LSD and musical creativity

Sometimes young musicians ask me about using psychedelics to work creatively and I tell them about our times in the late seventies and early eighties when Stella and I started working on the PSYCHOTRON album of our Schaltkreis Wassermann project and usually took some LSD (info at Erowid) more or less every weekend. At that time we were in close contact with Dr. Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD, and Prof. Jiri Roubicek, the Czech psychiatrist who had done intensive research on LSD healing of psychiatric patients together with Stanislav Grof. We would have loved to set up our experiments under scientific supervision but that wasn’t possible at that time. Anyway, this is what turned out to be our findings and our favorite method.

Cover of the Psychotron Album by Schaltkreis Wassermann
Cover of the Psychotron Album by Schaltkreis Wassermann

As outlined by Timothy Leary set and setting are the determining factors for a psychedelic experience. Set being the mood you’re in when you take the substance and setting the place, surroundings and people you’re with. So you have to carefully think about where you can be without being disturbed, preferably in a pleasant environment with people you like and who’ll be supporting and positive. Of course it helps to be in a balanced mood yourself and without any tensions with the people you’re with. It is best to have eaten some light but substantial food like Muesli, fruit and nuts about two to three hours before taking the substance.

Stella Wassermann with Dr. Albert Hofmann in the 90ies
Stella Wassermann with Dr. Albert Hofmann in the 90ies

After the ingestion there’s a waiting period of about 20 to 40 minutes and then the action starts to set in. You’ll begin to notice that your visual and aural perception changes. With closed eyes you see colorful whirling patterns and maybe you start to wonder who you really are. The effect gets stronger and stronger until it reaches a peak. Its height depends on the dosage you’ve chosen and of course on set and setting. After the peak you come down a bit to a plateau level where the psychedelic effect is still clearly there but not overwhelming anymore. This is the time to work musically. If you have some kind of a studio it’s practical to have set up, turned on and tested everything before embarking.

Timothy Leary on blotter paper
Timothy Leary on blotter paper

We found that moderate dosages of 80 to 120 or maximum 150 micrograms work best for electronic music. You don’t want to feel sorry to sit in front of a screen or an electronic keyboard when the effect is so strong that you’d prefer to be in nature, dancing or just lying on the bed with your beloved one and let your mind float. You need to be enough down to earth to think logically but still wired to the astral spheres and in direct contact with your intuition. Of course you must know the ins and outs of your instruments – you don’t want to read a manual in that state, it would be a terrible waste of energy. Playing a real instrument like the guitar is even more rewarding, you can be pretty sure to make some interesting or even amazing progress.

The ARP 2600 synthesizer that we enjoyed to work with at that time
The ARP 2600 synthesizer that we enjoyed to work with at that time

For us it worked best to be out in nature for the first stages. If you don’t live in the country you would need a tripsitter to drive you home or to the studio safely and pleasantly. Maybe you need some nuts or dried fruit before work to give the body some energy.

Unfortunately in these times of repression it is very difficult to know about exact dosage and purity of substances. If you find a good source then it’s best to get yourself some supply, start out with low dosages and then slowly approach the right level that works for you.

Have fun, get wise and create well!

This advice isn’t meant to encourage anybody to take illegal drugs. If you really have to take it:
– Don’t buy from anybody who gives you a bad or insecure feeling.
– Always start out with a low dosage to test what you got.
– Do not drive under any circumstance! Stay away from cars, traffic and machinery in general.

7 Gedanken zu “LSD and musical creativity

  1. Hi.

    I am going to take lsd, for imperoving my creativeness. I have a lot of ideas and iam really good at making good musical rythmes. But i have a question.

    Iam going to take lsd, what effect will it have with my social behavior. Do i become more talkative, and more social.?
    I wont be a heavy user, but i will try it, like once in a year.


    • The effect is different with every person. It depends on your personality and on set and setting.

      Don’t do it in the city, if possible. Best is to be in nature in a beautiful place with nice weather, surrounded by friendly people.

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