"No one can define or measure justice, democracy, security, freedom, truth, or love. No one can define or measure any value. But if no one speaks up for them, if systems aren’t designed to produce them, if we don’t speak about them and point toward their presence or absence, they will cease to exist."
Billy Bragg often says during his concerts that the biggest political challenge we face is apathy. When we start to think that our actions don't matter, that nothing can change, so we might as well not bother. Music has long been an antidote to apathy through inspiration, connection, and disruption. So maybe these are a path towards sustainability? Probably everyone can point to a piece of music that has sparked a moment of inspiration, that has opened their eyes and ears to a new way of being, that has triggered new insights and revealed the unseen and unheard. Bragg himself talks about getting his political inspiration from seeing The Clash play at a Rock Against Racism show in London. During COVID we danced and listened alone. As countries and cities emerge from the last few years of isolation, the club scenes are back and the dance floors are full. So how do sustainability and electronic music fit together?
Sustainability questions are in the middle of every part of the music scene. Or at least they could be. How do artists and audiences get to gigs? How do clubs and venues think about electricity and water usage? About waste and recycling? What kind of materials go into synthesizers, drum machines, mixers, and all the gear that producers, DJs, and live performers use? Can sustainability themes be embedded into the music? At the same time, politics and justice – the social dimensions of sustainability - have always been a part of dance music. This brings up another set of questions like who is on the lineup? Whose music gets played? Who gets paid and how much? Who is in the audience? Where can music be played? And who gets to make those decisions?
sustain is about all of these questions. Exploring the connection between sound, music, and sustainability. Through workshops for artists, live performances, research, connections, and (coming soon) an online radio show.