Trying to choose ethically-made gear for music recording is pretty tough-going. There are few big players with pretty ropey reputations - Behringer's recent controversial attack on a music journalist springs to mind - but pretty much everything is made in China under frankly questionable conditions, and the few things that aren't, are fairly pricey. Big players like Moog can - and should - be

commended for operating a workers-first policy, even going so far as selling the business to it's

employees - but such benevolence comes at a cost that many simply can't afford. Here at 7000 Trees, we kitted our studio out with Aston microphones - a fairly new British company that is unusual in so far as they manufacturer their gear here in the UK. In the absence of anything approaching environmentally-sound recording equipment - though hopefully microphones made from recycled materials cannot be too far off - it is a blessing to be able to get hold of high-quality, professional microphones that are at least a step in the right direction. The microphones themselves are awesome - so awesome in fact you'd struggle to believe their somewhat modest price tag. We've spent the last couple of weeks tracking some vocals and reed instruments, and they provide a depth and clarity usually reserved for mics three or four times their price. Having recently finished working in a pro studio with far more expensive microphones by some of the big name brands, I can say from first hand experience that the Aston range - and their Spirit model in particular - hold their own in a mix with character and precision. Doesn't hurt that they were the most ethical microphones we could either.

We devised 7000 Trees to be an ethical business, and part of our ongoing journey is to figure out quite what that means. Some things are, inevitably, pretty far from ethical in any meaningful sense. I'm typing this on a Macbook, and sharing it to Facebook - companies that are hardly bastions of kindness and goodwill. And yet, for a new business, they provide services that, at this point at least, it is hard to avoid using. So what does an ethical business look like? And more pertinently, how can a new business with a limited income, facing all of the numerous struggles that plague all new businesses, follow an ethical path AND stay afloat? As 7000 Trees grows, we'll be documenting our journey, sharing the mistakes and successes as we strive to be an ethical, ecologically-minded entity. From the equipment we use to the partners we collaborate with, the places we market ourselves to the actions we undertake, we hope to explore the reality of running a 'good' business in the modern world.

The day has finally come - we are officially open for business! 7000 Trees is an arts-services company run for artists, and by artists. Our goal is to support early-stage creative practitioners, community groups, students, and hobbyists, to make the most of their creativity. We specialise in experimental and contemporary practice, with a strong focus on social, ecological, and ethical art-making.


7000 Trees was founded by Daniel Alexander Hignell-Tully and Leroy Copleston.

Daniel holds a Phd in composition, and has released work internationally as the sound, video, and performance artist 'Distant Animals'. His work has previously been shown at the Tate Exchange, Onca gallery, Cave 12, and many more.

Leroy is a photographer and musician with a Masters in Photography. Previously head-honcho at Treasure Arts, his work has been exhibited internationally, and included in Brighton Photo Fringe festival and Source photographic magazine, among others.


Ecologically-minded, research-orientated, socially-aware, audio-visual design.