Grand Duchy is the latest venture from Charles Thompson (a.k.a Frank Black, a.k.a. Black Francis). It’s a duo with his wife Violet Clark that explores relatively off-road terrain for Thompson: high-gloss new wave and vampish synth pop. Grand Duchy’s playful and slightly Euro-affected debut album, Petits Four, is out April 14 on Cooking Vinyl. Thompson and Clark are guest editing magnetmagazine.com this week. Read our Q&A with them.
Grand Duchy are a band who seeks solace in The Future. We are impatient with the inefficient and dubious methods of The Past, such as plastic bags, Vaseline, Sheetrock, animal testing, war, shoulder pads and sitcoms. And our intolerance levels spike stratospherically when we ponder the at-times barbaric and backward practices of Western medicine. Medical practices in the West are seemingly founded on the principle of waiting until someone is already fairly fucked, then stepping in and applying band-aids like inundating a person with prescription meds and relying on invasive surgeries.
Don’t get us wrong: There are times obviously when a surgery saves a life, and it’s a miracle. But what seems to still be neglected time and again in facilities all over the United States and Europe—even though it is the 21st century and we should know better by now—is the mind-body connection, starting with the actual experience of being in a “healthcare” facility. These places do not engender wellness. One feels sad, fearful and sick in a typical hospital or clinic. We have felt lonely and neglected at our most vulnerable times in these places. We believe that a hospital should bend all its resources and qualities toward the sacred upliftment of the patient. Through the focused utilization of light, sound and color, a health facility can create an environment conducive to healing and the thinking of optimistic thoughts of health. Taking cues from the luxurious tendencies of health spas, the new hospitals could deploy fresh flowers, classical music, soothing neutrals or rainbow hues, scents culled from nature and an abundance of natural light, plus a loving touch from caregivers, to revolutionize the healing experience. We predict that if hospitals and clinics were to evolve into healing spas, we would see a dramatic reduction in sickness and death and an increase in hope and joy in people’s lives.
In the realm of the Grand Duchy, we are beginning to take those steps and are starting to do things a little differently. We have begun to put the focus on preventative health care by toning the mind and the emotions. Chronic emotional imbalances then do not have a chance to matriculate into physical debilities. It’s all very civilized.
We believe that much illness is rooted in emotional imbalances that get neglected in the fast pace of modern life and fester, finally revealing themseves bodily in the form of ulcers, sleep disorders, depressions, heart ailments, eating phobias, phobias of all sorts, vague pains and cancers. Psychological counseling is something we do not at all scoff at, yet it is only a partial answer as it requires patience and fortitude, taking weeks, months or years to accumulate relief. This seems inefficient in the sense that emotional relief is something needed ASAP due to the uncomfortable nature of suffering and struggle—not to mention the way such suffering interferes with the living of one’s life, which should be fun and joyous above all else.
That is why, in the Grand Duchy, we have begun to rely on futuristic (and by this we mean to say non-invasive and preventative) methods of emotional relief. We devote time to the study of homeopathics, flower essences, acupuncture, reiki and other forms of energetic medicine that align the energetic meridians and nerve impulses of the person to soothe torments and enhance well-being. Of particular interest to us lately is an exciting form of energy healing known as EFT, or the Emotional Freedom Technique. Developed by Gary Craig in the ’80s and emerging from the principles of acupuncture and acupressure, EFT is a method of balancing one’s energies so that they settle back into normal patterns and do not evolve into illness. It involves tapping on a specific sequence of acupressure points meant to diffuse the negative “charge” of past events or beliefs that cause one to suffer and be in a state of dis-ease. By tapping the points, the charge is diffused, and peace returns. We have had success using this method to treat pain, fears and upsets of all sorts.