Trevor Hosterman, CO Regional Organizer for the AMPLIFY Project, recently sat down with Elliott Vaughn of The Malah before their blowout show at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, CO to end their hugely successful 10th anniversary “ILLUMIN8 Tour”.
They discussed why the live music community needs to speak out against the failed “War on Drugs”, what more could be done to keep concert goer’s safe & informed plus much more. Our partnered photographer Preston Murray of Thank Me Next Time was in attendance as well to take some shots before the show and during of their brand new 3D Projection Mapped Stage, check out the few included in the interview & when done reading find the full album here:
TH: Why do you think the “Drug War” has failed our society, particularly students & youth?
EV: It seems the “Drug War” has been misdirected. Non-violent drug offenders should not be incarcerated in federal prisons, there should be more rehabilitation and community service programs in place instead. In a country where alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are almost literally shoved down our throats, there should be more educated decisions made in our drug law policies. There should be more research and development allowed on the medical and therapeutic benefits of certain drugs that are currently illegal.
TH: Why do you think it is important for musicians and those involved in the live music community to speak out?
EV: It is important for the music community to address these issues because it will only benefit the future and longevity of the scene. The music and arts scene promotes freedom of the spirit, mind, and lifestyle, which is an important role in our society today. We do not want to see the scene become discredited or looked down upon because of drug abuse. People need to be aware and educated about what they are putting in their bodies, and in return act responsibly.
TH: Why do you think it is important for youth activism in the political process?
EV: Youth activism is important in the political process because it can be the start of change. We are all aware by now that new ideas in our political process take time to actually become effective, so the sooner that people get involved in political issues, the sooner they will be able to see a change in these issues.
TH: How do you think live music & the community around it can get people involved with activism & the political process?
EV: The live music community is a great place for people to share ideas and connect with like minded groups. Organizations like HeadCount have been making a big impact in the live music community and getting people involved in the political process.
TH: You guys are rounding out your “ILLUMIN8 Tour” here in Colorado, how do you feel about the passing of Amendment 64 and what it means for the future of the state and the future of marijuana reform nationally?
EV: We feel it is an important step for the nation as a whole and are very proud of Colorado for passing Amendment 64. It is time to make more educated decisions in our nation’s drug policies and hopefully more states will soon follow. One of the many benefits of Amendment 64 is that the first 40 million dollars in tax revenue will be put into the public education system. This is a great example of how drug law reform can have a positive impact on our society.
TH: Why did you all join the AMPLIFY Project & partner with Students for Sensible Drug Policy?
EV: We felt this was a great partnership to help bring awareness to the live music community and share some positive info with our fans.
TH: We couldn’t be more grateful to have you guys as part of the AMPLIFY Project! What is it you’re looking forward to working on with us in the future?
EV: We look forward to continuing this partnership and working on ideas to help further promote this cause!
TH: Do you feel more could and should be done to protect concert goer’s safety at shows/festivals? Such as supplying free water, setting up “Cool Down” booths, performing purity tests of substances on-site and distributing factual drug information?
EV: Yes, I feel this is an issue that should be addressed by the artists, as well as the venues, clubs, and festivals that hold these events. Again, because it will only benefit the future and longevity of the scene. Free water at festivals/shows would be great to see happening more often. I’ve read Bassnectar tries to do this when possible and hats off to him for making the effort. Distributing factual drug information (including alcohol, tobacco, and prescription substances) is great as well, because education and information is key. I also think that some good slogan campaigns could be effective, similar to the Drink Responsibly slogan adopted by some of the alcohol providers.
TH: How did The Malah come together?
EV: Me and Brandon studied Jazz together at the Fine Arts Center of Greeneville, SC during our High School years. We began jamming with Seth not too long after that and have now been playing together as The Malah for 10 years.
TH: What makes the “ILLUMIN8 Tour” special for you all and what have been your highlights so far?
EV: The “ILLUMIN8 Tour” debuted our new 3D Projection Mapped Stage, created and designed by the band and our sound/light tech Chris Mohsseni. This has been a fun project to give our show more depth on the visual and lighting side. Musically we have been combining a lot of old classics with new favorites from our latest album Light Forms to create some really fun and intricate sets.
TH: I noticed you guys announced you’re playing this years PhibStock, do you have anything else in the works for this summer?
EV: Yea we are stoked for Phibstock! Sounds like a great time with the Colorado Family and all the amazing home court talent that resides here! We are very excited to be returning to Purple Hatters Ball at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park May 10-12! This is one of our favorite events of the summer and is in support of the Rachel Morningstar foundation… learn more about it at http://purplehattersball.com
All of us here at the AMPLIFY Project can’t thank Elliott, Brandon & Seth enough for joining up with us and helping to promote our cause! We are happy to be the first to announce we will be joining them again as they pick up their “ILLUMINA8 Tour” again later this Spring. Check out the new tour dates below & also make sure to watch the just released HD video of The Malah performing “Soundtrack of Dreams” from the Bluebird Theater show!
May 2 : Ft. Collins CO : Aggie Theatre*
May 3 : Denver CO : Bluebird Theater*
May 8 : Birmingham AL : Zydeco
May 9 : Atlanta GA : Asylum
May 10 : Live Oak FL : Purple Hatters Ball
May 11 : Marietta, GA : GetDown PumpkinTown
May 14 : Wilmington NC : Soapbox
May 15 : Asheville NC : Asheville Music Hall
May 16 : Charleston SC : Pour House
May 18 : Gulf Shores AL : Outer Hang