Sanna Mun tells the ancient story of the hero’s journey through her debut EP, Katabasis 001, oscillating boundlessly through galloping drums, hypnotic synth sequences, and inscribed celestial frequencies. Sanna has been crafting her sound not only through a vivid exploration of music genres and techniques, but also by applying the tones of unseen mystery excavated during her studies in archeology, occultism, astrology, sound healing, and Kundalini yoga. 

“I always compared going into a club to a kind of descent into the naos of a temple. In ancient Egypt, temples went inward and down into the darkness, as if towards the underworld, to the inner sanctuary. A lot of my research has been on ancient Egyptian fertility magic and the idea of the coffin as a womb, and death as rebirth.” 

From field recordings and ambient sonic meditations to cathartic, trance-inducing techno cuts, her range as an electronic music producer and DJ has a signature intensity and vigor.

Podcast MNMT 302: Sanna Mun

As the founder of the label Katabasis in Berlin, Sanna Mun releases her anticipated debut EP on digital and vinyl, comprising three techno tracks that are all embellished with symbolism and scorpionic depth. Katabasis 001 is a journey of the soul from descending to rebirth and travels through the twelve hour passage of the subconscious, also known as the hero’s journey in many cultures and mythologies. Myths are not just epic stories about heroines and heroes in past times: they exist within us now and are present in our systems of interconnectedness and emanate through our intuitive rewilding. When consciously created or imagined, myths can root us firmly into the places we belong to or can safely transport us to the depths and heights we must explore in order to gain the knowledge our soul is seeking. This wisdom is ultimately the interwoven beingness of different archetypes and experiences, nature, contrasts, fragmented egos, divine creatures and beasts, social structures, and the intuitive forms of freedom we long for. Parallel to normative existence, clubs are like playgrounds where myths unfold—individually and collectively. Each event holds space for different archetypes to come out and opportunities to test and apply best community practices. Music is the invisible divinity that either plays the main role or influences what happens in the story from the background. Made out of frequencies and vibrations, the tones flow through the listeners and animate their bodies and minds. In a dance ritual, as a whisper of a secret spell, we enact the myths of the unknown and unearth it.   

You’ve been producing and performing for several years across genres and continents. What is your musical background and the journey that led to your debut EP Katabasis 001?

My musical background began in childhood, when I was trained to play the piano, violin, and classical guitar. I later picked up the electric guitar, eventually becoming a touring guitarist, and briefly pursued a solo singing career before leaving the music industry to study Classics and archaeology. Although I’d been making amateur electronic tracks since I was fifteen, it was during my recording sessions as a vocalist that I became serious about learning production. I wanted independence in the creative process.

How did you end up in Berlin? Did the city help you evolve and shape your sound?

After finishing my master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh, I spontaneously moved to Berlin to pursue music as a DJ and producer. I was already drawn to techno early in my career because some of the projects I was involved in were based in Berlin. My experiences in clubs here as a teenager were completely different from the instrumental world I came from, something I wasn’t able to experience in Los Angeles. It reminded me of sounds I was already into, such as metal. Over time, the genre served as a link between my various interests. Even though they seemed to be separate, from esoteric sciences like astrology to history and interdisciplinary arts, my musical process absorbed the different paths I took, until it only made sense to follow its calling.

You mention metal as one of your favorite genres. What are the most influential musical eras, styles, or artists that have impacted you and still resonate in your work?

The most influential music era for me at the moment is the ’90s because it was a golden age for alternative genres, with electronic music emerging at the forefront. For a short while, it seemed artists had reclaimed control of the commercial music industry, resulting in a visionary period. I like provocative artists who don’t necessarily try to appeal to the masses but instead give them what they didn’t know they needed. In terms of techno, Jeff Mills, Luke Slater, and Surgeon have all significantly impacted my sound. However, I grew up listening to metal. Both metal and techno were thriving through innovation in the ’90s, and they fueled themes that later resonated with me—commentaries on politics, philosophy, and, of course, science fiction. 

Another genre I’m interested in is ambient, the opposite of highly formulaic music like metal and techno. Some of my methods are inspired by Brian Eno’s creative process, particularly Oblique Strategies. I’m drawn to the formlessness of ambient, its use of negative space, and how that can command just as much intensity as the former. 

You weave knowledge from your studies in archeology, classics, and esoterics into your music. Tell us the meaning of the track names “Chiaroscuro” and “Dis Manibus.”

“Chiaroscuro,” the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, is named after Caravaggio, my favorite artist. While the Renaissance portrayed the ideal form or moment, the Baroque captured the most climactic, which often shed light on psychological shadows that underpin society. Beyond the contrast of tones, his paintings were full of contradictions, interplays, and discrepancies. The study and critique of perception has always interested me. Growing up between Eastern and Western cultures, my reality was constantly challenged. I pursued archaeology as a way to uncover the roots of normalized beliefs that other marginalized groups of people. Through its commentary, both direct and subconscious, art can be a path to awakening, speaking what’s unsaid to those who can’t hear it.

Listen to “Chiaroscuro” – premiere now on MNMT

“Dis Manibus” is a Latin tomb inscription that roughly translates as, “to the spirits of the shadows.” I’m using it as a memento mori, a physical and symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. It all comes back to the label’s name, Katabasis, which is a fundamental motif in mythological stories across religions and time—the hero’s journey to the underworld to face the unknown and ascend reborn.

The name of the track “Amduat” comes from ancient Egypt. How do you interpret this concept in our contemporary music scene? 

The mythology of ancient Egypt, central to its cosmos, was prototypical to concepts of katabasis, rebirth, and cycles of nature. The tomb was essentially a womb, a portal of rebirth. Amduat was the instructional funerary text that described the twelve hours of night, in which the deceased encountered various gods and monsters, and how to face each progressive challenge in order to reach the afterlife. The Greco-Roman mysteries later modeled their rituals, such as initiations, after such concepts. In many ways, techno events mirror these festivities—sensory environments that foster altered states of mind, dance and rhythmic movements as various expressions of it, and the breaking of limitations into a synchronized union.

There is an underlying theme of contrasts you explore—light vs. dark; descend vs. ascend; death vs. rebirth; perception vs reality; individual vs. society. Can we see a parallel between those states in our psyche reflected in rave and music experiences? I have been exploring the healing potentials of club culture and would like to know your perspective on this—how does the hero’s journey emanate in a club environment?

Recent research in psychosomatics reveals that trauma is intergenerational and collective, cyclical patterns of oppression that are stored energetically more than they’re cognitive. As such, freedom of experience and subconscious expression become antidotes to materialism, which focuses on mechanical processes rather than consciousness. Techno creates important spaces and communities that liberate thought and expression. From the start, its themes of science fiction have tapped into ideals of techno-utopianism, confronting the oppression it was born out of in Detroit. In a rationalist world that separates astrology from astronomy, intuition from logic, and spirituality from nature, music and clubs are essentially parallel societies.

As an astrologist and student of cosmic wisdom, have you observed correlations between your creative flow and the movement of the planets? Does the knowledge of the stars empower, influence, and inform your music production?

In the last few years, I’ve been studying astrology with Luz Peuscovich, who showed me how to incorporate it into my creative practice. She approaches it from a humanistic method that’s timeless and experiential. I’m also influenced by Plato, Pythagoras, and the philosophy of musica universalis, or music of the spheres. The movements of celestial bodies, according to this theory, create music that isn’t audible but instead felt and heard by the soul. They represent mathematical relationships that manifest as tones of energy linked to specific patterns and proportions. And because music is made of intervals and proportions, the distance between objects essentially forms metaphysical strings like those of an instrument. Pythaorgas proposed that each body has its own tuning qualities, which satellite recordings have since captured. These frequency calculations inform a large portion of how I tune my music. I occasionally use direct samples from planets or space objects. In terms of astrology, these frequencies are linked to various archetypal energies embodied by the zodiac and described by Carl Jung as archetypes of the collective unconscious.

Then music, as a vibrational framework of these ideas, has the potential to influence the psyche from the microcosmic as through the macrocosmic.

Yes, music and all frequencies influence our psyche as well as our bodies. You also explore vibrational medicine and sound healing alongside your yogic practice and music career. Please share more about the techniques you use and how the different disciplines complement each other.

I’m currently facilitating sound healing sessions at ŌHIA, a natural evolution of my Kundalini yoga teacher training. It’s the inertial form of my music, in which the subconscious is accessed without movement yet with the same depth and intensity. This practice enables me to go deeper into my astrological experiments. I’m using a hybrid live setup for this performance. I compose tracks using planetary frequencies that complement the current astrological forecast, playing planetary gongs while singing mantras on top. I recently started experimenting with plants, using electrodes to convert their biorhythms into music, a sort of natural collaboration. I bring a lot of energy to both my DJ sets and sound healing sessions, which resolve to induce trance or meditation. In yogic philosophy, various states of mind, beyond mind-body dualism, can be induced through movement, breath, meditation, and so on. The most important aspect of both my practices is turiya, a state of pure consciousness, which can be briefly captured in the vacuum of silence after an intense sound bath or DJ set. When the Self is transcended through trance, the moment of return can yield seeds of enlightenment with it.

You founded the label Katabasis after moving to Berlin. Do you encode more symbolism and spells through it, and what are the visions for this imprint?

My label’s imagery is inspired by esotericism. The first release depicts a planisphere of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres from Cicero’s Aratea, showing the constellations relative to the zodiac encircling the planets in a perfect sphere. Katabasis began as an event at Sameheads and evolved into a label that serves as a platform for my other artistic pursuits, such as media arts and creative direction. In terms of its future, I don’t have a clear vision in mind but would like to see it develop organically as it has over the last two years. I hope to bring back some of the rawness, attitude, and DIY of the ‘90s.

Do you collaborate with some artists currently, and what are some upcoming projects you can announce?

I’m currently doing the design, animation, and PR for Katabasis on my own, with mastering assistance from Ø [Phase]. I help him with logistics for his Modwerks label as part of our collaboration, which grew from our shared worldviews and approaches to music. He’s been an important creative mentor for me, and I’m grateful to have the support system I do to make this all possible. I hope to give some of that back with my label. My second EP, Initiation, will be released on Modwerks on November 11th.

Monument will premiere the track “Janiform” from her upcoming Modwerks EP, Initiation. Stay curious.

Follow Sanna Mun on Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud and visit her website.