We talked to Moroney about the little ways he and the band contribute to the Earth, Muzak, and what's next for the beloved Phoenix rockers.
Up On the Sun: First of all, how long have you been working with Earth911?
Moroney: I've been a part of the research team at Earth911.com since December of 2010, so about a year and a half.
What made you want to work there?
After I graduated from ASU, I was making the rounds looking for that elusive first post-grad job. I responded to the ad because I have an academic focus in social/cultural human behavior as well as in interdisciplinary research, and I've always been a conscious consumer, so all of this added up to what seemed like a great use of my skill set. In addition, Earth911 is a young, progressive company, and I had no difficulties seeing myself fitting in well with that kind of team.
What does your job entail?
I am part of the research team at Earth911 that focuses on recycling programs and facilities, hazardous waste collections, and recycling events held all around the U.S. and Canada. We research all municipal, commercial, and independent material collections in an effort to confirm details pertaining to the respective programs, and then create listings that appear in the database on Earth911.com and our iRecycle app for iPhone and Android. In a nutshell, I research and create the listings that you see when you use the recycling search on Earth911.com or iRecycle. Earth911's main concern is product and material end-of-life solutions -- how to dispose of something in the most safe and environmentally responsible way.
What sort of things do you do, personally, to contribute to the environment from day-to-day?
I am a part of the office Green Team at Earth911, so I am helping our office to become zero-waste or as close as we can feasibly get. This includes all supplies we use, collection of various different materials in the office for recycling and even a compost bin in our office kitchen! I also aid in recycling and composting efforts at home and use my bicycle for transportation as much as possible. I'm looking to get into a sustainable car situation, but it's quite costly at the present time, so that's to come for me down the road, I'm sure.
Would you consider the other guys in What Laura Says environmental activists of sorts?
Most definitely! James and Jacob are active farmers and, thus, composters. We are all conscious consumers and a bit "granola" in our lifestyles in general -- healthy, responsible, helpful, informed people. If you can't tell, I like us.
Every once in awhile, when I'm walking through Fry's, I hear What Laura Says reminding me to ride the bus. What prompted you guys to get involved with Valley Metro, and what has the response been like from fans? Have you officially converted anyone into being bus riders that you know of?
Yes! We each get so much feedback on a regular basis, even almost two-and-a-half years after the Valley Metro NOTES campaign started. Friends and fans thank us for the informativeness of the jingles, as well as the welcome break in supermarket Muzak. So, in that way, I imagine we are making an impact. In 2009, we decided to submit music for the project mostly because we saw public transit as being a very easy, sustainable, and conscientious way for Valley residents to contribute to the overall quality of the environment here in Phoenix -- a great message we could get behind. At the same time, we were just warming up to the idea of creating some hip commercial music as well, so this opportunity just came about at the ideal juncture. I really enjoy the approach Valley Metro has taken to get their message out to citizens; incorporating the music community in public service is as progressive as it gets around these parts. [Laughs]
Have environmental themes slipped their way into What Laura Says' music? Any "green" lyrics that maybe I haven't caught?
Not so much in lyrics, but the music that we create as a band is very much influenced by the overall environment here - by the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert, the feeling of extreme urban sprawl, and the juxtaposition of the two. We as people are effected, and thus our art is created with affection.
What would you say to the person who's reading this, who is a What Laura Says fan, but isn't quite environmentally friendly? As in, they don't recycle, bike, etc.
I'd simply suggest they look around them and at the very least get involved in the conversation, as it all starts with informative dialogue. I would definitely direct them to Earth911.com for this reason. From there, and assuming this person has now come to the realization that the time for action is upon us, I would probably ask them to look at their lifestyle and think about ways they could start making small changes that make sense in their day-to-day. It's all about people being able to relate the situation so it makes sense in their lives, and perhaps helping them see how we personally can make such a huge impact on the quality of the environment with only slight compromises which are healthy for us anyway. People don't usually like to be told what to do, so I'd try to help them discover the possibilities!
What's next for the band, musically? It's been awhile since Bloom Cheek. Any plans for a new LP anytime soon?
It has been. We did put out an EP called TALK last year, both digitally and on recycled vinyl. No more CD's for us! We've been working hard for a handful of months, and are almost finished with our next full-length record. It's sounding so amazing, and I'm very excited! Hoping we'll have that out by the fall. What Laura Says will also be featured on a wonderful compilation that a local record label, The Color Group, is putting out this year called Far Brighter Day. In the meantime, we are just playing fun shows around Arizona and regionally, and having fun being a functioning part of the amazing music community here in Phoenix.
Full disclosure: Christina Caldwell also writes for Earth911.com.
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