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So you wanna be in a rock band?: How to rock out on a greener planet

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | | March 30th, 2009

From an environmental perspective, it's pretty easy to see how a band's constant travelling and other practises are not sustainable or eco-friendly. But, it's not exactly like we can give it all up either, if we are intent on making it in this business. So, in the spirit of going green, though I can't provide you with any definitive way to eradicate these “necessary evils”, below I've compiled a list of suggestions, from eco-aware artists, on how you, as an aspiring rocker, can reduce your own footprint on this great planet we call home. Starting with the most obvious...

Go strictly digital

Though still being affected by illegal P2P programs like Limewire, legitimate online sales, are growing slowly, but surely, and industry experts predict that the cd, as a media format, will likely go the way of the cassette, eight-track, and so many of its earlier predecessors. So why not get yourself out of the manufacturing game now? You'll save yourself the unnecessary hassle of trying to shift physical product in a time where retail is open less and less to indie artists, not to mention you'll cut down expenses enormously.

Say ‘yes' to recycled materials and green technology

If you are really still set on having a physical product for consumption, there's no need to despair - more and more companies, including St. Thomas' Second Records and Toronto's Indiepool, are going green with their manufacturing technology. Offering disc booklets printed on recycled materials with soy based inks are just the tip of the iceberg.

Paper press kits: Make ‘em a thing of the past

In congruence with the previous suggestions, go online with your promotions and publicity — it's easier, more convenient, and will save you money (not to mention the world!) in the long run. There are great sites like Sonicbids which can help you design flashy online professional portfolios, but really it's as easy as simply building a press page right on your official website.

Employ online media solicitation

Though the dinosaur model of the music industry is admittedly outdated and in desperate need of a massive overhaul, efforts are being made to stay in tune with the issues of our day. One of these winning solutions is a little known (to indie artists) piece of technology called the Digital Media Delivery System (DMDS for short).

Cut your carbon

Though some bands, in Europe, have opted to tour entirely by bicycle (no joke), I realize that for you four piece rockers who employ extensive drum-kits and Marshall stacks, clearly this is not an option. While a van, in said situations, is clearly a necessity, there are ways to reduce its harmful emissions. Hardware shops, like Canadian Tire, carry special devices that help improve your vehicle's mileage, and there's always the option of using biofuels, if possible.

No more Mapquesting

Every band, at some point in their career, will travel to foreign territories for which they require directions. Though, by no means would I ever suggest to simply wing it, instead of wasting all of the paper and ink that goes into printing countless pages of maps and city street routes, one simple investment can be the answer to all your directional problems: that being, a GPS system.

For the ladies and the emo boys: Go mineral & natural

As I said only a few weeks ago, image is everything, and you've got to play the part. Accordingly, having a solid stock of makeup, and hair dye (and other hair products) are undoubtedly important for many bands, particularly those of the goth or glam genres. But environment-wise, not to mention health-wise, it doesn't really make a lot of sense to spend oodles of cash on products that are toxic, and synthetic if you're looking for longevity. Lucky for you, mineral cosmetics and natural hair dyes are becoming more common place on the market.

Cool finds for cheap

Along with the last point, wardrobe is clearly an investment, for any performer, that needs to be taken seriously. While wearing ripped jeans, and flannel shirts worked for the grunge rockers, not every genre has created such a staple in terms of fashion. One of the best ways to find one-of-a-kind pieces, beyond having a personal fashion designer, is to visit vintage and second hand clothing stores. Not only will you get the best bang for your buck, but you can pretty much guarantee you'll find at least one very out-there piece on every visit.

Purchase more pawn

I often feel sorry for the countless guitars hanging in the windows of pawn shops longing for the day when someone comes in and allows them to wail once again. Though society has allotted terms like “used” and “pawned” with pejorative connotations, I can honestly say that I've seen some of the most incredible objects hidden away in the corners of these so-called “hock shops.” Though it may take a bit of extra digging, I truly believe that it is well worth the effort.
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