Exclusive: Knowa Knowone Talks Critical Beats/His New Release and Saving the Amazon

Ladies and Gentlemen, Street Ritual and Critical Beats have teamed up to start a four part release campaign to raise money and donations to benefit the Amazon Rainforest. The campaign releases 2-4 tracks at a time over the course of both Spring and Summer of 2011. Proceeds from the tracks will be going to RAN (Rainforest Action Network), with a goal of providing significant funds for Rainforest Preservation in the Amazon. All the heavy-hitters from Street Ritual, Critical Beats and the Do Lab will be creating hype for each track, with a goal of raising significant funds for rainforest preservation. With that said, the campaign has started out massively, with its first release being Knowa Knowone‘s new track, Amazon Secrets.

Then man behind Amazon Secrets, Knowa Knowone was nice enough to chat with me  briefly about both this unique campaign and his new track.
Here’s how it all played out…

GDD: First off, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us about both your music and this amazing project that you have taken part in.

Knowa Knowone: No problem, thank you!

GDD: What do you hope to accomplish with this release campaign?

Knowa Knowone: I have two personal goals for partnering with Critical Beats. First, I want to help CB raise funds for Amazon Rainforest preservation, which may be the most important step we can take right now to avoid a global climate crisis. Second, this music facilitates a cultural meeting point, a window into our shared human experience that can foster deep emotional connections between cultures. The samples I used in Amazon Secrets were gifted by Shipibo villagers from northern Peru, who have been signing their traditional healing songs for centuries. As an artist, it amazing, having a musical dialogue that spans 100o’s of miles and 1000’s years. I think this project is ideal and crucial for our communities to inspire creativity and collaboration in myself and in others all over the world to use music and art to work towards positive change.

Regarding the funds we’re raising here’s how it works: Critical Beats works closely with well-established non-profits like Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research who have proven track records supporting Amazon conservation effectively and efficiently. Because CB is 100% volunteer run they’re able to channel all proceeds from music sales directly to these non-profits who specialize in social and environmental justice for the Amazon. RAN, for example, used thousands raised from last year’s Lucent L’amour celebration, produced by the Do Lab, to fund their protect an acre program. The money went directly to fund the Achual Sustainable Harvest Project. This permaculture project
in the in Peruvian Amazon will produce tropical fruits with maximum biodiversity, provide income security, result in the reforestation of depleted areas, and help secure native status recognition of 4,000 acres of rainforest territory.

GDD: Why the Amazon in particular?

Knowa Knowone: I’m particularly drawn to the Amazon and the indigenous peoples there for several reasons. The first is the ecological crisis and the possibility for positive change there.
Over 57% of the world’s rainforests, the lungs of the planet have been destroyed. Scientists estimate that at current deforestation rates 90% of rainforest ecosystems will collapse in the next 10 years, and in 40 years there may be no rainforests left. Deforestation is also the leading cause of global warming and loss of the Amazon could end life on the planet as we know it. Even if such a catastrophe is avoided, current deforestation is putting thousands of species of animals and plants at risk – 137 species are lost daily. Additionally, indigenous tribes who have existed in the Amazon for millennia are being uprooted and forced from their homes, and their ancient and priceless wisdom of the plants and medicines are being lost. I believe that the people living in the rainforest are our greatest hope of preserving the forest, and that preserving and encouraging their culture and communities is essential, and an integral part of this project. As an artist i’m inspired and influenced by their art, music and traditions.

GDD: The idea of weaving indigenous South American songs into a EDM track is truly unique, how did you guys come up with this plan?

Knowa Knowone: I’ve always been influenced and interested in cultural fusion in my music, and committed to positive change through my art. Critical Beats approached me awhile back with a library of recordings they had gathered from indigenous musicians in the Amazon. They basically went to the Amazon with a hand held recording device and took time to get to know the indigenous people and share their vision. The people there were extremely supportive and wanted to do all they could to inspire more people to care for the Amazon as they do. All the music is gifted, the indigenous tracks, my work, its all given for the benefit of the forests, so all the proceeds can go directly to preserving the rainforests.

GDD: Amazon Secrets is a gem! It’s truly unique, what specifically inspired you to create this track and how did you go about doing it?

Knowa Knowone: I wanted to create something that reflected the balance between worlds. I created a track that was at the same time melodic, soothing and tranquil, using the singing of the children that Critical Beats recorded, and also with a depth, driving and heaviness that speaks to the critical situation we find ourselves in. I play and program all my own drums, melodies, bass etc, and worked a simple rhythm and interplay with the bass around the Amazonian singers. The dub reggae type melody just painted itself into the track and brought the ending section in to a nice introspective space.

GDD: Most producers grow and learn from each track that they produce, what specifically have you taken from creating this track? How will it help you build in terms of future production?

Knowa Knowone: My music is always a personal process of growth and learning. You can really get a feel for this if you listen through my older material up to the present, and its not something a lot of people appreciate from
an electronic dance music producer but I feel like its part of my responsibility as a real artist to share this process. Through making this song and working with Critical Beats I’ve gotten a much deeper feel for the music and people of the Amazon and how to communicate an harmonize their music with ours, which is a great blessing. I’m looking forward to making more collaborations with Amazonian artists, and bringing some of the techniques we’ve been developing here in California to them. I’m hoping to go down to do some teaching and actual recording and remixing there in Peru, as well as bringing some artists from the Amazon to tour and talk here in the US, via Critical Beats.

GDD: What can listeners look out for in terms of Critical Beats releases in the future?

Knowa Knowone: We’ve got a series of releases in the works, this is just the start! Critical Beats has worked with some incredible artists DJ Spooky, Govinda, Bluetech and there is much more music on the way. Critical Beats has also teamed up with my art collective Street Ritual, which is focused on sacred urban music and art, and we’ll be producing and releasing some amazing stuff in 2011. Definitely stay tuned.

GDD: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us, good luck with the rest of the campaign!

Knowa Knowone: Thank you for asking great questions! And thanks for supporting this critical cause!


Check out the stream only version of this critical track!

Knowa Knowone – Amazon Secrets by GDD-Tre

Grab Knowa’s track here and make a donation!

Click here to grab Amazon Secrets




One Response to Exclusive: Knowa Knowone Talks Critical Beats/His New Release and Saving the Amazon

  1. Jeremy says:

    Big Thanks for supporting the cause!!!

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