I don’t think people know the stats, it’s scary.
It’s really scary. This is a disease that is killing off the people that are making the economy work, the people that are raising the young. And ultimately, the economic impact is staggering. It’s an opportunity for us as young people to say, ‘You know what? We don’t need to storm beaches with guns, we need to storm hills with help. We need to be a partner.’ And I’ll plant one quick seed for you. There’s a thing called microcredit and it’s one of the profound ways that Americans, the average American can help out average Africans in a way that was somewhat impossible years ago and was just a fully developed concept. I think that’s one of the incredibly hopeful elements of the future.
With all you are doing for overseas, are there organizations you want to help here in the States in the future?
We have an obligation as people to leave the world a little bit better off than the way we found it. Sometimes it’s in our own backyards and sometimes it’s an ocean away. We do have challenges in the U.S., there’s no question. And I hope that the next president of the United States is wise enough to see that it is not just the job of our government but ultimately the job of the president to inspire people.
Switching gears to music, did starting your own label make you see the music industry differently as artists?
Well I think that seeing the music differently caused us to start our own label. Ultimately it was not the easiest solution. In a lot of ways it might have been more immediately comfortable for us. But I guess it’s that kind of western- entrepreneurial-Oklahoma-something-crazy in us that just said, ‘The music business is falling apart and the only thing that matters is our relationship with our fans.’ If we have our own record company, we have the freedom to serve our fan base countless ways that would otherwise create tension between the record company and us.