Huffpost Impact

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Justin Boreta Headshot

Freestyling and Teaching Kids at A Place Called Home (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

The story of my band, The Glitch Mob, could only have happened now. We've never had any features in any big magazines or even a label contract. Yet we have played almost every major festival in the country, sold out countless shows, and toured all around the globe. We have grown a cult following mostly through using free digital tools, giving our music away, religiously hanging out after shows, and interacting with fans online. Our debut album "Drink The Sea", which we released on our own label, Glass Air, made it to #2 on the iTunes Electronic chart, and cracked the Billboard electronic chart at #15.

While on tour to promote "Drink The Sea," we got to see the beauty that shaped the culture of each city we passed through, as well as the passion and strength of the people that lived through its tragedies. We visited Nashville only weeks after the flood and still spotted the X's that dot the front doors of many New Orleans homes. The fishing communities of the Gulf were still impacted by the oil spill and the impact of the recession could be seen at local mom and pop shops along the way. It's impossible to love our fans without caring about the problems within their communities.

When Brandon at Causecast approached me about an interview for his project where he talks to musicians about their role in social change, it struck me as an opportunity to jump in and do some volunteer work, instead of just talking at a camera. Brandon connected us with a program in South Central L.A. called A Place Called Home (APCH). APCH offers music and art classes to at-risk kids in the neighborhood. We had expected 10 kids to show up, but when we walked in we were told that all 60 kids, ages of 8 to 18, from the program had decided to come hear our story. We gave a general talk to everyone first and then had a more detailed Q&A in the music production class.

Teaching music production to kids was something we had wanted to do for a while. This is part of a bigger process for us -- exploring how to make the most of this new platform we're so fortunate to have. Creativity is a natural way for us to give back. We also have organized a "Drink The Sea" remix album for Haiti which is out Jan 12th.

During the workshop, my bandmates, Ed Ma, Josh Mayer and I talked about our creative process, music production, and the story of how our band came to be. The kids had fun and learned a few things -- but we were the ones who walked away most inspired.