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$10,369 pledged of $15,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Eric Hirsh
$10,369 pledged of $15,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

what are your songs about? what motivates you?

I write songs because sometimes I cannot fit what I'm sensing in the world into words, and certainly cannot fit it into storage in my own heart. It's like I need a bigger receptacle. That's what each song is - a place where I can file away something abstract, yet still something so viscerally joyful or painful that it needs to come alive every once in awhile, when it is performed by an ensemble of musicians for a room full of willing souls. 

It takes me a long time to write a single jazz song, and the lifecycle of writing it has its monsoons and dry seasons. All the while I'm going about my daily life, and my intuition is sucking up things that I'll later need to put into the song. 

This album, yet unnamed, is the summation of 10 years of living, 10 years of writing and performing. I couldn't pinpoint its concept in words quite yet, but at least I'm finally speaking up. I cannot wait to share it with you.

arranging, orchestrating, rehearsing with The Beast+ Big Band, 2013
arranging, orchestrating, rehearsing with The Beast+ Big Band, 2013

a little background

I've been playing music for as long as I can remember. My parents met at a music conservatory in St. Louis and put me on to jazz lessons and synthesizers at an early age. Today I live in Durham, NC, where for the past ten years I have written, toured, recorded as a member of the hip-hop quartet The Beast, and also served as co-director of 12-member salsa dance ensemble Orquesta Gardel.

I have been sharing these songs; I occasionally perform them locally with the third band I am in: my own jazz quartet. This is a group of longtime collaborators and friends. Drummer Stephen and bassist Pete and I met in college 15 years ago, and we continue to play in many ensembles together, including The Beast. Saxophonist Aaron has been with us for 5 years, and continues to amaze me with his versatility. He has a masters degree and this fall has begun to pursue his DMA in saxophone performance from UNC Greensboro.

Despite these performances, I have never recorded a single track as myself, Eric Hirsh -- just albums with the other bands. This year I feel called to spend the time and energy to offer up my work thus far and share it with the wider world.

what do these songs sound like?

this

or this

other people say I am good at stuff

I don't mean to bemoan my lack of an album - there are other ways in which I have worked hard to develop as an artist over the years, including some prestigious awards and residencies:

Most of the ASCAP-award-winning songs will appear on this album. I told you I've been holding on to these things for awhile!

At Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead I wrote "Somehow It Seems To Help." At Ravinia I wrote "To Comfort A Shadow." Each of these privileged educational experiences has led to the moment where I am finally ready to record my first album.

so what's the plan?

All of the songs are done, they've been written over the past 10 years.

All of the songs have been performed and road-tested by my awesome quartet. We'll be rehearsing in December to tighten things up.

Live shows in preparation for this recording:

Tuesday, 12/19/17 at The Durham Hotel

Friday 01/05/18 at Sharp Nine Gallery *the night before we record* pre-recording party!

Tracking over two days at SoundPure Studios in Durham. January 6-7, 2018

Editing audio, starting video in January. Mixing audio, finishing video in February. Mastering and CD duplication in February/March.

all-star team

The Quartet

The Engineers

how will the funds be used?

I believe strongly in the power of video, especially for jazzy instrumental music like mine. The band isn't fronted by a vocalist, there aren't lyrics that you can relate to. Heck you probably can't even bob your head or dance to any of these songs. Arists like Snarky Puppy, Jacob Collier, and Pomplamoose have made names for themselves without compromising their music by investing in dynamic video that lets someone get into the middle of the stage and watch the artists perform up close.

I'm working with Mike and Teddy at 36 NORTH - the Kickstarter pitch video above is their creation. Mike is a musician and his crew has a lot of experience capturing musical performances. I can't wait to see what we shoot and create from our January recording session! Our goal is to shoot and edit at least two full songs from the album + a behind the scenes mini-documentary.

Here's how your funds will be used. Mostly on making the thing. Video is more expensive than music/audio costs, but I am excited for what these visual creations will do to enhance the songs (and, also, to propel my career).

Eric album budget
Eric album budget

Besides finally getting a chance to express my compositions in a recording, this album also represents my calling card to the world to become more nationally known, to connect with more fans, and to network with institutional partners and granting organizations.

what if we exceed the funding goal?

That's easy - more videos. More performances from the album. Maybe some conceptual music videos. 36 North has a 360-degree video rig - what could we make with that? Strap on your VR goggles and let's find out. 

Sometimes people use the excess funds to pay for a photo shoot, a PR agency to promote the album. While it is certainly important to market an album, I think it is weird to crowdfund marketing costs. It's like that money goes into a black hole and you personally don't reap the benefits (save, maybe being happy that someone wrote an article about me). I'd rather your funds go directly to the creation of art.

Risks and challenges

I have produced multiple albums on similar budgets with The Beast, Orquesta GarDel, Shana Tucker, other friends. I am familiar with the project management aspect of executing on such a scale. So, you should feel confident that whatever reward you sign up for, if the project gets funded, I'll deliver on it.

Certainly any large-scale, multi-thousand dollar project involving many vendors has risk. In this case, the risk pertains only to delivery date of the album, instead of whether or not it will be completed at all. I think that Kickstarer-ing technology prototypes is much riskier than musical albums. You aren't investing in a business that may or may not be successful, or one that might get shut down due to issues with patents or market forces. Instead, you are a catalyst my artistic/creative process, for which I'll be forever grateful.

Like I said in the video, I'm confident in my ability to execute on all the songs and videos and behind the scenes goodies that I mentioned, as this project is funded.

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    The Album, digitally

    Better than a pre-order, you will receive a digital download of the album as soon as it is back from mastering/album art. No need to wait additional weeks/months for whatever sort of marketing plan or public release schedule. It's only fair that my backers taste the first fruits of the project.

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    The Album, physically

    Better than a pre-order, you will receive a copy of the CD as soon as I get them from the duplication plant. A month before that you'll receive the digital download. It's only fair that my backers taste the first fruits of the project.

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    The Album + The Videos

    Video is an integral part of this project - I have a wonderful crew shooting and editing performances of our January weekend in the studio. Initial goal is two full songs, one mini-documentary. With this reward, I'll grant you access to view/download the videos as soon as we finish each one. I'll likely purposefully delay the public release of each video over many months, so this is a good way to visually be a part of the creation process sooner than later.

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    Secret Song!

    I'm really excited for this one. Participate directly in the album creation process - between the end of the crowdfunding round in mid-December, and the recording session in early January - participants with this reward will be able to suggest and vote on a cover song (from any genre) that I should arrange for the quartet. We'll record it along with the other album songs and *you'll be the only people to ever get to hear it* - for your ears only, never a public release.

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    Composer Package

    If you are a music lover, or dare-say music 'nerd' I'd love to share with you PDF scores of each of the compositions and arrangements that appear on the album, as well as some notes on the my process and the theoretical underpinnings of each tune.

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    Harness My Expertise

    I've packed a lot of adventures into my 10 years post-college - not just playing and writing jazz but working at tech startups, producing electronic music, being the business and marketing strategist for the bands I lead, balancing my dayjob with my art and well-being. I've also had the chance to mentor some individuals, and we found it to be mutually rewarding.

    At this reward level I'd love to spend 90 minutes with you (one long session or two 45-min sessions) helping you with any of the following
    * advanced jazz soloing or reharmonization concepts
    * music arranging and orchestration
    * incorporating Ableton Live onstage
    * music business strategy
    * web technology for musicians - development, SEO, content, maintenance

    We could meet over Skype or in person if you are in NC

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    Exclusive Studio Access

    The ultimate behind the scenes package - not just artifacts like lead sheets and track notes, but very intimate, real-time access. Up to 2 individuals will be my honored guests at SoundPure Studios as we record the album. Be in the midst of it all - leather couches in the control room, a chair near the piano in the tracking room. I'll put some artisanal snacks and beverages in the kitchen where the band will chat about which take was best. Must must be present and available in Durham, NC on January 6th and/or 7th, 2018.

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    Executive Producer

    Choose this reward if you feel called to make a sizable contribution to the project but are unable to be in Durham for the "Exclusive Studio Access" experience.

    You'll receive every possible reward I'm offering, as well as a special executive producer callout in the album liner notes. And I'll love you forever.

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