My name is Eric Burnham, and The Light Gathering Lens is my music project. I sing, and play guitar and keyboards; the other instruments you hear on my songs are played using a keyboard and computer software.
I started playing the trombone when I was seven years old, but I didn't pick up a guitar until my freshman year in college. I first learned to play classical guitar, and a little bit of flamenco. Flamenco music still is an influence for me, along with near and middle eastern traditional music. I have always loved psychedelic music, and the first album I bought was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band when I was 10 years old.
I have struggled with major depression for all my adult life, and this has affected my art. I believe that my music is about all the struggles I’ve had with mental illness, and about finally finding redemption after many years of bleak desolation.
Thankfully, I don’t have anywhere near as much trouble with depression now, but I can still vividly remember the thoughts and feelings, or rather, the lack of any emotion, that I had when it was at its worst.
I first formed The Light Gathering Lens in my mind in the early 1990's. I was interested in slow, dreamy, and ambient music with influences from mid to late 1960s psychedelic music, as well as music from the shoegaze era in the mid to late 1990s. I liked the name, The Light Gathering Lens, because it was technological, but could be referring to something fanciful, maybe from the future.
I had been in a Seattle band, Weather Theater, and I think that band was successful. We never received a big record deal, which was what we all hoped for at the time, but we did have a loyal global following. Sadly, I think we all gave in to the frustration and discouragement of being unable to hit the big time.
I started training to become a wildlife scientist, and I finished with a Master’s degree in the mid-2000s. I was excited because I had found a professor who was interested in my ideas, and I wanted to earn a PhD. My research eventually stagnated due to the drying up of funds after the 2008 recession, and I had time to do things like create music. I had been a wildlife scientist and my research had been aimed at conserving gray wolves in the western U.S. I had spent much time alone in the wilderness tracking wolf movements, and analyzing their kill sites, and I think that this experience also inspires my art. I often went for ten days without seeing another human.
The music is mostly about the electric guitar, and my earlier music is very densely textured. It also has drones and recorded sounds that are sometimes non-musical. My vocal style has been compared to Syd Barrett and Leonard Cohen, and to more contemporary singers like Nick Cave, Thurston Moore, and Dead Can Dance. With three exceptions, I play all the instruments myself, and mix them at home on my computer. Everyone who hears the music says that it sounds unique. A report from Audiokite.com showed that listeners found it calming, peaceful, and chill.
My hope is that I can take things as they come. I released a four-song EP entitled The Light Gathering Lens in the Fall of 2017, and now I have an unreleased eight-song album – High Low Songs. I plan to release the album this Spring or Summer.
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