We had a great opportunity to talk with Todd Anders, the lead singer and drummer from the band Salem, based out of Boulder CO. Salem is currently on the Risan Project Tour.
Todd, can you give us a little background about the tour and what the main message of the tour is?
The Risan Project utilizes multi-media events to raise awareness of climate change and the praxis of alternative lifestyles. The message of the tour is derived from the belief that environmental policy must reflect the acknowledgement of a global climate crisis. Affecting policy decisions begins with knowledge and awareness of the current state of the environment and alternatives to current systems of energy production and usage.
Who are some of the people behind the Risan Project?
The 2009-2010 tour features Boulder’s conscious funk, jazz hip-hop band, Salem; film premiers with Sweetgrass Productions’ latest film, “Signatures”; the film-short “Generations” produced by Protect Our Winters/Northface/Teton Gravity Research, the Kyrgzystan Plan and appearances with presenters from Al Gore’s Climate Project and Olympic athletes from the Climate Project “Play It Cool” Campaign. The Risan Project is also working towards powering select events with solar and wind-powered sound systems with Atlanta’s Tree Power & Sound and San Diego’s Sustainable Waves.
What were some of the reasons you wanted Salem to become part of this tour?
I think that combining live music with films and presentations can bring a message to a wide audience while still being entertaining. Salem lyrics address themes of social justice and I have been involved in various awareness tours such as Bono’s One Campaign in Philadelphia. I have found that we can bring these themes to other social forums.
If someone was interested in coming to a Risan Project Tour show, what can they expect to see?
They would typically see films, a speaker or presentation and live music.
You and the band have been on tour for a couple months now, can you give us some of the places you have been recently and how the fans have responded to you and the Risan Project Tour message?
We toured to Park City, Utah and thoughout Colorado; through Wyoming and Montana and a 2 week British Columbia and Alberta tour along the Powder Highway. We just returned from a tour to Washington state with shows at clubs, breweries, wineries and a stop in Sun Valley on the way back to Boulder.
The reception has been great; “Signatures” is an acclaimed ski film and the response has been positive. The “Generations” film short is also a good merging of climate knowledge and perspectives of regular folks and pro skiers that carries the message well. The Canadian tour included speakers from the Canadian Climate Project as well as Gold Olympian, Adam Kreek.
What are some of the alternative ways of transportation people can use that can help slow down the effects of the ice cap and glacier melting?
I have met Tai Robinson in Park City who spoke at our event there. He runs Intergalactic Hydrogen which outfits cars and trucks with alternative energy systems like electric power and natural gas engines. We are working towards outfitting a sprinter with four wheel drive and electric and bio diesel systems with him. Utah has the nation’s leading natural gas fill up stations. Tai utilizes several alternatives combined as a substitute for normal gas and diesel engines.
If someone wanted to learn more and wanted to get involved in the Risan Project, where can they go for information?
Our site is http://www.risanproject.com and a short video that I produced which features my music, Alaskan glacier footage and interviews with climatologists and mountaineers is on youtube at:
Salem is very conscious about the environment and the effects we as people have on our planet. What are some of the other environmental issues you tackle and how does that play a part in the creation of your music?
We are touring with music, films and presentations that address environmental issues. We are working with companies that incorporate solar and alternative energy into their productions. We are working towards having our own mobile Salem bio diesel/electric/solar tour vehicle and will perform off the grid shows. Salem lyrics follow the historic tradition of relating music to social issues and I believe that it is a means to making change in our lives and the nation that we live in.
I want to thank Todd Anders very much for this extremely insightful look into their latest awesome project, and we will definitely check back with him in the future to catch the progress of this very progressive tour.
Interviewed by: Jimmy Iles, Director of Operations Beat-Play, LLC