Bridging The Gap To Our Awakening – An Interview w/ Mikki Willis, Founding Director of Elevate

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Being proactive in one’s pursuit of identifying and exploring elements and their respective changes in vector, whether it be in policy or social structure, requires a masterful touch. One could argure that a correlation exists between a project’s eficacy, for raising consicous awareness, and the respective method and vehicle of expression utilized to explore the subject. Those who feel their calling lies with creating “vessels of transcendence,” must possess qualities of both the dreamer and the activist, at least to some degree. I would even go so far as to speculate that in cases of effectively-orchestrated renderings, the motivating, driving force behind their respective endeavors is solidified in the polished product. The underlying passion of this proposed connection does not always yield a result that benefits the ultimate “greater good.” The intended cause for these bridges of thought is paramount. I reached out to Mikki Willis, the founding director of the transformative media group “Elevate,”  and he spoke with me about: his “awakening and the evolution of his moral philosophy, his role in transformative media, and his views on the impact ecologically-responsible organizations, such as the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA), can have on the global community.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Mikki Willis – California.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Mikki Willis – Queen, AC/DC, and the original white rapper, Blondie

A’Damaged Pro – What’s your fondest musical memory from growing up?

Mikki Willis – Digging to China with a spoon

A’Damaged Pro – What inspired you to get into the “pro-humanity entertainment” business?

Mikki Willis – Seeing the harm media has caused by spreading fear and lies I saw the importance of doing my part to elevate the medium.

A’Damaged Pro – You were in NYC on 9/11. In your opinion, what impact do you think those events had on the moral philosophy of domestic society? Was your outlook affected?

Mikki Willis – It was one of the most effective wake-up calls in a series of wake-up calls over the past few decades. We all witnessed the fragility of the physical world, which caused many people to look beyond the veil. It changed me to the cellular level. My view of the world shifted from me to we. I came away knowing that we are truly in this together and the only way for us to make real lasting change is by deeply listening to and feeling each other.

A’Damaged Pro – How has the scene changed from when you were first introduced?

Mikki Willis – Hollywood is changing. It has a long way to go, but the more high-level influencers that step out of the conscious closet to stand for a system that works for all, the closer we get to building the playground we all came to play in.

A’Damaged Pro – Can you tell me about the ideas behind “Elevate” and the story of its inception?

Mikki Willis – Our tagline is “movie makers/community builders.” We chose that as it speaks into the two things we do best. Loving movies is something we all have in common. A movie is an amalgam of almost every medium of artistic expression, making them transformative when created for that intention. Elevate is a media company focused on spotlighting what’s right in our world. If mainstream TV is your only window to the world, you likely have a very bleak opinion of life and humanity. We’re about shooing the upside of people. The truth is, there’s much more good happening in our world right now than bad, but you would never know that from the images and stories the mainstream media obsesses over.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your position and what are your current responsibilities within your company?

Mikki Willis – I’m the founder and the janitor. I use that title internally to remind myself to never fall into the trappings of hierarchy. At heart I’m a filmmaker. Directing is my core competency.

A’Damaged Pro – What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Mikki Willis – When we create something that moves people to the core and has them reconsider their life and revive their deepest dream.

A’Damaged Pro – Most challenging part?

Mikki Willis – The money thing can be challenging when you’re committed to being in service. So many worthy projects come our way that we just can’t say no to, even when they might not come with financing. Despite the fact that we have a 501c3, we’ve never been good at getting grants, which is on our list for next year.

A’Damaged Pro – What are some projects that you have worked on that have made you challenge or expand upon your own personal belief system, and how, specifically, did they do that?

Mikki Willis – Last year I directed a movie called Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines. While I’ve been very outspoken around my respect for sacred plant medicines, I’ve always been closed to anything synthetic. N2N opened my eyes to see that man is capable is formulating medicines that skillfully achieve effects similar to that of Mother Nature’s cures. I also directed a movie about the human shadow that totally kicked my ass and forced me to see many aspects of myself that I didn’t want to see. Always a gift!

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

Mikki Willis – Like so many other Gen Xers, the electronic scene was one of my first serious transcendent experiences. I believe all movement need a guild, for lack of a better word. Not a union per se, but a true alliance where like minded people can unite to share ideas, support one another and evolve. That for me is the foundation of EMA.

A’Damaged Pro – As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA‘s potential to incite change evolved?

Mikki Willis – Like every organization it’s all about the people who hold the vision. In this case, the pillars of this organization authentically care, and they truly know the world of Electronic Music. These are among the many reasons I’ve remained part of the advisory team of EMA when I’ve dropped off of all others for lack of time.

A’Damaged Pro – The media has reported and, in some cases, sensationalized incidents that involved a breakdown in the compassion and attitudes of some festival goers for their friends and contemporaries. An example would be people sending their friends, that need medical attention, home from festivals instead of pursuing helping them. Besides for providing empirical evidence for the press to note that these behaviors are being addressed, what trends can you see emerging as more people adopt a code of conduct along the lines of the EMA‘s “Party Pledge?”

Mikki Willis – It comes down to accountability. For generations we’ve been wired to run from responsibility. Thanks to organizations like EMA the millennials are stepping into an awareness of their role as one organism that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Ultimately what I see happening is that the individual leader is emerging. Whereas before we all needed some form of authority to tell us where the lines should be drawn, the people are currently stepping up into their own state of self-government.

A’Damaged Pro – If you were put in charge of sending the EMA‘s message to the masses, how would you approach the project?

Mikki Willis – Many ways. Of course I’d focus on creating either one or several viral videos. Perhaps a long form documentary would come into play, too.

A’Damaged Pro – The EMA has their own “Play It FWD” initiative that encourages artists to donate their talent for charity events. As artists can use their respective platforms to spread awareness during their shows and through social media, can you draw any corollaries between the approaches of these two programs?

Mikki Willis – The masses are gradually getting the downside to greed. We’re shifting to realize something we weren’t taught in school: giving is getting. Social media has rewired us to share again. That’s what it’s all about really. All major platforms these days are about sharing information. Experts call it the “gift economy.” Whereas before we hoarded our prize possessions, today we can’t wait to share publicly the rings that touch and inspire us most. For me, that’s what Play It Forward is all about.

A’Damaged Pro – The mainstream media tends to demonize individuals and segments of our culture that pursue cosmic and spiritual enlightenment with the aid of chemical catalysts, whether they be man-made or found in nature. What is your take on the intentional use of entheogens?

Mikki Willis – Since Neurons to Nirvana, I get this question a lot. It’s easy. Look at the recorded facts. Compare how many people die daily as the result of legal drugs such as SSRIs. Then look at the facts on entheogens. Of the few recorded deaths that can be directly  linked to these medicines, in almost every case the deceased ingested multiple drugs. Tens of thousands of people partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies on any given day and to date no one has died. The few cases where people have died with Ayahuasca in their system, all of them had taken other drugs as well. Not smart. The media is not focused on facts. They sell hype, and nothing gets conservatives more hyped than a new “killer drug” to fight against. It allows them to divert the attention from their endangered share holdings in big pharma.

A’Damaged Pro – How would you define “transformational culture?” What role would you like to see it play? What changes can be implemented into global society as it grows?

Mikki Willis – From a distance, some mistake it for “just another party.” Those willing to dig a little deeper will discover that what’s actually happening at these events, in the microcosm, is what will eventually be implemented within the macrocosm. “The kids” as we call them are actually doing the work that the adults abandoned after the 70s. As easy as it is to crack on the hippies, they were seriously onto something. Unfortunately, with the lack of organizations, like EMA, the people lost control of that movement and it went down in history as a big love fest. It was so much more! And it’s been resurrected! But this time the kids are doing it right.

A’Damaged Pro – What are your beliefs regarding “sacred relationships?” How have you implemented these beliefs into your own life in regards to your wife and family? What lessons do you hope to impart on the newest addition to your family?

Mikki Willis – Life is about sacred relationships. If you master that, you win the game! My wife and two sons are my first and highest priority. I was a womanizer for half my life. When I woke up to realize the cost of that I got my shit together real quick! There’s no better feeling than having the girl of your dreams look you in the eyes and say “you’re amazing,” and to be able to own that.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?

Mikki Willis – To understand basic quantum physics to to know that all physical matter is vibrating at a cellular level. There’s a reason that our hearts beat and our blood pulses. We ARE music. When we get this we begin to grok the healing potential of music. In the hands of the right DJ or shaman, music can literally recalibrate our DNA. In fact, I know that one day filmmakers will be using vibrational technologies to guide audiences through transformational journeys. Mark my words.

A’Damaged Pro – Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.

Mikki Willis – Climate change. Human to Human communication. Above all, understanding the human mind. Everything problem we currently face can be directly linked to a fundamental flaw in the way humans thinks. To say it bluntly, we’ve all been brainwashed. We’ve been led to see ourselves as consumers and not as creators. We create this world by every choice we make on both the individual and the collective level. We react to life instead of respond to it. There’s a BIG difference between those actions! Those on the forefront of truly creating a new world, that works for all, have one thing in common – they’ve all turned their own thinker inward to see itself and how it works. The result of this is consciousness…the very thing that’s lacking globally.

A’Damaged Pro – What goals have you set for yourself for the next year? 5 years?

Mikki Willis – We have a game-changer of a movie being released early next year called “Be Brave.” We’ll be optimizing all opportunities catalyzed by that to generate a film fund that will allow us to make more game-changing movies. We’re excited!

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

Technology has changed the face of communication. A digital presence and the assumed “self-connectedness” has hindered, on some levels, the primal response to recognizing the power of the individual, in relation to promoting overall prosperity in their life and others. We need to be awakened from the perpetual haze that surrounds an alarming number of blissfully unaware individuals. Discarding what might be considered rhetoric and focusing solely on the thought that transformative-visionaries, such as Mikki Willis, have dedicated their lives to helping others, “activate” themselves for change, should bring one solace and a renewed sense of hope for the future. We cannot erase the past but we can fight to change our role in the future.

Connect with Mikki Willis: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo | YouTube