We are so glad that Summer Forest relocated her East Coast home from New York to Boston last year. (She also has a home in Los Angeles). Not only does she plan epic, mission-oriented concerts with her brand, We Are Music, she is also brings to the table an incredible background in media production, magazine editing, and even electronic music. The JUGs were thrilled to sit down with this former-raver and jill-of-all-trades at Sweetgreen on Boyleston St. to talk about how Bostonians can use music to reduce human impact on climate change.
Tell us a little bit about We Are Music. What are you hoping to accomplish with this brand?
We Are Music is the platform I am using to put together a series of climate change awareness concerts and music festivals around the country - with a big focus on Boston and Los Angeles. Our first show was in February and featured musical acts including Escort, Bearstronaut, DJ Ryan Brown and DJ Juan MacLean. We were also honored to have some really prestigious climate change speakers including Michael Mann, Cameron Wake, Jack Healy, and Dan Schrag. It was such a fun night that got a really wide variety of people involved in the issue.
Why do you think music is such a good method for inspiring political and social action?
Music is the universal language. Its accessible to all people and draws them together, especially young people. I’ve been going to music festivals, pretty obsessively, for almost 20 years, and it is part of my lifestyle. I've seen that music is a great way to bring people together for a larger cause. From Tibetan Freedom Concerts to Live Aid, there is a long, inspiring history of music and causes being paired in a very powerful way.
Its also a great way to reach young people. Electronic music is definitely my preferred medium for We Are Music. EDM is so massive and kids pretty much worship these artists. Not only do kids trust the ideas of their music idols, the artists themselves want to use their platform to do something good. I had a conversation with one of the biggest artists in EDM last year, and he was so in to the concept of putting EDM to work for making positive change in the world, and wanted to know what he could do to help. He, and so many other artists, managers, agents and promoters around the country want to contribute. So now, I am trying to cobble together this movement of Climate Change awareness through electronic music.
So, why electronic music, of all genres?
Electronic music in its early days was all about peace, love, unity, respect. Everyone - freaks, geeks, and oddballs- all had their place in the electronic music world. And thats why EDM has gotten so big: because “inclusion” is really in its DNA. Its easy for people to find their place in it. Sure, the genre has gotten more commercial over the years, but the essential principles are still there. This is the formula for people to get involved. The key to solving climate change is recognizing that we are all in it together, and this can be a powerful path.
What sparked your interest and passion for climate change action?
This is the issue of our time. This is it. Its right there in front of us. Its hard to talk about it without sounding cliche because it's so obvious. For me, this issue also reeks of opportunity. I get excited because I believe this is our generation’s version of the Peace Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. This is the moment for people power and to take to the streets for an issue we care about. Its exciting to think how people might come together over Climate Change. Rallying around big positive change really makes people feel a sense of purpose in their lives. And if they can do it in a context of joy and togetherness it’s all that more life-affirming.
Are you a musician?
Haha, no. I occasionally DJ, but mostly, I am a dancer.
Best concert or social/political event you’ve ever been to?
The Tibetan Freedom Concerts are really close to my heart. I’m a practicing Buddhist, and Tibetan Freedom is a really important cause for me. I also love Burning Man - it is the epitome of human beings just being awesome. I’ve been 8 years in a row!
Favorite Boston hangout?
I live in Cambridge so most of my hangouts are there, though I’d love to explore other parts of the city.
Last book you read?
This is hard because I’m always reading 3 or 4 books at a time! But one of the main books I’m drawing inspiration from right now is Joanna Macy’s World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal
That's all for this month's installment of Who's That Gal. We can't wait to go to We Are Music's next event!