What we do:
We write songs about robots for SparkFun's annual robot competition, the Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC). Each year, we get a list of team names and write an original song for most of the teams. Sometimes the song revolves around one single riff and the refrain is simply the team name repeated a few times. Sometimes it's a jam that lasts for a few minutes and we make the lyrics up on the spot. Most songs are 1-3 minutes long, so it often feels like a rockin' roller coaster of jams. One thing is for sure though, we have fun!
As the event has grown, we have kept some of our favorites, such as "Doughnuts, Coffee, Muffins" and "Auto Crusher". But with new entrants each year, we continue to adventure into new songs and experimental sounds.
For the event, we set up our stage right next to the starting line. As each team sets up their robot to compete, we play their song. It's always a great crowd of people, and we have a blast sharing the new tunes!
For this years event, we were able to get a recording of our live set. Click on the play buttons below to have a listen, or you can listen/download them at our soundcloud here.
Spicy Sky (team name: Flying Jalepeno)
Lost My Chicken Head (team name: The Headless Chicken)
Lawn Dart (team name: Lawn Dart)
Here's a pic from the starting line at AVC 2011:
And here's a video from the event. All of the music featured in this video was performed by the AVC band from 2011.
The line up for this year:
The musicians that make up the band are part of the SparkFun team.
Pete Lewis, Quality Control Manager (aka Testing Guru), Bass guitar and Vocals.
Matt Johnson, Assembly Technician, Rhythm and lead electric guitar and vocals.
Casey Dentinger, IT developer, Drums and Vocals.
We feel so lucky that SparkFun encourages us to have this band. We are part of a community of people that enjoy creating - whether it's electronic gadgets or music. When the AVC comes around each year, the band comes together to create a bunch of new songs. For those few weeks leading up the event, this is our big project.
Our song writing process:
Our rehearsal space:
When we need a break, we go hang with the chickens.
Casey's drums: Gretsch Kit. No Crash, No rack tom, Just Ride and Hats :)
Matt's Guitar setup: American Standard Tele, Amp: Savage 30 watt. And some fun pedals. Oh man, ya just gotta dig that old surfer sound!
Pete's Bass: In his other musical projects, Pete primarily plays a baritone electric guitar, but for this round of AVC, he hopped on his Fender Squire bass and a sweet tweed fender amp.
We'd like to go into the studio for 2 solid sessions. This will give us plenty of time for setup, tracking, mixing and mastering. Luckily we have a buddy in Bloomfield, CO that can hook us up with a great rate. Thanks Joe at San Luis Sound!!
Here is a breakdown of the projects costs:
Recording/Mixing/Mastering: 2 x 8-hour days (16 hours total) at San Luis Sound, Broomfield CO. 16 hours @ 45/hour = $720.
Duplication of CDs: Diskmakers Eco-pack QTY 1000 = $800. + $100 shipping = $900.
Band Photo: Hire photographer friend for a band shoot = $50.
Graphic Design (CD and Poster): Hire a graphics designer friend = $50.
Duplication of Poster = $150.
CD mailers = $150
Poster mailing tubes = $40
Mailing CDs: $2 USPS domestic per (goal of about 300) = $600
Mailing Posters: $2 bucks per (goal of 50) = $100
Add about 8% for Kickstarter and Amazon fees = $200
Total cost to pull this off: $2,960.
We really feel that these songs about robots need to be shared with the world! This project is the means for reaching a much larger audience. Please support us on this mission to make a killer recording!!
Thanks for all your support!
Pete, Matt, Casey, and the SparkFun crew