For all of the truly terrible things in the world (disease, terrorism, Nickelback et al), it’s heartening to know that artists in our community are quick to put their time and money where their mouths are. This year's Alternative Press Music Awards is honoring these people with the Artist Philanthropic Award, presented by Sub City. Koji is nominated for his work with the Doctors Without Borders.
Andrew Koji Shikari has been releasing music under his middle name since 2010. Involved with many charities, he’s as much an activist as a musician, but is nominated here specifically for his recent work with Doctors Without Borders/Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF). Founded in 1971 by a group of French doctors and journalists, the organization believes everybody is entitled to medical treatment regardless of the politics of national borders, providing healthcare and medical training in roughly 70 countries around the world. In 2014, much of the charity’s efforts were dedicated to the Ebola virus outbreak that swept through West Africa. In support, Koji made his entire discography available via Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want tier, with all proceeds going to MSF.
“I wanted to use my platform to not just raise awareness, but also to donate money,” Koji says. “I grew up at a time where at every show, there were people raising money and doing food drives. I think there’s a lack of that now. People in the West abide by this culture of debt, and I think it’s really important to know we are not [defined by] our credit card balance, mortgage or car loan: We’re defined by what we have to give and our person-to-person interaction.”