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MUSIC FOR TREES
WITH PROJECT INDIGO

music artist

Picture from Project Indigo

A TALK WITH THE FOUNDERS OF PROJECT INDIGO, THE ZURICH BASED ELECTRONIC MUSIC LABEL SUPPORTING THE MOVEMENT FOR RAINFOREST CONSERVATION.

Words By Lina Prencipe

Project Indigo was founded in Zurich in 2017 by three life-long friends Fynn, Karl and James. Initially, it started as a means to discover and promote upcoming artists by premiering label releases. Since then, it has transitioned into its own label and DJ collective, with multiple digital releases, a monthly podcast series and events curated across Europe. Project Indigo has a focus on sustainability and donates earnings from releases and events to charities such as Stand for Trees.

“Ultimately, we aim to discover and collaborate with talented artists from a multitude of creative backgrounds, including music and visual arts. While doing so, we are committed to aiding the conservation of forests.”

All members are strongly influenced by the underground music scene in Zurich and Berlin, which inspired them to start DJing. Karl and James subsequently progressed to producing and releasing their own music under their aliases Karl Primo / and boaksi. The label has furthermore hosted events in Milan, London and Zurich, most recently on the 4th of July at Sender Club in Zurich.

“We aim to discover and collaborate with talented artists from a multitude of creative backgrounds, including music and visual arts.”

What are your main musical inspirations?

Our biggest sources of inspiration for Project Indigo come from artists such as Dwig, Seb Wildblood, Youandewan, Leafar Legov and Project Pablo, and labels such as Giegling, Church, Listen Closely and Casa Voyager.

How did Project Indigos mission to support the conservation of forests originate?

At university, each of us studied economics and business in which we took courses out of interest relating to sustainability, such as climate change economics. Throughout these courses, we learnt about the key role of economic activities as a driver for climate change and how climate change is largely an economic issue. Carbon emissions continue to be a hidden externality for most businesses despite increased marketing for sustainable methods, otherwise known as “greenwashing”. It is therefore imperative to raise more awareness for sustainable causes and to find accurate ways of measuring one’s positive impact on the environment. We were hence enthusiastic to discover UN certified REDD+ credits, which serve as a financial incentive for communities within rainforest nations to conserve trees.

project indigo

@projindigo

Could you explain more about REDD+ credits and why they are relevant for you?

RRU’s (REDD+ Result Units) are measured in tonnes of carbon, which allows rainforest nations to transparently quantify the resulting amount of carbon saved. RRU’s generated by rainforest nations, either by stopping deforestation or the absorption through protected forests, can be purchased by the private and public sectors to meet emission targets under the UN Paris Agreement. REDD+ result units are actively tracked to ensure they are permanently traceable which permits countries, companies and individuals to effectively dedicate financial means to the conservation of rainforests. Whilst working on our first ‘various artist’ release (a compilation album) in 2018, we wanted to find a way to integrate this into our labels narrative and to leave an impact beyond our music. Charities like Stand for Trees, which facilitate the transaction of REDD+ credits, provided the perfect opportunity and we have since pledged to donate proceeds to purchase these credits from events and music releases.

What climate change-related facts and figures shock you the most?

According to the CfRN, emissions resulting from destroyed forests are higher than those from cars, trucks, ships and planes combined. Greenpeace specifies that aiding reforestation and forest conservation efforts remains the fastest and most cost-effective climate solution. Friends of the Earth state that some of the largest sources of direct human emissions occur due to inefficient insulation and meat consumption.

sunset

Picture from Project Indigo

What was your impact till now and are artists happy to contribute to this cause?

To date, Project Indigo has contributed to forest conservation by offsetting over 80 tonnes of CO2, by donating proceeds earned from music and events.

Most of the artists we have worked with are happy to donate 100% of their proceeds to our cause. Before we release music we usually ask them what percentage of their stream revenues they are willing to donate, and so far the vast majority decided to devote their entire share to the cause. The same applies to events and podcasts.

What is your experience in the music business and what pushes you forward?

As a small label, earning money through music releases is relatively difficult as streaming yields minimal returns. Although streaming has commoditised the monetisation of music, platforms like Bandcamp are of more value to smaller labels and musicians, as fans are able to directly support their ideas by purchasing individual tracks or full-length albums. The most optimal method of raising money for our cause is nonetheless through events.

Nowadays, anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can become a musician or create a label. Music can reach millions of listeners at almost no cost, and this has fostered a huge wave of new talent to enter the music scene. We are excited to capture more of this upcoming talent in the future and spread our mission while growing to reach a broader audience.

disc jockey

Picture from Project Indigo

“To date, Project Indigo has contributed to forest conservation by offsetting over 40 tonnes of CO2, by donating proceed earned from music and events.”

What can we expect from Project Indigo in the future? 

We would love for Project Indigo to grow a community or “family” through our music and events, building a bridge between the music we love and the planet we care about. In the near future, we are looking to host further events and are hoping to release music on a physical medium such as vinyl.

Unfortunately, the negative environmental impacts of vinyl production are high, especially upon considering the slow decomposition rate of PVC and the variety of pollutants discharged throughout the manufacturing process. We are therefore continuously searching for the most eco-friendly alternative for this matter. So far, we have considered using a manufacturer such as DeepGrooves, which uses green energy, operates in a circular factory, and recycles when possible. However, the vinyl product itself is still highly toxic and damaging to the environment. For this reason, we plan to stick to digital releases but hope to find an environmentally-friendly way to go analogue.

We love working on this as a passion project and are not necessarily looking for large profits from our music and events. Looking ahead, we have ambitions to keep growing in order to access more talent and have more freedom to curate unique experiences and increase the amount we donate to the cause.

Find out more at soundcloud.com/projindigo or contact them at indigoexclusives@gmail.com