Parties 4 Peace was founded back in 2003 to raise awareness about important global issues and fundraise for grassroots organizations. In the last ten years, it has supported efforts towards sustainable development, disaster relief, education, and equality through projects like AIDS education in Ghana, music education in Venezuela, photography workshops in Argentina, environmental awareness in Cambodia, and disaster relief in Japan, Chile, and New York. A-list DJs such as Seth Troxler, Alexi Delano, Jay Haze, No Regular Play, and Thugfucker have volunteered to play at these events, helping to raise money and awareness of these issues and projects. Parties 4 Peace will celebrate its tenth anniversary with a series of parties in several different cities, kicking off in Tokyo on November 1st featuring Jay Haze as well as local talent. Following the party, Jay Haze, Parties 4 Peace, and NGO Peace Boat will take a journey to the areas of Japan most affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, visiting the projects supported by Red Dot Relief. Parties 4 Peace sat down with Jay Haze / Fuckpony to discuss how he initally got involved with the organization, founding Red Dot Relief along with Seth Troxler and Turning Sporks in 2011, why he feels at home in Tokyo, and what he's been working on as an artist and advocate.
How did you first get involved with Parties 4 Peace and their initiative to promote a culture of peace through dance and music? ￼It all started once I really got into organizing independent efforts for different situations in the world - naturally that sort of work gravitated towards others who are also trying to make change. So as I was visiting Tokyo some years back, I met Emilie McGlone and she invited me to see what the Peace Boat is up to. Once I arrived in the headquarters I was so impressed and inspired, that I said to myself I have to figure out a way to work with them. The values they hold are ones that I whole heartedly share- dance music is such a powerful culture with many possibilities for reach of influence, it’s really amazing. Over the years it keeps growing, and with this growth are new ways of getting positive messages out.
You traveled onboard the Peace Boat from Peru, through the Panama Canal and on to Colombia as a guest speaker, please tell us about your experience and what inspired you to join their global voyage. My experience was simply amazing. I always wanted to do work like this, I always dreamed of it- and when Peace Boat helped me make it possible, well what can I say? A dream came true. What inspired me to join the voyage was the fact that this specific voyage addressed many issues close to my heart. I have always been anti nuclear energy and weapons- and of course I am super interested to reach out to communities in the world living differently and learn from them, not only the Japanese culture, but also the cultures of where we visited. The staff at Peace Boat are an inspiring hard working bunch, and I will be forever grateful for this chance, and look forward to a day when I can come back on board!
In March, 2011 there was a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. In response to this, you co-founded the support organization Red Dot Relief, a project in collaboration with Seth Troxler and Isis Salvaterra. Please tell us about the purpose of Red Dot Relief and how it has impacted local communities. Well, the purpose of Red Dot Relief was to use the media and word of mouth to raise awareness about the seriousness of this disaster, to use it as a catalyst for bringing people together and to hopefully bring about change in a time where social media was more of a way to promote yourselves and spread random nonsense. It seemed at the time like people were just waiting for something more to express. We did a nice word of mouth campaign with stickers, t-shirts and events in many places in the world. I think the events that we organized for this initiative were especially significant because we were able to bring people together in large numbers for a truly positive reason, and this was celebrated. So in a sense, the impact it had on local communities was, in my opinion, that people realized there are ways to come together in harmony to raise awareness for situations needing it.
We know you love Tokyo! Please tell us why you are excited to travel to Japan in November and what you hope to do during your time in Asia. Well, Tokyo feels like a third home to me because I have spent lots of time there, and really have come to know the culture and nature. One of my favorite parks in the world is there (Yoyogi Park) and I just have such a special connection with the earth there. When I come to Japan in November I am hoping to reconnect with that feeling, reconnect with the people, and of course raise more awareness to the ongoing struggle for clarity with the current nuclear meltdown and its impact on the state of the world, and the effect it will have on the future.
This year, Parties 4 Peace is celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary - do you have any message for other artists around the world who might like to participate in their events or join the Peace Boat for the MUSIC & ART PEACE ACADEMY (MAPA)? My message to all artists out there is to get involved with something that matters. Art is there to help bring about needed change. The line between design, advertising and art is so blurred these days. Many artists compromise their art for monetary reasons (which is pure corruption), in fact this is probably the biggest problem art faces right now, so to get involved with causes and use your creativity to help raise awareness will not only further your own art but it can change you as a person from the inside. I can only say it did this for me.
Tell us about your current music projects and non-profit adventures. I would just like to add that I am constantly trying to connect with new people, new artists and new technology to help further the message of global peace and respect to the earth and our impact on it. At the moment, I am very focused on Red Dot Relief and of course my mind is racing with ideas for MAPA which is an idea I was close to since the inception. I will continue to show my support for Peace Boat, and all positive initiatives in the world looking to bring about a new consciousness. Finally, we are all tiny parts in this big organism known as earth, and we all have an effect. It is time to start caring more about the bigger picture and less about the individual.