Photo credit: Mitchell Wojcik

Today’s 5 Questions blog comes from Connecticut based punk band Hostage Calm. Part of the Run For Cover Records family, Hostage Calm draws comparison to The Clash and Punchline, with inklings of early Saves the Day thrown in the mix. Heartfelt and infectious, Hostage Calm is quickly making a name for themselves in today’s reawakened pop punk scene. Check out our interview with vocalist Chris Martin, and enter the contest below for your chance to win Hostage Calm CDs and merch!

1. What prompted you to become vegetarian/vegan? Were there any bands, books, etc. that influenced your opinions on animal rights?

Growing up in the punk rock and hardcore scenes, I was definitely exposed to it a lot. Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, The First Step, With Honor—these bands got me thinking about what I ate and why the implications of my diet mattered. I had a lot of friends who were vegetarian and vegan, and there was always literature at shows. I had also started to learn about the environmental consequences of meat production as I delved into the issue of climate change. All these things started to add up for me. Our bass player Tim and I hung out on the fourth of July about six years ago, and we made a pact that day that we would stop eating meat, and we never looked back. I’ve been vegetarian ever since. He’s vegan now. All of Hostage Calm is vegan/vegetarian. I think all of us learned about it through punk music.

2. What are some of your favorite vegan foods? Any awesome hometown restaurants we should know about?

I love any vegan pizza with Daiya vegan cheese. Nice Slice in Providence, RI is great. The Rebellion in Denver, CO is another good one. As for hometown restaurants here in Baltimore, I really like to eat at One World Café or the Yabba Pot.

3. Of all the major animal rights issues are there any issues that are particularly close to your heart?

The environmental effects of meat production, definitely. The way this industry operates affects every living thing on our planet. It wastes so much life and so much energy, and has such dire implications for our future on earth. The Methane and N2O (Nitrous Oxide) that come from the raising of animals for food are two of the biggest contributors to climate change. We are wasting so much on something so unnecessary and brutal. We kill primarily just to feed and fatten the animals we want to later kill for consumption. It’s distorting our natural equilibrium here on Earth, be it in our climate or our ecosystems.

4. If a fan were to approach you with questions about how to get involved with animal rights, what advice would you give him or her?

The first thing I would say is that you should think about your diet and how to use it to improve animal welfare. You can have such a tremendous impact on the animal kingdom just through making minor changes in what they eat, and teaching their families and friends about vegetarianism/veganism. Be the change you want to see, and lead by example. Secondly, I would say to pay attention to those around you and what they have done. Try to learn from them. Use your knowledge and your talents to help educate those around you. For instance, if you’re a good cook or baker, you could make vegan foods and serve them at parties where people aren’t vegan. I think that using a talent like that to expose people to this lifestyle is a perfect way to get started.

5. What does Hostage Calm have coming up that we can be looking forward to?

Hostage Calm will be touring the UK and Europe for all of March, and will announce a ton more U.S. dates very soon. We will be on tour internationally for the rest of 2011, with various singles and compilation tracks that we’ll release along the way. Add us at facebook.com/HostageCalm or follow us at twitter.com/hostagecalm. Thanks peta2!

You can catch Hostage Calm next month with Fireworks, Hot Water Music, and Make Do and Mend, so be sure to check them out. For your chance to win a Hostage Calm t-shirt and copy of their new self-titled album, leave a comment below telling us what influenced your opinions on animal rights. Three winners will each receive a t-shirt and CD, and two additional winners will receive a CD. All winners will be randomly selected. Entries must be received by April 26th, 2011 and winners will be chosen and notified on May 3rd, 2011.

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