(Sergey Tretyakov, under the name Serge Razor, writes the music for “Diegram,” an electronic band from Russia. The song with audio samples from Q 932 is “Towards Freedom,” Track 3 of Machines Don’t Cry. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Usually before I start to compose a new track of music, I look for an emotional and meaningful voice, something that will inspire me. I was listening one day to audio samples on the internet, and came across a voice I had never heard before. It started off in a simple and commonplace manner, until I heard the following:
You’re not free with your Cadillac. You’re doing just exactly what the man wants you to. Buy his goods, so you’ll never have any real economic freedom. He wants you to buy everything, advertises on TV, so he’ll keep you perpetually owing your soul to the company store. You’re not free! You’re a slave!
I was surprised. It was a strong, brave and unusual message. But the audio clip had no any information about the speaker. Who was that man? After an hour of searching I found the page which contained these words, and the larger text from which they came. Q 932, a tape recorded by a man named Jim Jones, was exactly what I needed. I liked every word he spoke, I remember thinking, everything he said is true, and his voice was soothing, intriguing. I wondered who Jim Jones was, and thought that if I heard it in real life, I would have followed him. I chose passages that seemed to me the most interesting and started to work on my track.
Now I know who Jim Jones was, and that the tape – an address recorded in Redwood Valley in 1972 – predated a unique event of American history by six years. I know that all that is connected with Peoples Temple is rather ambiguous and controversial, not only because of the tragedy of Jonestown’s end, but because of its ideals and principles on racial equality during its life. I read the official story about what happened in November 1978, and then the alternative views of the Jonestown tragedy.
Being a Russian citizen as I am, I don’t think I have the right to make any conclusions about this American group. However, I do realize there is real confusion what can be called a cult. I also know, no government will tolerate the existence of a community with principles which are so divergent from society’s. One thing I think I can say from my perspective, and that is the Cold War between capitalism and socialism was a dangerous time – with the world facing the real prospect of nuclear annihilation – and part of the hysteria which emerged during the period made its way to Jonestown, where it played a part in the community’s death.
Nonetheless, my music track which captures the essence of Tape Q 932 isn’t about the tragedy, it’s about who we are. I like the words of Jim Jones about the cult of consumption. I think this cult is every bit as dangerous as any religious group, especially since, somehow or other, we are all serving that cult. Let his words make us think about that. If you can’t think about the whole of mankind, you may think about a fish or a seagull: Every time you buy a plastic bottle, at least one seagull or fish will die. Slave or not, let everyone needs to decide for himself. I have decided for myself.