THE BIG DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! If you donated $25 or more, you should have received a message through your Kickstarter profile with all the download information and an individual code for you to redeem on Bandcamp in exchange for "Saboteur"!
If you did NOT receive your message with the code, please let me know! I sent out a lot of messages all at once and it's possible some slipped through the spam cracks.
((( If you didn't hit the $25 donation mark, I still want you to get the music that YOU helped me make and release (since every penny counts), so read the P.S. at the end of this message! )))
Don't forget: Monday night, on the eve of the official release of "Saboteur," I'll be hosting an ONLINE LISTENING PARTY on Ustream, where I'll be video chatting with everyone live from my own personal listening party here in Seattle, followed by streaming the album online! We'll kick it off around 8pm PST. For all the fine-tuned details, RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/GNAsaboteur.
If you would like to reserve one of the 100 handmade physical copies of "Saboteur," you may do so at http://gardeningnotarchitecture.com/saboteur. About 20 copies have already been claimed!
As soon as you've had a chance to absorb the album, please share your thoughts and feedback online! Good or bad, your review will help generate much-needed interest and buzz for the release, which is NOVEMBER 22, 2011.
"WHAT ABOUT MY REWARD(S)" - you ask? I'm shipping out posters and photozines tomorrow. CDs are on order through the manufacturer but it looks like I won't get them back until after the tour, which ends in Florida on December 10th. Shirts will start going out next week (so make sure if you claimed a shirt Reward that you have sent me your size). If you made a video for the Kickstarter, send me your shirt size as well!
Last but not least: The Migration Tour kicks off a week from tonight! Check the list of cities and dates and RSVP to whichever shows you might be able to attend: http://gardeningnotarchitecture.com/shows.
It's been a long year and a lot of work getting to this point, and there is still a lot of work to be done, but I couldn't and wouldn't have made it here without your help, encouragement, donations, and support. I think about it every day as I sit here making things and working on my music and planning the next few months for G,NA. Thank you for helping me do the things I love to do on a daily basis.
Raggy thanks you, too!
P.S. If you missed the $25 donation mark, fear not! Just tune in to the online listening party this Monday night and let me know you're there (in the chat). Any Kickstarter Backer who attends the listening party will be sent a download code Monday night after we stream the album!
I've always enjoyed riding the bus. There is something really romantic about it. Listening to music, looking out the window, watching the people get off and on, trying to guess what their lives are like, having the occasional interesting or awkward conversation with strangers, watching the city go by... It always plays out like a music video or my own personal scene from a movie.
Today, I was riding the bus with my dog, and I didn't have my earbuds in like I usually do (to prevent those uncomfortable conversations that can come up -- especially when you have a cute dog in your lap). And so, today I met Lloyd: a 70-something, semi-delusional, rambling old man who took a liking to my dog and wanted to tell me about where he was born, and how the city has changed, and all the places he had lived in his life, and all the jobs he'd had, all the while pointing out the window at random buildings and houses and claiming to know the people who worked and lived in them. He talked about how his "body's been halfway around the world and back" and how he's "got a lot of memories" and doesn't just want to "sit around doin' nothin'." He also talked a lot about how he wondered what had happened to his friends in different parts of the world, and that he assumed they "were gone." He said he's survived so many illnesses and surgeries that he reckons "the man upstairs isn't ready for" him yet. He said a lot of other things that I couldn't quite make out, and I don't think he even heard my "Oh really?"s and "Wow, that's amazing"s. He got off the bus about fifteen stops before downtown Seattle, which is where he had claimed he was going, to "have coffee and visit the people who know" him. I watched him fumble for something in his pocket as the bus drove away.
Meeting Lloyd today, of all days, was very fitting, since today is the day I announce plans to put my stuff back into storage and head back out on the road for a few months (or more) of the gypsy life. Listening to Lloyd talk about his many adventures, jobs, and trips around the world (true or not) -- and his current frustration with "sitting around doing nothing" -- I was reminded of how precious youth is, and how easy it is to take it for granted until it's too late and you can barely muster up the energy to get on the bus, or the cognizance to know where you're trying to go. Even at my age, not quite old but no longer young, I still feel like I need to make up for lost time. Today, Lloyd reminded me that it ultimately doesn't matter if you make a lot of money or buy a house or do any of the things we think we are supposed to do by a certain age. What matters is that, when you get to be Lloyd's age, you feel like you made the most of the time you had on this planet, while you had the physical and mental energy to do so.
So, with that anecdote, I present to you THE GYPSY LIFE: VOLUME TWO.
Next month will be my last month in my Seattle apartment. I'll be selling whatever I have left to sell, on eBay, Craigslist, and even a yard sale next month. I'll be putting the rest into storage, and hitting the road with my dog and the incredibly talented Chris Staples for a two week tour that we have affectionately coined "The Migration Tour," which will take us down the west coast and across the south, to a small beach town near Pensacola, Florida, which will serve as my winter retreat and home base between the following tours:
Nashville Weekend (Dec 15-18)
South Florida Weekend (Jan 12-15)
East Coast Tour (Jan 20 - Feb 4) with SPECIAL GUESTS TBA
Myrtle Beach, SC
New York City, NY
New York City, NY
...and then? Who knows!
In NEW ALBUM news: we are in the mixing phase right now, while I sort out where and how to get the album mastered. If all goes as planned, I'll have the final master copy in my hand sometime in mid-November, to send to the Kickstarter Backers who claimed the advance copy reward. I'm not sure how I'll release it after that; it will take some time to get it into iTunes, but I think I'd like to put it out through my own site and/or Bandcamp, digitally, for free or donation first. I'll be making some handmade copies of the album for my shows, until I can afford to press the album for real!
THE MIGRATION TOUR will kick off in Seattle sometime in November (we are working on a date and venue), and I think I'm going to put together a band to play that show! We set up a separate Facebook Page just for the tour, where you can RSVP to your local show and get the latest info about the tour. If Chris and I do any touring together on the east coast this winter, we'll be using that same Page. There is also talk of us teaming up on a few cover songs together! We made a Tiny URL for the Page at tinyurl.com/themigrationtour, so we don't have to commit to a Facebook URL just yet.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you to my employers at Perfect Copy & Print in Seattle, who hired me in January and have supported me and my crazy schedule, from the EIY Tour to recording my album. They've always been understanding and encouraging about my music, even when I gave them the sad news that I would be leaving Seattle (and my job) for the foreseeable future. That awesome little print shop has been one of the few consistent things in my life this past year, and I'll miss it -- and my co-workers -- dearly! ♥
Now, it's time to start the engines...
"And so I reckon that I am now at the beginning of the beginning of doing something serious." - Vincent Van Gogh, in a letter to his brother Theo (1881)
Eight years is a long time. It's a long time for anyone, but it's an especially long time for someone like me: my longest relationship to-date was just over two years; my longest stay at any job was about a year and a half; my longest lease on an apartment was two and a half years; I onced leased a car for about four years; I moved to Portland when I was nineteen and it only lasted a couple months; my last band was together for just under five years; I ran my own company for three years before quitting to pursue music again; and I lived in Los Angeles for just over six years before putting my stuff in storage to commit to... whatever it is I'm doing now. In the past (nearly) two years, I've lived out of a suitcase and storage spaces longer than out of my own closet. I've toured the United States four times, toured Canada twice, moved to a new city, bought and got rid of one car, had my heart broken more than once, moved in and out of three different apartments, started and quit one day job, and -- now -- recorded one new album.
I'm sitting on a plane headed back to Seattle from Santa Ana, CA, listening to the songs that were born in the past three weeks, which I started writing at the beginning of this year. Some of them have gone through several phases before ending up in their final form. Some of them came to me in a matter of hours or even minutes. One of them didn't even exist when I got to the studio. This is the first time I've written an entire album's worth of songs in a concentrated amount of time, with the intention of making a full-length album out of them. My last album was a collection of songs I had written over the course of six years, with the help of a couple different friends, some of which had been recorded at least a couple different times. And after that album came out -- a retrospective collection of everything I'd been tinkering with since the end of my last band -- part of me assumed that would be the end of that. Given my history with commitment, I sub-consciously prepared myself for the probability that whatever "Gardening, Not Architecture" was, it would probably go dim after those songs had run their course.
In the past, any time that I encountered something bigger than a molehill in my life that I deemed too scary to scale, I would bail. I'd forge a new path and head in a new direction. When things started to slip out of my control, when the stakes got to be too high, when I was too much at risk of getting hurt, being disappointed, or worst of all -- failing -- I would simply shut down and squirm and wiggle my way out of the clutches of whatever was scaring me. I've figured this much out about myself in the past couple years, but I didn't know when I would encounter another seemingly-insurmountable wall.
I think the reason I've been able to stay committed to making this music for eight years is that I hadn't hit that wall yet. I have always been careful not to make a big deal of what I was doing. It was a "project" and an "experiment." It was a way for me to apply the tenets of my own "earn it yourself" philosophy. It was a way to travel. An adventure. My cabin-in-the-woods escape from society. It was an excuse to set off a bomb in my life and start over, from scratch. I gave myself a deadline, and told myself I had to either make it work or get it out of my system by then. That was all fine and dandy, and it worked, and everything was going well. I was on the right path again. This nonchalant approach helped me get things rolling without having to face any fears or look too far down the path. I've been plodding along and staying the course. Sure, I've hit some bumps and encountered some snags, and I've certainly had to push through a few barriers in the past couple years. But it wasn't until the beginning of this year that I started to see something coming up on my path ahead, something that appeared to be much, much bigger than a molehill. The Mountain.
This year has been an incredible, internal battle for me. Me against myself. Aside from the great, deep, and vast realizations I've made about myself and the way I've been interfacing with the world all my life, I also realized I needed to truly understand why I was so adamant about playing music and being poor and allowing myself to struggle when I could so easily get a good job, make a decent living, settle down somewhere and have a normal life. I knew I had to make another album if I was serious about playing music, but the overwhelming fear of failure, and that voice telling me I was crazy for trying to make this work, made me sabotage my efforts. I ran myself out of money touring and putting out my first album. On a whim, I moved to a new city where I had no friends, no job, and no family. I spent the first half of the year focusing on the Earn It Yourself website and tour, and made zero effort to book any shows. I got a day job and rented an apartment that I couldn't afford. Throughout all of this, every time I would pick up a guitar to start working on ideas, I would almost immediately put it down, practically scolding myself for thinking I could write any more songs. I could barely get anything recorded, which only made my fear grow bigger and stronger, as the clock continued to tick and the question "What are you doing?" got louder and louder in my head.
But somewhere in there, deep inside, some part of me was fighting. Some part of me saw the looming mountain in the distance, and knew that this was my chance to learn how to climb over it. This part of me also knew that I wouldn't be able to do it on my own. And almost with my even being conscious of it, this is the part of me that launched my Kickstarter campaign in July. That brave part of my inner self knew that if I could just send out a distress signal, I would get the help I needed to do this impossible thing.
And that's where you came in. With whatever you could give me -- a dollar or an email or a video testimonial or a check to help me pay my rent -- you reached out and pushed me forward, held me up, and told me to keep climbing. I didn't know what I was doing or what would happen when I got to the top, but I had no choice. So many people came out to meet me on my path that I couldn't turn and run. You gave me the courage I needed, and you blocked my escape route, which I never could have done on my own. I had to finish writing the songs, I had to schedule the time in the studio, I had to get on the plane, I had to face my demons, I had to climb The Mountain and I had to stay on The Path.
And the thing you gave me, the thing you placed for me on top of the mountain as my incentive and my reward, was an incredible plateau: three weeks of creative hibernation, meditation, and productivity. Three weeks away from my bills, my job, and my empty fridge, to simply be immersed in my art. YOU afforded me that luxury. YOU made this album happen, and everything I do from here on out would not have happened without YOU, pushing me up and over that mountain of fear. I would have procrastinated for another year, two years, five years. I would have talked myself out of it. I would have waited until it was too late. I was dangerously close.
So now it's time to climb back down the other side, and continue on the road ahead, with renewed purpose and energy for this thing I'm doing -- and also with some new strength that I didn't have before. I feel less worried about the future and more excited to see what happens next. The uncertainty that had built up over the past year is gone. I remember what I was doing, I remember why I started doing this, I remember which direction I wanted to head. Even though I'm eight years into it, I feel like I'm just beginning, like anything is possible. I'll never be able to thank you enough for giving me that gift.
"You might say, but why didn't you go through with university, continue as they wanted you to? To that I can only reply that it was too expensive, and besides, the future then looked no better than it does now, along the path I am now taking.
- Vincent Van Gogh, in a letter to his brother Theo (1880)
pledged of $5,000 goal
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Jul 13, 2011 - Sep 1, 2011 (50 days)
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Official Sponsor status and private blog access: Your name will be added to the list of "Official Sponsors" on the G,NA website, and you'll have access to my private Kickstarter blog detailing the progress of the new songs, planning for the studio, and in-the-studio exclusive daily updates even after the Kickstarter campaign has ended!
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Official Sponsor status and private blog access, PLUS: Digital download pack of G,NA music and extras: "First LP", "Remix EP", "Live at Hotel Cafe", both G,NA music videos, and some new wallpapers for your computer and phone!
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Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, PLUS: A digital advance of the new album before it's released, with an exclusive B-side track that will not be available on iTunes or on the CD.
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Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, PLUS: Handmade shirt featuring new stage design! If you've seen G,NA photos or live shows, you know that I wear a hand-painted shirt on stage. For the second album, there will be an entirely new "stage shirt," and you can be the first to own one!
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Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, PLUS: "The Collected Demos" limited pressing CD in hand-sewn paper sleeves, numbered and signed! I did not always go by the name Gardening, Not Architecture, and in fact I recorded several demos between 2003-2007 with my friends in their living rooms, bedrooms, and closets. I even posted the demos on Purevolume under two different band names over the years: We The Living and Alma. Now, for the first and last time ever, I'm going to release these demos in a limited run of 100 CDs. Hear the original pre-2007 versions of songs like "Buried in the Basement," "If You Only Knew," "Jabberwocky," and "Great Unraveling" -- plus long-lost demos! The CDs will be manufactured, but the sleeves will be handmade and numbered/signed.
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Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, PLUS: "The Gypsy Life" photo zine. Experience a year of traveling, sleeping on couches, and looking out car windows on the hunt for fulfillment through twenty pages of photos taken during my year on the road. Along with each photo, each page will include some of my favorite quotes and lyrics that inspired me along the way. I'll be making the zines myself, by hand, and will sign each one.
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Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, PLUS: Limited edition 18x24 silkscreened poster, on eco-friendly chipboard French paper, designed and printed by Verdilak and numbered and signed by both Verdilak and myself. This was a popular item in my last tour fundraiser, but we still have a few left!
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7 backers Limited (93 of 100 left)
Official Sponsor status, private blog access, digital download pack, limited edition poster, digital advance of the second album with exclusive B-side track, PLUS: "First LP: Instrumentals" the mastered, but never-before-released, instrumental version of the first album! I created this version of the album to have on file for soundtrack and other uses, but have been holding off on releasing it until I had good reason to. This is definitely a good reason! I'll be pressing the CDs through a manufacturer, but creating hand-sewn screenprinted canvas sleeves that are the inverse (black on white) of the original hand-sewn screenprinted canvas sleeves for "First LP," which you can view here: http://www.gardeningnotarchitecture.com/shop/first-lp-limited-15-00. Experience the first album in a whole new way!
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The Everything Pack: Get one of every single thing on this page, until the limited stuff runs out! HOLY SMOKES!
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Come up with your own reward item(s) and email the idea to sarah at gardeningnotarchitecture dot com. If I approve the idea, you can claim this reward! Please don't be foolish and claim this reward without running your idea past me first... duh.
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This is my Dream Amount, which would not only allow me to go to California and record my second album, but would also allow me to cover all of my living expenses AND put out an exclusive Kickstarter-only release of the second album on vinyl for everyone who donated! This version would have its own artwork with its own liner notes including the names of every single person who donated to this campaign, and would be available for only those people!