“I was always interested in expressing myself creatively. At first I wanted to write books then, when I was 18, I bought an acoustic guitar and started writing my own songs. I met up with a bass player and we jammed in his parents’ garage. We got together with a drummer and a guitarist and it just went on from there. Magic Dirt was born.
We started out as a typical pub rock band and cut our teeth live. Then one day a representative from Au-Go-Go records who was in the audience came up to us and said, “I love you guys. Let’s sign you up.”
My inspiration comes from a combination of mood and personal experience. For me writing songs is an emotional experience, a reaction to life, a process.
I became a vegetarian when I was 17 or 18. I’d always loved animals and then one day I saw a trailer of lambs and thought, “I wonder where they are going. Are they going to another paddock – or to the abattoir?” I realised then I couldn’t eat them any more and immediately became a vegetarian. In 1998 I read about the plight of cows and calves in the dairy farming industry.
After that I became a vegan. If people found out what was really going on in factory farming many would feel the same as me. It’s hidden away from people, like a horrible secret. Everyone in the band feels strongly about animal cruelty. We wanted to do something for the animals through our music. We had a song Supagloo that was about romantic love but we thought we could transpose that to a love for animals.
We dressed up as four fantastical characters who fought off the evil scientists and rescued the animals from the laboratory. Patty Mark from Animal Liberation agreed to play our chief. We aimed to be entertaining as well as informative. At the end of the clip information came up on the screen directing people to the Choose Cruelty Free website. I love vegan food. My friends and family are very supportive of my lifestyle.
It took my mother a while to adapt but now she cooks vegan meals for me and even goes out looking for new products. I think I have inadvertently converted a lot of my friends and family to a more vegetarian diet. I don’t talk about my veganism much but when I do I try to talk about it in a positive way.
I believe people have the power, the power to choose. It’s like the name Choose Cruelty Free. No matter what we buy, no matter how small the purchase, we can all make waves. Other people notice, companies notice, the positive energy spreads. Never believe anyone who tries to be negative and say you can’t make a difference.