Heilung has made an impact on the entire world with its powerful, ritualistic brand of Germanic folk music. The band is known for its inclusive, global approach, bringing indigenous people on stage at every performance to help celebrate the ritual of humanity and music.
But, until now, the band members have had to stay silent on one crucial part of their ritual world—cannabis. Now, as cannabis acceptance is finally coming to Europe, they decided to speak out and share with High Times how cannabis has influenced their journey.
We spoke with vocalist and world-famous tattoo artist Kai Uwe Faust about how cannabis plays a role in his songwriting and ritual practice.
What made you feel that now is the time to finally speak out about cannabis?
I used to sell High Times magazines because I worked in a head shop in Germany, so when this invitation came through, I had to say yes. [But I hesitated before because] a lot of countries in Europe keep it on the illegal side, and that limits certain information that people can share and still be safe.
How does cannabis play into the realms of spirituality and music for you?
First of all, it gives me peace of mind to actually truly become creative, because I wasn’t always so focused. If I were born today, they would have raised me on Ritalin and just parked me in a corner somewhere.
Coming from a Christian household, I was very wild, very aggressive. But with regular consumption, it really did seem to shift something in my mind, and it makes me peaceful and quiet enough to sit down and start drawing, start writing, and contribute to my surroundings in a much more positive way.
How does it come into play with being more connected to spirituality?
It allows me to really slow down, take a slow walk in the forest, actually appreciate my surroundings and not have my brain processing so quickly.
It really opened me up as an artist to take a meditative look at nature and see the natural, geometric patterns in nature, the grids and structures, which really influenced my art as well.
How does cannabis impact you if you consume before going onstage or before band practice?
That’s a weird one because in the rehearsal situation, I’m usually pretty stoned, but on performance day, I don’t smoke that much. Then it’s really time to get the beast out, and I have to push myself over the edge. There’s a wild energy to it, and I really get to this restless point, and [not smoking] just pushes me over.
Where do you want to see legalization headed in Europe? What do you hope the future holds?
I really hope that Europe gets completely on board with legalization. It has a lot of benefits on many levels. Police can focus on the more important work, and the countries can get more money and revenue.
Also, then there would be no pressure, no attraction to something illegal. You can try it if you want it, but there’s nothing taboo about it, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too. It keeps it off the streets and out of the illegal market.
What’s your favorite way to consume?
Oh without a doubt, mixed with tobacco. That’s how I got started, and that’s still how I smoke.
Do you have a particular strain you gravitate towards?
Sometimes, since it is still illegal in most of Europe, I take what I can get. But if it’s available, I gravitate towards Northern Lights. I like those very much. I was also in Denver, and the lady at the dispensary advised me to try Ghost Train, and I really liked that too.
Why is it important to you to specifically invite indigeouns people on stage with you when you play shows?
We have a standing invitation everywhere we go, so that we can represent ancient people all over the world. It’s cool because we see so many similarities. For example, when we were wrapping up our show yesterday, we were all wearing traditional European stuff, and all the First Nations dancers were wearing their traditional clothing. At the end of the night, we found a ring cross bracelet, and we had no idea who it belonged to, since that symbol is found all over the world.