You can’t fight hate with hate…
The world stood still on March 15 2019 as we watched the tragic events of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in history unfold in its capital Christchurch. 51 dead, 49 injured, millions devastated by such a cruel act by one man; the images, like so many world events in our lifetime, will never leave us.
But neither will the positive stories that have arisen from the attack. Tales of people uniting to help each other, driven by the heart to do something to try to have a positive impact. Tales like that of UK jungle roustabout Saxxon and Christchurch vibe maestro micman Camo MC who made a connection after the shootings and have ended up making a genuinely life-changing track and video: We Are One.
Both artists explain how it’s the most important track they’ve done in their lives, it was conjured up in a matter of days after they first linked. Camo’s lyrics hit with a heaviness of a man feeling hopeless and helpless in the middle of a country in mourning while the beats are a little deeper than some of the gullier gubbins we know and love Saxxon for but the message is loud and clear. We are all the same on the inside, we have so much more in common than any differences we may have, we need to pull together.
It’s a message that’s amplified by the video made by Camo MC and his friends and their families at a Maori marae. Many races, faiths, ages and genders; one message. A message that was initially inspired by a man named Shay. Homeless at the time, he wanted to help but didn’t have possessions or money so stood vigil near the shooting with his message of love. Symbolising the good that can come out of such a dark situation, he became something of a local legend, he stars in the video and has since been taken in by the Christchurch Muslim community, is no longer homeless and has started a whole new chapter. Like we said, the track and video are lifechanging.
Supporting it can help more lives. Saxxon and Camo are donating all streaming and sales proceeds of their track to a local homeless charity Street Wise. A grassroots charity established by a former homeless addict, Street Wise are a hands-on organisation who will invest everything they can back into the streets in a bid to help as many people like Shay as possible.
From such a tragic event comes something genuinely beautiful. We spoke to Camo MC and Saxxon to spread a little more love. Donate for the track right here, watch the video below and read on for one of the most heart-warming jungle tales you’ve heard in quite some time…
Take us back to the post that connected you both…
Camo MC: It was the day after the terror attack and I had been out hanging out with some friends to try and take my mind off things. I got home around 12am and still felt sick to my stomach. There were low flying helicopters flying over my house, scoping the neighbourhood, the whole thing felt unreal. I went online to distract myself and reach out to some homies. I didn’t know Saxxon personally at this point, but was a fan of his music. While scanning Facebook I saw his post. It didn’t directly mention the Christchurch attack but it was obvious that it was a reply to what had happened, so I wrote a little message on the status letting him know I was a D&B MC from Christchurch and that I really appreciated his messaged, that our city needed love more than ever before. He simply replied with, “Send me a PM man, let’s spread some love” As cliche as it is, the rest is history.
Saxxon: It was great to hear from him, and I felt very motivated to do something. I had been so frustrated with the state of the world. as much as I’ve always seen my music as an escape for those that listen to it, felt the time was right to use our combined musical voice to spread some goodness.
It feels like We Are One was created, written and finished straight away. You were catching the moment and energy…
Camo MC: I wrote the message on Saxxon’s post early on the Sunday morning, crashed out and woke up to his reply. We literally talked that morning and within an hour of us chatting I had the beat in my inbox. I wrote the lyrics within 20 minutes of getting the beat and was in the studio the next morning recording. To be honest, it helped me a lot. I was feeling so helpless and hopeless. It felt like a whole city was in mourning with one big broken heart. So the music was a way for me to feel like I was doing something, a way let the healing process begin. I feel this has made my message and delivery even more raw and real than it could have been if we had sat on it a bit longer.
But then the story took another turn, right? Tell us about Shay…
Camo MC: My friend posted a photo of a guy holding a very basic sign of saying, “We are all the same in the inside”. I thought it was an awesome message in a tough time so I reshared it. It sparked the idea that for the video clip. To have people holding signs with messages of love, peace, unity and respect. I happened to be walking passed where one of the shootings had happened, and there was Shay with his sign. I said what’s up to him, and he told me he was actually homeless. This was how he felt he could help. He said he didn’t have any possessions, but he did have time, so he was standing there eight hours a day to spread his message. I told him how I shared his image on my pages and how he had inspired my idea for the video clip. He told me he was actually a big D&B fan himself so I invited him to come be in the video, and we kept in touch from there.
This has changed Shay’s life now, right?
Camo MC: I think the whole thing changed things for Shay, he connected with the Muslim faith and they took him in, he is part of their community now. He got a lot of press out it and I think it helped him find his place in this world. As it is for anyone that comes from the streets and a background of addiction, it’s not an easy process to move on from where you’ve come from, but I see him around quite often and we always stop to have a chat. There’s a friendship and a bond there now that will never go away. And he’s been super excited for the video to drop.
Tell us more about the video…
Camo MC: So after seeing Shay with his sign, I already had a vision for what I wanted to pull off. I wanted to get people together, for us to stand as a community and show that this is not what our city is about. To start with I got my friends Casey and Hunter to paint up different signs with messages of love and hope, and from there we just needed a place to get everyone together.
To the Maori culture in New Zealand, a marae is their meeting house, a spiritual home to the indigenous people of New Zealand. I’m not Maori myself, my family is from European decent, but I was very lucky to grow up on a bi-cultural marae and learn about their language and culture. The community marae felt like the perfect place to spread the message of love and unity. It was a special vibe, we filmed the video on a murky autumn afternoon but the weather held out for us. Some of the homies organized a BBQ so we had a feed and everyone came down with their children and all. There is something special about having the kids holding up the signs in the video, they are the future, so they definitely have a say in how they see things. Big love to Te Whare Roimata for having us and Subterrane for providing the sounds!
There’s a lot of vocal tracks about love in D&B but goes much deeper than individual love. Spread a little more love before we go please…
Camo MC: Love cannot be understated in the world today. It’s so so important. People are feeling more divided and lonelier than ever before. I believe love and acceptance is the solution to many of these issues. It’s time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before acting. The whole world is suffering, but if we suffer together, maybe we will get through.
Reckon you’ll link up again? Saxxon, any plans to tour NZ? Camo, any plans to tour Europe?
Camo MC: There will definitely be more Saxxon & Camo MC collabs in the future. We both vibe to each other’s style and gel together really well. Plus we yarn onto each other like we’ve been mates all our life, it’s a very special thing. I’d love to have him over here and tour around NZ together. I think his sound would work very well over here. As for me coming to the UK, that’s the plan for sure! I think every D&B artist has the end goal to perform in the birthplace of jungle! It would be a dream come true, I’m definitely going to make it happen, just not sure when just yet.
Saxxon: Who knows? I’m always down for adventures but for now just want some people to feel some long overdue love and, when they’re ready, pass that good stuff on, you never know what might happen….
Buy We Are One: All proceeds from this go directly to independent New Zealand homeless charity Street Wise.