“The Music of Occupy” Protest Issue Article Discusses Music’s Role in the Occupy Movement
Damian Abraham, Erika M. Anderson, Kevin Barnes, Laura Burhenn, Dan Deacon, Tom Morello, and Will Sheff On Music's Role In The Occupy Protests
In our 2012 Protest Issue, which is on newsstands now, there is an article titled "The Music of Occupy" which examines the role of protest music in the Occupy movement that has been going on for the last year. For the article we talked to Fucked Up's Damian Abraham, Erika M. Anderson (aka EMA), of Montreal's Kevin Barnes, The Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn, Dan Deacon, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, and Okkervil River's Will Sheff about their thoughts on the relationship between Occupy and protest music.
Since the 1960s, and even before, social movements have traditionally been accompanied by music that helped define the message of the conflict, but the Occupy era has been remarkably void when it comes to a coherent sound. That's not to say musicians haven't been involved in Occupy, but the movement's protests have been strikingly different from the ones of the Vietnam War era.
The Occupy movement is about achieving social change as a collective democratic entity, and much less about a cohesive message. Musicians have flocked in support of the protests, but the movement has been resistant to a spokesman emerging or one song defining Occupy.
Here are some select quotes from the article.
"Will a new Bob Dylan come out of the Occupy movement?" - of Montreal's Kevin Barnes
"It would be difficult for us to trust anyone who says, 'Yeah, I speak for you.' I'd be like 'You don't fucking speak for me. Who the fuck are you?'" - EMA's Erika M. Anderson
"I think forever artists have let political causes down. That's not just musicians, that's all artists, by being hypocrites." - Fucked Up's Damian Abraham
"I think that our culture is fractured in a way that we've never seen before." - The Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn
"It's easier on the other side; they've got four or five billionaires from the thing, and they steer it, as opposed to this alliance of students and hippies and longshoremen and firefighters and the unemployed-this ragtag 99%." - Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
"The Occupy movement has also changed the national narrative. When in memory has a Republican candidate had their feet held to the fire because they are too rich?" - Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
"I don't see how any social movement that's about equality can also be rooted in division." - Dan Deacon
"Sometimes it feels like you get the artists that you deserve, and I don't feel like this is a very special time." - Okkervil River's Will Sheff
"It feels like there's a triviality blanketing the entire culture right now." - Okkervil River's Will Sheff
"I think that one artist or song coming forward to captivate the [Occupy] movement is 100% unnecessary." - Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
"This is not a movement that is waiting to be graced from above by a hit song or some rock star stepping forward." - Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
"I think it's unlikely that a song called 'We are the 99%' is going to top the Billboard charts." - Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
To read this article you need to pick up a copy of the issue. It is available on newsstands and at record stores and bookstores nationwide and can be purchased directly from us. You can also download the digital version (for iPads, Androids, Macs, PCs) right now.
- 2015 Artist Survey: Ryley Walker (Interview) — Artist Surveys 2015, Ryley Walker
- Watch an OK Go Video for “Upside Down & Inside Out” Actually Filmed in Zero Gravity (News) — OK Go
- Arcade Fire Share Documentary on Their David Bowie Second Line Parade in New Orleans (News) — Arcade Fire, David Bowie, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- Watch: Julia Holter - “Everytime Boots” Video (News) — Julia Holter
- Livin’ on a High Note (Review) — Mavis Staples