Misty Oldland is not just determined to maximise her musical impact, she is just as concerned with minimising her environmental one. After a number of albums and collaborations over the last 15 years, she has released Forest Soul on her own label Mistic Discs
Taking the stance that a difference can be made, Oldland has created a collection of soulful and jazzy songs which are ecologically and socially minded.
Fly’s Jeremy Balius dropped in with Oldland for a discussion on independence and social awareness.
Please tell us about the major thematic elements of your songs.
The songs I write reflect what moves me. The plight of the planet, love, the art of relationship and the art of life. They often celebrate truth, individualism and creative expression and that I believe love is the greatest healer. I love to translate mystical teachings into song and I enjoy giving a voice to unrepresented people or animals. Melancholy meets mischief meets magic, I reckon describes my style.
In what ways is even writing and releasing socially and ecologically aware songs a currently unheard of practice? How are you hoping to change that?
As far as I know, no one has used a waterless printing method to produce a CD sleeve such as the one we did for Forest Soul and I believe Mistic Discs has produced the first 100% recycled vinyl sleeve. Many other bands have become ‘carbon neutral’, which means you pay a kind of ‘green tax’ (10p per CD approx) by choice to offset your ‘CO2 emissions’, which get released in the manufacturing of the CDs (see www.futureforests.com).
Future Forest then plant trees or invest the money in renewable energy (wind/solar etc). Becoming ‘carbon-neutral’ is a great way to acknowledge how we all as individuals and companies impact the world with CO2 pollution and take responsibility and put back. The fact that businesses will cut corners economically to survive is the reality of the capitalist world we live in, so we have to be on the ball and listen to those organizations committed to protecting the planet and our future who will expose the energetic waste, pollution and cruelty that takes place.
What is the cultural relevance of releasing music completely independently?
It is liberating and also extremely challenging to go at it alone. It is enormously exciting to be part of this cultural revolution where artists have embraced business in order to support their creative-integrity! And to see the old ‘empire’ crumble, which exploited artists and music buyers for years, is rather cool. It’s a natural backlash, that the power of choice has reverted back to the consumer who now has the right to choose quality over mass produced music…..whoopee!
Please discuss some of the charities you are involved with and how you support them.
I am a member of www.greenpeace.org and they keep me informed. There is another wonderful organization called The Amazon Rainforest Foundation which is one of the only charities who work directly with the indigenous Indians in the Amazon to protect their rainforest. Check their amazing work out at www.amazoncoop.org! I offset my carbon emissions through www.futureforests.com and most forest information I receive in a newsletter at http://forests.org/subscribe/
Who are some of your intellectual influences and how are they impacting your day-to-day life?
Joseph Cambell has been a key inspiration… and personal friends, spiritual teachers and mystical teachings and philosophy such as the I-ching, Sufism and the Kabbalah. They essentially teach me to live life from my heart, which of course is not always easy but I’m definitely giving it a go!
In what ways can music cause local and/or global change?
Spiritually, energetically and intellectually music both inspires and informs us. It’s magical. If music is written from the heart, I believe it is particularly powerful to motivate. And when people are touched in their hearts, they do extraordinary things! The revolution will be televised/computerised/mobile phone-ised….let’s go.
What is the ideal situation to be in to listen to your music?
Anywhere anytime… but through a nice set of old, beautifully-warm analogue speakers would be nice.
What are some Oldland practical tips to better one’s own life?
In terms of environmentalism check the 3 E’s out! E for Energy: check your energy efficiency: cut back on energy use in the house. E for Emissions: off set your business’s emissions by planting trees and become a ‘carbon neutral’ company, drive a duel fuel car or electric one, best of all ride a bike! E for Electricity: switch to a renewable energy company such as Goodenergy which is the greenest British electricity company as it uses only 100% renewable energy, sourced from wind-power. (www.good-energy.co.uk)
What would you like to see happen to push you from where you are now to where you want to be?
I would just like to build a sustainable business that means I can make records for a living and ideally nurture and develop new talent too. I am also working on a computer game, and animation series and a film script. A lot of pots on the boil… all to do with the forest, as you can imagine, so watch this space.
What can be expected from Misty Oldland in the near future?
A new album and hopefully a tour next year across the globe, so see you in Oz.
–photo by Kay Montano–
–artwork by Jonny Pumfrey–