From Western Australia comes the fantastic Formidable Vegetable Sound System. This collective uses ukuleles, horns and the idea of permaculture to funk some awareness into all of our lives. Halldór threw a few questions at Charlie Mgee, one member of the collective and we at Shouts thank Charlie kindly for participating in this project.
First off, for those not familiar with your project, who is Formidable Vegetable Sound System, and what is your mission?
Formidable Vegetable Sound System is an experiment in eco-swing-funk with mashups of ukulele, horns, violin and electro-beets solely aimed at pounding simple solutions for sustainability deep into your consciousness! Our mission is to make the world realise that ‘Permaculture’ has nothing to do with curling your hair.
In this world filled with apathy and senselessness do you feel alone making the music you make? Or is there a scene out there of like minded artists?
I think there are a lot of artists who are expressing ecological ideas through their music. Maybe we are just more blatantly obvious about it and don’t use as many metaphors. I often feel alone in this crazy world, but I think that’s just a natural byproduct of being a fringe-dweller at heart and not necessarily a reflection of reality!
How important is it for artists of all disciplines to use their voices to raise awareness? Do you think it makes an impact, especially coming from underground groups (as it so often does)?
Artists (especially famous ones) have some of the most powerful voices in the world, which ought to be used more for raising awareness about important issues and educating people. It’s a shame that there’s such a corporate industry surrounding music, as it is mostly geared toward making as much money as possible, instead of what I believe is the real purpose of music, which is creating change.
Do you have other projects or work relating to bettering the world besides the music?
After 5 years of galavanting around the world, I’m finally back in my yard growing a garden again, which makes me very happy. I’m also currently trying to build a tiny home out of recycled materials on an old fire truck that runs on vegetable oil, which ticks a lot of my boxes!
What’s on the horizon for Formidable Vegetable Sound System?
I’ve become more and more excited about writing songs for children and have even taken 2 years off to study education with the aim of doing more of it. Hopefully this gives me inspiration to write more educational music that can be used as a teaching tool for young people to learn about sustainable living in an uncertain future.