Graham Dietrich
Eric M. Gast, founder and CEO of FM World Charities, screens a concert attendee in Port Barcares, France. At right co-tour manager Crystiano Avigni.
NBC News
updated 10/7/2010 8:19:43 PM ET 2010-10-08T00:19:43

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with music producer, mixer and audio engineer Eric M. Gast about his work with FM World Charities and efforts to raise awareness about skin cancer.

FM World Charities is a nonprofit that promotes public health and tries to improve the quality of life in underserved communities around the world. The organization hosted free mobile free skin cancer screenings during a July-August tour of southern France in conjunction with a local music festival.

The organization also held a skin cancer screening event in central New Jersey at MusicFest  Sept. 8-12.

Gast is a heavy hitter in the music industry and during his 18 years in the business he has worked with the likes of Will Smith, Britney Spears, Kid Rock, Cissy Houston and James Moody. Most recently Gast started label/media companies in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Q: What is your involvement with FM World Charities?

Gast: I'm the founder/CEO.

Q: How did you get started working with this organization?

Gast: I created the group when I was starting music companies in Eastern Europe and wanted to do something to "give back" to those communities.

Q: Name one particularly memorable moment you have had while working
with FM World Charities?

Gast: There are many, but [one is] when a young rep for the charity told me, that not only was his life changed by helping so many people on one of our screening initiatives but that he had a new confidence in his own abilities of what he can achieve.

Q: What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Gast: The screening initiative on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour (where we raised awareness and did single mole screenings on over 6500 people, 700 of whom were suggested follow-up) because it seemed like the world was against us on that and everyone thought no one would show up, so we had very little support and we pushed ahead anyway.

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I'm also very proud of what we just finished in France over 2000 screenings in nine shows. France is one of, if not the toughest EU countries for outsiders to reach, so for an American-based world effort to have this kind of impact is monumental.

Q: What are the organization’s future goals?

Gast: To push ahead with our youth work in NYC and to introduce veterans’ initiatives that are somewhat specific to the young, new veterans who are very lost, having been involved in largely misunderstood campaigns.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Gast: FM's true equity is a direct link to the younger, music listening generation. We have managed to keep their respect by feeding them media that speaks to them and not down to them. That bond is crucial because we can deal with issues, nutrition, cancer, and empowerment from a place of respect and use that bridge to really make a difference.

Interview conducted via e-mail by Giacinta Pace.


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