Anjunabeats’ Nourey fights climate change by mixing MIT research and music
An Anjunabeats artist opening the Saturday festivities for this year’s Above & Beyond Group Therapy Weekend. She’s collaborated with fellow artist Anjuna Olan (who also performs at The Weekender), remixed BT’s “Where the Sun Meets the Sea” and released her own stellar solo productions.
Who is Nourey from Anjunabeats?
Her real name is Norhan Bayomi and whenever she isn’t churning out trancey tunes, she’s been busy as a postdoctoral fellow and manager of the Climate Change and Cities program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Norhan’s research focuses on the impacts that the environment and climate change can have on developing regions and how the role of the environment can play a role in addressing this issue. Using AI and other technologies, Norhan navigates towards a better understanding of construction and urban design, as well as appropriate adaptation strategies.
In November 2021, Above & Beyond, in collaboration with MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative, hosted an event in Boston to discuss the influence music communities and artists can have when raising awareness of environmental issues and climate .
After being introduced to MIT by Nourey, she, alongside her colleagues at MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative, will partner with Anjuna’s team to assess the climate footprint of their emissions and label operations. Over the next few months, the Anjuna team will release some of their findings with real actionable proposals for change that all of us as a community can lend a hand for a healthier planet.
Performing at the Gorge is not the only reason Nourey is present. She hosts a ‘We are all in the same boat’ Climate Q&Has with his adviser Professor John Fernandez and other artists of the Anjuna family on Saturday. On Saturday and Sunday, you are also invited to check out the MIT Climate AR experience, where you can immerse yourself in how music festivals interact with and impact the environment.
Learn how to be more sustainable this festival season
Ahead of the third edition of Group Therapy Weekender (ABGT250 included), we caught up with Nourey to discuss his new EP, the intersections of music and science, and all things sustainability/climate in the industry music.
Is there a way to use the research used in your studies for festival planning to improve the design of the festival structure to relieve attendees of the heat?
There are opportunities for deploying drones to map outdoor air temperature and identify locations with better levels of thermal comfort; however, the issue with tents could be a challenge to accurately monitor indoor air temperature, based solely on thermal imaging from drones.
Other technologies can help, such as air temperature sensors that can monitor thermal comfort levels and be very useful for large gathering spaces. For festivals, there is also an opportunity to improve thermal comfort by using means of evaporative cooling (water-cooled fans) which can affect the thermal comfort level of attendees.
How do you see virtual reality playing a role in building stronger connections in local music communities?
Virtual reality is an exciting alternative to the live immersive experience.
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Although I firmly believe that nothing can replace the live experience of attending a concert, there are untapped opportunities to use virtual reality and augmented reality. For example, one of the options we explored in our research in the MIT Climate Machine is how to integrate virtual reality or augmented reality as an option for live streaming of large festivals to reduce the number of spectators going to the site.
An interesting option shared by one of the Anjuna family members was to organize live band parties in different cities for major events like ADC, ABGT, etc., to keep aspects of live with the crowd without traveling .
Anjunabeats has long been a climate advocate. Learn more about their efforts to save the planet here
Besides on-site merchandise sales, what messages can Anjuna and the music industry as a whole use to reach their audiences looking for sustainable festival attire?
I think improving awareness of the emissions footprint of travel is a major concern that has yet to be fully communicated to the public.
Several ongoing initiatives are currently aimed at increasing awareness of the different modes of transportation. For example, I’m a big fan of Coldplay’s sustainability initiative and how they provide their fans with information about greener options in their live events. I hope to see more work on this front, especially at the point of ticket purchase, where fans can understand the best transportation alternatives.
It can also be supported by incentives such as reduced ticket prices to encourage people to change their behavior in a positive way.
How has your scientific journey been influenced, from playing in rock bands to becoming a producer/DJ?
Going to MIT changed my perspective on what is possible with research and technology; I have always been passionate about merging my passion for science and problem solving with music since I was in school; I originally wanted to go to music school instead of an engineer, but ended up going to architecture, which was the perfect intersection between art and engineering.
Find out what other festivals and artists are doing to save the planet
After signing with Anjunabeats, I had the chance to work with them to identify sustainable opportunities for their business, which allowed me to merge music and science. Additionally, working with my advisor and mentor, Professor John E. Fernandez, has given me the opportunity to explore other venues outside of traditional research areas, and that’s what motivated us both to start the MIT Machine as a multidisciplinary group that focuses on linking different scientific fields to industry, among which we are currently focusing on the music industry.
I’m super grateful for my journey where I had the chance to mix the best of both worlds, and I hope it can inspire more people to pursue their passion.
Can you tell us a bit more about the work and inspiration behind the creation of your EP For Ellie’?
Because Ellie is part of a larger concept EP called Meant to Be which is about why we need to overcome social barriers, accept others and learn to be who we are meant to be.
Each track comes with a specific message line related to the main idea of being aware of who we are and accepting who we are around. I was inspired when I read the story of Zanziman Ellie and how he was bullied for his condition, and it inspired me to write something about social acceptance and sharing kindness .
I had in mind that this EP can inspire the personal journey of understanding who you are and self-acceptance and a positive message to people who have been victims of appearance-targeted bullying. It’s scary when you look at the number of people who are victims of targeted bullying each year.
Balancing work and music has been a challenge; I try to dedicate time during my week to working on climate change and research, but it’s mainly the weekends that I devote the most to my music.
Tickets are still available with more information here.