Neon Indian is "Coming Out of The Woodwork" For Climate Day LA
Neon Indian hasn’t released an album since 2015, but he’s got something in the works that’s arguably more important than just any record: the environment. More specifically: Climate Day LA. The day-long event, presented by Climate Resolve, ecoAmerica, KCRW, FORM, and IHEARTCOMIX in support of the Path To Positive LA initiative for climate solutions, is the second annual of its kind, and Mother Earth knows it’s now more important than ever. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but Trump’s refusal to keep America’s commitment to the planet’s wellbeing (most recently exemplified by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords), makes this that much more urgent…and that much more necessary.
From everyday habits that can be adjusted to larger questions of what’s next for planet Earth, Climate Day LA is addressing it all. The best part? The daytime portion of this event is 100 percent free. Nighttime events are ticketed and include a fancy-ass gala and evening concert in the Ace Hotel’s Theatre. Get yourself west on June 27 for this not-to-be-missed event, and in the mean time, peep our eco-friendly chat with Neon Indian himself, below.
I would love to just hear about how you first heard about Climate Day LA and what prompted you to get involved.
Well they actually approached us. I mean we’ve done a lot of shows at The Ace for a few different things, but yeah, I mean I think I was reached out through a friend at I Heart Comics and I think what seemed intriguing about is, I mean, obviously we love performing, especially in LA, but what made us really want to come out of the woodwork was that it seemed like a multi-disciplinary presentation where sure, everybody loves to go see a concert, but I think if you can get people in the room and then have a productive dialogue on how to galvanize people to get involved with Climate Day, then we should be so lucky to contribute to that.
Is this your first action in that realm of climate activism or is it something you’ve always been passionate about?
I mean I’ve been passionate about it for a very long time, but I’ve never had the opportunity to use the cache from this musical project to inform people about that. I think in many ways, sure, I try to be conscientious just from my own personal practices, and I think people are somewhat aware, but I think there are more ways in which you can exercise environmentally conscientious practices. Hopefully, what I want to touch on is how to do that with your money. How to be an informed, conscientious consumer and decide what companies you want to engage with and which ones you don’t. Which, I think collectively, can have as much of an impact as the things that we already try to adhere to in our day to day lives, such as recycling and water conservation.
Obviously a lot of environmentalism is tied to politics, but do you feel like there’s an extra sense of urgency with what’s going on with our President and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords? Do you think it gives this event more meaning than it’s had in the past?
I think, yes. This seems particularly important because you also want to send a message to the rest of the world saying, “Even though we have a leader that we’re not in agreement with, that the US is comprised of a large sum of individuals who have their own opinions and many of which are prioritizing these problems.” Even though him pulling out of the Paris Climate agreement seemed like a gesture to satiate his fan base, I think it was just kind of a silly publicity stunt and I think that there are plenty of companies in the States that have a lot of influence and power that can do just as much to galvanize not only their specific company, but also those who participate with them. It’s the kind of thing that can be impacted from the level of the individual to a large, collective, contortion. Every piece of it is just as important. The fact that climate change has become politicized is so bizarre and foreign to me. The first time I heard about it was probably the early 2000s and it always seemed like a little bit, I guess innocuous isn’t the right term, but I think it’s bizarre that in the span of the last sixteen years, just wanting to be a conscientious, responsible person didn’t seem like a political agenda. If you keep your house clean and possessions clean in the environment that you maintain within your immediate proximity, why wouldn’t you do that on a global scale and take care of the things that have given so much to you?
Yeah and I think one of the saddest things is that now the line is drawn, and now that people have picked their sides, is that how it’s going to be? I mean, can we ever back pedal from the partisanship?
Yeah, and also what I like about something like this event, a potential solution I see is calling for a culture of inclusion. And I would say identifying far more from the far lefts, that I don’t see it important to continue propagating the idea that this is a bipartisan issue and that it’s something that concerns us all. Calling for a culture of inclusion, where you also propose the advantages to the people that would identify as conservatives and who have found this to be for some reason against their ideological alliances. Because really, it just seems like a no brainer, you know? I don’t see why in other avenues of capitalism that we invest in the latest technologies. We’ve certainly done that with the internet and all things electronic, with all modes of communication, and yet for some reason, if it seems to have some reward, that means a cleaner environment. For some reason, that seems to be construed as soft, or potentially encroaching on capitalism and I don’t really see it that why. I find it very strange that most conservatives haven’t seen the blatant advantages. I grew up in Texas, and I grew up around plenty of people that I didn’t agree with, you know? But that doesn’t make them monsters, it’s just what they had from their particular vantage point, but I really want to see this as an opportunity to walk across that line and to say that this is something that ought to matter to us both despite our differences.
Yeah, I’m also curious, because you guys have such a big base and such a big following, do you feel like artists such as yourself have a duty to speak up about issues they care about? Do you feel a responsibility there?
I think that’s entirely up to the individual. I don’t think that all art should be political, in fact I think that we live currently in a climate right now where a lot of our art is apolitical. It wasn’t until this last presidency that I think that the conversation is perhaps slowly shifting back to politicized art, but I do think that if it is something that you are in fact passionate about, then I don’t think there’s any shame to use this platform that you built to share information that you think is salient and that you think is important for people to know. I definitely, int he last year or so, I really started wondering, if I am using the voice that I have to the best of my abilities. I definitely felt that way during the election, touring through Texas and taking moments in a set to talk about immigration issues. Things that as an immigrant, I absolutely have a dog in that fight, and I absolutely want to get the word out about. But to say it’s a complete obligation, I leave that to the individual.
So as far as Climate Day LA, what are you hoping are the big takeaways that people will be able to take from the event and hopefully be able to implement in their lives?
I think that obviously the takeaway would be that people came to a fun event where they also learned how slight adjustments or focuses of interests could really, collectively make a very large impact and I think specifically, I phrased it early but not as accurately, circling back to the idea that the individual has power not only in their specific practices, but also to who they give their money to. I think I’m very curious to see what Mayor Garcetti will weigh in on this conversation at this Climate Day event. As long as we walk away with some really engendering values to instill in people, then I think we’ve accomplished people.
Featured image via Luke Lauter
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