By Juliette Coleman
Edited by Chloe Gross
We spoke with Brighid Fry on her involvement in the soon-to-be launched Canadian chapter of Music Declares Emergency.
Could you provide some context as to who you are and tell us a bit about Moscow Apartment as well?
Sure, so I'm Brighid Fry! I’m one half of the indie band Moscow Apartment: a band I started with my best friend, I think four years ago now––maybe longer actually. We're a Canadian indie band from Toronto and we started out kind of doing folk but we've moved to more of an indie rock sound.
For those who don't know, could you briefly explain what Music Declares is.
Yeah, it's a climate action movement, kind of verging on an NGO, that was started in 2019 by Fay Milton (the drummer for the band Savages) in the UK. It's a movement connecting climate activism to music with the belief that there is a lot of crossover there. Musicians who care about the planet can use their platform and their influence to talk about this really pressing issue that really everyone should be more worried about. Since 2019 it’s become an international movement with various chapters worldwide that have started up, myself being part of the team working to create a Canadian chapter which will be launching on March 18th.
Could you tell me a bit about why you got involved with Music Declares?
In general, climate is something that both my family and I are really worried about. I think most people my age are really worried about it, I mean it's a crisis now, right? All the science and numbers are showing this is what we should be worried about right now. I think I may be a little more connected to the subject because my mom, who is a teacher now, used to be an environmental activist. She worked for Greenpeace and other organizations when she was younger and tons of her friends are environmentalists, so it's something I'd always been very aware of growing up. As a musician, when we found out about this group I was like "This is really great and with my mom's help I think we're in a good place to start a Canadian group”. Climate is something I'm really passionate about and luckily I have lots of connections to the kind of movers and shakers in Canada trying to fight climate change. I think i’m in a position where I think I can really help get this group off the ground, because I think it's something that's really important.
"...musicians and artists are just creative people who are inclined to really care about these kinds of things, like our job is to basically share our emotions for a living".
Why do you think it's important for musicians, companies, and industries to be a part of movements like this that work toward systemic change?
I think all major industries need to be more worried about this and music just happens to be the one that I'm connected to. What's interesting about music is there's a large amount of people who have an influence on the industry, it's not just monopolized by a couple of major companies, in many ways it's this grassroots thing where every person kind of has an influence. It's a major industry that produces tons of waste and greenhouse gases and it has a really big environmental impact but it's an industry that more ‘everyday regular people’ who are involved in it do have a say in. As I said earlier, big artists, not just on the music side but just creatives with big platforms have people that really connect to their art, and so when they say something people will listen. Getting major artists that have big platforms and influence to say "Hey everyone should be worried about this. Everyone who listens to my music, you should be worried about this too" has a really big reach.
There are really big artists who are connected to Music Declares: Savages, they're a big band, Billie Eillish she's been connected to the project and obviously has a huge influence on tons of young people. Also I think musicians and artists are just creative people who are inclined to really care about these kinds of things, like our job is to basically share our emotions for a living. I think a lot of musicians and artists are sensitive people and are feeling upset and stressed about the climate emergency but they might not know what to do. You know they might be like "Well what can I do I'm a musician", and we've organized actions to help musicians get involved and I think that can go a long way.
What are some actions that musicians and artists in general can do to help?
I mean there's small individual actions, and then major ones. I guess something that's tricky about climate is I feel like people put too much pressure on individual actions and I don't want to downplay those because they are super super important. But I feel a lot of people are like, "Well, if I can't afford or I don't have a way to not take a plane then I can't be an environmental activist". And that's so not true! We all live in this capitalist consumer society, obviously you can't be a completely environmentally friendly person or you can but it's really tricky and it's hard to make money that way. So I guess a quick disclaimer is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
But yeah there's tons of ways like trying to put pressure on major labels or different companies you work with to try and find more sustainable ways of operating and cutting down waste. Something that my band has been looking into is recycled vinyl which is a lot more environmentally friendly. Another big thing is merch; people are getting their band merch on polyester which doesn’t break down or non-organic cotton so that's something that you, as an artist or band, can do. There's tons of individual and collective actions and that's a big part of Music Declares Emergency because it’s really hard to find out about where to get sustainable t-shirts and sustainable vinyl and so on. So that's something that we intend to do is have resources and pages on our website and possibly even workshops and conferences on that.
And so how does one get involved in Music Declares?
So we have an Instagram, @musicdeclares_canada, I believe the email is linked so if anyone wants to get involved, you can just reach out to us there, or send us an email. We have outreach forms so we've been reaching out to artists that we know and asking them how they are interested in getting involved. And there's different things that you can do, whether it just be sign on to say that you are interested and support this or that you want to help actively organize. And the big thing about Music Declares Emergency, it says in the name, is that we need to declare that this is an emergency, right? Because it is. So, people can just sign on and say “Yes, this is an emergency and I am worried about this”, and we don't have any specific calls to actions for major companies or government yet but that's definitely going to be coming in the future.
Is there anything else that you want people to know?
Yeah, so another climate action that I'm involved in is Climate Live which is less of a long term organization and more of a group of people trying to organize two events and it's actually all youth led which is really cool. Again it's one of those international movements and I'm helping to get the Canadian chapter started. And we're trying to organize concerts to raise awareness and help actively get music fans into climate activism by giving the musicians a platform to perform that is specifically linked to environmentalism and climate action. Information about that is going to be coming out in the next couple of months so people should keep their eyes out for that because it's going to be really cool and we will be having a virtual concert on April 24th and a much bigger concert in October 202!