Last December my best friend died. He struggled with addiction and despite an enormous support system of friends, none of us recognized the signals in time. He was one of the few golden souls on this planet that had a
truly generous and compassionate heart, as well as an outstanding sense of humor paired with unyielding intelligence. His name was Jose and if you had been to an IndyMojo show between 2013-2015 then chances are you had the pleasure of meeting this radiant being. Everyone who knew Jose was devastated by his passing. Lurking among feelings of grief and sorrow were embers of anger and a collective desire to fight back against the black shadow of addiction that has stolen so many of our loved ones. Drug or alcohol dependence is a serious issue that weighs heavily on millions of people, some find the help they need; others, for whatever personal reasons, may be too afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Local producer Rob Siemasko AKA Indigo Child and writer Matt Duncan formulated an idea for a collective project that they hope will bring light to a dark and heartbreaking subject that has affected nearly all of us in one way or another at some point in time. For five months now, the two have been working on compiling an album in which artists from all over the country are musically testifying against drug and alcohol dependency. The project is called Artists Against Addiction and not only is every piece altogether magnificent, it also holds a significant truth. The album, Serenity, artistically creates and promotes a positive message about the importance of unity and a solid support system while battling addiction or enduring tragedy.
The idea was born the night of a fundraising event held in Jose’s honor. “He was such a huge supporter of so many of us and we didn’t want to see it happen again,” says Siemasko. Several of Jose’s favorite local artists such as Shy Guy Says, jFet, Jin-XS, and Magnet!c donated tracks created in memory of his life. Rob and Matt reached out to several nationally touring acts as well and received overwhelmingly positive responses. Numerous Midwest artists such as Kaiten, Boss Mode and Pleasure were pleased to be involved in such a project. Other notable contributions include Ant B out of Nebraska and bass wizard Jumbii out of Texas.
One of the biggest names on the album, The Zebbler Encanti Experience, was yet another one of Jose’s favorite musical acts. Matt Ramsey, promotions director for IndyMojo, received a request from Jose in 2015 suggesting he bring Zebbler to Indianapolis. After Jose’s passing, Ramsey was presented with the opportunity to bring the group to the Mousetrap and doubtlessly jumped at the chance. Ramsey, Siemasko and Duncan agreed that this show would be the perfect date to release the Artists Against Addiction album. Upon hearing about the concept for the album, and Jose’s love for the group, ZEE offered to create an original track to add to the collection like a shiny red cherry on top of a musical sundae.
In the beginning, the idea of a final product was unclear, but the overall goal remained the same throughout: bring awareness to the issues of addiction and show the world the positive ways we can go about changing things. The album is composed of 25 songs and one spoken word piece all donated by the artists involved. A tremendous amount of support came from IndyMojo and Matt Ramsey, who played as a liaison for several of the artists featured on the album. All of the artists, some Indianapolis locals, some nationally recognized acts, have struggled with or have been affected by addiction at some point in their lives. The issue hits close to home for so many people, which is why the project has received an extraordinary amount of support.
Aside from the numerous artistic donations, a national organization called Shatterproof wants to combine forces with the Artists Against Addiction team to help promote the album. Shatterproof was created in 2013 by Gary Mendell, a father who lost his son to addiction in 2011. The organization holds events across the country but does not currently have an Indiana chapter, but with enough community support and the monetary donations from the album, a partnership may be on the horizon.
Rob and Matt will be completing and releasing the album Thursday May 19th at the album release party at the Mousetrap. Donations from artists are still coming in and the possibility of another album is likely. Rob says “…the goal is to keep generating creative content to keep raising awareness of addiction by using various means of artistic expression.” The project has inspired artists from across the country to add their input and still continues to grow.
There are several ways for fans to enjoy this album. The album will be available for purchase through multiple outlets featuring, but not limited to: iTunes, Bandcamp, GooglePlay, Amazon Music, and iheartradio. But the complete album can be heard here first at the bottom of the page! Listeners will have access to two previously released “secret” tracks by Freddy Bunz and Audiodacity when pre-ordering the album from Bandcamp. A digital copy of the album can be purchased for $10 cash (added donations accepted) at the release party at the Mousetrap on the 19th. The Artists Against Addiction team has set a goal of raising $1,000 to donate to Shatterproof to begin the process of opening an Indiana chapter.
This project not only inspires artists to create pieces that protest their issues with addiction, but it shows anyone who has struggled or may currently be struggling with addictions that they are not alone in this battle. So many of us have lost loved ones to this crippling disease; its time we stood up and joined together to fight this heartbreaking epidemic. Rise up and join Indianapolis as we fight against drug and alcohol addictions by attending IndyMojo’s Artist Against Addiction release party and by making a contribution to Shatterproof by purchasing the Artists Against Addiction album.