Normally when we’re figuring out features for the blog we look back at what artists have been focusing on between visits here to see what can feed into inspiration for interviews and mixes. Approaching Jay Haze coming down to spin for Leftroom in Room Two this weekend, we found that the usual release focused life update didn’t really apply here, instead we were pointed in the direction of these films he’s been making in Peru, showing community projects he’s been heading up as opposed to promoting a new release. With the release of his Love=Evolution LP at the beginning of 2011 the Tuning Spork and Contexterrior boss has also announced his departure from making music and running his labels shifting his focus to charity related practices in an effort to create some kind of real, meaningful and positive change in the world.
This lead us to prompt some words from Haze and we’ve invited him to share some of his motivations and experiences on the blog today. With a new specialist subject to speak on, we give him the floor to talk about how charity work and music can work together.
So how can you combine doing charity into the music lifestyle?
When one is emerged into the music lifestyle conversations and your thought process can be pretty demanding and usually pertain to these things - The MUSIC and The PARTY. This is the curse of being a musician sometimes, but especially true of the electronic musician, we tend to surround ourselves with other EDM artists, or people who appreciate what we do or who know our name. This tends to be a pretty hedonistic select group- who’d rather talk about the next season in Ibiza or your latest remixes/exploits. It goes without saying that most artists need feedback, and while that’s true- the result is that we create a bubble for ourselves and we need to step out of this self contained world every once in a while and take a look at our reality. To be honest with ourselves. Brutally.
What would be a good starting point in reaching out?
If you are lucky enough to have any influence at all, this would seem like a logical launch pad. Influence is a great starting point because it doesn't require any money. It just requires you reaching out for a cause you believe in - or a goal you wish to achieve......This is of course after educating yourself on specific situations you might like to see change - this requires some serious study time (reading-watching docs-calling some NGO's or visiting orphanages or children’s hospitals). There is nothing more sad than seeing people fly false flags unknowingly and wasting energy and spirit on something futile or misunderstood, when with the same energy, real change can occur if focused properly.
It seems in this day and age, this is the type of thing that’s happening more than ever before, lots of people are getting involved- but for the wrong causes. Or too many people end up fighting for the same cause that has a vast amount of resources, but because of too much bureaucracy or inefficient infrastructure accomplish very little in comparison to what is actually possible when well managed and executed.
One more thing we must not forget is the totally corrupt system which pays out huge fees to directors and CEO's- of supposed charities. The first thing coming to mind is of course the ridiculous yearly earnings for the Red Cross Director which was 652,000usd per year, and after much debate and slate about it was lowered last year to around 500,000usd – (but they still get 6 weeks of paid holidays, along with free luxury housing). With red cross, for every dollar they receive, only 39 cents actually goes to the issues needing attention- still feel like giving yourself to them?
If you support Unicef- it’s even worse! Their CEO racks in over 1,000,000usd a year! - making it so a mere 14 cents actually hits the streets -
DAMN! It’s a luxurious life trying to eradicate poverty isn't it??? Ooops last time I checked the world’s poverty has doubled since 1978! And is still rising mind you...
One of the good guys worth mentioning is The Salvation Army whose CEOs receives a very humble 13,000usd a year for his hard work and making it so that 93 cents of every dollar goes to actually helping people in need!
The Salvation Army regularly receives volunteers (it’s where I first started working in a soup kitchen at 14 years old) and can provide a good jump off point to someone who wants to get their feet wet in the world of helping others. And a point to note, even though the Salvation Army is a religious organization you will never feel pressured about your religion, or to convert- it’s more about how you can help. I found my time there very easy and rewarding.
There are so many issues going on in today’s world that are in effect everywhere, such as war, poverty, climate change, violence against women, drug addiction, disease or exploitation of resources. With that being said I think its best in the beginning to choose something local and something that is super close to your heart. Something that you can go and see in action and experience what that is. Giving money blindly to charity might help to make that voice telling you "you need to give, you need to be better, you are living without cause" subside- - - - but giving money to just any charity is just blissful ignorance. There are so many good people out there wishing to be more involved in something real, something good- and it’s a mess trying to find out how and where to do it. I would recommend checking such websites as the Better Business Bureau to track some companies and their business ethics.
Another aspect I would pass on to anyone is that it is one hard job, you see a reality that is somewhat shocking and sad, when you see people you thought were good people, not caring about your cause or something you feel deeply for. You hear allot of people tell you "yeah mate, that is amazing- so glad you are doing something like this- I will send you money right away" and then after promoting them as part of the project they stop answering your mails and post on Facebook how they have just procured an amazing new villa in Ibiza for the summer....This happens much more frequently than you might imagine, in fact it’s usually less than half the people who pledge they will be involved who actually get down and do what they say. Yeah it’s a tough one, and as well doing charity work makes some people uncomfortable, even envious to some degree, so be prepared for some people not to love your ideas. You see people usually just project themselves on to you, and this can get nasty and hurtful if you let it.....
Self hate is a big problem in today’s society(in fact I believe it causes most disease and cancers), and we need love to conquer it, but to love yourself . (It’s the most important thing of all) To combat it you need to create a routine, one that will allow yourself to love you more. AND WITHOUT A DOUBT HELPING OTHERS IN NEED IS THE BEST WAY TO GET ON THE PATH OF LOVING YOURSELF. So even in the beginning if this is the reason to get into it, it’s a better path than self promotion through media channels about your ego based outputs....Try being selfless for a few weeks, tell me how you feel afterward - I bet you won’t be sorry.
So, I think this pretty much covers the basics for now, I will write more again sometime in the future on how to set something up yourself which can have a greater impact than dealing with existing agencies, but for now I believe this is a good start. Thanks and love to all!
I know I mentioned some of the negatives here, but trust me when you get into this world and throw your soul into it, it’s pretty inspiring at the same time!
As always-------keep moving forward, keep doing your thing.