Victoria Ruiz and Joey La Neve DeFrancesco of the politically-inclined punk band Downtown Boys (as well as the recently crowned Best New Band Malportado Kids) launched a new website today alongside the grassroots action network Demand Progress. The Spark Mag aims to give musicians, artists, and other creative individuals a platform through which they can communicate opinions that might be neglected, censored, or ignored by mainstream outlets. The first issue features interviews with Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Priests, Algiers, Abdu Ali, MC Xuxu, DJ Haram, and more, and the magazine will feature new content on a weekly basis. All of the articles grapple with different issues that aren’t easily discussed in a straight-and-narrow interview, including but not limited to: sex and gender politics, race relations, censorship and surveillance, and more.
Demand Progress was cofounded by the former Rhode Island State Representative David Segal and the late activist David Swartz, who together worked to create a network of two million activists across the US. The organization recently led efforts to fight for Net Neutrality and oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Ruiz describes The Spark Mag as a safe space where musicians can clearly articulate their beliefs. “It’s hard to be taken seriously by the mainstream press when you have any type of explicitly political message,” she said, “So we’re excited to have this platform where artists can get out something meaningful, where we can begin to confront what is going in the world we play music in.” Segal hopes that the site will get artists more directly involved in specific political campaigns, working to bridge the gap between the arts and politics. Though DeFranceso and Ruiz will act as the site’s managing editors, myriad voices are already up on the homepage. The Spark Mag just launched this morning — check it out here.