CHRIS HINES

Music Zine Editor, Filmmaker, & Activist

October 2017
Currently acting as Editor-In-Chief for Hit The Floor Magazine, UK-based Chris Hines often speaks with a variety of musicians, many of whom are also vegan. Through his own personal journey of veganism, Hines began making a documentary about vegan musicians called Taking Note. Hines doubles as an animal rights activist, who speaks at schools and participates in many public demonstrations.

“The knowledge I've learned over the years inspires me to stay vegan and is why I've dedicated most of my life to helping stop all that's happening. There is no way I couldn't be vegan." - Chris



"I don’t think the animals mind why people aren’t eating them, as long as they aren’t."

How do you feel the concept of veganism has changed in the past decade, and how do you foresee it evolving in the next decade?

I don’t think the concept itself has really changed, but I think the public perception of veganism has. I think people are starting to see veganism in a different light and taking it more seriously. I think the tree hugging hippy image is starting to fade a little.

Kylie Jenner recently declared she’s “trying that whole vegan thing." Is it hard for you to respect people who go vegan because it’s a fad, or are you just happy for anyone going vegan and don’t think much on the reason why?

Obviously, I would love for people to go vegan for the ethics, but at the moment, I’ll take anything I can get. I am a strong believer that if you can get a person to stop eating animals in whatever way, it then makes it a lot easier to get them to connect with the ethics later if they are not putting animals in their mouths. Also, these people have a lot of influence, so if they can get others on the same path then great. I don’t think the animals mind why people aren’t eating them, as long as they aren’t.
In your activism, what have you found to be the more efficient angle when trying to get your point across to people in sharing the idea of veganism?

I think to be effective you simply have to talk to people as people and realize that just because someone eats animals, it doesn’t mean they are a bad person. In the end, we have all been brought up to think these things are normal, and most people have never even stopped and questioned why. Tell people the facts without trying to shame them. If you give people solid facts and ask questions they struggle to answer, their brain will do most of the hard work for you.

Where do you give speeches, and how does it feel to see something “click" in someone? Do you believe you’ve successfully “converted” anyone to a vegan lifestyle?

I mainly give speeches in colleges and universities but have also done a few vegan fairs as well. Originally, I used to do talks on music journalism, as that’s what I do for a living, but one day I mentioned to the tutor after a talk that I would like to do talks on veganism. A student overheard me and said they were doing ethics in her philosophy class and she would ask her tutor if I could come in. Next thing I knew, I was booked to do three talks in one day - thrown in at the deep end! I find them really rewarding, and it’s always a great feeling to see someone make the connection. I’ve luckily had quite a bit of success with people going vegan through my activism, and it drives me to keep pushing forward to do more.



"I’ve luckily had quite a bit of success with people going vegan through my activism, and it drives me to keep pushing forward to do more."


"It was actually music that made me vegan in the first place."

What are the challenges of being a vegan in a smaller UK town? Do you sometimes wish you lived in a bigger city with a bigger vegan community?

I think the ease of access to some vegan products is really the only challenging part. We've been lucky to be able to build a really good community down here, and so many restaurants and cafes have started doing vegan options, making it a fairly vegan-friendly place to be. I think compared to a lot of other small towns, we are quite lucky, as I think it’s fairly easy to be vegan here. It would be great to be in a big city, but in a way, I quite like the challenge of building up a town like ours to become more and more vegan-friendly. If I have my way, I want to turn it into the new Brighton - the current vegan capital of the UK. Fingers crossed!

Tell me more about the vigils you attend. What is the worst situation you have encountered?

I’m one of the organizers of the Devon Animal Save group, and a big part of what we do is go to slaughterhouses to bear witness to the animals going in before they die. It’s a really powerful experience and something I’d recommend everyone to take part in. While we are there, we try and give comfort to the animals, as well as document their stories to show others and try to get them to make the connection that their food was a living being and not just a product. I think out of all the vigils I have attended, the LA Animal Save pig vigil was one of the hardest. Knowing those pigs had been travelling for up to two days in the scorching heat with no food or water and seeing them in such horrible conditions was heartbreaking. At the same time though, it was beautiful to see so many caring activists at the event who really did everything they could to make those pigs' last moments as bearable as possible. It’s certainly an experience I will never forgot.
Have you seen Okja, and do you think it will leave a strong impression on viewers/have a lasting impact on their lifestyles?

Yeah, I think they did a really great job with the movie. The end scene with the slaughterhouse was particularly powerful, and it was interesting to read that the director actually went to a real life slaughterhouse himself in order to make it as accurate as possible. I think it’s extremely exciting that we are now getting a huge film like this promoting the message. It’s certainly changed a lot of peoples minds.

What made you decide to create a documentary about vegan musicians, and how has the idea been received by the vegan and non-vegan communities?

It was actually music that made me vegan in the first place. I was a bit of a ska/punk kid in my early 20’s and the band Goldfinger released an album called Open Your Eyes, which had quite a large animal rights theme and also included a bonus Meet Your Meat video. After watching the video, I instantly decided I wanted nothing to do with what I saw and went vegetarian. Years down the line, I’m now a vegan activist. They started the whole ball rolling for me. From this, I wanted to find out how veganism has effected the music scene and musicians. I already ran a music magazine so getting contacts was easy, and I just thought it would be a perfect project for me to combine my two passions - music and veganism - and to create something unique as a new form of documentary activism different from the Cowspiracy and What The Health-style films. I wanted to create something that would appeal to the world of music fans. So far we have interviewed 60 people for the film including Moby, Kat Von D, John Feldmann, The Veronicas, Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) and many more. We are hoping to release it sometime next year.




VEGAN COMPANY PLUG

I’m a big fan of Heart Cure Clothing and what they are doing at the moment. Not only are they releasing some awesome clothing, but they are going as far as to set up a whole vegan social centre to run workshops, events, and really help build the community in their area. I have a lot of respect for that! To top it off, the owners Jordan and Georgia have the cutest dog ever. She def needs her own t-shirt. Love you doggie! x (and Jordan and Georgia of course ha!)

MUSIC PLUG

Firstly I should probably plug the music magazine, so go check out Hit The Floor Magazine and see what we are up to. Lots of features, interviews and good times to be had for any music lover! :) Also make sure to follow the progress of the Taking Note vegan music documentary over on our Facebook. Certainly lots of stuff with that to get excited about, so stay tuned!

Please support Chris by donating to his efforts here.
Special Thanks To: Anonymous For The Voiceless
Photography By: Amanda Farmer