About this project
*** THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED US REACH OUR FIRST GOAL. OUR STRETCH GOAL IS $20,000. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO PRODUCE AN ALBUM OF HIGHER QUALITY AND DO A BETTER JOB OF PROMOTING IT WHEN ITS FINISHED! ***
*Click here to get a sense of the costs involved in making this album (and this kickstarter campaign.)
*Click here to find out more about how you can get additional songs and content by referring backers!
Hi. My name's Cheney.
And this is how it starts.
It starts with you. It starts with us.
I've been teaching middle school English for the last 8 years. First in Brooklyn and then in Newark, NJ. I've also been playing music and writing songs since I was in middle school. And ever since high school, I've had two passions: music and education. Until now, music has taken a back seat; it's been a side-gig, a hobby, something I squeezed in when I had the time and energy.
But now, with the help of you and Kickstarter, I'm giving music the time, energy, and money I think it deserves. Starting in July, I'm taking a year to focus on recording an album with my band and touring. And I need your help to do it.
Teaching in Newark, I met Will Roble.
He taught 6th grade Math on the floor above me. When I found out he played the drums, we started messing around on our school's stage after work. At first, it was just a way to unwind after a day of teaching. We started playing for friends and co-workers in a dive-bar in Jersey City. Then we played some bigger gigs at an Irish bar in New York called Paddy Reilly's. Without Will, there would be no Tacoma Narrows. Will currently heads up a middle school math program for a network of schools in New York and Connecticut.
I met our fiddle player, Jason, at a Sunday night bluegrass jam.
Within no time, he became an essential part of the band. Jason grew up singing in a traveling boys choir and played in Vanderbilt University's old time string band. His musicality and attention to detail really helped us take ourselves more seriously as musicians. Known for being a fierce and ornery taskmaster during rehearsals, he continually challenges us to think differently when it comes to harmonies, dynamics, and arrangements. In his “day job,” Jason is a medical student who is passionate about fixing the healthcare system.
Jim came to us last year.
He went to college with Will and they used to have crushes on the same girls. He infused our band with a contagiously raucous energy and our songs with upbeat and subtle bass runs. Watching Jim perform, you cannot help but smile. Jim makes sure that none of us take ourselves too seriously. One night, after playing a show that we thought we botched, we were all brooding and feeling down on ourselves. Jim circled us all up and gave us each a forceful slap in the face (he didn't really hold back) and bought us a round of whiskeys. He is currently working on finishing his PhD in political science.
Luca is the most recent member to join Tacoma Narrows.
Ironically it was abroad, in Florence, that Luca developed and honed his passion early on for electric blues guitar. When he returned to the states he started playing with different bands, opening for acts such as the Strokes and Dickey Betts around the Northeast, and it was in doing so that he met Will. Will and Luca immediately connected over a passion for driving, stripped-down backbeats and a raw, unkempt guitar style, and started their own band in college. Several years later, after pursuing his work in the film industry as a director of photography, Luca moved back to New York City, and through Will was introduced to Cheney and Tacoma Narrows. Luca trades off on mandolin and electric guitar for the songs, but is always seeking out a way to lend a pentatonic skew to the melodies. Until Jason yells at him.
Together, we're Tacoma Narrows.
We love hanging out with one another and shooting the shit. We love pushing each other to be more musical and take more risks. We've played at places like The Bowery Electric and Rockwood, places that a year ago I would never have dreamed of playing. Here is a live show at Paddy's we played recently.
I've written over 60 songs. Over the past few years, we've rehearsed and performed dozens of my originals. Working on these songs together, they are no longer my songs. They are our songs. We've selected 12 of them to turn into an album and we are REALLY proud of them. We've been careful to chose a variety of tunes. From rollicking tracks like "Life and Love" and "All Because of You" that inevitably get people up and dancing, to slower and more ominous ballads like "New York Armageddon" and a "Certain Kind of Light."
The songs differ not just in their energy, but also in their lyrics. We have songs about acknowledging and reveling in the impermanence of life and inevitability of death. We have songs about unrequited and requited love. Songs about robbing the local bank with your lover. About one-night stands gone wrong. About the 20 minutes leading up to Armageddon. About family and friends, priests and prostitutes, dancing, gravity, wise alcoholics, the building up of and aftermath of hurricanes. We sing about waiting for the one you love, smoking angels, blow-up dolls, and a cemetery in Brooklyn. Our hope is that when you listen to the album, two things will happen: 1) you will relate to some part of them and 2) you will not think, "All these songs sound the same."
Click here for a detailed budget: http://bit.ly/TNBudgetPDF
Like I said in our video, most professionally produced albums cost at least $50,000. We think we can put together something of high-quality with $15,000. To be honest, I have already put $3000 out of my own pocket into the campaign itself. With the 5% that Kickstarter takes, we will really be operating with $10,000, assuming we meet our goal exactly. It's our hope that we can clear at least $20,000 to really do the songs justice.
We will be using the money for creating and sending rewards, recording, mixing and mastering, packaging, distributing and promoting the album. If there's money left over, we will use it to fund a tour in the north east. It adds up very quickly and you can be sure that we will take every opportunity to cut costs without comprising quality.
In college, I took a physics class. We started studying wave theory. In order to demonstrate oscillating waves and aeroelastic flutter, the professor used the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington as an example of force resonance.
The original Tacoma Narrows bridge opened on July 1st, 1940. Under high wind conditions, the design of the bridge's deck caused a slight "buzz" or "flutter." These slight vibrations began to reinforce themselves until the bridge was twisting and turning like a ribbon. In the end, the tension grew to a point that the bridge could not withstand, and it collapsed on November 7th, the same year it opened.
In my over-intellectualizing and overly analytic college head (not dissimilar to my current one) the bridge, for those four days, represented a rapturous balance or tension between humans' drive to give form to the world, to shape and bend nature to our needs and desires, and the inevitable moment when nature reasserts herself, taking back what we have so carefully constructed. In a beautiful and disastrous gesture, Tacoma Narrows shows the illusion of permanence and inevitability of destruction. The trick is not to interpret its collapse as morbid, but a profound condition of life and death.
Gary Peterson made an ink drawing of a man dancing on the bridge while it twisted and danced in the wind. It seemed to me that this was a gorgeous image of a life well-lived. Of someone taking risks, facing the impermanence of life not with nihilism, but with celebration. I'd want to think that music can do the same thing. Ephemeral by nature, music is another example of humans creating form out of chaos and, at its best, acknowledges the brevity of our stay on earth and helps us meet that realization with hope and reveling rather than despair.
Our hope is that the rewards offer both something that you would actually want to wear, hang up or listen to. Something you would want to own. We also want our rewards to bring Tacoma Narrows closer to you, our backers. Because you are, quite literarily, our label, we hope that your money feels less like a donation and more like an equal exchange. If you have any ideas for rewards that are not up here, please email us!
Tacoma Narrows Backer Exclusive Soft Tee
Tacoma Narrows Backer Exclusive Tank Top
Tacoma Narrows Backer Exclusive Hoodie
Tacoma Narrows Backer Exclusive Undies
Gary Peterson Ink-Print of Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Framed or Unframed)
*** NEW BACKER THANK YOU VIDEO ***
Risks and challenges
We will have a team, made up of myself, family and friends to get your rewards and gifts to you in a timely manner. We will be accessible to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
If anything, recording the album will take a little longer than we plan, which tends to be the nature of these things. But in the end, we are completely confident we will be able to release and send you the album and rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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