Saplings Records is a label with a difference and making a difference not just on the music front but on the environmental front.
The Berlin-based label, founded by electronic music producer Fis (Oliver Peryman), will not produce vinyl or cassettes or CDs or USB sticks and it won’t make t-shirts or zines or posters. The label’s physical format is the planting of trees: with each album sale, at least 100 trees will be planted; 10 albums sold creates a forest of 1000 trees.
Oliver Peryman’s decision to set up the label last year was inspired by the need to take action on climate change and habitat loss. Saplings Records will help promote habitat restoration, carbon sequestration and seed diversity. Describing the label, he said: “I guess Saplings is attempting some kind of grounding mechanism, like an earthing rod, a conduit for musical energy to return to the planet. Whatever it is, I just hope this becomes a sustained contribution at the heart of things.”
Assisting the Saplings founder with his mission is Eden Reforestation Projects, a nonprofit organisation that plants millions of trees each year on the behalf of its network of donors. The idea is that by recreating forests, the project will not only help in the struggle against climate change but offer employment, empower communities and restore hope.
The Christchurch-born producer was introduced to conservation from a young age growing up in New Zealand. His brother also runs network of urban farms in Christchurch.
Sapling’s first release, Ngā Parirau o te Kārearea, came out last December. A collaboration between Fis and Rob Thorne, the digital album has funded more than 8,000 trees since it was released.
Oliver Peyrman said: “The backdrop for Saplings is pretty straightforward. Climate change and habitat loss are some of many elephants in the room right now – as if we need further reminders – I’d rather focus on practical and tangible responses that bring us together. So I guess Saplings is attempting some kind of grounding mechanism, like an earthing rod, a conduit for musical energy to return to the planet. Whatever it is, I just hope this becomes a sustained contribution at the heart of things.
“Obviously the more reforestation the better, and the more resilience in our plant communities the better. So if these thoughts resonate, if you can adopt, adapt or improve on it please reach out or just go for it. The partnerships and communities are out there and they’re ready for us. Our music does still sell (kind of…) so even modest uptake from our circles could quite easily mean millions of trees in the long run.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea