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Talking to Seth Troxler About the Environment and the Beauty of Meat

It's hard not to feel extra guilty about the horrors of the meat industry when you're obsessed with grilling big hunks of steak.
July 1, 2015, 2:00pm

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Make-up: Jessica Ross using CK One Colour Cosmetics
Hair: Holly Mills using R+Co
Model: Seth Troxler

Seth Troxler has meat guilt. When I met the 29-year-old dance music producer and record label impresario during a brief stint in Brooklyn, he was holding a plate full of pulled pork and ribs and his scraggly mustache was stained with a light coat of barbecue sauce. We were supposed to discuss the environment, Troxler's biggest passion outside of music and partying, and he recognized that ordering those glorious slabs of beef wasn't the best look, even if they tasted damn good.


"I'm a complete hypocrite," he said. "I love meat, I love the idea of cooking meat, but meat production has a huge impact on the environment." When I mentioned that it's probably fine since the meat was from a local, farm-to-table spot, he wondered out loud if local farms with grass-fed cows possibly consume even more water than commercial farms. "Either way, eating meat does affect climate change," he concluded. "To deny that is like doing drugs and not considering the fact that it's keeping the cartel in business."

For a while, we chatted about Troxler's three new label imprints, Tuskegee; Soft Touch; and Play It, Say It, but eventually the conversation reared back to eco responsibility. "I'm nearly 30, man. When you're a teenager, you think nothing you do can hurt or change the world around you, but then you get older and you start to feel your own mortality. So I get meat guilt. Then I get meat sweats."

Read some of the rest of our chat below.

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VICE: So you consider yourself someone who is actively passionate about nature and the environment?
Seth Troxler: Yes, very much. I'm interested in the idea that the US government knows that we're in dire, cataclysmic times, and it's not doing anything about it. The only political institutions that can really affect climate change are governments with rigorous e-waste restrictions and limitations on industries, like oil, gas, plastics, etc.

But every institution like that is so caught up in capitalism, instead of policy reform, and each one is watching our species enter a phase of possible near-extinction, and they're just like, "Eh, ya know."

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It's also hard to get the public interested in changing things, since these institutions feel so big, somewhat abstract and impenetrable. As an artist, do you think you have the opportunity or even responsibility to get people to pay attention to issues like this?
I think artists have the visibility and platform to connect loads of people, and they should raise awareness about a specific conflict, or at least spark a bigger conversation about it.

What's cool about this position [as a musician] is that there are lots of different people, who may seem unconnected, all paying attention to one source. They all at least share an appreciation of the artist, which is a unifying thing. So if an artist can use his or her place in culture to get diverse fans to pay attention and talk about one thing, like climate change, then that's huge. Even if it sounds cheesy, art can affect people on an emotional and intellectual level.

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What about music festivals—they consume a huge amount of energy. Do you think there's a way to change and adapt them to make sure they are eco-friendly?
Yes, people should look at festivals like Wonder Fruit in Thailand. In five years it will be self-sustaining and completely run on its own energy. I'm behind festivals like that, and want to see more like Wonder Fruit created. Playing at more festivals that use a similar model would be like killing two birds with one stone for me—two passions on one stage.

See the rest of the photos below:

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