Looking for a Valentine's Day gift for your progressive, music-loving friends?
You may want to check out Keep It Safe, Keep It Accessible, a compilation of music by Phoenix artists that will be released on Sunday, February 14, by MT Threat Productions. All of the proceeds from the album will benefit the Abortion Fund of Arizona, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to people seeking abortion care.
“The world has been in a place where reproductive rights are hanging on by a thread,” says Dylan Starks, a member of local band Grin Scraped Thin and one of the three friends who comprise MT Threat, an independent record label collective. “Just because we have a new president and a new government that claims they’re aligned with reproductive rights, doesn't mean that funds aren’t badly needed.”
Starks and Sarah Familiar are the co-founders of MT Threat, and Diego Galvan of the band A Better Problem is the third member of the collective. All three artists, who are in their early- to mid-20s, came up together in the local music scene, playing in shows together at downtown venues like The Trunk Space and The Pueblo Revival.
When shows started getting canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, Starks and Familiar created MT Threat as an opportunity not just for themselves, but for other artists in the community.
“The main thing for Dylan and me is that we didn’t know how to get started,” says Familiar. “We didn’t know how to get art for albums or get our pictures taken for artist pages. It was really just about creating a place where we could assist musicians.”
In July 2020, MT Threat raised $150 for Phoenix Allies for Community Health, so Keep It Safe, Keep It Accessible is its second charity fundraiser. The album, which is available digitally and as a CD, contains 17 tracks from local musicians.
Five tracks are currently available for purchase on MT Threat's Bandcamp site for $1 each, and the compact disc can be preordered for $10. (The album cover image was done by local artist Alyssa Morton.)
The compilation is a good way to hear some new acts, as well as donate to charity.
“We actually have quite a few who are releasing their very first song with us, which is really exciting,” Familiar says.
Midna Moonshine and Jar are two such musicians. Moonshine’s acoustic song “Right to Choose” was created for the album, and Jar were working on an EP with MT Threat when they got the offer.
“Sarah came at me with this compilation,” says Kyle Burkhart of Jar. “She was kinda the whole inspiration behind the song because she was blowin’ my mind with the way she can play the ukulele.”
Jar is made up of singer and guitarist Burkhart and EDM producer Chris Park, and their track "Falling to Pieces" includes Burkhart’s sister Emily on vocals. “I’m very, very shy. It is incredibly hard for me to speak how I feel," Burkhart says. "Music is my voice.”
Keep It Safe, Keep It Accessible also offers tunes from established acts, like “Dark Enough to Shine” by Soft Deadlines and “Car on Fire” by Playboy Manbaby.
“I’m always very excited to be on compilations because when I was a kid, I discovered a lot of bands through buying comp CDs,” says Robbie Pfeffer, lead singer of Playboy Manbaby, who was glad to contribute because he supports abortion rights.
“I honestly just see it as a public health issue and a personal choice issue,” says Pfeffer. “All of those rights, you have to fight for. They’re not guaranteed.”