First Light Circus

Frankfurt, Germany

A Dystopian Place


Behind the Music

Addressing the feelings of listeners and helping them establish an emotional connection to a piece of music is one of my most important goals as an artist, because it usually means I’ve made an impact on them. For something like The Outlaw Ocean Project, the music not only stands alone, but also functions as a supporting element to heighten the impact of Ian’s reporting. As such, it was important for me to use specific instruments and sounds that enabled listeners to imagine the whole world of The Outlaw Ocean and experience it with all of their senses. 

Every piece of art tells a story. For Ian and his book, it’s the untold stories of the lawless sea. For my musical contributions, I did my best to come up with touching, emotive and raw compositions that make listeners dive into what Ian reports while leaving a lasting impact on them to actively engage with critical issues such as these.

This project of melding journalism with music was an entirely new experience for me — something I’ve never done or seen before. Personally, the most exciting part of this process was having the opportunity to interact with these critical issues and topics in a unique way. I’ve been trying to find ways to somehow help make the world a better place through the things I love for a while now, and being a part of The Outlaw Ocean Music Project was the perfect way for me to do so.

First Light Circus
About First Light Circus

First Light Circus is the ambient endeavor of German multi-instrumentalist and music producer Jon Winterstein. The music focuses on creating lush and dreamy soundscapes, laced with an everlasting sense of nostalgia.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

Learn More