WHO ARE WE?
Decibelists is a new music project from Emma Alabaster and Leo Ferguson. We wanted to do something very different from the music we’ve each made in the past: to create music that reflects our activism and work for social justice. Music that would create a space for our friends and our community to dance and feel safe and powerful. We think that is a gift we can give back to the city and the community that has nurtured both of us.
The music we’re making is experimental pop, driven by a fascination with the city, fighting injustice, sex, love, humor and the ocean. It’s got cool collaborations, laptop beats and ancient Casios; strings and brass; it draws on all of our skills as arrangers, writers and instrumentalists.
We are native New Yorkers — so is most of our band. The city — this city — feels like another member of the band. So much of our lives and our activism is intimately bound up with the place that we live. We want our music to be connected to this complicated place that lifts us up at the same time it tears us down — that protects and nourishes and divides and threatens all at the same time. Hopefully this band can be part of creating more spaces that nourish and feed our community in NYC and beyond — a little shelter in the storm.
WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON?
Album: We have a completed album, recorded in fancy studios, tiny bathrooms, a school gymnasium, a cabin in the woods and a few different living rooms, including our own. Our album features some incredible guest artists -- rappers Soli of The Machine, and Majesty of Legendary Cyphers; members of the Pitchblak Brass Band; and Pulitzer-prize-nominated poet and songwriter Cornelius Eady. There are also guest appearances from local masters Rosi Hertlein on violin, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Michael Winograd on clarinet and Mary Cherney on flute. The rest is all Leo & Emma — we filled out the album’s sound with our own singing, bass, drums, guitar and keyboard-playing, laptops and samples. The songs are all original and written collaboratively between the two of us.
Live Band: Come to April 22nd show at Rubulad! Our band is filled with amazing people: Theo Baer on keyboard, Ora Batashvili on guitar and violin, Hannah Temple on keyboards and Seradin Veonne on vocals, all of whom are wonderful musicians dedicated to this project and who share our values. You can check out our facebook page and sign up on our mailing list to stay up to date on chances to see us play live.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We want our band to be rooted in our community, so we also want to ask for the support of our community. So far we’ve paid for everything ourselves but there’s only so far you can go on a shoestring. In order to move forward at this pace we need your help.
Art is important in these dangerous times and there are so many other places that need support now more than ever. So we also want to share our fundraising labor towards an organization we admire and work with closely, The Justice Committee (JC.) We are donating 5% of what we raise to JC in honor of the late and beloved Daniel Majesty Sanchez who worked there as a volunteer and then staff member.
Founded in 1985, The Justice Committee is a grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City and empowering low-income Latino/as and other people of color to address these issues. Current work includes organizing Cop Watch teams that deescalate, and observe police activities and organizing for justice with the families of people killed by the NYPD.
Please pre-order our album, donate what you can and spread the word. Thank you!
Indiegogo Promo Video shot by Tonilyn Sideco and Leo Ferguson. Edited by Drew Dickler.