Greta Van Fleet are celebrating the longest day of the year in a big way. The Grammy-nominated band is launching their new Summer Solstice Photo Auction on June 21, and auctioning off five framed photo prints they customized themselves, donating proceeds to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Bassist Sam Kiszka and drummer Daniel Wagner caught up with Billboard to chat about the creative process behind the project, the significance of the summer solstice and why supporting the environment is so important to them.
On their choice to partner with the EDF, Kiszka shared that while there were many organizations to choose from, ultimately the EDF felt “all-inclusive” to the band. “They do it all. They partner with big companies, and they essentially make it profitable to be low waste and efficient fuel,” he says.
The hands-on approach of this photo project was nothing new to them: “We drive people to insanity right down to the material and the design and every facet of it,” Kiszka says. The framed photos they’re auctioning off, for example, are adorned with pressed flowers that the rockers curated and affixed themselves.
“We’ve always been a fan of that approach,” says Wagner. “I remember years ago, Josh [Kiszka] loved just photocopying things, layering things on top of the picture.” The flowers were actually chosen to represent nature and reflect the project’s mission. After working on new music in Nashville, the band regrouped in the Great Smoky Mountains to delve into nature and get their heads in a different space. “We had a bunch of flowers pressed and just sat in our room and decorated [the photographs]says Wagner.
To the band, the summer solstice is an especially important time of year, which they have long celebrated. “We used to get together and invite all of our friends and stay up all night and play and sing at the campfire,” says Kiszka, adding, “It’s a magical time and I think that it’s a good reminder of what we have here on this planet and taking the time to acknowledge that.”
The “Highway Tune” performers hope this project will incentivize their fans to do their part to help the environment. “When it comes down to climate change, we’re all in this world together,” Kiszka says. “I think that education is a very powerful tool,” he added. On their end, the band makes very intentional choices when on tour, sticking to airlines and hotels that document their carbon footprint, as well as low-waste and compostable products.
Check out the frames below and shop the Summer Solstice collection here.