We hear a lot about celebrities and star musician/performers "giving back" to favorite charities or supporting causes, and this is, in fact, quite noble and to be applauded always. But for just a second, I'd like to call attention to the altruism that exists in the world far from any glitz or glamour, this one populated by those who are struggling to make a mark within the wild west that is today's music industry. DIY is alive and well in this corner, and while bands and solo artists are laser focused on their creative endeavors, there are some who have enough left to step outside of themselves to help others.
A prime example is the band Spectral Voices, whose lead singer is Art As Air's own co-producer, Vathaska Cross, along with bandmates Kadin Wisniewski, Anthony Rafferty, Carlos Crowcell and Mauricio Cornejo. We did a band photoshoot in Central Park recently, and I found their story to be familiar, in that they are finishing up their first EP in a studio with money they scraped together communally, and the camaraderie they feel for each other is evident in their music. But what is most special is this; instead of searching out only gigs that will at least pay expenses, they, along with similarly-minded bands, have recently chosen to "play it forward" with a NYC Metal Benefit for the White Helmets organization, taking place at St Vitus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on August 1st.
"When we were approached about performing on the bill by Sam Walters of Driven Mad, 'no' wasn't really an option in any of our minds," said Vathaska Cross. "The date was right, Vitus; of all venues was right, and now the EP and Photo shoot just wrapped up. Us guys are just raring to go with the new energy. Not far off from caged lions, actually haha. What really stuck out though was the exact cause. In Metal, we pretty much “go to church” at the Concerts and let out all of our aggression from atrocities in the world that end up affecting us in whatever way. You hear it lyrically, and you see it on stage and in the pits. But these guys, truly see it before their eyes every day, and risk it all to save direct victims of one of the many cruel horrors reality holds within it. And as such, also reveals the profound contrast of the good and evils of man, in itself. And to support the greater good in that end, this whole gig and it's purpose was perfect for what we're really all about and it's Spectral Voices' focal point and heart, at the moment."
In a world that is constantly played out in reality television, social media and selfies, a bit of down-home grass roots altruism is as refreshing as a spring rain on a dusty plain. Yaaaassss....
Find out more about the band: Spectral Voices
Find out more about the charity: White Helmets