Barnaby Weir is no stranger to the New Zealand music scene: lead singer of The Black Seeds, band leader for Fly My Pretties and now working on his solo career, Barnaby knows a thing or two about using his platform to make the world a better place. A long-time Collective supporter, Barnaby gives us some tips about how a little ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
What’s happening in your world this summer? I just finished performing and recording with Fly My Pretties and we are taking the new String Theory show around the country over Jan and Feb, so I’m looking forward to that. Also The Black Seeds are working on a new album with some summer shows around and about. Aside from that, I just wanna get my cream and swim on!
What’s the most insanely generous thing a fan has ever done for you? I’ve had many generous gestures from fans including homemade jams and original paintings gifted. But really the best gifts are the stories about important times in people’s lives where they had our music as the meaningful soundtracks to their special and key moments.
Knowing that we are somehow embedded in these people’s lives is inspiring and it encourages me to keep doing what I am doing. So when someone takes the time to write to me and tell me their story, I really appreciate it.
How important do you think it is for people who have a platform like yours to spread messages about creating positive change in the world? I think that it is essential to operate not in isolation, but with a sense of community, knowing that people are listening to what we have to say.
A message in isolation without action towards the goal or without showing solidarity is a waste. If you’re not getting involved when you can, it’s not a sincere philosophy. I think that if you have an audience you should try to show in your actions that you can make a difference and lead by example. Sometimes that means sticking your head out and representing a cause you believe in, in a public way. It’s always worth it. It’s true that actions speak louder than words a lot of the time.
Can you tell us a couple of other musicians whose impact on the world inspires you? Warren Maxwell is a great example of a musician who actually cares about our collective communities. Not only are his songs inspiring, when he speaks about issues that he thinks are important, he speaks from the heart and is never patronising to the audience. I respect that a lot.
James Coyle from the Nudge is another Nugetty soul who is very conscious of the issues affecting our communities. He gets involved in a lot of cool projects including the Newtown Festival, elevating young artists and adding value to the scene in Wellington. People like James Meharry and Karen from RDU also show their commitment to the community through RDU in Christchurch; watering, feeding and harvesting great projects in quake city. In my mind, they are total legends.
Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated? Taking the time to acknowledge those who go the extra mile is a simple, but important, thing to do that we often forget. Acknowledging our local heroes might be as easy as an email thanking them for what they do to make your city and our world a better place. Showing gratitude, supporting those who support others, saying, ‘thank you’, out of the blue. Showing that you’re aware of people’s selfless efforts to make this world a better place. Showing that you’re there for them and that you are also human, that you care. This, I think, is an underrated action of love and human solidarity.
Photography by Pat Shepherd
Check out Barnaby’s recent work at www.flymypretties.com