems pretty clear to me that you are making a transition from doing “black magick” and more left-hand-path stuff to something that is more steadfastly rooted in Christian theology. I’m sure it’s surprising to many people with an occult background. Is there anything you’d like to share or elaborate upon with regard to your path and your story up to this point?
I’m just a seer that struggled with possession that’s now trying to take ceremonial magic more seriously. I was lumped in with people drawn to darker things because of my past, my interest in occultism, my aestheticism, and my music taste, sure. I’m noticing that the number of people that project onto me has been increasing, and my transition to try to gravitate towards putting more of my long-term goals in motion brings up a lot of emotions in those around me. The notion that I’m attempting to get vibrationally cleaner at a steady pace makes people uncomfortable, almost as uncomfortable as it makes me if I go too fast. I’m trying to slowly trim my fat and become more able to survive in the world that I live in. It’s ridiculous to me that occultists that use God names 24/7, and summon grimoire demons after declaring their false piousness, are suddenly triggered by me trying to grow and survive a life that they’ve never tasted. In most cases, these people passing judgements on me are probably going to go their whole lives never channeling a single demon, much less an array of them. Sorry not sorry for wanting to take myself out of vibrational range so that I can focus on more important things than, you know, breathing and moving.