This week saw the culmination of years of work with the release of Chris Lawhorn’s Fugazi Edits. The record label owner, DJ, and longtime Fugazi fan created the 22-track instrumental album using more than 100 samples from the Fugazi discography. Not only is the release Fugazi-approved, profits will also be donated to charity. We caught up with Lawhorn to discuss the release and how his vegetarian diet has played a role in his life.
1. What prompted you to go vegetarian? Were there any bands, books, etc., that influenced your decision?
In my late teens, I played drums in a band called Cataract Falls. Our singer had just gone vegetarian, so I was asking him about it. He loaned me a copy of Diet for a New America, and I became vegetarian straightaway. At the time, I was probably more of a gung-ho person anyway. In fairness, vegetarianism fit in with my anti-everything teen angst phase anyway. But in the 16 years since, I’ve read a bunch more and mellowed a lot and the vegetarianism [has] been a constant.
2. What are some of your favorite vegetarian foods?
I have a smoothie almost every morning and have nearly perfected my recipes there. On the other hand, I once made a vegan eggnog for Thanksgiving that my family likened to concrete, so I’ve got lots of room for improvement.
3. Of all the major animal rights issues, are there any that are particularly close to your heart?
What resonates with me most is the arbitrariness with which we treat different animals. It’s difficult to reconcile the difference between the way we treat dogs and cats vs. cows and chickens. I’m sure there are traditions and cultural developments that can explain how things got to be the way they are, but it seems crazy to show some animals so much care and others so little.
4. If someone were to approach you with questions about how to get involved with animal rights, what advice would you give him or her?
Read and cook. Reading’s great insofar as it gives you a better idea what things your body needs to run. Beyond the ethical concerns, it seems there’s a gap between what our bodies need and what’s usually on offer. To that end, I’ve learned a lot from vegetarian-specific books like Diet for a New America. But The Omnivore’s Dilemma is also amazing in terms of being conscious of what folks are eating and the places from which food comes. Other than that, cooking’s probably important. There’s tons to learn, and it’s immediately gratifying. And for folks who think vegetarianism is lame or impossible, they might find a great veggie chili more convincing than a heavy talk about the plight of animals.
5. Why did you want to release this remix/edit project?
Damian from Cataract Falls—the one who loaned me Diet for a New America—also loaned me my first Fugazi album. Like vegetarianism, their music’s been a constant in my life ever since. A couple years ago, I was wrapping up a stint as the resident DJ for Marie Claire. I thought a project like this would let me take some of what I’ve learned from DJing and producing and apply it to the sorts of music I was making when I first started my label. Thankfully, the band let me take a crack at it. And all of the profit from the album’s going to charity. So if folks want to listen to some excerpts or get the rest of the details, they can check out ChrisLawhorn.com.
To win a limited-edition copy of Fugazi Edits, leave a comment below telling us what animal rights–themed book or documentary has inspired you the most.*
*The winner will be chosen at random from submitted animal-friendly comments in which the commenters tell us what animal rights–themed book or documentary has most inspired them. Entries must be received by November 7, 2012. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on November 9, 2012. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.