Music has always given people a chance to create change and give hope in a world torn by war, poverty, and hunger. As music expands and thousands of bands come and go, there are also many organisations that use music to create positive social change throughout the world. The Sound Of Change is one of those organisations but what sets TSOC apart from others is that it gives bands and scenes a chance to develop just as it gives many communities around the world a chance to develop.
I sat down with the founder of The Sound Of Change, Lucas Canzona, hours before their Mississauga Concert supporting Free The Children at The Masonic Lodge to talk about the organization. Here’s what he had to say:
AMBY: To readers who don’t already know, what is TSOC?
Lucas Canzona: The Sound of Change is local music for international development. We put work with local bands we love by organizing benefit concerts and then use the money raised to fund sustainable projects in developing countries.
AMBY: Where did the idea of TSOC change come from?
Lucas Canzona: In the beginning I was simply looking for a way to combine two things I’m passionate about: music and international development. I had seen the impact that a bit of fundraising here could have overseas when a group of my friends and I raised money at school to aid a remote village in Thailand. We saw video of a family of impoverished young girls being told that they could attend school (and subsequently have a promising future) because of our efforts and it was one of the most powerful moments of my life. I thought, if a little bit of work like that could drastically improve a few lives, what could a larger and more organized effort do? From there, I realized that there are people who do benefit shows when a disaster strikes, but no one who does them on an ongoing basis. There are charities that organize concerts to fund their own cause, but no group focuses on the shows first and adds in the cause alongside it. The basis of The Sound of Change was formed from these thoughts and a lot of late-night brainstorming. The name came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep.
AMBY: There are many non-profit organizations out there, but what makes TSOC different from the rest?
Lucas Canzona: We focus on the music side of things: we want these shows to have lineups so good that people would come to them even without knowing there’s a cause behind it all. There’s such potential in the raw passion of local music, both in the bands and the fans, and we see an opportunity to turn that into something good.
AMBY: How has the quality of shows advanced over the past 3 years?
Lucas Canzona: I’d say that as an organization and as people we’ve matured quite a bit, which improved our ability to produce these shows. I went into the first show alone and with zero knowledge on how to produce and promote a concert, whereas today we have a team and a better ear for who’s out there tearing up stages and making great music. It all comes down to the music, and which musicians are doing things the right way, right now. With that being said, our first show’s lineup is still one of my favourites.
AMBY: What was the best performance you’ve seen at TSOC show?
Lucas Canzona: It’s really hard for me to choose, but seeing Seam play their last Mississauga show in June at The Sound of Change was pretty amazing. They were one of the first bands to believe in this idea and they played our first show. We watched them do great things as a band since then and it sort of came full-circle when they were on this recent lineup. Runners-up are Small Town Get Up and The Turks!
AMBY: What charities have you worked with and which of these charities are really making a difference?
Lucas Canzona: To date, we’ve worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Zawadi La Tumaini, UNICEF, War Child, Free the Children and ColaLife. We only work with organizations we really believe in, but two of them are a little less known so I’ll touch on those. Zawadi la Tumaini is an orphanage in rural Kenya, recently founded by a Canadian friend of mine, that is doing incredible work. They’re providing aid in just about the most direct way possible- they take in children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and children that have been deprived of their most basic human rights. Another one that deserves a special mention is ColaLife, a non-profit organization that is working to open existing distribution channels in developing countries to deliver medicines and other life-saving supplies to those who need them most.
AMBY: You’ve branched out from Mississauga to Toronto and Hamilton. From these three cities who has the best scene, bands, and fans?
Lucas Canzona: Each city has a completely different feel to it, which always extends to its music scene. The musical talent in Toronto is amazing. The sense of community in Hamilton is amazing. The kids that come out to show after show in Mississauga are amazing.
AMBY: What are some goals you plan to put forward as you continue with TSOC?
Lucas Canzona: We want to continue to work with great bands as we expand into new areas. In the future we will be doing bigger and better shows with some really great acts. A website is in the works, along with some ideas that we’ve never tried before. All this will help expand The Sound of Change’s capacity to create a tangible difference where it’s needed most.
AMBY: Any big shows coming up?
Lucas Canzona: If I told you it would ruin the surprise! But yes, there are some very exciting things in the works.
AMBY: How can bands and organizations get in contact with TSOC?
Reuben Jude Corriea