Perry Farrell & Etty Lau Aim To ‘Break The Traffic Jam On Art’ With New ‘Heaven After Dark’ Series

Ahead of the debut of Perry Farrell's 'Heaven After Dark,' the Lollapalooza founder and his wife/creative partner, Etty Lau, tell HL how this concert series aims to start a new era of art, love, and consciousness.

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Image Credit: Zane Roesell

How different would the music world look like had Perry Farrell not come along? It isn’t hyperbolic to say that today’s festival circuit is reaping the fruit from the seeds that Perry sowed by creating of Lollapalooza. So, upon hearing that the Jane’s Addiction/Porno for Pyros frontman might change the world again with his new HEAVEN AFTER DARK nightlight concert series, the music world cannot help but perk up its ears and listen. Kicking off on Feb. 17 at the 1926 Room at L.A.’s Belasco Theatre, Heaven After Dark is Perry and his partner, Etty Lau Farrell, seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel.

“What led to the genesis of Heaven After Dark,” Perry tells HollywoodLife, is we were looking into the future having existed in a very, I think, constrained presence that was COVID-19. Even before COVID-19, we were looking at a scenario where we were kind-of caught in a backwash of entertainment that had gone to festivals surfacing that were copying each other.

“And in the clubs, it had turned into your basic bottle-service nights, and we had to think our way out of that because it was causing everyone to be very uninterested in experiencing nightlife. It’s so vital to the creation of culture. And so, we started to conceptualize what would break this traffic or log jam on the freeway of art, music, dance, and culture, and we came up with Heaven After Dark.”

The Heaven After Dark series combines music and sensation, visual stimulation, and underground culture into a transformative experience. Attendees will experience seven realms of sonic and visual wonder, representing the seven realms of heaven. “It starts with the idea that the universe is multidimensional, and to build and perform that concept, we want to raise our energy, our consciousness throughout the evening,” says Perry.

“And so, getting everyone together again,” adds Etty Lau. “I think we are all contributing to this energy that is brought out of us with music and love and things that we enjoy. And maybe together as an audience, with the band everyone in the group, we can all ascend to a higher level of love and consciousness and entertainment.”

“Beautiful,” adds Perry. “Very well said.”

(Charles Moriarty)

Experience any of Perry’s art  – from his time in Jane’s Addiction to the cosmic-inspired Porno For Pyros set at Woodstock ’94 to his recent work with his shining creative North star, Etty Lau, in the Kind Heaven Orchestra – and it’s clear there is a spiritual element in what he does. Heaven After Dark, unsurprisingly, is not different, but to play the Devil’s advocate, why? Why not just put on a music showcase? Why does this experience aim to transcend beyond the performance construct between art and audience and be more?

In my journeys and travels through life, I came to find out that we all have a similar purpose,” says Perry. “This is our common ground. Our common ground is to first know ourselves, and through knowing ourselves, we can begin to find God, which is love – as you pointed out, Etty. So, I’m trying to help everybody with their spiritual impediments, like all faiths, even people that are agnostics and atheists to at least begin to know themselves. They’ll take care of the rest, we’ll all begin to know God equally, and that’s gonna be the beginning of a new era. We are leaving the old era. We are leaving the old days, the end of days.

“And my answer would be, ‘why not, right?'” adds Etty. “I understand that it would be easier if we were just to do a musical showcase. But, in this world with COVID and war, if there is any chance to subconsciously instill or inspire people to love and be kind and be helpful and come together as a race, if we can subconsciously sneak that in through entertainment, why not?”

And how will Heaven After Dark aim to challenge the audience? To change them? Etty hopes that the audience would leave every Heaven After Dark performance “being lifted onto a higher place of consciousness and togetherness.”

“Yes, it is about music and entertainment, and we have somewhat of a variety show, and it is entertaining,” she adds. “But, I feel that we always use this phrase as ‘we spread love.’ Either with music, art, or deeds, I would like the audience to feel inspired and leave the show wanting to do better and be the best version of themselves.”

“Not being afraid of being transformed,” says Perry. “Because what the truth is, we are transforming anyway. It just is what direction you are transforming or at what time. You put it into context: some of us are transforming into death, and some of us are transforming into youth and life.” Etty adds that the ultimate goal of Heaven After Dark is to have people “leave feeling that they’ve been entertained and happy. And if we can create a space of a few hours where they can leave all their worries and sadness behind, that’s what we’re here to do.”

(Charles Moriarty)

Heaven After Dark will also continue Perry’s mission of elevating the notoriety and presence of others. Lollapalooza had its commanding headliners established stars with name recognition, but the festival also had its side stages where new acts earned their “next big thing” reputations or underappreciated veterans got some well-earned and long overdue flowers. Perry tells HollywoodLife that Heaven After Dark’s mission in giving the shine to these new artists is because he’s “always enjoyed other people’s work as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it and presenting it myself.”

“I’m also super interested in [art] still,” the timeless Perry Farrell adds, nearly four decades into his distinctive career. “I just love staying in touch with emerging artists, musicians, and dancers. As an example, my son is becoming a musician now. He started playing instruments during COVID. Now it’s gone to the point where anything he plays, you kinda want him to record. The point is that I get inspiration, and I’m inspired. I’m not afraid to learn from young people at all. In fact, I learn from young people a lot.”

“It is a great thing to have a platform like Lollapalooza,” says Etty, “knowing you have spent so many years struggling to get your placement in the world; it’s nice that you turn around and open that up to newer artists because the world, and music is constantly evolving. It’s important to not just study the classics, but to see what this new crop of musicians is doing.”

With the mention of Perry’s family, it would be remiss to not mention the partnership that has resulted in much joy for the rock icon. Much like the celestial heart at the center of the universe, its beats a galactic symphony whose reverberations echo throughout time to form the frequency of the particles that make up the matter of all existence, love fuels Heaven After Dark. It’s the newest venture from Perry and Etty Lau, and it arrives at the perfect moment. It’s been 25 years since their paths first crossed and 20 years since their marriage. Along with this new nightlight transcendence, the year is rife with significance and meaning.

Love that does not change a person is not truly love. Love is transformative in nature, especially when shifting the creative mind. How, then, would Perry say has this union changed his artistic eye? Much like how this rock icon hopes people will give in to God with Heaven After Dark, he has given himself to a greater power: love.

“She has a lot more to say about everything. Like at rehearsal, she stops when she starts telling people where to sing and everything; before I was just telling everybody where to go,” explains Perry. “But I liked it because it really shows me that her passion, her dedication, is rising. It really needs to be. When you’re in the midst of it, everybody will understand this. They won’t feel when you just know this is your job, and you want to be great at your job.”

“You want to be monumental in your field,” he continues. “It would be like taking somebody from basketball and trying to make them a baseball player. Or me trying to become a dancer, like you did it, you made the transfer. She has got that, and I knew that you would always do it. Yeah, the second I saw you, that’s why I said, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl,’ because I knew that you would drive when I wasn’t.”

Conversely, what would Etty Lau say has been Perry’s most significant change? “You’re gonna answer this?” Perry says to his wife. “Are you gonna say what his biggest transformation was? Go.”

“No, you say it,” she responds, willing to play his game. “Let’s see if I agree.”

“Okay, my biggest transformation is I got a grip, and I got to film myself, I did,” he admits. “So there you go. Right?”

“Yes,” she responds. ”

“I know myself really well now,” he says, a dash of pride.

“That grip took a very long time to get you to grip,” she says, knowingly.

I know,” he admits.

“And getting to know yourself, that’s because I tell you what is wrong with you,” she says with a triumphant laugh.

“Right, right. But I listened,” he concedes.

(Zane Roesell)

Etty and Perry’s exchange glows with the love and kindness of two souls that have found happiness with each other in this life, an extraordinary thing indeed. It’s a love they hope to instill in the hearts of all those who witness Heaven After Dark before heading out into the world, a little bit more open, a little bit more peaceful, and a little bit more kind.

Kind. Kindness may seem like it’s in short supply in 2022, but once it’s found, one finds it’s a self-sustaining resource. Kindness has been a theme in Perry’s recent era, found in his music, in the title of his albums, and the name of his group with Etty. But how does one be kind in this life, especially following years of division and disdain? “Compassion and understanding,” says Etty. “I feel like with compassion and understanding, and you want to be a service to others, but not in the gray area of ‘service to others and recovering’ way. But I feel like it would be generous to want to help, because you understand the other people.”

Perry agrees. “You definitely have to start with understanding,” he says, “and then you get knowledge. So yes, you understand, then you get knowledge. That’s a good way to start. And nobody should feel bad. Definitely, it’s realistic to feel trapped. I know there are so many people that are trapped in life.”

“When I mean that,” he concludes, “I mean they’re trapped around people around them that they may be evolving past or, as I said, they’re transforming their ideas and their ideologies are transforming, and they don’t know what to do. And some people, to me, I would feel extremely trapped if I couldn’t express myself freely. So I would say, find out where the Greyhound bus stations are in your neighborhood.”

And such wisdom expression, compassion, understanding, and escape await those who dare to seek it. An excellent place to start the search? Heaven After Dark.

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