Although global travel has come to basically a complete halt, the downtime has allowed artists to rethink the impact their traveling between gigs has had on the planet, and how they can reduce their carbon footprint. One such artist is house music DJ Alex Kennon. With parts of the world very slowly beginning to open again, we caught up with Alex to discuss his methods for going green.
Sustainability, whilst being eco-friendly and aware of our impact on nature is key. I value how beautiful the world is, we are so lucky to be surrounded by wonderful nature and animals. Over the last few decades, we as a population have moved forward too quickly, advancing without care or consideration for the burden we’re creating. It’s on us to change direction, being more respectful to the wider environment, even starting small with adjustments in our daily routine. Activism like this, even in our everyday life, is what gets corporations and politicians listening, these grassroots movements can often have powerful and positive impacts. As an artist I also feel this responsibility, using my position in the industry and also my platform to encourage change. Everything to create a better world.
How do you manage your carbon footprint on the road?
As a touring DJ, I spend a lot of time on the road, but I’m also very aware of the wider impact that all this traveling has. Therefore, I try to be as responsible as possible in order to be greener. I take with me everywhere a little travel pack that has my own water bottle in as well as a blanket plus some small headphones. This way I don’t need to use anything from the plane which often gets thrown away straight after use. In the hotels there are also things I do such as bringing my own shampoo and soap stuff instead of using those tiny bottles in the bathroom, also avoiding using the air conditioner. Some hotels leave them on all day, not only are they bad for the environment but they’re also very bad for you.
What can you do to make your shows more sustainable?
I am part of BLOND: ISH’s zero waste campaign, I’ve always been very active in voicing the need for the music world to take more responsibility, and now there’s an official movement that makes starting the conversation a lot easier. My rider is eco-friendly, I always request that single-use plastic is avoided as much as possible. Being part of the Bye Bye Plastic initiative means I can also spread awareness; every single show I go to I discuss it with the promoters beforehand. As I do travel all over the world I get to meet lots of people within the industry who I can also introduce to the scheme, one of the best bits about Bye Bye Plastic is they actually have a hotline so they’re available for further advice and guidance.
Outside of work, how are you looking to make your life more sustainable?
My friends always joke that I’m one goat away from living on a farm! We have a small vegetable patch in my back garden which is actually doing really well, I have a lot more time to spend with it now so I’m growing all sorts and then experimenting with them in the kitchen. We’ve also got lots of beautiful fruit trees! My garden can be a bit temperamental though, so we also try and shop locally as much as possible. Minimizing air miles but also supporting local businesses, you’d be surprised at how easy and not even that much more expensive it is to do once you stop going to the big supermarket, plus everything tastes so much better! I’ve also taken my hand to a bit of DIY recently so now we have a sun shower, which saves water and electricity. It’s really great that I’m able to adapt and improve my home in a way that’s sustainable, it’s something I’m really passionate about.
What are brands of products you look to as being sustainable and useful for your work?
When it comes to DJing I like to invest properly so I know my equipment will last. We live in such a throwaway culture that often people end up buying things multiple times in an effort to originally save money. Investing in good quality technology helps my production but also minimizes the impact of my profession on the environment. I’ve always been very into fashion too, which I guess is useful for my work? So, when shopping I try to buy from small designers who are eco-friendly and ethical in their production! One company I love is Pangaia, for every product sold they plant Mangrove tree equating to 1 ton of CO2 stored. 🌏 I also like Hippy Socks who employ homeless people to make these really cool sustainable socks!
How can fans be greener when attending music events?
As a fan, it can sometimes be difficult as when you’re at an event you almost have to follow the rules and work with what you’re provided by the organizers. Which is why I think it’s so important to research events and festivals you’re going to if the ones you like aren’t sustainable then question them and call them out, introduce them to alternatives and start a conversation. Every change has to start with someone. In the meantime, though make sure you respect the land and don’t leave any rubbish, there’s nothing worse than being at a beautiful stage when the sun is coming up to see the field covered in litter. If you’re at a festival then definitely take a refillable bottle, there are so many places to fill them up so you’re saving money and plastic, I’ve even seen fans with their own metal straws at some events. If possible support local parties too, but if you do have to travel for an event look into the most sustainable way to do it or even carpool!
What do you want from events and venues to become more sustainable?
Luckily it seems a lot of events are being more forward-thinking in their organization as well as responsible. The more promoters and DJs we can get involved the better. The ultimate aim would be to get rid of anything that is single-use, so we can collectively reduce our impact as well as being more sustainable in the long run. We are very lucky to have platforms where we can share these views and lead by example, the music industry should use this to create a better world. Without running the risk of sounding too much like a hippy, the point of music is to make others happy and the world a better place, we should be able to do this without creating a burden on the planet.