Seven Secrets of Snow is a album/collection of films and illustrations based on my compositions. It is a collaboration between 16 musicians, 3 film makers, and an illustrator. I really honestly think it's a damn fine record!
The Tale: I was writing music for a number projects in 2014, including a documentary by the London film makers who made 'Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus'. They were working on a film following the famous/infamous Russian clown Slava as he travels through Siberia. Using sketches I began for that film, I was fortunate enough to win an Artist Initiative grant from the MN State Arts Board for composition. As eternally grateful as I am for winning the grant, truth be told, it wasn't enough to fully cover making this project happen. With a year's deadline from the state to write/record/film and perform the whole thing, I set to work pulling together some of finest musicians and people you'll ever meet: Andy McCormick, Karen Majewicz, Chis Hepola, Eric Struve, Christa Schnieder, Philip Potyondy, and the Brass Messengers. While the sketches from Slava's film were the seeds of this whole operation, as soon as I dug in, the pieces grew into something far different and larger in scale. First off, this is the first time I've written an entire record on piano, and scored the whole thing out for a chamber orchestra note for note. I had to practice the piano hours everyday to somewhat play what I was hearing, then learned and cursed at Finale, and upped my skills in Protools to pull this off. Each piece became it's own story to me, which I then turned over to the visual folks to interpret. Chris Delisle, Christ Dahl, and Mark Brown compiled all sorts of footage both old and new, sincere and shocking for the accompanying films. Whittney Street illustrated each piece with whimsy and grace.
Kickstarter..eh? I've made many a record in the past, and the normal procedure has been to plant a bunch of seed money, and trust that folks with take to the record and I'll see a return. What is different about this one is that the scale is bigger, I'm getting older, and folks just don't buy as many records these days. I've been acting as the captain of sorts on this one, overseeing many moving parts and people working hard. I want to see that all the people involved can be treated/paid as profession alartists from the get go. Since there are so many people involved, and many of us have kids, we are not likely to see the scheduling stars align for us to perform this whole operation often. So I can't pound the pavement touring to sell records. Music is what supports my family, and I'm not in a position any more to go into debt taking years to pay off a record…but damn if I still don't want to make more of 'em! I'm hoping that with your generosity on the front end of this record, I can with clear mind and credit card, continue making more records and support other artists as well.
Where do the funds go? I've yet to pay for printing of CDs/download cards and artwork,($1800) and the guarantees I've made to cover the work of the film makers and musicians. ($1500) Any help you can offer, I take with sincere gratitude.
This record really means a lot to me, but in the early stages I tried to give up on it a few times…thankfully I stuck it out, as I'm a better composer and person in the end for it. Folks who know me, know that I often fall into pessimism. This project gave me a sense of faith in the "build it and they will come" idea.. It is humbling to put the heart on the old sleeve and ask for money for something you believe in, but I think this project is important enough.
Thanks so much.
Risks and challenges
The record is done, mastered and ready to go. Films are nearing completion and illustrations are dry and sent to press. We have a release date set for Dec 5th at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, so all signs indicate a successful send off. The biggest risk is that I have to make choices about which bill to default on after pursuing such an epic project. I risk not paying the musicians, film makers or illustrator what their talents and dedication to craft deserve. I do support my family solely by my musical endeavors, so not being able to continue doing music in the big picture is the greatest risk in curating such a big piece. Many times in the past I've gone far into debt to make records, and over years of many live shows, I can recoup. Since this is such a huge collective of extremely busy, in demand musicians, we are not likely to have scheduling stars aligning often for us to perform the whole work, especially outside of the twin cities. So, I have to rely on the generosity of folks to help me on the front end of making this record, which I do believe is my best to date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)