Going Green: EDEN Is Making His Voice Count In The Climate Crisis Debate
“I think the last three/four years of my life have been quite intangible in ways, it was very unstructured and nebulous and just the anxiety of it, that and my life is something that I’ve tried to grab hold of and drag back down to earth.”
“I didn’t have any build up to this, it was like “You’re doing this,” and I did it and it was cool and nothing disastrous happened but it was definitely a loss of self. I feel like I’m just getting my shit together, four years later.”
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Preparing for his second international tour, EDEN muses on his humble beginnings making music in his bedroom and letting it out into the ether without expectation. The last four years of the Irish artist’s life has been a whirlwind of ever expanding and evolving success.
It seemed like the rug had been dramatically pulled out from under his feet, where one minute he’s a kid making music, and then the next he’s playing shows around the globe. Just sitting and conversing with him makes you feel like he’s still that boy shaping and mastering his sounds back in Dublin, and not the internationally touring artist he is today with a highly-engaged and constantly growing fanbase.
Not to say he lacks maturity, in fact it is quite the opposite, rather he seems completely unperturbed by his increasing fame and is just purely focused on his craft, where he is perfectly content with just being able to make music his way and leave his mark on the world.
“Initially, the title came to me and I decided for this next body of work the title is going to be ‘no future’. I thought that feels right and I have a feeling it’s going to be really dark - I feel really pessimistic about the environment and the way the world is going, but then the music started to sound really optimistic and it felt like a road trip kind of vibe. I feel very passionately about the environment and about a lot of social causes. My art is always personal so I guess these issues bleed in, in a certain way but it is not the ostensive purpose of making things for me.”
The dark cloud of pessimism for our future that hangs over the optimistic ambience of the record has become something of a challenge for EDEN to undertake in other aspects of his work. The noise being generated around current issues is deafening, you can barely make it through your front door without some sort of passive aggressive advert calling your attention to whatever the issue du jour may be.
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It has become fashionable to cry out superficially about injustice in the world – slip in a little hashtag here and there, repost a picture of a polar bear, wear a slogan t-shirt, or maybe even join a march with your mates who’ll make sure to upload at least 100 videos for the Insta story to show the world how much you care. For many in the industry, it’ll be putting on a shocking performance or pontificating during an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony they flew in especially for. Whilst awareness is important and should not be underestimated, the incessant chatter demanding change without making a change is somewhat futile.
So, when someone puts their money where their mouth is and starts making genuine changes for a better future you just have to stop and take notice...
“I once had a meeting at this massive global organisation who said they were having this big event and wanted me to perform at it and they’d fly me there in a private jet etc. and I was like NO! We’re trying to do something that’s actually effective – we do not need more fucking climate change awareness, everyone is very aware so let’s actually do some shit.”
“It’s really frustrating because I’ve had conversations and meetings with people who work at climate lobbying groups being like, what can I actually do to reduce my carbon footprint and they’ll be like oh yeah stop eating meat or whatever but then it’s like, if you don’t eat meat for an entire year but you take one transatlantic flight, it’ll just cancel that. Or it’s like ok don’t fly, but I have to fly for my job or maybe I don’t, maybe I’ll just become a hermit in my studio and put tonnes of music out and maybe that’s the way to do it.”
The environment is one of great concern for the music industry, from reports of streaming having a greater impact on its carbon footprint than producing vinyl’s or CDs, to the air miles generated by international tours. Whilst it’s all very well for behemoths like Coldplay, with a net worth in the hundreds of millions, to cease touring until they figure out how to do a carbon neutral tour, for many artists this would be detrimental to their livelihoods.
The rise of streaming has meant that touring relentlessly is sometimes the only way to generate any kind of viable income for many artists - not touring simply is not an option. Unfortunately when touring, your carbon footprint soars with the miles travelled, electricity used to power the venue and entire production, fans getting to and from the gig – the list goes on.
The question is, then, how can an internationally touring artist without a hefty budget realistically make a living and make a change?
“You could say let’s get a Tesla big rig and change the trailer into a tour bus so then all the gear can go in there but then that’s charging it on coal and gas power. I can’t change the fact that the lights for instance are being powered by coal but I can have control over some things, like there’s no plastic bottles on this tour at all, we’re giving everyone on our crew reusable bottles and they’ll refill it from the tap.”
“All the shipping materials, the sleeve of the vinyl and CD cases are recycled card. All the clothing we sell is made from organic and sustainably sourced material. Every piece of clothing has a mandatory $1 donation towards the manufacturing and transport and then we are matching that. By the end of the tour, we should have enough money donated.”
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“We’re working with companies who can place the money in certain non-profits and eco organisations to make this tour, including everyone getting to the shows and not just ourselves getting to the shows, more carbon neutral. I want to publish a report on this tour and album release comparing it to the last one, showing how within a system that hasn’t changed much, with the choices we make, how much can we make an impact on the world. Then be like look, we have reduced the carbon footprint on this campaign and we didn’t have to invent a new vinyl pressing machine or anything like that, we just made choices.”
“Even if it’s only reducing it by 10%, this is a change you can make without having to change the systems that are in place because I don’t have the power to do that.”
The task may seem a daunting one, but he refuses to be discouraged from merging his passion for music and desire for a better future. His aspiration to achieve a tour that is as carbon neutral as possible, budget permitting of course, is certainly admirable and the changes he has been implementing are impressive. The initiative to conduct a report and publish it for the world to see is undoubtedly a ballsy move from the young artist, which could ruffle some feathers of the powers that be.
But when you’re just one guy trying to make an impact, no matter how big or small, what else can you do except take the lead and hope that the rest will follow?
“I was talking to someone at my label in an artist meeting and they were like this is what we’re doing for the environment and the other artist was like “we don’t care” – they literally said “Fuck the environment” actually. I don’t feel disheartened by it but I feel pessimistic about it. I’m trying my best. Hopefully when we publish the report, where we put down on paper that this is the difference you can make, and outline the choices you can make and the people we worked with if you want to hit them up and work with them.”
“It’s not going to ruin your career, you’re not going to go bankrupt doing it. So that’s the dream, to put it in black and white and hopefully people will follow suit.”
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'no future' is out now.
Words: Yasmin Cowan
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