About this project
NEW TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT (CHECK UPDATE #9)!!
UPGRADE #2 PLUMPIN' PLEDGES IN PROGRESS (CHECK UPDATE #8)!
UPGRADE #1 @ $9988 DONE! We're now turning the CD and Vinyl sleeves into slick, full color gatefolded jackets, adding another t-shirt design to choose from, and sprinkling Teach Me Equals guitar picks in to all pledge envelopes over $15! THANK YOU!!
Our unreleased, brand new music video, starring Greg Pitts (Office Space, Coyote Ugly), is available NOW to all our Kickstarter backers! The link and password can be found in the Backers Only update, #6.
After more than 3 years of hard work, consistent touring, and DIY convocation, Teach Me Equals has returned from a most sober vision-quest with a debut album, a new record label with physical distribution in 14 countries, and thrilling tour plans for the coming year! We are casting deep into the karmic well for the resources we need to attain our highest potential.
The Shift From DIY TO DIT
Last year, we built an analog tape studio in our living room in Sarasota, FL to document our most joyfully quixotic compositions to date, and then moved onto the road into a pop-up camper and toured 43 states and Canada for 7 months, booking our own shows, burning CD-R's and screen-printing shirts in our hosts' basements and attics.
It was a whirlwind of an adventure, but we found the limitations of our abilities to do EVERYTHING. We are pretty good at wiling out in front of strangers, booking our own shows, and touring nonstop. But we run out of time and (OH CRAP WHADDYA MEAN STAPLES IS CLOSED AND WE'RE OUT OF PRINTABLE CD-R's AND WE HAVE A 10 HOUR DRIVE TOMORROW?) resources trying to do it all, all the time. And so, we're shifting from Do It Yourself to Do It Together.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO THIS!!!
We set up this Kickstarter to help cover some of the costs of making and releasing this album, AND to give those of you that choose to support us a chance to get exclusive trinkets (test pressings, custom t-shirts, posters, acoustic tracks, shredded cello bows) and advanced copies of our record on whatever medium you choose. Being analog lovers, We are most excited about the beautiful, limited edition colored vinyl that Furnace Record Pressing will be shipping your way!!! (Musician friends, check them out! They've been super swell to us)
If you're unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is an all-or-nothing deal (Here's an FAQ). If you'd like to pledge, select the reward you would like and enter the amount you'd like to pledge for it. All payments are processed through Amazon, so it's safe and secure. And your card is only charged on July 9 IF we meet our goal. If we are unable to raise all of our goal, we receive none of the pledges and your card is not charged.
When we meet our goal, we are sending the link to download our entire album as soon as the campaign is over and putting in our order for our records to be pressed. All of the album, t-shirt, baloney book, and poster awards will be assembled and shipped about a month before our album officially comes out mid-September (barring delays at the vinyl manufacturing plant, which would push the whole timeline back).
Our goal of $8,888 covers about half of what it will take to give Knives In The Hope Chest the best chance for survival in the wilds of the modern music industry.
Here is how the costs of the entire album release break down:
- Tape and recording-related purchases: $700
- Mixing and Mastering - $2000
- Cello bows - $1200
- Instrument repair, maintenance, and replacement of equipment that didn't make it out of our last tour alive - $2000
- PR - $6000
- CDs - $1200
- Vinyl - $2700
- T-shirts, stickers, etc - $800
THE LIFE STORY AND OUR LONG-TERM MISSION, FOR THE BRAVE ONE THAT MADE IT THIS FAR
Since our inception in 2011 as Bard and Mustache, we've been engaged in an epic journey tale that is, admittedly, so surreal and zany that it is difficult even for us to look back and acknowledge that... yup, all of it amounts to one hell of a true story. We have criss-crossed North America with utter reverence, we have challenged ourselves as song-writers, players, recording engineers, and self-made business people (something neither of us could have foreseen when we began almost four years ago). And ultimately, we have forged a lifestyle for ourselves that is the most triumphant and sacred anomaly we never could have imagined.
While this record officially begins our career as an ensemble, it also begins a legacy of releasing music by Teach Me Equals, tertiary projects, and the work of trusted friends who we believe will expand greater consciousness through honest, thoughtful, aural art. With Minorlit Records, we will now be able to bring this kind of uncompromisingly head-strong music to digital markets in over 3 dozen countries, and stores across America -from mom and pop record shops to big box stores.
We are on the brink of achieving a milestone for ourselves and offering up to anyone who will listen, now and forever, a body of work that starts with Knives In The Hope Chest, our debut album, and ends at the bottom of all of our rainbows, where the color clots and finally ceases to aerate our wildest dreams (never).
Simply, we are thrilled to be heard and cannot thank you enough for helping us resound.
Risks and challenges
We consider Teach Me Equals to be a part of a greater legacy of diverse artists: musicians, writers, thinkers, inventors, filmmakers, survivalists, etc., who invoke an ethos of self-reliance and focused community building to make the seemingly impossible not only possible, but also economical and ecologically as well as politically sound. In short, we are Queer-positive, pro-feminist, and proudly DIY/ DIT (Do It Yourself/ Do It Together), and this bears several implications that are pertinent to the "Risks and Challenges" of this particular project:
For those of you who are involved or intimately familiar with the DIY/ DIT arts community, you already know that essentially ANYTHING can happen. For those of you who are new to all this, welcome :) and please trust us when we say that it is a jungle out there, and snakes are the last thing we are worried about...
As a completely independent touring band, we often operate on trust alone. Every day, we trust that with proper maintenance and extra vigilance, our automobile, our equipment, and our health will get us to the next show night after night. We trust that the promoters and venues who book us will host a good show for us and pay us fairly. We trust somehow, some way, we will find a safe place to park our camper or a pull in our sleeping bags for a good nights rest.
Of course, there are no guarantees with any of this. All we can do is plan as wisely as we know how, and be ready to adapt if the situation calls for it. (Thankfully, we have gotten very good at adapting over the years). Overall, the risks of this lifestyle are higher than others, and we are OK with that. We are used to it at this point, and about the worst thing we could imagine (barring total cataclysm) is to lose a series of shows or if we are unable to book all of the shows that we need to over the 6 month tour. And if that happens, we'll probably wait out lull periods in the woods to conserve money and gas. We've done it before; it's actually kind of fun.
Everything else, quite simply, is a matter of time, money, and energy. We have certainly been putting the requisite time and energy (over 20 years combined experience as professional musicians), and have been budgeting for this release since the completion of our last 7-month US tour (Feb. 2014). With the funds that we have reserved, projected sales of albums and t-shirts, and hopefully, the funds from this campaign, we are completely on track to meeting the goals that we have outlined herein. Frankly, the really hard work has been done for quite some time -this, here, is the fun part.
Last, but certainly not least, we would like to address the concept of "success". This fundraiser touches only lightly on the element of success and what it means to us. We do hope that our record is heard and that our tour is attended, as it will undoubtedly make it easier for us to continue touring and releasing music in the future. However, it is important for us to acknowledge that we do not weigh our success on how many records we sell or how many people we can pack into a club in a given city. Not by any means. We view success as the ability to do what you love (in our case, express ourselves artistically), and share it with people in a way that promotes a meaningful exchange. Hopefully we won't starve, but yes, that is a risk and a challenge that, frankly, we'll handle if we have to, just like everything else.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We started Minorlit Records out of necessity, really, because we finagled ourselves a physical and distribution contract.
Yes, we are self-funded, but with our tour, a pro PR firm, and this physical distribution, we're about as close as we could ever imagine to being signed to a big label WITHOUT losing control of the expenses racked up in our name.
A distribution company is, long story short, the salesman that establishes relationships with record stores and sales channels of all types, including digital marketplaces (Amazon, iTunes, etc), independent record stores and big chain stores, and maintains the stock and accounting for labels they distribute.
Because we started our own record label, we will be working with Burnside Distribution, who will be our representative to each of those digital channels and record stores.
Without representation, the digital part is pretty easy. BUT, to get a record into a store, the band would have to contact each store INDIVIDUALLY and set up an agreement for the store to either to buy the records outright (which is extremely rare) OR allow the band to consign them, which requires the band itself (IF the store is even amenable to doing so, which is also rare) to check the stock, see how sales are going, follow up on receiving payment, picking up extra stock that isn't purchased, etc etc.
With Burnside, they have not only a trusted, working relationship with the record stores but they also have a system in place in which ordering records to stock is easy and reliable. A customer can walk in to almost any record store, ask for our album and it can be delivered in a matter of days, right alongside the Medeski Martin & Clyde + Nels Cline album. IN 14 COUNTRIES!!!
Pretty f-ing cool, right?
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