With only three weeks left of a crowd funding campaign aimed at raising the funds to press our new album onto vinyl, this article attempts to explain why we are on this journey.
I just ordered a record from Shawn Smith, a Seattle-based singer-songwriter that I have admired for many years. The record took two weeks to arrive from America. When it came in the post, wrapped in its cardboard packaging, I felt a feeling of excitement as I read the handwritten address and held the physical product. I put it on my record player, dropped the needle and listened.
In contrast I recently subscribed to a Spotify premium account. I had resisted this form of music streaming for years. I had felt hard done by due to the minuscule amount of money I receive when my music gets played through this platform. However, since that subscription I have been able to explore more new music and artist back catalogues then I ever have done before. I can flick through music and swipe it away on my phone if it doesn’t hit the spot.
Spotify, to a musician, is like a painters on-line gallery, it gives you an insight which you can scroll through before being distracted by a new Facebook post. Vinyl is like the painting that hangs on the wall. It has a physical presence, a timeless realness that will live on for many years, long after Spotify ceases to exist.
In this world we need both. The amazing ability to explore the world digitally before honing into the music that really pulls at you. Not only does the physical product move you psychologically closer to the artist, its purchase helps you directly support the musicians involved.
I have been an independent musician for twenty years. I have somehow managed to self finance four albums and two EPs that I am very proud of, as they reflect my life through music. However, being independent with no financial backing means that I have to be very creative when funding projects.
In the case of our new album ‘Fossils Of The Mind’ myself and drummer, Weasel Howlett, funded the recording time through live performances. We rehearsed, performed and made demos until we were totally confident in the arrangements and parts we had to play. We then nailed the backbones of the album, the piano, drums and vocals in just two days at Real World Studios.
The cost of vinyl manufacture is as much as the recording and it would take us another year or two of playing live to fund. This takes the momentum out of the project. In 2012 I successfully funded the creation of an album ‘This Too Shall Pass’ with my band, The Home Fires, through Kickstarter so have first hand experience that crowdfunding can work.
Crowd funded projects are no given though. Plenty fail. Over the next few weeks I will continuously feed the social media machine and the limited music networks I have access to, to bring attraction to this campaign and hopefully encourage people to pre-order our album. This is a slog and I will probably get ‘blocked’ on many people’s feeds as they no longer wish to hear about me banging on about my project. The thing is, if I don’t do it, no-one else will – especially at the beginning.
Crowd funding is a wonderful way of funding creative projects. It allows people to directly help grass-roots artists on their journey and give them a genuine helping hand. A few weeks after the campaign ends you actually get to own a piece of the journey that you helped create. Now that is special.
“Golden Ratio” a new release from our forthcoming album….