It is a special day here on Disco Droppings. I love a good challenge, and when I got the OK from Abby Martin for this interview I was elated and a tad intimidated. This fearless investigative journalist and artist has been on my mind daily, for her brilliant work as host of RT’s Breaking The Set. She has been instrumental in opening my eyes to a struggling world. From the NDAA to drones, Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, there is no issue that Abby is afraid to tackle. I feel empowered, highly aware and motivated to expand my horizons as an artist and human being, thanks to her tireless efforts. I’m excited to see how my work as Jimi Jaxon will evolve to include topics beyond just music, and Abby Martin is a perfect conduit for this.
Here is a wonderful and well said exert from her bio..”Whether reflecting on the natural world or the manmade world, the awakening or deadening of consciousness, cultural controlling dichotomies, the power of the mystic and all that is unknown, the condition of the social, the construction of the economic, or the corruption of the political, Abby’s work displays an intense passion for life and her deep desire to engage others in her vision.”
DD When did you first begin dreaming up a show like Breaking The Set?
AM My friends and I started a proto RT type internet show about five years ago, before I knew anything about RT. We put together mini documentary investigative pieces on the same types of issues that I am covering now, and when that fell through from lack of funding I started my own media project called Media Roots that continued to cover tHhe same issues. Once I got hired at RT, I was finally able to put my passion about the issues into fruition. The concept of Breaking the Set had always been there, it was just a matter of getting the resources together to make it happen.
DD How do you feel about the scope of your work, and how far it reaches? Are you ever discouraged by stats/views that are lower than you wish, or do you trust that at least the material is available for people to take in as they find it?
AM I am always striving to be better and to reach more people with the information. But as far as the stats, it’s almost impossible to know really how many people I reach because the information is available in so many different avenues–cable, live on the internet, Hulu and Youtube. Actually counting the audience numbers is almost impossible, but every day I get at least one positive message of feedback from someone in the world who is watching, which makes everything I do worth it.
DD When you see examples being made of people exposing government corruption, do you consciously walk a fine line with your platform on BTS? Are you wondering where the walls are, where the limits are now with free speech?
AM Not at all. People ask me every day if I am worried to say the things I do in the way I do. The thing is, it never even crossed my mind to be. I have always spoken the truth as I see it, and I will continue to, no matter how bad things get. If I get taken down or made an example of for simply practicing my first amendment rights of free press and free speech, than we have really passed a threshold of no turning back in this country. This job and the things I try to bring attention to are much bigger than me and my life, so fear is not an option. That’s exactly what the establishment would like, and the chilling effect is exactly what this crackdown on the press is designed to do.
DD I want to highlight the team behind Breaking The Set. What is your crew like?
AM The show consists of four people in total: my line producer who times me out and makes the show visual. She is the badass working behind the scenes to make sure the show actually happens and airs. Then there are my two other producers Manny Rapalo and Ameera David. We advise on everything together–they really are rockstars, and I am so lucky to have such talented and passionate people on my team sharing my vision for the show and constantly striving to help me make it better. On any given work day, I don’t come up for air or even have time to get lunch because I have to make sure I have the entire show ready to be taped live at 6 pm EST and then immediately when it’s over I need to start preparing for the next day. It’s quite difficult to never be able to chill after taping because there is always the stress of what is the next day going to look like. And it also sucks to have the pressure of doing everything live because I am never entirely happy with my performance, and you only get one shot to make it right, which sucks.
DD What helps keep you focused and positive, when constantly researching and confronting difficult issues all over the world? I think some people are afraid to look into the news, feeling overwhelmed and powerless. There was a time when I ignored the world around me, and looking back into it (thanks to you especially) was extremely draining. Now I would say that I’m happy to be more of a world citizen, that isn’t solely wrapped up in my own life.
AM This is the eternal challenge for a lot of people. I really think surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and don’t drain you is key to being content and happy with your own life, and you need to be before you begin to take on the rest of the world’s problems. For me, it’s really about finding the balance. I try to do a lot of art and get into nature as much as I can to center the insanity and stress. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I struggle with depression from constantly researching horrific and tragic topics on a day to day basis. At the end of the day, I think information is power, and enlightenment is about opening yourself up to the bad and good of everything in life. Being aware is a beautiful thing, it’s just about how you choose to channel that awareness and bring your perspective into the world. Don’t be afraid of the truth, embrace it and then focus your energy on how you can work to change just a small part of the world. Be the change you wish to see, while being a kind person to your fellow human beings. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we can ever really do.
DD Do you still find time to work on your graphic art, paintings and such? I bring up this area of your life, as some people just see you as a journalist.
AM Unfortunately I have such little time to myself that I don’t do nearly as much art as I would like to. But I still try to create some at least every week or so. It keeps me sane, and it really helps to tell stories and display emotions I could never verbalize on my own. The art is my conduit to do so. Right now, I am putting 150% of my entire being into the TV show. But I know art will take a more prominent role later in my life. I think finding some form of self expression is essential for every human being on earth.
Abby Martin – Facebook Twitter
Breaking The Set – RT Hulu Facebook
– Jimi Jaxon