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Chicago's premiere Chiptune Rock band embarks on a bold musical quest to take over the world, or at least the tri-county area.
3,423 backers pledged $115,052 to help bring this project to life.

Blowups, Setbacks, Recalibrations, and the Impossibility of Holding Art To A Strict Schedule

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I Fight Dragons almost broke up this week.

I'm not trying to scare you, but I want to be honest, and I think you deserve the truth since you signed up to be a part of this crazy journey with us, and it has certainly been a crazy one so far.

Before I go any further I want to start by saying that Project Atma is still 100% on, that I Fight Dragons is still together with all 5 of us on board, and that we're moving forward in a way that excites all of us immensely.

So what happened?

Well, the central issue is one of time.  When I (Brian) set the schedule for the entire kickstarter, I put us into a bit of a quandary.  Specifically, I only left under two months of real writing time for myself, and only 6 weeks of recording.  Plus, with the running of the kickstarter itself, the fulfilling of rewards, and all the day to day duties of running the band (now that we don't have a label I am our label, manager, web designer, merch coordinator, marketer, and I do all our social media), that time began to seem even shorter.

Still, when the time came to hit the recording studio on August 12th, we took the songs I had written and dove in.  However, it turns out this album is a BEAST.  I deliberately left the demos very sparse, so that means there's a lot more work to be done in the arrangement and fleshing out of everything, not to mention that one side of the record is a freaking song cycle, with some crazy instrumentation and a ridiculous amount of possible avenues to go down recording-wise.

As the weeks went by and we forged onward, my bandmates started feeling like we hadn't given ourselves the time to make this album the right way.  We began making decisions in the studio in the name of expediency, and people began to admit they didn't like the way the entire process was going.  Being a ridiculously stubborn individual, I ignored those signs and just kept pushing, doggedly telling myself we had to get this album done, on budget and on schedule, no matter what. 

Still, this didn't do anything to address the underlying problems, and matters finally came to a head on Monday when the rest of the band called a meeting and confronted me.  I still insisted that we had no choice, that we had spent the money for the producer and studio and we had a schedule and we had to stick to it, no matter what.  I argued that backers had expectations, and that I didn't want to be one of those kickstarters that let people down.  They obviously disagreed strongly, arguing that the real backer expectations were for a great I Fight Dragons album, and that I was the one letting fans down by insisting we move forward on the path we were on.  Tempers flared, words were said in anger, and while we were smart enough not to make any decisions in the heat of the moment, no one backed down and the way we left it that night was that I Fight Dragons was likely done.

None of us slept much on Monday night.  I personally got no sleep at all.

But, by the time the sun came up I realized that they were right.  This was our band, this was our record, and I had been pushing everyone else away in my drive to stick to an arbitrary schedule that ultimately would hurt everyone, including you, since the record itself would be the real casualty.

So, I swallowed my pride and apologized.  We all got together on Tuesday night and discussed how we could make this record the right way.  To be blunt, it involves pushing the timetable back.  It involves producing it ourselves, the way we did Cool Is Just A Number.  It involves making sure that the entire band is working as a unit, and that everyone is adding the artistic piece that only they can add.

We've spent the rest of the week planning how to move forward, and here are the salient points:

1- The record release itself will be pushed back a few months.  I wish I could give a firm date, but the truth is my desire to do so is what got us into this position in the first place.  What I can say is that we'll keep you updated every step of the way (via our daily blog and these monthly updates), and we'll be as open and honest as we can with you about the process.  I will not let you down, I promise you we will get there, and it will be worth the wait.

2- The Flexi-Discs are going out to EVERYONE on Sept. 16.  We experienced some long delays in their production, but they're almost here, and we'll be signing all of them.  Also, you heard correctly, we're going to spend the money to send them to international backers as well.  It's the least we can do to make sure you have a cool slice of Project Atma to tide you over while we make this album the ridiculous magnum opus we know it will be.

3- This is a hard one.  We're not going to be able to make the documentary right now.  This was a decision that had to be made in light of the high costs of physical production, the climbing financial costs of shipping, and the current need for more studio time.  It is still my hope to make a documentary at some point, and when we do everyone who backed Project Atma will still have the opportunity to be in it, but the massive costs of these amazing physical LP/picture-disc/graphic-novel/poster creations we're making combined with the rising shipping costs and now the extra studio time have meant that we can't do it right now.  This was a really hard decision, and one we had to make for the sake of the album.  I hope you can forgive us, because in the end all the work we're doing in this crazy saga is to try and make sure that the creation we put into your hands at the end is so magical that you will weep tears of redemption upon opening it up for the first time.

And believe me, it WILL get there.  It's well on its way.  Making great art is never easy, it involves sweat and blood and anger and joy and sadness and turmoil and reconciliation and hunger and doubt and luck and persistence and time.  So, in the name of art, we humbly petition you for a little more time.  It will be worth it.  We promise.

Thank you again for taking this crazy journey with us.  

-Brian, Hari, Packy, Bill, and Chad
I Fight Dragons

Chris DeWoody and Harrison Houde like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Clint Stewart on November 23, 2013

      Any updates on the project?

    2. Creator Ed Weber on October 26, 2013

      Glad all is good and I think I can safely speak for the overwhelming majority who say the delay is a small price to pay for a great record. Never sacrifice quality for speed of release. Looking forward to the rest of this project and excited to hear the end results. The documentary loss is hardly a big deal at the moment. Keep pushing forward through any adversity that comes your way.

    3. Creator Donavan Jerles on October 23, 2013

      I haven't gotten my flexi yet!!

    4. Creator D from Birmingham on October 17, 2013

      Don't have a record player myself either. It will be a month or more before I have enough cash scrapped for a cheap player. You can buy them for about 20 bucks that can transfer the audio to a sd card or usb cable for example. Yeah they actually still make record players. Certain bands now put out a lot of their new stuff on vinyl because the pirates haven't figured it out.

    5. Creator Joey Smith on October 17, 2013

      Got my Flexi-Disc yesterday, but I don't own a record player (and don't seem to know anyone who does) - anyone want to share what the song is?

    6. Creator D from Birmingham on October 16, 2013

      Nope just put it on the record player as is. The hole should expand. Otherwise you run the risk of damaging the flexi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexi_disc
      One side is a thank you message the other is a song.

    7. Creator Joseph Bozarth on October 8, 2013

      I may just be ignorant since this is the first flexi-disc i have ever had or seen but the hole in it is slightly smaller than the post on my record player. How should I proceed? Should I use a sharp blade to shave the hole the haor bigger it needs to be or is there something else I should be doing?

    8. Creator Jason Danger Rankin on October 5, 2013

      I also agree, great art cannot be rushed. Take your time and deliver great art amongst the masses!!!

    9. Creator David Pease on September 23, 2013

      I would like to throw out here that 10 times out of 10, I would rather wait longer for an album done properly, then to have it released prematurely and be disappointed.

      I know you are anxious to get on with your "Post-Label" life as a Band, but please keep in mind that you only get one chance to keep a fan, and numerous chances to lose one. What I mean by that is that 99.9% of the people who enjoy your music want to keep enjoying it. 10 years down the road, do you think it will make a difference if a release came out 2 or 3 months later than expected? 6 months? You are creating your legacy. Do not rush perfection, and sacrifice the quality of your work because you feel obligated to the backers. Rushing your art is the mindset of a label, and we are NOT your label; We are *your* fans who enjoy *your* music. We want the best that you have to offer, and in the end, THAT is the most important thing. Cheers!

    10. Creator Sam Patrie on September 17, 2013

      You guys have got this. Brian, I'm super proud of you and your band for everything you've accomplished. Keep it up, guys =] we can stand to give it some more time, absolutely we can! So relax, take your time. We want to see the best you can do without any rushing involved =]

    11. Creator Michael Mercadel on September 15, 2013

      Take your time. All your fans are behind you and I know that I would prefer you make an awesome album later over a less awesome one soon. Take your time and make it great. Also just have fun with it. Makes the music better when you aren't stressed and are really enjoying what you are doing. :)

    12. Creator Trevor Patricelli on September 13, 2013

      In other words, I'm glad things are back on track. Your music is fun and inspiring, and I feel like an album created with fun and inspiration as your primary fuel source would be better than one birthed from stress and regret. Keep at it, we all know you'll make it through with a relic of musical genius to offer all the cRaZie$ of the world.

    13. Creator Trevor Patricelli on September 13, 2013

      "Everybody wants to prove to the world they got it figured out.
      Be somebody with the nerve to admit it when it's all in doubt.
      In the end, it's not pretend, it's what the world's about."
      - You

    14. Creator Oli on September 13, 2013

      Hi Guys,
      just take your time, and make the best album ever.
      I can't wait to hear it, but I will wait in expectation it gets better than i can imagine.

      Have fun making this.
      Oli

    15. Creator Derek M Taylor on September 10, 2013

      There was a set timeline? Seriously I didn't realize that. I just wanted to support an amazing band and get an amazing album for doing it.

      Hell, this is an album and is going to be a process with set backs and rewrites and data loss and plenty of problems and issues but it's those problems and issues that make the album so much more. If people signed up for this kickstarter expecting everything to fall into place at exact times then they are crazy. Everyone here loves you guys and all the hard work you do. Keep up the hard work and take all the time you need. I'd much rather be blown away and touched by the album than get a rushed project on time.

      Thanks for the honesty but seriously don't sweat it. And Brian you have a whole community here that would love to help out even more. Maybe you can outsource some of the work to willing backers so you aren't stretched so thin. I know that I'd love to play this future album for someone and tell themI got to help make this and not just because I backed the project on kickstarter with a few bucks

    16. Creator Anthony Pucci on September 9, 2013

      Take all the time you guys need. We care about you guys and will always be here to support you!

    17. Creator Allison Ord on September 9, 2013

      Thank you for the update, and for your transparency! Reading that first sentence this morning sent my heart plummeting to my stomach! Your true fans are fully on board with you taking all the time you need! Good art does not and can not adhere to strict deadlines. Do what you need to do to fight the good fight and release a record that YOU can be proud of-- timelines be damned!

      Best of luck, and best wishes to all five of you awesome dudes!

    18. Creator Stephen M. Pomeroy on September 9, 2013

      Thanks for letting us know what's going on. I'm REALLY glad IFD is still around. Wanna know a Kickstarter secret? I have backed many projects, and not one was delivered on time. Some were close, but not ONE has been on time. Deliver quality and let us know about stuff in open and honest posts like this and you're not going to hear one lick of complaints from your fans.

    19. Creator Nathan on September 9, 2013

      Well i see from the below comments that i am not alone in saying this: "You guys take as much time as you need!" What you guys are doing for us as fans is already unbelievable, i mean the "bang-for-our-buck" so to speak is incredible. i'm still shocked at how much you are actually providing us for just twenty dollars. furthermore you are right to assume that the album is whats important not the schedule, i have no doubt it will be worth the wait! you guys are the best band making music today, you do whatever you need to do to keep that machine in working order, you clearly have the full support of all of us! Rock on Dragon Fighters!

    20. Creator Arkrite on September 9, 2013

      Sorry to hear your having a rough go.
      Your honesty and openness about what's going on is surprising and refreshing.
      Thank you.

      I would rather wait longer to get an album you feel good about than have you rushing to get something/anything out.
      Quality takes time.

      Just keep us in the loop and I'm sure we'll all be happy to wait until it's done.

    21. Creator Tiffany Lieber on September 9, 2013

      Hey guys SOOO glad to hear that you didn't break up. You guys mean alot to me and my husband. You were our first concert. The music we played at our wedding etc... Glad to hear the band is still together.

      One question for you because this says that you are still going to ship September 16th... Me and my husband just moved. How do we make sure that it will be shipped to the right address? I can't find a way to change it. Please help!

    22. Creator John Christensen on September 9, 2013

      Thank you for being honest and open about what is going on. I will say that, in every conceivable way, I would MUCH rather have the album arrive late than for it to arrive on-time, but be crappy and be the last album IFD ever produces. That would, really, be heart-breaking. Take your time, get it to a state that you can all be proud of it.

    23. Creator Liam Newberry on September 9, 2013

      I would love, instead of the documentary, or as the documentary, a tour diary. With videos from all the shows, scenes from the road, ect. I think everyone would love to see that part of the process!

    24. Creator babywiththepower on September 9, 2013

      Seriously, if anyone gives you flack for this, they weren't a fan to begin with. I backed you guys, as a band, as artists, and what you do is amazing. And most importantly takes time.

      I don't care if this album takes years to get to my door because whenever it gets here I know it's going to be the best fracking album you guys could make, and it will be awesome.

      Thanks for the update, thanks for listening to the sage advice of your band mates, and thanks for doing whatever is necessary to make this album great.

      Rock out guys, I can't wait to hear it.

    25. Creator Travis Morin on September 8, 2013

      Firstly, I must say that your first line really worried me. On kickstarter I don't back any project that I don't believe has what it takes to be awesome. I don't know if I had said before, but when I first saw this kickstarter project, I had no idea who you guys were. After getting info and listening to some of your music I decided that you guys were worth backing. I didn't back a date, I backed IFD. If I just wanted to back a random music album there are thousands on kickstarter, but they don't have greatness that I have heard from you. While it is the album that I am backing, it's only because I believe that you guys will fill it with the greatness that only IFD can. If such greatness takes longer than you anticipated, so be it. as I said, I am backing IFD, not a date.

      I am a fan and I hope this doesn't come off as rude or anything.

    26. Creator Thomas Aquino Parochelli on September 8, 2013

      (Holy honesty and transparency Batman!) You guys are awesome! Kudos to you for telling your fans of the delay and the reasons behind it. That's respectable!

    27. Creator Stephen Bernal on September 8, 2013

      Good call guys. A good album will ALWAYS be better than a fast album. Glad to hear the update.

    28. Creator Joseph Nachio on September 8, 2013

      3,423 backers supported IFD because they wanted to see Project Atma become "an artifact for the ages, a glowing slab of vinyl wrapped in a gorgeous piece of artwork, steeped in the mists of the future." We backed $115k because we believe you can do it.

      As long as you guys are transparent with the fans and keep us updated, I'm pretty sure most of us won't mind you taking your time to make an excellent product. Heck, look at all of the positive comments this update has received in just one day. The most important thing is to keep your wits about you and keep IFD strong.

    29. Creator Daniel Pullicar on September 8, 2013

      You know what they say; 'You can't rush art.'
      I can assure you that 0 out of 3,423 backers care about having this album 'on time.'
      We just want you guys to do your own thing, make you own music, and give it to us when you're done.

    30. Creator Tony Zahnle on September 8, 2013

      Dudes. Don't scare us like that.

      Brian, I'm glad you were super stoked to try and get everything done by the schedule you set for yourself and the promises you made. I'm even more glad the others with you can recognize when things could be better, and you all want to do the best you can and make it the best it can be.

      There's got to be compromises, since you can't have both all the time, and I'm immensely grateful that you guys stuck to making it the best. Whenever I back a kick-starter, I know I'm not going to be seeing that stuff for a while, and as long as you guys keep in touch and make updates, I'm fine with however long it takes.

      I'm a lifer for a reason, and that reason is you guys. Keep being awesome.

    31. Creator Chadd Smith on September 8, 2013

      Got a sick feeling in my stomach when I read that first line about you guys almost breaking up. But let me tell you, I support IFD with every fiber of my being and if it takes a few more months to make something beautiful that you guys will be happy with, plus keeps the family together then by all means, do it!

      We aren't going anywhere.

    32. Creator Henry O. Harrell on September 8, 2013

      I know everyone else has pretty much said it, but I want to throw my 2 cents in as well.

      You guys made the right decision to delay in the name of better quality. The only times I've seen something like this result in a problem for backers is when people try to hide the issues until deadline time, THEN say "Hey, it'll be another 4 months." Be open and honest with your backers and they'll understand almost every time.

      The (temporary) loss of the documentary is sad, but not as sad as if the whole band imploded trying to meet an unreasonable deadline, and then a sub-par album is released (or none at all).

      I seriously can't stress this enough. We've got your back. Now get in there and make the best goddamn music you can, I don't care if I have to wait til NEXT December!

    33. Creator Eric on September 8, 2013

      Some dragons take longer to slay than others, don't worry. We've all already shown how much we care about this project and we'll be here to see the whole thing through. Keep up the good fight!

    34. Creator Trina Heyrman on September 8, 2013

      I'll wait as long as it takes, gladly, if it means we get something as awesome as all your other music.

    35. Creator morgan craft on September 8, 2013

      Think true fans will wait, glad the right decisions were made in the end.

    36. Creator Alastair Aitchison on September 8, 2013

      "So, I swallowed my pride and apologized." - from one stubborn ass to another, may I congratulate you on saying sorry ;)

    37. Creator Becky Kovach on September 8, 2013

      Don't be so hard on yourself. In case you couldn't tell from the insane number of comments, your fans are here to support you every step of the way. If that includes a few more steps and some extra time than were originally planned for, so be it.

      Personally, my heart dropped when I read that IFD had almost broken up. I'm so glad it didn't come to that. Thanks for all the work you guys put into this band. It can't be easy but I like to think it's worthwhile.

    38. Creator Matthew Johnston on September 8, 2013

      When I back a project like this, I'm doing it because I'm backing the art, not the product. Do your best, take your time, and thank you for the honesty. In my opinion, you made the right decision.

    39. Creator Ed Burdick on September 8, 2013

      I appreciate your transparent, blunt honesty. You had me at the same way you did Cool is Just a Number. Thanks.

    40. Creator Sharon Morris on September 8, 2013

      Hey Guys
      Mmmmm an crappy record and no more band ........or a record everyone's happy with delayed by a few months???
      I'm going to go with the delay.
      I don't think waiting a bit longer is a problem, as long as I get the album in the end, I'm happy. To be honest I was surprised that it was going to be done by Xmas anyway. That seemed a very quick time frame to me
      Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
      Hope the rest of the process is less stressful for you guys.

    41. Creator Johnny Rosa on September 8, 2013

      As I'm sure all the other comments express, thank you for being so transparent about your decision, and congratulations on maintaining a level of self awareness many people fail to achieve. I know I am personally excited for what you guys will create whether it comes out next month or next year. Best wishes as you guys keep slogging through the process that makes art a skill: the creative process.

    42. Creator Jared Wilson on September 8, 2013

      Brian, thank you so much for your honesty and for making us a real part of this process. But all five of you should remember something: we're your FANS. We're not your employers, we're not your producers, and we're not board executives that decide your fate. We love you guys and we love your music! So if you need more time to maintain the artistic integrity of this album (i.e., to make it that much more FREAKIN' AWESOME and IFD-WORTHY), then by all means, TAKE IT! We've waited this long, we can certainly wait a little longer.

      Also, you guys are I Fight Dragons. I would be shocked if you guys didn't have fun making your music. So HAVE FUN.

    43. Creator Dave Huston on September 8, 2013

      Please, take all the time you need in order to make this thing right. It's not like you'd be the only kickstarter project to realize that their dream is going to take longer than they first thought, in order to bring it into fruition. Remember, deadlines are for suckers. Take time, make your dream come true. We'll be patient. And for those who aren't? Theirs is coming.

    44. Creator Justin on September 7, 2013

      Thanks for the honesty. I backed you guys because I know that you would put out a quality album, that and your one of my favorite bands. I can wait long to get the quality album that I know you guys can put out. Take your time I’m sure this will be you most epic album yet.

    45. Creator Ian Millington on September 7, 2013

      Erm... a few months vs a rushed product. Yeah, you made the right call! Good luck, guys.

    46. Creator Stephen Doud on September 7, 2013

      You guys are my favorite band!! I trust in your judgement and believe you will make a piece of musical brilliance! Love you guys keep up the work!

    47. Creator Alan Mackay on September 7, 2013

      Definitely the right way to go guys. Your fans will support you in your decision! =)

    48. Creator Meghan Chavez on September 7, 2013

      Hey guys we fully support you. Don't let time constrict your work. Super stoked for all the epicness you have in the works for us!

    49. Creator Adam Brimberry on September 7, 2013

      I'd rather get the amazing album I know you guys create a year from now than get one you aren't satisfied with on time. Keep doin what you're doin.

    50. Creator Joey Smith on September 7, 2013

      Trust your fans more, Brian. We'll wait for the right album.