There is an importance to noticing what is going on in the world, especially in today’s society where gun violence is a common occurrence and power often ends up in the wrong hands. It is the current political climate that has been the inspiration for The Purple Lights’ new songs, Warning and Trigger Man. They have things they want to “get across to the public”.
I talked to Rob and Akeba from The Purple Lights about their views on inequality and gun violence and how these topics have been incorporated into their new songs: ”Inspiration can be found in everything you do. Whether it be frustration from a current situation, or the Friday night feeling when you’re ready to party.”
It is exactly the current situation and being aware of it that has inspired their new song, Warning. As Rob explains, “There are a lot of things going on at the moment where the rich are benefiting while the rest of us keep our heads down and struggle on. You need to keep your ears and eyes open and stand up for something if you think it is wrong. Otherwise, in the future, we are all going to be controlled by corporations and power-hungry politicians.”
Warning sends the message of noticing the signs of bad things happening before it is too late but, more specifically, Akeba says it is about “standing up for the little man being overpowered by corporate justice”.
“We are definitely sticking up for the ones who are being affected and need a voice against those enjoying life at the expense of others,” Akeba said about the song. “Life should not be exclusively better for those in control or those who are wealthier.”
Both Rob and Akeba believe in “a nation which is fair to all its citizens and doesn’t favour the rich”. They believe in equal rights and justice for all. As for so many bands, music is a way for the duo to express their feelings and emotions. Warning reflects their concerns about how inequality in both England and the rest of the world is getting worse. As Rob explains, “[We] are being frustrated with the way in which this country is being run. Rich gets richer. Poor gets poorer.”
And where do their strong thoughts on inequality stem from? Rob grew up in the countryside and was quite sheltered from corruption in the world. But when he was older, he travelled around India for a while, leaving him with a bigger picture: “India is a beautiful country of colour and love, but it is also a country where people have almost nothing while others have all they could ever wish for.”
Akeba grew up in an area with violence and crime both in and around the schools he went to. Akeba and his friends were not a part of that scene, but being in a group of predominantly young black men gave people an impression of trouble: “We used to get stopped and searched for no reason at all on a regular basis. You start to wonder, ‘Why is this always happening to me and my friends?’, where the only common factor is that we are all young and black.”
For the group, violence caused by firearms does not make sense. Living in England, where gun laws are strict and gun violence is uncommon, the recent incidents in countries such as America seems unfathomable. This has been the inspiration for Trigger Man, in which the message rings: “To those carrying weapons; put it down!” Although homicide by firearms is unusual in Britain, it is an obvious problem in many other nations. The easy access to firearms in countries that lack meaningful gun control is an outrageous injustice. Those who own the guns have the power over those who don’t.
Despite the frequent incidents of gun violence covered in the news, the band tells me that Trigger Man was not inspired by one particular event. To Rob and Akeba, every incident is as bad as the other. “[Gun violence] makes you question in what world someone really has the right to kill full stop. It’s completely insane when you think about it.” With an obvious American gun problem, the Senate still recently rejected four new suggestions on gun control measures. When I asked the duo what they would do if they were the ones in charge, Akeba answered that nobody should be allowed to have guns in the first place: “Having a gun sets off the domino effect of more [people] having them, and before you know it, there is a war breaking out. It’s really serious and saddening.” Rob agreed: “I just think that it is crazy that they still allow the public to own guns freely. The amount of mass shootings surely would make you realise that things need to change. If you give a nation the means to own a gun, it is foolish to think that everyone will be safe.”
In this year of terrorism, Brexit and Donald Trump, their message and music seems truly vital.
Find out more about The Purple Lights: