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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.
I Fight Dragons funded their first post-major-label album via Kickstarter and proceeded to make a crazy rock opera that hit #5 on the Billboard Vinyl Charts upon its release
I Fight Dragons funded their first post-major-label album via Kickstarter and proceeded to make a crazy rock opera that hit #5 on the Billboard Vinyl Charts upon its release
3,423 backers pledged $115,052 to help bring this project to life.

Recording and Release Schedule + Holiday Card!

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Greetings fellow engager of elevated elephantines!

First of all, I apologize for the radio silence throughout October and November.  Of course we kept up slightly more frequent posts on the Project Atma Blog, but even those have had a slower release rate these past couple of months, as we've turned our focus 100% inward, writing more songs and really digging into the existing songs (like the song cycle).

We've had wonderful in-depth discussions and practices, tearing apart the existing arrangements and putting them back together in stunningly awesome new ways, wrapping everyone's heads and hearts around the material and guaranteeing that this record will be nothing short of the coolest thing we've ever created.

Thus, I am now thrilled to report that after these past few months of intense work on our part, we're ready to start along the path toward recording and releasing!  Here is the current planned schedule:

January: Pre-production
February-March: Recording
April-May: Physical Production
June/July: RELEASE! (+ tour??? :)

We'll also be getting back to monthly Kickstarter updates and more frequent blog posts, now that there will be more to report upon.

Also, as a token of our gratitude for your support, patience, and understanding, we're sending all physical-level backers a holiday card that reveals the second pane of the album artwork!

Postcard front / 2 panes of album art
Postcard front / 2 panes of album art

These will be going out late this coming week, and should start arriving to our US backers by next week (obviously international folks will take a bit longer).

Thank you again for undertaking this epic quest with us, we knew it wouldn't be easy, but with your support we know that in the end, when you're holding this glowing artifact of destiny in your hands, it will all have been worth it.

Happy Holidays from your Friendly Neighborhood Dragon Fighters,

Brian, Chad, Hari, Packy, and Bill

PS - for all of you in the NYC area, we will be taking a few days in January to head out to New York City and play a show opening for sElf on Jan. 10!  There are a handful of tickets still available here, but the show will likely sell out so if you're interested definitely grab them quick.  We're mostly trying to forego live shows in favor of working on the album, but this is one we just couldn't pass up as Matt Mahaffey is a complete badass.

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

USB Dog Tags shipped, Pre-Production Begins, BLOG!

Greetings all!

As you know, we've tried to keep these updates infrequent so as not to flood your inboxes. That said, we've been having an amazing, busy time as we've been working on Project Atma!

So, in order to let you have your cake and eat it too, we have started a blog and are posting daily updates there for those who want to know every detail of how it's going.  We've been updating it for a couple of weeks now, and it's even got a nifty exp/power meter:
http://www.ifightdragons.com/blog

That said, we'll still do big updates here once a month or so for those who would rather have their news in chunk-form!

So, what's new in the past month?  Well as the graphic above states, we are officially in Pre-Production!  This week we're in a practice space fleshing out the instrumental parts for the album, and then next week we head into the belly of the beast, the recording studio.  We'll emerge 6 weeks later, victoriously clutching our new album to our proverbial chests, or else we'll die trying.  Either way we'll keep you updated!  Here's a pic of us from last night:

Looking good, eh?  

But let's move on to the other important aspect of these updates:

SWAG REPORT:

The big news this week is that the IFD USB Drives are all shipping out!  Boy howdy do they look amazing:

These puppies will also be available in the IFD web store in about a week as well, here's a picture of them all packed up and ready to head out into the world:

Also, we've gotten our test pressings in for the Flexi Discs!  They sound great, so we approved them, and the real ones are now in production.

These puppies are still on track to arrive in late August, and we'll get them shipped out as soon as we're able to sign and pack them.

However this brings me to a serious part of the update:

International Shipping Update:

As many of you who frequent kickstarter may have noticed, lots of Kickstarters funded within the past year are having huge problems because USPS has had not one, but two MASSIVE rate increases for first-class international shipping in 2013 so far.  

This is having a huge effect on people (like us) who said "add $10 for international shipping" because at the current rates, the standard $30 international tier will cost us over $25 to ship internationally (not including the cost of the record/graphic novel/picture disc/etc.)

That said, we are fully committed to delivering this album in its full form to everyone who donated with NO ADDITIONAL CHARGES.

So, we're going to figure it out.  That said, I want to be as transparent as possible as we do so.  As you know, we were planning to ship all the Flexi-Discs out to everyone as soon as they arrive, before the record itself.  This will still happen for all US backers, however for international backers we are going to delay the Flexis and send them to you along with your record package in December.

I apologize for that delay, but know that our first priority is making sure that you get your record, and we will not ask you for any extra money!  You WILL receive it.

Also, I'll definitely be posting a breakdown of our costs in the end so you can see exactly where all the money went (spoiler alert: we're not keeping any of it, it all goes to making awesome stuff and getting it to you).

So that's the update!  Feel free to stop by our blog if you want more frequency or get curious, otherwise you'll hear from me in about a month!

-Brian

July has arrived, and Project Atma is rolling full steam ahead!

Hello epic backers of destiny!

It's been weeks since you've heard from us, and I know you've missed us dearly, so I thought I'd post a quick update on how things are going.

First of all, thank you to everyone for answering the surveys!  The biggest question we've gotten so far is: "what do I do if my shipping address changes???" and thankfully the answer is super easy:  message us here on kickstarter!  We'll make a note of your new shipping address.  This is important since depending on your reward tier you may have things shipped to you up to three different times.

Speaking of which, here's how things are going!

USB drives and Top Tier rewards - These are all going right on schedule and will be shipping out to backers at the $100 and above level this month (July)!  The USB tags are going to be 4GB of laser engraved excellence and you're going to love them.

Flexi-Discs - We were hoping to ship these out in July, but it turns out the manufacturing time on these was longer than we had thought.  These are currently being manufactured, so they will be shipping out to all backers in late August.  On the plus side, we ordered them with shiny metallic inks, and we recorded a special message for them.  You're gonna love 'em, even if you don't have a record player :)  Also I attached a sneak peek at an artwork mockup we printed - picture it with a hole in the middle and record grooves and get happy, I know I am.

The Near Future Vinyl LP - We're right on schedule with the main album so far, lots of writing still to do, and then we hit the studio in August and September.  Just had a wonderful meeting with Marc McClusky yesterday (the baller of a producer who will be producing the album, he's a genius and FYI he mixed the last Weezer album) where we sketched out the timetable for the sessions.  It's gonna be so fun, and EPIC with a capital everyletter.

The Near Future Graphic Novel / Lyric / Art Booklet - We're also already rolling on the art booklet, and the initial rough illustrations are looking sick.  This will be a more slowly developing part of the project but suffice it to say you will love the way it's coming out, and we'll post more details as we have them.

The Documentary - We're also hard at work planning the documentary.  I had a great meeting last week with the crew that's going to be shooting and editing it, and we came up with some great ideas and framing devices.  It's going to be a larger story about splinter culture and Kickstarter and the joys of independent art, and it's also going to be awesome.

Long story short I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know

THIS SHIT IS GOING SO WELL.

Pardon my French, you just excite me is all.

Until soon,

Brian

PS - the backing window is now done, but album preorders are now open at http://www.ifightdragons.com/paypal and will remain open until the album release!

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WE DID IT!!! Here's what to expect for 2013!

I am so thrilled, humbled, and excited to announce that Project Atma is officially a go on every level!  You came through in such a huge way, and now we are going to get to make a piece of art that I know you will love.

Speaking of which, that part (the REALLY fun part) begins right now!  Here's a rough timeline of how things will go, and we'll keep you posted as we have progress updates and new fun stuff to share.

First of all, for those who may have missed the deadline, we're going to keep our PayPal links open for another week to make sure everyone who wants to join gets to: http://www.ifightdragons.com/paypal 

And now, here's our rough outline how we see 2013 playing out:

This week: Kickstarter Surveys go out, where we get your shipping info and name / pseudonym for the album / documentary credits.  Be sure to answer these as soon as you get them since we'll be shipping out Flexi-Discs in not too long!  Payments are also finalized, so if you had a problem with Amazon Payments when the campaign ended last night, be sure to get it sorted out, and if you missed the deadline use the PayPal links!

June: Filming will begin right away on the documentary, we'll get the Flexi-Discs to the presses, and we'll continue writing songs for the album.  Payments will be finalized as well.  Artwork for the lyric booklet / graphic novel will also commence in earnest.

July: Flexi-Discs and Unique Rewards (IFD gear, etc.) signed and mailed out to you, more writing for the album, and our new t-shirt will go live on the web store.  USB Dog Tags will also be mailed out this month.

August - September: Recording sessions will be happening for the album - lots of documentary shooting obviously, and lots of artistic funtimes.  We're also hoping to have KABOOM! and the EPs released on Vinyl in this time frame, but that's still a rough estimate.

October: The music and the art all head to their respective presses (vinyl and printing), theme songs and custom chiptones will begin this month as well.

November: Prepping for album release and tour, theme song and chiptone writing continues.

December: "The Near Future" is released, signed, and mailed to all backers!  Likely also a small tour to promote the album release, although we'll have more details as we get closer.  

2014: The documentary is finished and released.  It's hard to know a specific timeline, since we'll want the story to include the release and any aftermath, but our goal is for a 2014 release.

Of course, we'll keep you updated along the way when we get fun things to share, but I wanted you to have an idea of how the rest of this year is looking and when you can expect your rewards!  

So now I guess it's time for us to get back to work, but let me just say one more time, from the bottom of our hearts:

Thank you.

It is a huge honor that you're joining us on this adventure, which begins in earnest today.

Here goes everything :)

Your friendly neighborhood Dragon Fighters,
Brian, Bill, Hari, Chad, and Packy