ABOUT 'THE UNIVERSAL THUMP', our DEBUT ALBUM:
"It's terrific!" - Mike Scott (The Waterboys)
"The Universal Thump is an ambitious banquet of musical
styles and instrumentation, with influences ranging from deep
psychedelia to prog at its must evolved, convoluted and
unapologetic...Such is the peculiar and exciting alchemy of the
Universal Thump's accessible but avant-garde pop."
-Elizabeth Nelson, NPR 'Song of the Day'
"(The Universal Thump's ) 'Grasshoppers' is one extended outbreak of goose-pimples after another. Were it a drug I'd be shooting it. The most gorgeous thing I've heard in ages."
-Stew (Passing Strange, The Negro Problem)
Thanks to our dear Kickstarter Backers in 2009, we successfully raised money to make our eponymous double-album, "THE UNIVERSAL THUMP". We spent around four years working on this album, with over 60 musicians. It was an incredible, fulfilling process and we are ecstatic with the end result and reaction from critics, fans, friends and musical colleagues. Even though the money we raised was not enough to cover any promotional budget for the album, some really cool things happened subsequent to its release:
* We won the Independent Music Award (Vox Pop) for Best Music Producers (2012) and were finalists for Best Concept Album.
* We received some fantastic reviews and radio airplay such as NPR 'Song of the Day', Vin Scelsa's 'Idiot's Delight' on WFUV, The New Yorker, No Depression, WXPN, Time Out and more - check out our press clippings here.
* Our OctoberTHUMP! (2012) Residency in NYC: We performed the album in its entirety over 5 weeks, and at CMJ music conference, with 16 piece band at The Living Room in NYC (pictured below). In 2013, we performed on WFMU (Irene Trudel's show) and music venues Barbes, Littlefield, The Living Room and Signature Theater. We also made a guest appearance at John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders at City Winery.
* We toured Southern USA for the first time, in support of the album release and performed in venues and on the radio in Knoxville, New Orleans, Chapel Hill, Austin and other fine cities for the first time. (Greta also ate her first fried green tomato).
* We released the album in AUSTRALIA on Foghorn Records (MGM Distribution), and were featured on Radio National (Robbie Buck and Tim Ritchie), 2SER and other media, with full-band release shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Our music videos for 'Flora' and 'Darkened Sky' were picked up by RAGE and other national TV shows in Australia.
Camminare il Gatto.
Gehen die Katze.
Marche le chat.
Het Lopen van de Kat.
Ag siúl an Cat.
WALKING THE CAT: A new EP and a Tour - The Next Steps for The Universal Thump.
THANKS TO OUR BACKERS we raised enough money to fund production of 'The Universal Thump' in 2009 and even though we weren't able to factor in any promotional budget, we are proud of what we achieved on our own, in getting our album out there. [This is is not an uncommon situation for a musician to be in these days: Due to the (precarious) state of the music business, and the collapse of much of the traditional record label support system, it's now necessary for many artists to handle their own publicity and promotion. This includes such expenses as tour support, hiring a publicist, designing and printing promotional materials, and also spending time on social media, Facebook, Twitter etc. - and more.]
One of the most effective and lasting ways to promote an album is to go on TOUR - to do as many shows as possible in a variety of regions. Performing live (in addition to being fun and the grist of being a musician) gathers audience members, fans and press coverage for the band. The ways in which touring helps a band are manifold - both creatively and business-wise.
Over the past year, due to some positive reviews in the Netherlands, Italy and the UK, we've received invitations from venues, artists and booking agents in Europe, as well as interest from a label / promoter in Germany (who would like to see us perform). But we have not, as yet, officially released 'The Universal Thump' in Europe.
This interest has culminated in invitations to perform in Amsterdam (De Nieuwe Anita), Rome (Teatro Keiros), Berlin (Schokoladen), Dortmund (Small Beast, opening for Thalia Zedek), the UK and more throughout FEBRUARY 2014 (next month!)
We believe the next step in the career of The Universal Thump, and the means for us to propel the band forward, is for us to embark on this tour of Europe in support of our debut album, and to continue to what we have built over the past few years in the USA and Australia.
IN ADDITION - We have been working on a lot of new material over the past couple of years, which we are really excited about, including songs "Walking the Cat" (Garageband demo featured in the video above), "Cockatoos", "Sunset Park" (co-written with Noam Weinstein) and "Watch the Sunrise" (co-written with Rick Moody). We plan to take one or two days to record basic tracks for an EP while we are in Europe. We will be veering into a fresh, sparser sound, sonically, focusing mainly on drums, piano and vocals, which we will be able to develop by touring as a duo.
We are hoping to raise $10,000, which will help us cover our transportation (airfares & trains) & accommodation for the European tour plus also recording of basic tracks for the EP at a studio in London. We will mix and master the EP back in Brooklyn upon our return, and it will be ready (digitally) by March.
These European shows offer a chance for us to play in new territories, widen our audience and forge new connections with artists and the music industry there. However, they don't all pay guaranteed fees (much like the shows that we play in NYC and Australia, which are often "door deals", dependent on promotion). A record label would usually cover these costs as part of their budget for a band's TOUR SUPPORT, however, we have no label or independent backing for this project. Thus we are asking for your collective support - as friends and fans of our music - to help us get there, promote the shows and record basic tracks for our 'Walking the Cat' EP. We can't do this without your support!
Any amount raised over $10,000 will then go towards more of the touring expenses mentioned above (eg. bringing an extra musician on the road with us), and extra promotion for the EP upon its completion.
We will be blogging from the road in Europe, plus sharing demo's of new songs, outtakes from 'The Universal Thump', an interactive portal where backers can share pictures of themselves walking their cats (and make their cats famous too!), and other GIFTS FOR ALL BACKERS throughout the fundraising campaign, as it progresses.
THANK YOU, grazie, dank u, merci, go raibh maith agat, danke so much, in advance, for backing this project. We hope you will be part of these next, exciting times for The Universal Thump!
Risks and challenges
This will be a much shorter, simpler process than the making of our debut, double orchestral pop album. After tracking the basic parts (drums, piano, vocals) in London in February, we plan to mix and master our EP in Brooklyn, NY for digital delivery by the end of March 2014, however this is subject to the schedules and availability of the audio engineers we decide to work with. We promise to deliver a stunning new EP and all the rewards in as timely fashion as possible!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)