About this project
UPDATE (12/29): NEW PRIZE: LIVE ALBUM!
You might have noticed we met and surpassed our goal, which is amazing!!! We now have the funds to set up a studio, thanks to all of you!
In all honesty, we had set our goal slightly lower than we had needed to finish our ‘dream studio’ and record our ‘dream albums’ because we thought it would be very difficult to make our original goal in the first place and every bit helps. We also have other expenses, like repairing our broken tour van, pressing vinyl, etc. Which is why we have a new item: a new live album! Read more about it in the prize section.
If you back this project, you'll get exclusive, early versions of:
the next Bowerbirds album,
an e.p. of previously unreleased Bowerbirds tracks,
a bonus album of Phil's new side project, Island Dweller,
plus a ton of other crazy prizes we will make for you, in a space we built ourselves.
- and the first 100 people to donate $100 or more, get a free prize! (more about that below)
To download an image you can send via email, copy/ paste this text into your browser, and then right-click or ctrl-click the image to save to your computer: http://bit.ly/XFPkm8
>>>---- We just want to make you things ---->
By the time we were starting our band, in 2005, we already knew that all we really wanted to do with our time was to make music and art and put it out into the world. For us, nothing was more gratifying for us than the process of bringing a song or a painting out of nothingness into fruition. In order for us to spend as much time as possible on our creative endeavors, we learned to live on less and teach ourselves skills that would make us more self-sufficient. The more skills we learned, and the less we needed, the fewer bills we had to pay, and the more time we had to work on our creative projects.
For years we went without the seeming "necessities" of running water, electricity, air conditioning through miserable North Carolina summers, or a reliable source of heat through the winter, while we lived in an abandoned one-room schoolhouse, out of our minivan and tent, and then off-grid in an AirStream trailer in the woods. Over time, we taught ourselves how to build slightly bigger, nicer structures to live in, how to program websites to make money on the side, and how to record our own music. It was this shift in how we lived and in our thinking overall, that enabled us to start and sustain the Bowerbirds over the last seven years.
What we gave up in terms of ease, we gained in terms of an ability to really focus on making the music we were passionate about, and taking it out on tour, around North America, Europe, and the UK. Also, the more direct contact we had with the land we were living on -- because of living in tiny spaces and working with our hands outdoors, writing songs or raising rafters under the trees -- the more we naturally wanted all our endeavors to reflect our respect and gratitude for the land we live on and for the other plants and animals we share it with. We wrote reverent songs about the natural world, and we used salvaged, recycled and nontoxic materials in our cobbled-together art and building projects.
This nature-centric mentality, along with our intense DIY ethic, are central to what our band is about. We just want to spend all our time making things, things that express how we feel about living in a world that is made up of both an incredible natural community of living beings, and also of a culture that is ironically destroying the land base on which it depends for its very existence. We make things because we can't imagine doing anything else, and we can't imagine living in a world devoid of songs, or devoid of visible stars in the sky at night.
>>>---- We want to make you these things, right now. ------>
We've just now gotten home from nine months of nonstop touring in support of our last album, and we are dying to start working on the next songs. On long drives across Germany and Idaho, we started writing this new music, which seems to be lending itself to two different projects. We want to put these songs out as two separate albums -- a Bowerbirds album and Phil's brand new side project, Island Dweller, and then release them both within the next two years.
While we were plotting out how to release both these albums in that short amount of time, we figured out that for the same amount of money that we spent to record our last album, we could instead build our own modest recording studio, and record both new albums ourselves in that space, as well as any other music we write, into the future. Which means more music for you, now as well as later.
Backers of this Kickstarter project will have the opportunity to hear these new songs before anyone else. We will send you digital downloads or physical copies of both albums as soon as they are finished, plus we also have something for you to listen to now, to tide you over until the new records come out. We've got an e.p. of previously unreleased Bowerbirds tracks, including never-before-heard songs that didn't make it onto any of our records, and alternate versions of some songs from our last album.
Because we really want to see these new albums happen, we've come up with a ridiculous number of other rewards for funders of this project that allow us to use the various skills we've developed over the years, to make things and do things, for you. Think of it as you employing us, to make you these albums, to write you a personal song, make you a website, paint a picture of your cat, sculpt you a tiny anything, or give you totally unqualified relationship counseling, among a million other really dope prizes. Seriously, hit us up. We love making things.
>>>---- Our almost-finished studio space ----->
We are so close to being finished with building and setting up our studio inside the room with high ceilings and log walls. We have the beginnings of a bunch of new songs that we can't wait to flesh out and record, and we have learned a great deal about recording our own music during the process of making our last three albums, including our time working alongside the incredible engineer, Brian Joseph, who taught us a lot while recording part of our most recent album, The Clearing, the rest of which we recorded ourselves.
There is a certain magic that you can only get when working alone, on your own time, but which can sometimes be offset by less fidelity in the recordings, if you don't have good enough equipment to work with. That's why we want to be able to work in our own space, with a modest amount of good recording equipment, so we can work when the inspiration strikes, and make final recordings at any step in the process, rather than making detailed demos, and then having to start over to make final recordings. We believe that recording our music in a place we created especially for that purpose, by ourselves, will result in better, more inspired, recordings, for less money and in less time, than it would to make an album in rented space, on rented time.
As you can see, the cabin is almost finished. We have already plumbed and wired the space, and fitted it with recycled denim insulation, which is better for soundproofing, and for our health, than fiberglass, and we've stockpiled almost all the materials we need to build the kitchen and bath. This winter and spring, we'll be sealing up and plastering the walls, installing the lights and electrical sockets, and then, if this Kickstarter project is funded, setting up our new recording equipment and getting to work.
Here's a little schematic layout of the cabin that Beth made, so you can see how we'll be using the space, and where the recording will take place.
When the cabin is finished, it will run on solar power, use rainwater catchment and a greywater system, be heated with a combination of solar and wood from our land, and use very little energy overall. It will also be built with recycled and nontoxic materials. For example, all the windows, doors, fixtures, appliances, roofing, and flooring, used to be part of someone else's house, and someone else's life, at some point. We like the idea of working in a place with such history, even though it will be new. It will be an inspiring space to make music inside of.
We are incredibly grateful for and indebted to our friends and fans everywhere, who helped us get this far. You can be a part of making the new Bowerbirds album, and Phil's exciting new Island Dweller side project a reality. We hope you'll back our project.
Beth and Phil
...and now for the prizes!
>>>------------------- RAD PRIZES FOR YOU---->
We came up with a ridiculous amount of reward options, so you don't have an excuse to not get something. We've got descriptions in the column at right, a little chart (below) to help you make sense of them, and pictures of lots of them further down the page.
THE FIRST 100 PEOPLE TO PLEDGE $100 OR MORE GET AN EXTRA PRIZE! Choose either: an "Spice Squad" or "Team Olive" lapel pin (modeled after our small dogs, Spice and Olive), or a collector's set of autographed out-of-print albums. (Danger at Sea, & self-released version of Hymns for a Dark Horse)
If you would like a combination of rewards that is not listed in the options on the right, just email us to ask how, at info-at-bowerbirds-dot-org.
We've priced the rewards at a variety of levels, so hopefully everyone who wants to contribute can afford to. And if you want to donate to our band something above the suggested amount, that would also be super rad of you. We'll put it to good use.
But whether or not you contribute money, you can help by spreading the word about our new album project to all your friends, sending out a quick email with this link, or posts about us on facebook, twitter, or your blog. The more people that hear about this, the better the chance we'll be fully funded, and the sooner you'll be sitting back, eyes closed, listening to new Bowerbirds songs.
You can also sign up for our mailing list, to make sure you know when we are planning future tours or other fun surprises.
TWO NEW REWARDS:
- Spirit animal Mitts in two designs! Only two sets available! (all gone!)
- A signed (on request) La Patrie classical guitar, like Phil's!
- a Live Album, recorded at the end of nine months of touring!
These aren't in the chart below yet, but scroll to see more under the chart!
NEW LIVE ALBUM!
We just decided to also mix down some live recordings of our band, recorded this last November and December, at the end of nine months of touring this year, with our superb cellist and drummer, Leah, and Yan. We're really excited to share these versions with you.
We'll be mixing down the live album soon and be ready to send it out in early spring 2013. There are options to download it for $10, or to order as a limited-edition handmade CD for $25. You can also add $10 for a download, or $25 for a CD, to any other order if you've already backed the project, or if you would like to also select another reward as well as the live album. [Please email us at info -- at -- bowerbirds -- dot -- org if you would like to make sure we know why you added the extra money to your existing order.]
NEW! The SPICE SQUAD and TEAM OLIVE LAPEL PINS!
We have the new Island Dweller and Bowerbirds albums, both as digital downloads and limited edition Kickstarter-only versions on CD, and the Bowerbirds album on vinyl.
Part of the reason it seems like we have so many prizes is that we have several options for bundling a shirt or onesie with different combinations of the music packages.
This last poster was made by Beth, who is a visual artist as well as a musician. She's offering up a lot of her artwork as rewards, and you can commission her to paint or sculpt a miniature version of anything, to make you a magical amulet, to sew an outfit for your dog, or a zillion other fun things.
She'll be making all this art in the little 200 square foot art studio we already built, downhill from the cabin recording studio, where we are sleeping while we finish the cabin.
Beth loves to make miniature items out of clay, fabric, or a combination of found materials. Below are some examples of her work. The submarine sold, and the house is not for sale, but you can see these are full of miniature things Beth made. She will make you something small as well. Check out the small options.
The small items will not be as big as the house or submarine, but more like one of the items inside the house or submarine.
When we were first starting the Bowerbirds, we were running a web and graphic design company, creating specialty websites, logos, posters and other work for a range of clients. We take pride in creating work that expresses each business or organization's personality, mission and values. Each design project is very different, and requires a unique approach. We will design a logo for you, or a website, or a both. If you want us to design something else, let's talk about it. We can probably work it out.
Here are some examples of our work.
Besides all these prizes above, we have a lot of made-to-order prizes, plus hang time options with us. We will write you a song, or have a party with you out here at the cabin, or a number of other fun things. Be sure to read through all the options in the column at right.
If you are one of the first 100 people to donate $100, you'll get a free gift. Either a set of collector's edition CDs, or a handmade lapel pin, proclaiming your membership on either TEAM OLIVE or the SPICE SQUAD. Olive and Spice are our dogs. Olive is the larger one, Spice the smaller and fatter. You decide.
We hope you find something you like!
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>>>>------ How we'll spend the money ----->
Buying recording equipment - $10,000
We need to buy several nice microphones, pre-amps, better converters, a desktop computer (our old laptops are always crashing when trying to run recording programs), some nice monitor speakers, a computer monitor, a large desk, a few percussion instruments and pedals. We also need to get our piano tuned and buy materials to construct baffles.
Fulfilling rewards, and postage - $9,800
Printing the albums on limited edition CD, Bowerbirds album on vinyl, making all the other prizes that require materials, buying food for the ones that require food, and postage for mailing out all the rewards. If you want to donate extra for the reward you are getting, that will increase the amount we can spend on the recording project itself.
Creating a sweet acoustic environment to record in - $4,000
We are very close to finishing our live-work space. We've already collected, over the last several years, all the fixtures, appliances, sinks, tub, kitchen cabinets, slate for the floors, and pretty much everything we need to put in the bathroom, sleeping loft, and kitchen, for our cabin-studio space. We will be putting together these materials at the same time that we are building the room that will house the studio. This money is just for the recording space. The cabin is also already plumbed, wired, and insulated.
What we still need to buy is mostly the materials that will make the space work well acoustically for recording, and that will create a climate controlled environment, safe from wild animals and muggy summertime heat, which can hurt recording equipment (for our last record, we had to keep putting a bag of ice under our laptop to keep it from overheating). We need wall board, plaster, natural treatments to seal the flooring and log walls, a small solar air conditioning unit, paint, nails, screws and other hardware, and other random materials to finish out the space. The entire cost to finish the building project is not included here, because we will cover that with our other income.
Percentages to Kickstarter, Amazon, and our record label - $4,200
Kickstarter takes a cut of 5%, Amazon charges a small percent for processing credit card payments, and Dead Oceans charges a small percentage for the use of songs on our previously unreleased tracks e.p.
If we can raise more than $28,000, we will use the money to:
Manufacture more albums ($4,000+), fix our broken tour van ($5,000), pay for publicity for our new albums ($4,000+), construct a structure to hold the extra solar panels and batteries ($1,000), screen in the porch to create more bug-free space for working ($700), buy other building supplies to finish other parts of the cabin or to build small outbuildings for visiting bands to stay in ($10,000+), and if there's any left, pay ourselves something for our time writing the music and making the art. We are dreaming big, but what really matters here is that we at least make the goal of $28,000.
>>> MORE DETAILS, FOR THE CURIOUS <<<
We'll have a lot more pictures and details for you to read more about our project, and the cabin project that preceded the setup of the recording studio, over the next few weeks, if you are interested.
Risks and challenges
With any recording project, there are things that can go wrong along the way that slow down progress on the album. Someone can get sick, you can decide to redo a whole song, or sudden expenses can arise. The good thing about this project is that we will be creating our own space to work, and we already know what we need to buy to set it up properly.
We have also recorded a lot of our early music ourselves, and we learned a lot from working with talented people on our last record. We feel confident and excited about doing this one in the space we've been preparing for it.
Getting started on recording will have to wait for us to complete the interior finishing of the cabin space, but we have already done that same kind of work, when we built the smaller art studio on the land. We tried to overestimate how long we think this will take to complete, so we won't be disappointing anyone. We are super excited to get to work on the new music, and to setting up the perfect space to record it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter