Chris Lafferty has, for the past few years, been a force for good in the UK DIY music scene. Modestly plugging away at his various endeavours and championing the music he loves.
Originally conceived as a means to release the EP of his then band, Sunday League, Get Into It Records soon snowballed into cataloguing the fruits of the Punk, Emo and Hardcore scenes and beyond with releases from bands such as Dads, Healing Powers, Claw The Thin Ice, Cycle Schmeichel (ahem), Wade and The New Tusk. The label is boasting nearly 20 releases thus far and is testament to Lafferty and the scene he is a part of.
So how does a being an active member in the music scene and a compassion for animals run parallel? In the second in our series of musicians in the veg community we decided to snatch a few of his unclaimed moments to discuss food, soap and Morrissey…
“I always loved animals but was brought up on meat” Chris tells us, …“Every meal featured meat or fish in some way. So it took a while for me to make the connective link between animals I’d never want to harm and the animals on my plate after school. Once I thought about that I couldn’t get it out of my mind.”
“Classic story – I was vegetarian for about 9 years, and I hit a point where I was reflecting on what I was eating and how I was still taking part in the exploitation of animals. I eased into veganism over a week or two and never looked back! I love it. I really love baked tofu – I season and flash fry it, bake it, then fry it again. I’m a sandwich freak so anything that can go in bread is good for me. I also love Tofutti cream cheese in the context of pizza toppings.”
Chris is a Newcastle native, “I live in a town called Heaton just outside of the city centre, and we have a couple of places to eat, and a couple of decent places for vegan groceries too. We have a couple of annual vegan festivals and also monthly vegan events.”
Whilst his hometown has offered a fair selection of vegan opportunities, it’s travelling with his band that has led to the greatest food discoveries… “My favourite place for vegetarian eating that I’ve hit while touring etc. would have to be Glasgow though, specifically Mono, the greatest vegan eatery I’ve ever visited. The menu was so good that even the 3 non-vegans in our group took around half an hour to pick something. It also comprises a zine shop and a record shop.”
Chris is conscious of the relation between being a frontman to a band or owner of a business and the available platform to express certain views. “I’m very aware of the general perception of the sanctimonious vegan, so it’s difficult (while every other advert on TV is for meat, there’s a McDonald’s or KFC on every high street in the country, and the eating of animal flesh is normalised to the point of it being almost beyond question). I want everyone to be vegan, of course I do – no animals being exploited, marginalised, and murdered would be amazing, and of course mass-appeal would make the vegan lifestyle cheaper and more accessible to everyone. But yeah, it’s difficult to spout off in an ‘appropriate setting’ though, I think it’s madness that anyone who considers themselves forward-thinking/progressive/or an advocate of equality would eat meat or dairy. It’s industrialised cruelty. Corporations are in charge of the life and death of a sentient being. I don’t get how that doesn’t resonate.”
A vegan lifestyle is more that what is confined within meal times…“ I really hate referring to veganism as simply a ‘dietary choice’ as I’m sure anyone who is involved with the culture will know, it’s so much more than that. The most colourful example I can think of is the new business I am working on – a handmade soap company, where everything is going to be animal friendly. A lot of regular soaps (even vegan friendly ones) are loaded up with a high percentage of palm oils, which I do not use at all. The animal friendly aspect is not the emphasis, but more a constant prerequisite for any product I drop.”
And how does running a DIY record label compare to that of launching a range of hand-crafted bathing products? …“I’ve been making soap for a good while, but picked it up more regularly when I gained a little more free time this year. A bunch of people suggested I should try and make some business out of it, and after speaking to an independent business advisor, decided it could actually be feasible. I should be launching the company this year if all goes to plan. It doesn’t really compare in any way other than both ventures are about producing products. They are both creative products I suppose but very different. And in terms of running them, I am going to price my soaps and grooming items to reflect the high quality of the ingredients etc., whereas the label is frequently out of pocket or not breaking even, because that’s the way things go in that kind of area, realistically.”
One of the most obvious musical animal advocates would be Morrissey, how does Moz handle that role of vegan in a musiccommunity? “I am a huge fan of his work with The Smiths, and a lot of his solo stuff, I think he’s one of the finest writers of words pop music has known, and his body of work, though patchy throughout his solo stuff, is definitely inspiring. But, yeah he’s a provocative media-glutton who would say anything for the sake of getting up peoples noses, and he should probably hire about a hundred PR people, haha.”
Check out what Chris is up to here!