For James Kasper and Mighty Speck Records, community is everything.
It’s a value that starts with the local record label’s name (“we are all mighty specks” reads the label’s website) and it has inspired the label and its artists to release a charity single with proceeds going back to the larger Vancouver Island community.
“We’re trying to do something that’s rewarding and not just about selling music,” says Kasper, the founder and director of Mighty Speck. “The song came out of that general idea of there’s a lot of crappy things in the world sometimes and it’s nice to think in terms of how we can help each other out.”
The charity single — titled “Alive” — was written and co-produced by Kasper and features eight other artists from the label’s roster. The song costs $5 to download and all money procured from the song’s downloads will go directly to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Victoria’s homeless and marginalized population.
“As soon as we started talking to them they were very enthusiastic and loved the idea,” says Kasper. “It doesn’t get anymore grassroots in terms of supporting the community than homelessness. That’s a basic need that we need to fulfill.”
The Victoria community has already begun to take notice and work with Kasper and Mighty Speck. Retired architect and philanthrope Andrew Beckerman is matching donations up to $1000, and local record store Vinyl Envy are hosting a Mighty Speck artist showcase on Mar. 10-11, with partial proceeds from the $10 admission fee going towards the cause.
With the hope of more musical fundraisers in the future, Kasper acknowledges that musicians have an important role to play in advocacy work.
“People look to artists for inspiration,” Kasper says. “Artists [and] musicians are public messengers [that say] ‘this is what’s important. This is what is inspiring’… that’s the message that often artists are conveying.”
All those involved are hoping to have raised $1000 by the end of February, but donations will be accepted for as long as the song is available to download. While Kasper acknowledges that it’s difficult to begin solving a complex problem like homelessness, he and his record label recognize how important is just to begin reaching out to a community.
“If it even makes just a tiny dent in the local homelessness problem then great,” Kasper says. “It just makes every day more rewarding when you’re doing something that’s beyond yourself.”