Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain used to own a “dream machine” that he used to influence his dreams and sleep, according to a 1993 interview recently published by MTV.
In the interview, Cobain shows off a device he nicknamed “The Dreamer,” which appears to be a device commonly referred to as a “mind machine,” which consists of strobe light glasses, headphones, and a Walkman-like controller that could be used to change settings to vary the effect.
“This is The Dreamer,” Cobain tells the camera. When asked what he dreamed about when he used the device, Cobain says “I dreamed about German shepherds and having sex with my stepfather and eating flowers — no smoking Potpourri.”
Cobain then shows off the controller.
“There are six different functions, they’re programs,” he said. “They basically just help with stress, insomnia, relaxation, creativity, concentration, and meditation.”
By flashing a red strobe light while the user closes their eyes, mind machines like Cobain’s are said to induce deep states of relaxation, and sometimes even produce altered states of consciousness.
“It’s really amazing, it really works,” Cobain said. “You close your eyes, it’s just like staring into the sun after a while… you don’t see red anymore, you see all these different patterns of different colours and stuff, it’s really neat, it relaxes you.”
At the time the interview was recorded, mind machines like Cobain’s weren’t available to purchase in the U.S., as the device wasn’t approved by the FDA. Today, you can purchase similar machines called Light and Sound Machines, though the FDA requires a disclaimer be included as the effectiveness of the device is still questioned, with many calling mind machines a form of pseudoscience.
“I’ve only just tested it for one hour today, but I was pleased with the results,” Cobain said in the interview. “It made me feel good, it really made me feel relaxed.”
You can watch Cobain show off the device in the video below.