A poor family could eat for weeks on the amount of money I’m spending on a music video shoot in Woodstock this week (here's the final thing). That vague sense of ‘sorry not sorry’ guilt that accompanies educated and privileged people the world over.
Part of my ‘marketing strategy’ with Pravda is to position ourselves as transparent, vulnerable and worthy of trust in the hope that the reader forms an emotional attachment and perception of an offer that’s worthwhile and honest. The band name Pravda means ‘truth’, after all. I’ve been thinking like this for a while now. Haven’t we all? Fighting for relevance, attention, engagement? Social media strategy? Packt like sardines? Rebrand? How to access new demographics in the growing black middle class? (we’re from South Africa). As a creative professional, I’ve been forced to make the type of decisions that make my inner child vomit. As a conscience inhabiting a body, I tell myself that one day I’ll make it up to every person I ever had to treat as a means to an end. That I’ll feed the family, somehow.
It’s now been 12 years of writing and releasing music under the name Pravda. Most of you who know me are aware that I’m not some spoiled scion looking to get wealthier. This was always about doing something original and of value to the world. As artists, we aim to hold up that mirror to our society, to show the beast its underbelly and challenge the shortcomings and oversights of each individual, starting with ourselves. With the help of God, to change something in someone’s behaviour. To speak truth to power. Why? Because like it or not, we pay attention - the master currency - to artists and their work. We give them power. They are responsible for influencing what we think. If you doubt that, consider the amount of visual, audible and conceptual storytelling that goes into five seconds of YouTube.
There are only two ways to save the forest: chain yourself to a bulldozer or buy the land. The band-aid or the bank account. This is the challenge for us as a band this week. How do we create something that will last without exploiting the crew and cast, many of whom are volunteering their time and effort? How do we demonstrate loyalty to those who have helped us in this mission towards something real, lasting and of value? How do we use the resulting energy to become a social good and not just another entertainment product for those who can afford fibre?
Off to move couches from one dusty room to another, and to think.