Thinking Plague's Mike Johnson has composed approximately 45 minutes of new music, in the form of 6 ‘art songs’, varying in length from roughly 4 to 14 minutes. The music has been written specifically for two guitars, reeds, bass, accordion/piano/ organ, drums/percussion and vocals, which reflects the current band line-up. The plan is for minimal overdubs so that the music, as recorded, should able to be easily reproduced live. The album *may* be entitled “Hope Against Hope”, and its conceptual themes, developed by Elaine di Falco and Mike Johnson, will deal with the dreams, hopes, disappointments, and heartbreaks of life in our modern-yet-inhumane world.
In order to truly sound as we envision it, our approach calls for a brilliantly “real” sounding recording environment, employing very high quality microphones, preamps, etc., in addition to state-of-the-art digital recording capabilities. As it happens, we have a very experienced recording/sound engineer friend and “fan”, who has recently built a fabulous new studio nearby. http://www.mfpcolorado.com/studio/ He badly wants to ‘track’ the new album, but as he has bills that must be paid, he can only discount our rate so much. Our estimate is that we’ll need around 120 hours of studio time, for which he’ll charge us as little as $4,000, which comes to around $33 per hour. This for a studio that serves top drawer audio clients, accustomed to paying $100+ per hour.
Then we’ll need to employ a master producer to mix the album. We cannot afford, and would not want to employ, some top “industry” producer. So, again, we have a friend who can do it for us for $3,000. Mike Johnson, as composer and overall producer, will have to travel to, and stay near, this producer’s studio, in order to provide aesthetic oversight of the mix. This will cost up to $1,000.
So, the total ballpark estimate is $8,000 to produce a CD-ready master. Currently the members of the band are learning, adapting and rehearsing their parts. We will be ready to start tracking drums and percussion by September. The rest of the pieces should fall into place by early 2016. We will mix in March or April, in order to deliver a finished master to Cuneiform Records by their deadline in May, for release in September 2016.
With your help to cover these costs, we should have no trouble meeting this deadline. Moreover, we should be able, for the FIRST time, to create a truly current ‘state-of-the-art’ audio experience, which will be the best-sounding Thinking Plague recording EVER, of possibly our best music EVER.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk we face is that of unforeseen impediments keeping us from meeting our deadline of May 2016 for a finished master, especially of the quality that we are envisioning. The biggest challenge is raising sufficient funds to be able to afford the necessary facilities and to command the time of the expert professionals we need. As manager of this project I, Mike Johnson, bring 30+ years of experience making recordings of music for national and international release and distribution, most of the costs of which were paid for out of my own and other band member funds, or through in-kind arrangements, barter, etc. I know what it takes to make such a recording. In addition, for 25+ years I was involved in the management of government grant-funded projects to help the homeless, provide holistic assistance for low-income students, and similar efforts. At one point I oversaw a successful program funded through a $3.5 million grant*, for which I had to manage the budget and write reports to the government. I have my own LLC music business with bank account, federal ID, etc, which I will use to hold and manage the funds raised by this campaign.
* Sadly, we have not been able to find a grant that would offer what we need for this - our genre falls between the cracks of those that typically qualify for grants - jazz, pure avant garde, classical, etc.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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