JoyCut is a trio out of Italy with a massive sound--combining electronics and heavy percussion for a shapeshifting and cathartic emotional musical journey. JoyCut has a green philosophy and all of their production is 100% tied to a sustainable future. JoyCut frontman Pasco Pezzillo believes everyone’s responsibility as citizens is to speak out on issues of climate change, and that ties into their responsibility as a band to be vocal and implement real, tangible solutions towards sustainability.
Listen to Kevin Cole's interview with the band and read a transcript of their conversation below.
Kevin Cole: As a band, what responsibility do you feel you have to speak out on climate change?
Joycut: Science is not democratic. Facts are crystal clear. On climate change it is no longer possible to express a dialectical opinion. It might be interesting to wonder why a band should stand in favor of this... And immediately, analyzing the meaning of the term band, I go and refer to Shakespeare and his “band of brothers".
Individuals aware of their fate, of their destiny. Ready to join together. To defend their vulnerability. In a dimension of identity, community and, finally, sense of belonging. This aspect is very significant for us. Because before being a band, we are first of all individuals.
Immersed in a community. We have the right to "create value" for it. We are citizens. And we must be aware, participatory, active. Reason why music doesn't play a game in itself. Indeed, it is one of the vectors of our action as it expresses the urgencies that we are experiencing. And the current climate crisis is an urgency.
In the end, there is no need to be in a band, it doesn’t change to be a politician or a teacher and get on a chair to alert on certain issues. On the contrary, we need to roll up our sleeves and perform real actions.
It is a very simple principle: one thing at a time, starting with small gestures. We are all responsible. We are all involved. Just look around, we are surrounded by nature. We are nature. There is nothing wrong with Recycling... we can recycle clothes, objects, instruments...when I think of an instrument ... “the more it is used the better it sounds”!
What are the sustainability solutions you have implemented in your own production and touring?
When we started 13 years ago, it was in a form of narration, telling the story of Mr.Man. An alien, with this dichotomy in his name, who even appearing so different and afar from our culture, at the end of the day he is the only one who maintains our forgotten human sensitivity. He takes care of beauty, of others, of the planet. A small and sweet creature from another universe ready to fight politicians and ignorance to save our world. Very similar to the story of Greta, the invisible girl.
We were realizing this world was falling into pieces. And, today again, individuals are completely alone. People get in touch just for personal purposes and interest. Environmentally speaking it’s now clear we are collapsing. Then outraging the pure storytelling we thought it would have been necessary to intervene. Starting from the most tangible things.
So we chose to record our Album in a studio powered by solar panels. We decided that all the packaging of the album should have a minimal impact.We researched and found how to make it, using water-based inks, vegetable glues, not just recyclable cardboard but already recycled paper for the package and its booklet. We worked only with factories and companies with certifications on the footprint of consumption to reduce any type of pollution. We started using organic cottons for our merchandising.
We began to get involved... partaking in a number of sustainability green projects. The Ghost Trees Forest campaign was one of them. A real sustainable festival. We invited experts to speak and other artists [from all over Europe with our same philosophy] to perform.
We showed documentaries, we collaborated with organizations such as 350.org, Italian climate network. Yes, we have invested many resources, including economic ones, especially when we covered 120,000 copies of one of the most important music magazines in Italy with mater-bi, a biofilm made from potato and corn starch. That was the very first time that our music industry understood that there could have been an alternative and unconventional way to produce, offer and distribute music... at that time. We gave away our music, within a totally sustainable packaging.
Soon we started to be invited to eco-friendly festivals, in Denmark the first one, in 2009. And there, the press began to name us an “eco-wave” band and stuff like that. Then we realized that the music was being put in the background. We realized that we should have to fly to go play. So despite all the consistency of the world, we would certainly have fallen into some error.
Nowadays to consider ourselves environmentalists is pretty hard. We are forced to fall into contradictions even playing a fair part in this game. But we must continue to follow this path, cause we are citizens of the same world community, so, all of us, we have to respect the place where we are hosted and at the same time we gotta defend it.
So, we seriously pay attention to our vision also through our music, but it’s not just music it’s more than that, and we are all involved. We would like just to make our experience valid and curious for other people. It is possible in this over spending time to respect some little and useful rules in order to make the world really a better place.
What has your response been from fans regarding your efforts towards sustainability?
Initially, this whole thing went underground. We never shouted from the rooftops that we were using ecological practices for the distribution of our music, that our website was zero-impact, that we didn't use any paper on stage to set our tracklist during the concerts cause we didn’t want to print anything so we simply memorized the tracks; that we used aluminum water bottles and not plastic; that we planted JoyCut trees and we still take care of them.
The press has started talking about it. Even too much… And we found ourselves in very good company, cause being environmentalists should be an inclination inherent in the definition of any person and our fans are very respectful, and very active. And I must say, that now, fortunately, we are no more alone... everyone, even in the music industry, has woken up.
Where do you find hope?
I will tell you this. A very interesting thing.... is that this collective consciousness is now visible, tangible. In Italy, for the first time, in the last 30 years, an active citizenship movement was born, called “Le sardine”. Sardines. A sensitive movement that protests against the populism, against the right-wing surge in the country, against violence and hate. They organize peaceful demonstrations... not just to protest but also to create value, to control the system being anti-system. We played a show with them and for them in front of 40.000 people, in Bologna, and with these guys, there's no need to give any indication.
They are young and they already know the way. They are a real vital function for our society and for these hard times. This gives great hope for the future of our species! If I think of them, of Greta Thunberg and her global Fridays for future, of Joshua Wong the boy symbol of the Honk Kong protest, of the return to the streets, of the people against populism, of the commitment of the artists, then yes... I have great hope!
Hope is in action. Beauty is everywhere. In the most hidden ravines. Into the dark. In marginality. In the eyes of those in front of us. When two people meet two stories meet. And when we are together, writing our common story, hope always wins. Hope transmutes all that it touches!
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