Emilie McGlone is a very busy lady indeed. The Tokyo based twenty something spends her days as an International Co-ordinator for Peace Boat, a Japan based international non-governmental and non-profit organisation that works to promote peace, human rights, sustainable development and respect for the environment. As if that’s not enough, she also runs her own production group, Parties 4 Peace.
Emilie was born in California, moved to North Carolina, learned Spanish volunteering in Mexico, then after attending University in Chile made the move to Japan. That was seven years ago, and in that time she has put on literally hundreds of events under the Parties 4 Peace banner, not only providing a good night or weekend away for hundreds of Tokyonites but in turn raising awareness and precious dollars for dozens of causes from Africa to South America. Last year P4P was behind bringing New Zealand’s own Rhombus to the land of the rising sun. This year Chilean DJ Francisco Allendes visited Japan for the first time. All thanks to Parties 4 Peace, and all in aid of saving Patagonia from greedy developers. Sideroom.com recently caught up with Emilie for a chat about politics, peace and Tokyo parties.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND P4P?
Parties for Peace was founded in 2002 to raise awareness about important issues while fundraising for peace projects around the world. I thought it was a great way to bring together producers, artists and activists in one place and promote peace through music and dance.
DO YOU FOCUS ON ONE PARTICULAR CAUSE?
We focus on various causes each year, depending on the necessity and current socio-political situation in the world.
THERE ARE A LOT OF CAUSES IN THE WORLD IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE RIGHT, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHERE THE PROFITS FROM P4P WILL GO?
For example, when there was a crisis in Kenya two years ago, we reacted with a fundraiser for a non-violent peace force in Kenya to hold locally organised workshops in their communities. These initiatives are important, but they often require funds that the local organisations are unable to provide in time. We offer the funding for these projects through our parties and also aim to raise awareness about these issues at our events.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CAUSE IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW AND WHY?
Recently I am focusing most of our fundraising on the Patagonia Project, which involves an artist exchange between Chilean and Japanese producers and DJs, while fundraising to support local NGOs in their mission to make Patagonia a World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO. Climate change and damage from multi-national corporations with no regard for environmental protection is leaving the nature in Patagonia at a high-risk of being destroyed forever. For a person who loves the outdoors, I think it is important to act now and take immediate action towards preserving the nature in South America.
IS THERE A NEED FOR MORE PRODUCTIONS SUCH AS YOURS IN TOKYO? AND FOR THAT MATTER GREATER WESTERN WORLD?
I think that Parties for Peace is still a new idea, but I have found that people really appreciate the effort and it has become more popular in Tokyo during the past two years. Various artists in Japan have played our events for free, and we have been lucky enough to have important live acts from the UK, such as Thabani last year and also Rhombus from New Zealand, who came to Japan for their first Asian tour, organised by Parties 4 Peace. I think the Parties 4 Peace idea is also catching on, as other friends of mine, such as Dave Twomey from England, has been organizing parties called HELP! which are fundraising events for other organisations.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON THE CONSERVATION MOVEMENT IN JAPAN? DO YOU THINK JAPANESE PEOPLE ARE VERY CONSCIOUS OF GLOBAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS?
After organising a bike ride for sustainability as the National Co-ordinator for the Bicycle for Everyone’s Earth (BEE) team in 2004, I travelled the length of Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa, holding environmental events in various cities throughout the island country. I learned that many Japanese people are truly interested in environmental issues and want to make a difference to create a healthier environment for future generations. However, I think that over-consumption is a huge problem, not only in Japan but in the United States, Canada and other countries around the world. The amount of natural resources used to meet the demand for the amount of consumption in many countries is not enough. We need to focus on living more sustainable lives and using less resources as a whole.
BEING ‘CONSCIOUS’ AND ‘ECO-FRIENDLY’ SEEMS TO BE BECOMING VOGUE AND MAINSTREAM AGAIN. DO YOU THINK WE COULD HAVE A REPEAT OF THE 1960s OR DO YOU THINK IT’S SOMETHING DIFFERENT? SUPERFICIAL?
Being ‘eco-friendly’ is definitely becoming a catch phrase. Companies like Shell (Oil) are abusing the term by saying that they are eco-friendly, when in reality they have oil spills in India and various other countries around the world where they have done nothing to clean up their mess or take care of the local communities who have been affected by contaminated drinking water, etc… I don’t consider their energy related eco-friendly practices to be legitimate. However, I do think it is a step in the right direction to support eco-friendly activities and companies who have socially responsible projects. The number of people who are paying attention to the eco side of business is increasing, however I do think we should all make a more concentrated effort to create a sustainable world by making the small steps in our own lives to be more eco-friendly. To keep this trend from becoming superficial, I also think we should encourage companies to make a positive difference on a global scale and publicly report their environmental practices.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR A GOOD PARTY?
Good music + Good people + Positive action.
WHAT’S A GOOD NIGHT OUT IN TOKYO FOR YOU?
Going out in Tokyo is one of the best parts about living in a huge and diverse city. A good night out for me usually includes a nice meal with friends, drinks and great music. There are so many talented artists in Tokyo that often it is hard to choose one event to attend, but the diversity of the city keeps me moving and continually networking with people who are also doing great projects involving top artists from around the world. Mostly, I enjoy the social aspect of going out – meeting new people and hanging out with good friends.
HOW CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT WHAT YOU DO?
The best way to support Parties 4 Peace is to attend our events! We are always looking for people who are interested in volunteering, doing publicity or performing as an artist (visuals / music / live art etc) so we welcome all kinds of people to get involved. We also have some great sponsors who support what we do, and we are always happy to meet new people who are interested to offer their goods or services to support our projects.
ANY WORDS OF WISDOM OR ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE ME?
Parties 4 Peace was started on one simple idea – “Be the Change you want to see in the World!” Ghandi
UPCOMING PARTIES 4 PEACE EVENTS
JANUARY 22 – 24 ALPINE TECH FEST
@ the Alpine Lodge in Minakami
JANUARY 29 (FRI) P4P presents “FLY”
@ Favela in Aoyama
FEBRUARY 25 – MARCH 08 PATAGONICA TOUR
Chile and Argentina, South America
with DJ Ryo Tsutsui from Tokyo, Japan
Find out more about Parties 4 Peace here.