Moth Equals

Bristol, England



Behind the Music

The Outlaw Ocean shows how the sea can be both a place of opportunity and out-of-sight horrors. I want to reflect this idea in my music by shifting between moods of optimism and anxiety. I also want to capture some of the dichotomies inherent to the environment — there’s nature at its wildest versus man-made metal vessels, glorious open air versus cramped, damp cabins and warming sunshine versus thundering storms.

The chapter “A Rusty Kingdom” is a twisty tale that shows how truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction. I am amazed that nations, even bizarre and tiny ones such as Sealand, can exist, for better or worse, because of sheer tenacity and opportunism. I find “Storming the Thunder” a particularly inspiring chapter, detailing how Sea Shepherd carried out the longest maritime pursuit ever recorded. If the open ocean is the Wild West, the Sea Shepherd crew are the good-hearted vigilantes chasing down the bandits who hop the border.

But "Sea Slavery" is the chapter that moves me the most, and serves as the inspiration behind my contribution, 'Blackbird.' It recounts how a fisherman called Lang Long was left a shadow of his former self after enduring modern slavery. It’s shocking that in this day and age, people are still being turned into chattel, exploited and traded, often with impunity. It gives me hope, however, that charities such as Stella Maris are helping to emancipate victims, even if they are only able to treat the ‘symptom,’ rather than the ‘disease.'

Moth Equals
About Moth Equals

Moth Equals is a British producer specializing in electronic music with a lean towards a darker mood, who can be heard on BBC radio, YouTube and other streaming services.

Winner of the 2021 Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

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