Ben Lee has called his first foray into meditative music a “sonic document” of his experiences with Ayahuasca, the medicinal South American jungle vine. Equally unique is his approach to this video for “On My Knees,” a stirring instrumental from his latest album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work, which finds a shirtless, bearded Lee serving as just one of many faces sharing their expressions.
“The director, Jessica Chapnik Kahn, captured a journey of the exploration of the psyche with this simple but beautiful idea,” Lee tells Rolling Stone. “We had about 40 people: friends, family and fans, take turns going into a room alone and lying on a bed to listen to the song. The camera was mounted to film them so they were totally alone. Watching back, the innocence of each of the participants shines through: It’s like looking at each person’s inner child. It’s easy to fall in love with someone’s true essence. In this sense, it’s not unlike an Ayahuasca ceremony, where pretensions and false personas are stripped away, and the gorgeous vulnerable intimate truth is revealed.”
Kahn, who also served as Lee’s musical collaborator on the project, says the instrumental was an exploration of the idea of consonance and dissonance. “We wrote this particular song when we were really in the thick of exploring that,” she explains. “I remember the feeling after we wrote it. We kept listening back to it and getting all teary that we had made something that resonated with exactly where we were at in that moment . . . I thought the song sounded like dying and being born.”