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You name the tracks. We write the songs. Inspiration crowdsourced!
46 backers pledged $2,037 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$2,037

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What is Titled?

Titled is a concept album of instrumental music that could range from the ethereal, ambient sounds of Brian Eno to massive noise walls. Honestly, how it sounds is largely determined by you, because we're crowdsourcing inspiration.

Crowdsourcing Inspiration?

Yup! While we have some strong ideas about the direction of the album, we have yet to write a note of music. We want you to give us the song titles for the album, and your submitted titles will be the inspiration for the album. 

Oh. Hence "Titled." 

Right on, buddy.

Start at the beginning. 

We are Sam Cooper, Michael Stettes and John Middleton, members of the band Sam Cooper & the Sleepwalkers. We're huge fans of music, gear, and Kickstarter, and we became intrigued by the idea of a community-driven album. There was another Kickstarter project that had a great idea of allowing contributors to submit names to different parts of the final project and we thought, "What if we allowed people to submit song titles and be the motivation for the music on the album?" And Titled, the idea, was born. 

How is Titled Going to be Made?

The first step is yours! Via the Kickstarter Backer Rewards, fine-smelling, spiffy individuals such as yourself have the opportunity to contribute track titles to Titled. Once the campaign is over, we'll take your titles and let them marinate in our minds, and create a special piece of music for each and every one. Once the campaign is over, you'll receive en email through Kickstarter asking you for the title and other info, but (see Submission Guidelines below) we would like you to shoot us a message to run your title by us before the campaign ends!

We will be recording all music at Boy Downstairs Studio, which is where we record most everything we do. It's Sam's home studio, where our band (and a few others) have recorded before.

Boy Downstairs
Boy Downstairs

We will be recording some of the music straight into a vintage Tascam 388 8-track directly to 1/4 inch tape for added warmth and vintagey goodness.

Tascam 388
Tascam 388

We have a rather extensive and varied collection of instruments, amps, and effects, both vintage and modern, that we'll be using for the album for an incredibly dynamic sound. Learn (and see) more!

To keep costs down, we will be handling the engineering and mixing ourselves, something each of us has several years of experience doing. All music will be professionally mastered by Jason George at Nice Package Productions in Towson, MD for both digital and limited vinyl distribution.

Digital and Vinyl? Nice. 

The digital version of Titled will comprise 50 tracks, totaling over 150 minutes of music, and backers can download the album as MP3s, FLACs, or just about any other format your blood pump could desire. The vinyl versions of Titled will be abridged. Nice Package will hand cut and press a limited run of 7" vinyls (only 25 will be made) called Titled [Singles From] that will contain one A side and one B side chosen by us. They will also hand cut and press a limited run of 12" vinyls (only 10 will be made) called Titled [Selections From] which will contain up to 36 minutes worth of tracks, specially mastered for vinyl. These selections will be made by the band, except for, of course, the 5 tracks named by the people at the I WANT IT ALL! Backer Reward tier, whose tracks are guaranteed to be on the 12" vinyl! 

Also, for any detail-oriented folks or gear nerds, we'll be posting updates on our project blog (http://titledalbum.wordpress.com/) regularly, talking about what song we're currently recording, and detailing exactly what gear we used on each track.

Where Are The Funds Going? 

Hey, great question. 2k is a pretty small amount of money to create an album of this quality & size...so how are we pulling it off?

First, as stated, we're doing this in a studio we own, so using it costs us nothing but time, gear wear, and electricity. Second, by avoiding the medium of CD, and keeping our vinyl run limited, we're saving a great deal on distribution. Third, 2k is the bare minimum we need to make the album we want. More funds would, of course, make the album even better. 

So here's the breakdown: 

  • Mastering: This is where the bulk of the money is going. For the uninitiated, mastering is what allows an album to tighten into a unified form. In basic terms, mastering balances sound levels among tracks for a smoother listening experience, raises the overall volume to professional listening levels, and it affects the equalization of frequencies to give the album a very specific tone. For those interested, we will not mastering in the fashion favored by modern rock producers in which everything is compressed to the max for volume thereby crushing subtlety and dynamics. Jason refuses to master that way, and we're proud of it! Mastering ain't cheap, and is paid for in labor hours. Titled is 50 tracks long. Yup. 
  • Vinyl & Packaging: While we could have kept this a strictly digital album, we're nostalgic for the tactile thingnessof things, the smell of plastics, vinyls, and glues, and the physical nature of the medium. So we opted for vinyl. The labels, inner and outer sleeves, and jackets are included here. 
  • Total of Above: $1,645.00, plus tax. 
  • The rest of the 2k covers a reel of 1/4" tape we need to record, possibly a piece of additional gear like an extra mic or pedal we need, Facebook advertising, and the percentages paid to Kickstarter & Amazon. More details will be available on the project blog (http://titledalbum.wordpress.com/), as we think transparency about the money is important!
Sam's 1934 Gibson L-00
Sam's 1934 Gibson L-00

What Do I, the Insightful Backer, Receive As My Reward? 

The deets are along the right side over there, but here's a truncated, bulleted list of some rewards that might pique your interest: 

  • Download of the entire album,Titled. Over 50 tracks (over 150 minutes of music) for all tiers $5 and up!
  • Name one of the tracks on the album and be credited as the titler in the liner notes!
  • Get the limited 7" vinyl, Titled [Singles From]!
  • Get the limited 12" vinyl, Titled [Selections From]!
  • Get YOUR VOICE on a track! 
  • And more! GO LOOKIT!
Michael's c. 1972 Univox Badazz Bass.
Michael's c. 1972 Univox Badazz Bass.

As Far as Naming a Track Goes...

Hold it right there, tiger. We know where you're going with this. 

First off, yes. You can name it whatever you like. Within reason. So sure, go for random, make it a tribute to your pet ferret, or snarkily condemn that mean kid who never shared his Dunkaroos. But don't be a jerk.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

  • No hate speech. You know what we mean. 
  • Nothing too long. There's no limit per se, but we'd like it to be able to fit the vinyl sleeve in case we wanna put it on there, you know? 
  • No blatant advertising. You want to name a track, "Addicted to Coke Zero"? Fine. But no one wants to listen to "Make Your Rook Cook and Your Pawns Prawns at www.MakeYourOwnChessPiecesFromFood.net." Well, maybe Michael would, but most wouldn't. Don't do it!
  • Don't be obnoxious. We're not anti-vulgarity, but if your submission is simply an incoherent string of profanity and heinous acts, it's not getting used, ok?
  • If we find a problem with your title, we'll contact you and try to work with you to get it to be something we can both agree on.

All backers who will be submitting a title must contact us before the campaign closes so we can review your title! 

Also, while the composition of the song is totally up to us, feel free to offer insight on your title to help us out. If, for example, your title is "I Remember Jacob Tenlyman" and it's an homage to your grandfather who's passed away, and he used to play the banjo or something, let us know!  We can't guarantee we'll incorporate every suggestion, but knowing your feelings about the title is extremely helpful to the writing process! 

John's c. 1965 Custom Kraft Troubadour
John's c. 1965 Custom Kraft Troubadour

So You Yak the Yak, But Do You Back the Back? 

Yep! We've backed over 20 Kickstarter projects ourselves! 
 

Stretch Goals? Got Any? 

Do we! We made this total the bare minimum to get this album done and into your hands, but the fact is, there are some pieces of gear we'd love to have to make this album sound how we're imagining, namely, a looper, a ribbon mic, and a few other upgrades. We'll go into greater detail when we get to that bridge!

However, we have decided to Kick It Forward! 

http://kickingitforward.org/

Click on the link to learn more, but essentially, we're committing to invest 5% of any funds we collect OVER the goal right back into Kickstarter projects to keep the circle of giving going. 

Man, This Was a Lot to Read

It was a lot to write, chief. 

Oh, I Forgot To Ask, Are You Guys Any Good? 

That's for you to decide, sports fan. Feel free to audio-browse these embedded musicks:

"What Was I Thinking?" by Archisms, written by Sam Cooper & Chris Sies

"Wandering Stars" by Sam Cooper & The Sleepwalkers, written by Sam Cooper

"Bathyphobia Music" written by Sam Cooper

Is That What The Album is Going to Sound Like?

Maybe, maybe not. Titled is geared to be a bit of a departure from the Sam Cooper & the Sleepwalkers sound, but as you can hear, it's not unfamiliar territory for us whatsoever. But again, we won't know exactly what it'll sound like until we get your titles! We'll be putting it out under our individual names, not under the Sam Cooper & The Sleepwalkers brand. 

Thank Me For My Time Already! 

Thanks for checking us out! If you have any questions, let us know! 

Risks and challenges

Our risks are minimal. We are a band with years of music writing, recording, and mixing experience in both home and commercial studios. We've each had our own successes individually, writing music for award-winning independent films, paid commercial use, as well as for musicals, plays, and dance performances. The studio where we'll be mastering the album is one we've worked with before on several occasions and is run by a guy we trust implicitly. Furthermore, we'll be sitting in on the mastering session so it sounds just right.

But that's not to say there are no risks and challenges. Here they are:

1. Writing 50 tracks is difficult and will require much of our time. While we can definitely do it, we are concerned about completing it on time due to the happenstances in our lives and the sneaky demon known as writer's block. To combat this, we're going to arrange a schedule so we're always taking time out of our lives to write, write, write, and get you an awesome album on time.

2. The Tascam 388 isn't a spring chicken, autumn pheasant, or any other kind of season/bird combination. While they're not impossible to repair, any breakage will cost us additional time and money, and there's a chance we may have to find a supplemental means of recording, which would throw our vision of this album off a bit.

3. We want our backers to be happy with the album and the idea of disappointing you makes us sad.

4. We're concerned that some people may abuse the title-naming aspect of the project, and submit egregiously foul things for the sole purpose of being disruptive to the project.

5. We're a bit nervous about shipping vinyl! But we'll take every shipping/packing precaution possible to ensure a shiny product upon arrival.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THIS TOTALLY COUNTS! Hey, thanks! For those sweet 100 pennies you just beamed our way, we're writing you a dandy thank you email, coupled with a totally original, cherishable haiku to be posted on a special page on our site. Also, your name will be included in the digital liner notes of the digital version, and listed as a backer on our site!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    GIMME ALBUM NOW! This gets you a download of the completed albumI That's 50 songs totaling over 150 minutes of music! AWESOME! You also get the thank you email, the vitamin-fortified haiku, your name in the digital liner notes, and your name listed as a backer on our site!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    EARLY BIRD MUSES! 5 lucky sons (or daughters) of guns (or marauders) get the YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION backer level rewards with a smaller contribution! (Please see submission guidelines in project description.) Nifty! And yes, you get the coveted thank you email, the wrinkle-free haiku, the download of the completed album (50 songs totaling over 150 minutes of music), your name in the digtal liner notes right next to your title, and your name listed as a backer on our site!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    GIMME DOWNLOAD & 7" SINGLE! We get it, you lovely listener, you. You love music. You love vinyl. But you don't feel compelled to throw us a title. We got ya covered. This level gets you the limited release of the 7" vinyl (only 25 made) containing two tracks from "Titled" (an A-side and a B-side) to be determined by us. And yes, you get the classic email, the UV-coated haiku, the download of the completed album (50 songs totaling over 150 minutes of music), your name in the digtal liner notes, and your name listed as a backer on our site!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! You get to name one of the 50 songs on the album. You will provide the catalyst for the creation of a unique piece of audible art. Together, we'll create something beautiful, haunting, dreamy, dark, or contemplative. And you're the key! (Please see submission guidelines in project description.) You will also receive the critcially-acclaimed thank you email, the cage-free haiku, the download of the completed album 50 songs totaling over 150 minutes of music), and your name in the digital liner notes (right next to your title!)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    YOU'RE THE VOICE! We just realized just how absolutely sexy your larynx is. Frankly, it's distracting. That's it. We need it on this album. At this level, we will prepare a specific word, phrase, sentence, or sound to be recorded by YOU and sent to us via the interwebs. We will manipulate the vocal in some way (pitchshifting, reversing, etc.) and INCORPORATE IT RIGHT INTO THE GORRAM SONG! You'll be credited in the digital liner notes (and on the vinyl if the track is used for the vinyl) as a performer on the track! And you betchyer sweet bip that you also get the digital download of the album, an especially swell thank you email, and the hot n' ready haiku!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! PLUS 7" SINGLE! You also get to inject a bit of yourself into our album via a title provided by the one and only YOU. (Please see submission guidelines in project description.) AND, you will receive a 7" vinyl containing two tracks from "Titled" (an A-side and a B-side) to be determined by us. You will also receive the artisanal thank you email, the UN-sanctioned haiku, the download of the completed album, and your name in the digital liner notes.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! PLUS 12" RECORD! You will receive a limited edition handcut 12" vinyl record called "Selections from Titled." which will be packed with tracks from Titled of our choosing, up to 35 minutes worth. ONLY TEN OF THESE WILL BE MADE! Also, YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! You get to bestow upon us a a nifty name for a track! You will also receive the credit-approved thank you email, the naturally-flavored haiku, the download of the completed album (50 songs totaling over 150 minutes of music), your name will be listed right next to your track, and you'll be listed as a backer on our site! (International backers at this level need to add $15 for shipping.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    I WANT IT ALL! You will receive a limited edition handcut 12" vinyl record called "Selections from Titled." which will be packed with selections from Titled of our choosing, up to 36 minutes worth. ONLY TEN OF THESE WILL BE MADE! Plus, YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! You get to name one of the tracks on the album. At this level, the track you title will GUARANTEED be included on the vinyl. You will also receive the provocative thank you email, the low-fat haiku, the download of the completed album, and your name will be included in the digital liner notes (right next to your title!) and it'll be on the LP as well! Your name will also be listed as a backer on our site. (International backers at this level need to add $15 for shipping.) Also, since you're kickin' out the big bucks, we'll send you a copy of the limited 7" vinyl (only 25 made) containing two tracks from "Titled" (an A-side and a B-side) to be determined by us, and a copy of our limited release New Typewriter Moon EP and our album, Red Horses.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PROJECT OVERWHELMING! Wow, my friend. Simply wow. Ok, in the unlikely, yet seriously awesome event there is a good, kind-hearted human willing to turbo-charge this project, here's what you get. YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION! So you get to name a track. We will pay extra to have an 11th 12" limited edition vinyl made and your song is guaranteed to be on the vinyl as well. You'll get a copy of the limited edition 7" single. Your track is guaranteed to be on this as well! We'll send you copies of a copy of our limited release New Typewriter Moon EP and our album, Red Horses. AND, you'll be honored consummately and prominently in the digital liner notes, on the 7" sleeve, and on the 12" sleeve with the title "Project Overlord." Plus the tasty thank you email, a rather classy haiku, and the download of the completed album! Also, you're officially the best.

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Funding period

- (31 days)