"Patchwork," is a studio celebration of many arrangements, musicians, and instrumentation, and "A Handful of Soil" is a raw, journalistic showcase of my most recent songwriting. Both albums represent work in progress and bringing elements together to put to higher use.
I am asking for support post-tracking, to help bring these works of art to their highest potential before printing, and to get them out to as many people as possible!
Here are some answers to the "big questions" about this project:
1. Why are there two albums instead of just one? Why did you choose to do a double release?
The band I was working with, Rabbit in the Rye, moved to New York City for a few months to work on a different project right in the middle of recording "Patchwork." In their absence, I became anxious, not knowing when or even if they would be back to finish. Another friend suggested that I record a "dirty little solo album" which is part of where the inspiration for the title "A Handful of Soil" came from. In the end, this one became just as important to me as the studio album. It is part of the same creative "snowball" of events. As they are both so essential, and I feel equally proud of both, it feels much like having twins instead of just the one I was expecting.
2. What are the 2 albums and what do they each represent? How are they each important to you as an artist?
"Patchwork" brought together many peoples' efforts, friends, local musicians, and took a considerable amount of time and attention from all who contributed, so like a patchwork quilt, was assembled with different shades, colors, and influences over the nine months it has been in progress. "Patchwork" was tracked at Zach Collins' Hamilton Music Studio, in collaboration with Rabbit in the Rye- Joe Mettler, Brendan O'Connor, and Alex Lavon. A couple of other Hamilton area musicians, Mason McDowell and Taiward Wider, are also featured on the album. This one is relatively highly produced, multi-layered, and instrumentalized. We experimented as we went along to hone in on what would best adorn each song.
"A Handful of Soil" is a solo album I recorded in my own childhood bedroom, which I converted for a few months, into a studio. It was tracked entirely by myself. This one, in production, is more bare-bones and raw. There is more of a focus on the lyrics, with only basic instrumentation, but the songs are more elaborate in content and mature in musical composition. In contrast to "Patchwork," "Handful of Soil" was created more organically and quickly, much like scooping up a handful of earth, rich and ready to be sown. I hope, one day, to record much of this material on a full-length album, with a full band.
3. Why is it important to have your music recorded? Give us some insight into the recording process? What are its perks and what are its challenges?
Having your music recorded is an invaluable tool in the promotion of your music. It is a form of communication that can flow indefinitely through the conduit of the internet and having it on hand when someone discovers you can mean the difference between them remembering they saw this cool artist a few months ago, and passing on your name to countless friends, who will then direct their friends and connections to your music.
Recording is an important way of communicating your music, because it gives you complete control over every aspect of your artistic vision, so you can refine the music to be exactly the way you hear it in your head. It is much like painting your songs- details can be painted over until the correct result is reached. The biggest challenge in recording is that it is tedious and time consuming for all involved. It is a huge undertaking.
4. What important messages or themes in your music do you think listeners might identify with?
I write about struggle, anything raw, and pungent, and things that drive people. Longing and satiety. Precipice and sanctuary. Resilience and demise.
I am highly influenced by my upbringing in Upstate New York, appreciating, valuing the "small" things, hardworking people, the environment, and creatures. I have written everything from fairy tales to human rights anthems, wailing bluegrass numbers to sweeping love songs, so hopefully I have something each someone's heart can grip or toe can tap to.
5. What is important to you about writing music and the opportunity to share it with an audience?
The reason I write, almost always, is to heal, to figure out how to look at something differently if it is bothering me, and to help my perspective to evolve. I often learn valuable lessons while I am writing. Sharing my music with an audience is a unique opportunity to deliver that which I have conceived, and I can only hope that the messages in my songs are being delivered in such a way that they might reach someone, help them work through some tough time, or breech some sort of obstacle. The very best thing, and the most rewarding for me, is when I've inspired somebody. If someone comes to me and says, "your music inspired me to make a change in my life for the better," or "encouraged me to pursue my own passion" or "be more myself," then I consider my job well done.
6. How long have you been writing and how have you grown since you started?
Growing up in a musical family, I was always encouraged to invent my own artistic projects, including writing my own songs, so my songwriting process goes as far back as age 8 or 9. However, the first songs I wrote in which I was able to viably communicate my vision, were at age 16, on the guitar. So, seriously, I have been writing for about ten years. Since then, I have picked up 3 more stringed instruments, and write on each of them: Ukulele, Mandolin, and Tenor Banjo.
My early work was very cathartic, very much just an outpouring of emotion, pure and raw. As I've grown, I've become more adept at the craft of songwriting, designing an architecture for each song and knowing what I want to say before I've even started.
7. What expenses are involved in the process of this project? What will people be helping with if they contribute to this kickstarter?
Tracking and Mixing at Hamilton Music Studios: 700
Mastering at Subcat Studios: 1000
Printing 1000 copies each through Oasis: 2270
Promotional Materials and Merchandise: 1000
Promotional Tour: 1000
8. And what will they get in return?
For your contributions, I have many things to offer in return, ranging from merchandise directly related to this project, to various things homemade by me. The most basic rewards are, of course, the albums themselves, T-shirts, and posters of the album artwork. Some special rewards include singing telegrams, house concerts, and "Spirit Animal" masks. The papier machee fox mask featured in these photographs was crafted by myself and Ellen Fagan, and painted by me. I will be personally making all of the masks ordered through this kickstarter.
9. What do you hope to accomplish in your musical career (near future, and longterm)
-print "Patchwork" and "A Handful of Soil"
-find and work with a band
-create performance videos
-record full length albums
-create theatrical music videos
-collaborate with animators to produce animated music video
-raise awareness for some of the issues in my songs: save the Amazon and other human rights
-always and everywhere I go, to write more music!
Risks and challenges
The only big challenge I can forsee in the completion of this project is in actually reaching the licensing and printing of the albums. It has been an arduous, detail-oriented, time-consuming process tracking them, so the mixing and mastering may prove to be just as unpredictable and as much of an investment. I am and will continue to be devoted to the quality of my work and how it is manifested. At any rate, of course I will push through to the end to make sure I get these rewards to my contributors as soon as possible! I will make sure to keep my contributors appraised of any setbacks along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (36 days)