Eskmo’s beats benefit local charity
Re-posted courtesy of BenevolentBeats.org
Brendan Angelides, better known by stage names Eskmo and Welder, is an innovative producer at the top of his game. With releases on the venerable Warp and Planet Mu imprints (among others), a collaborative project with Amon Tobin as Eskamon, and a new full-length album on Ninja Tune, Brendan has received international renown for his unique, bass-heavy sound and inventive approach to live performance.
Now touring the United States in support of his eponymous album, Brendan stopped through his (and BenevolentBeats) home-base of San Francisco early this month with a unique announcement: most of the proceeds from ticket sales to his show would be donated to the local charity Precita Eyes, an organization dedicated to supporting and maintaining mural arts in the City by the Bay. Given that many consider ticket sales for live performances one of the last bastions of real income for musicians in the age of the free MP3, we were struck by this wonderful and selfless gesture, and got in touch with Brendan to learn more about his decision to make charitable giving a part of the experience of his art. He was gracious enough to share a few of his thoughts with us, and we’re extremely pleased to share them with you.
BB: You describe on your blog how you first became aware of Precita Eyes- can you tell us a little bit about your decision to support them? What inspired you to use performance proceeds vs. something more traditional like a fixed-amount donation?
Brendan: When I first moved out to San Francisco 5 years ago, I lived with someone who was working there for school. She has stayed with Precita since and become their communications director. While we were living together, she showed me what they did for the community and how the murals have a direct and lasting impact on the people. I was inspired to do the performance based proceeds because of some work I have seen Imogen Heap do. She developed a fantastic segment of some of her shows where she donates to local charities along the stops of her tour. The idea of giving locally in exchange for an experience really makes sense to me.
While you’re a fairly established artist, you’re also demonstrating that it doesn’t take arena-filling financial clout to help support a cause you believe in. How are you balancing the need to make a living with your desire to make a difference outside the music world?
It all goes hand in hand I think. One inspires the other and gives back. I’ve always come from that place in terms of why I write music, but only recently realized that I should reach out and have a direct connection to local groups in various areas.
Clearly Precita Eyes will benefit from both your donation and the attention you’ve brought to their cause. Have you noticed any reciprocal benefits from your partnership with them, e.g. increased publicity for the show? It seems like there’s great potential for mutual promotion in this kind of artist / charity partnership, but I’m interested in how that plays out in practice.
It’s tough to say how much attention that side of the show brought in to be honest. It would be great if there was a way to gauge that. I think as we do this more and more, it will be more easily analyzed. I think you are right, especially given the state of our technologically connected world, and ever increasing scenarios to help. Just seems to make sense.
Are there alternatives to financial support that you think might also be valuable to charitable organizations?
Oh absolutely, but I imagine it depends on the specific charity or group that you are helping. Different ones have different needs and various roles they play in the community. I think a small range of being able to adapt to each scenario could work best.
Given your experience with this endeavor, do you have any thoughts or advice for other artists interested in using their work to support a cause?
Start doing it, right away. Even if it’s just to help promote the charity. No money needs to come out of anyone’s pockets if you can’t do that yet. Talk to your friends and see what’s possible. People in general seem very down to do as much as they can when it comes to helping out their city, town, etc.
Many thanks to Brendan for taking the time to answer our questions! Check out his music, bio, and upcoming tour schedule at his artist site.