‘Spark Mag’ — New Platform For Progressive Artists, Campaigns
Grassroots activist group Demand Progress has partnered with Providence-based band Downtown Boys to launch a new national arts website called Spark Mag. The site features artists from all genres who are promoting a progressive message through their music or influence. Demand Progress hopes Spark Mag will connect artists and fans with the organizing campaigns they’ve been working on for years, and connect their existing membership with important new music. Too often political artists are disparaged or simply unnoticed by the mainstream music press; Spark Mag seeks to remedy this situation by specifically celebrating these musicians.
The site will be posting weekly interviews, profiles, and tracks for streaming and download. Many of the pieces will be written by artists themselves, allowing musicians to speak directly about music and politics.
The site already features new articles and interviews with nationally known artists like Algiers, Speedy Ortiz, Abdu Ali, MC Xuxu, DJ Haram, and many more. Contributors include prominent writers such as Jes Skolnik, Liz Pelly, Patrick Garcia and Victoria Ruiz who have also written for sites like Pitchfork, Impose, Fvck The Media, and Wondering Sound.
Demand Progress — co-founded by the late activist Aaron Swartz and former RI state representative (and Providence Daily Dose co-founder) David Segal — is the lead organization behind the site.
“So much of the activist word gets divided from the cultural sphere,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal, “and many artists should be more directly connected to organizing campaigns. We wanted to launch this site first and foremost to promote music that we’re excited about, but also to bring these two sides together.”
The site is being edited by Joey La Neve DeFrancesco and Victoria Ruiz of the political punk group Downtown Boys. “It’s hard to be taken seriously by the mainstream press when you have any type of explicitly political message” said Ruiz, “so we’re excited to have this platform where artists can get out something meaningful, where we can begin to confront what is going in the world we play music in.”