Early in 2014, plans began to come together for the next step in our campaign to fight illegal logging. We’ve been working with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) (link) on this issue, beginning in 2013 with a postcard-writing campaign for fans in the Eco-Villages on tour with Maroon 5 and Barenaked Ladies. We brainstormed around ways to continue to get the word out and the idea was born: ask some of our musician partners to lend their voices in a video explaining the issue.
We began to compile a “wish list” of artists to participate, and as the “yes” answers rolled in, it was time to schedule the video shoots. Guster of course was on board from day one, so it was about finding a time for them to all be together and figuring out who could shoot and when (which, in the end, was harder that you’d think and we ended up with Adam representing the band in the video.) Michael Franti and Jason Mraz were working with us on their summer tours and each had a tour videographer to capture the conversations. Our on site coordinator Paul was with Michael Franti to interview him and got an amazing story; we didn’t actually know his deep personal connection to the issue before asking him to participate. I went to the Linkin Park show in Massachusetts to speak with Brad and Dave, who graciously dug in to learn more about the issue. REVERB Co-Founder/Co-Driector Adam was in LA and able to talk with Mickey and James of Maroon 5 to get their insightful take on the issue.
In July, we traveled to New York City where Razia Saíd, one of the most popular and respected musicians from Madagascar, was performing. We had a chance to interview her for over an hour on her balcony in Harlem, and then see her gorgeous performance that evening. During our conversations, we learned much more about the situation on the ground in Madagascar, where illegal logging is rampant and destroying communities and ecosystems. She talked of families who now have to walk over an hour to get water when it used to be in their back yard, because clear cutting has turned former rain forests into deserts. She talked of the government, or lack of government for the past 9 years, and how the criminals have the power to do what they want. She talked about how all the families acknowledge the cyclones they experience are getting stronger because the forests aren’t there to slow down the storms. It was truly personal and insightful, powerful, and moving to hear all this first hand.
Our partners at EIA have traveled to the locations where illegal logging is happening and captured some amazing footage to help us tell the story. We were then tasked to take hours of images and interview footage and distill it down to tell a cohesive, accessible story. Working alongside our go-to REVERB videographer/editor and EIA, we started with a 9 minute version and cut, rearranged and massaged until we have the final version that you see today.
We are so thankful so many artists have lent their voice to this important issue. Seriously. Stay through the end of the video and read the list!