Frequently Asked Questions
Because to be able to make this album, we need enough people to pledge to buy it in advance.
For both "proper" albums Chef Menteur has released in the past, we have made CDs -- on the band's record label Backporch Revolution. For these we recorded and mixed the music ourselves, took the songs to John Fischbach at Piety Street for mastering, got the art together, then sent off the master disc to a plant in Canada to have them pressed into whatever number of shiny plastic discs that we thought we could sell. These numbers are always way too high or way too low, and you end up with a box of unsold CDs -- or worse, a call from a record shop saying they need 100 more, so you reorder 500, and you still end up with 200 unsold.
It seems that from our point of view, our friends, fans, like-minded bands, we ourselves-- almost no one wants CDs anymore. The vast majority of music listeners are getting most of their music virtually and digitally (as do we) without CDs, and so for bands that want a released product, and for music fans that want to have the best listening experience -- vinyl is the only way to go. Because of the many, many months we've spent working on the songs on this album -- much more than any of our previous material——this album is special and we've decided to go all out to try to make it happen. We're committed to releasing this album on vinyl and not CD. Even if we don't make our goal -- we will not be putting out a CD version of this album.
Shooting ourselves in the foot? Perhaps. Unfortunately the setup costs of doing vinyl are much more than CD. If you do 1000+ CDs or 1000+ records, it starts to even out, more or less. If you are doing a couple hundred, vinyl is much more expensive. Double vinyl: twice that.
But what if there were enough people that wanted to buy the album? Then we could afford to do it. How do we judge if there are enough people interested? Kickstarter seemed to be the perfect fit. It lets people commit to buying the album in advance -- but only if enough people band together to make the project affordable for us to do. If not enough people commit, then no one's credit card gets charged, not even one penny.
Think of it as you're buying it in advance. We made a spreadsheet and totalled up all the costs: mastering, manufacturing, shipping, art supplies, mailing supplies, and divided by 200 -- and the $30 pledge for the double vinyl doesn't leave us any room. We've never been in this for any other reason than for the love of the music, making it the way we envisioned it. If you have a record player, or a friend with one, buy the album -- you'll get beautiful hand-numbered block-printed artwork . There are only going to be 200 of these. They will be beautiful to look at and of course it will sound great.
Pledge to buy the album and you'll get a free digital download of the album at very high quality mp3 or lossless (we'll email you a link) so that if you just want to put the record on a shelf as a collector, and listen to the music on your phone, computer, or car mp3 player, that's fine too.
But any amount helps us make it. We'd love for you to have the record, but a $10 pledge is also very gratefully appreciated. We are really happy to report the generosity of one long-time fan who pledged $350 and we cannot thank her enough. We're also really psyched that 31 people have stepped up to support us. We're halfway there. Kickstarter pledge drives usually make it in the final weeks -- we're hoping we won't be the exception!
Three more things about Kickstarter:
1) You can pledge at any level. The numbers for the rewards are just "minimum suggested" amounts. If you want to pledge for $500 and only take the $30 album reward, that's your prerogative.
2) Your pledge amount is anonymous on the site. Only Chef Menteur can see the amount of your pledge, and we will respect your privacy. Several of the higher rewards include a "special thanks to" credit on the album, but that is your option to be included or not as well. The only thing that shows up on the site is your Kickstarter user name, and if you do not wish anyone to see your identity, simply create a username that doesn't reveal who you are. Even we won't get to see who you are unless the project is funded, and we use that info only to send you rewards.
3) We have had several friends who've said they'd prefer to send a check, or cash directly to us. We appreciate all kinds of support of course, but we'd much prefer that you pledge to Kickstarter, because that helps us meet our goal -- and Kickstarter is all or nothing. (Again: if we don't make the goal, nobody gets charged.) We want to use the money to make records, and the only way we can do that is if we make the goal. Please help us!
Finally, a little aside: I (Alec) met Perry Chen, one of the founders of Kickstarter, back in 1995 when I was talking to Piety Street Recording about mastering our first CD, We Await Silent Tristero's Empire. We ended up waiting for our original first choice, John Fischbach, as Perry was about to move out of New Orleans.
This is mostly a coincidence, but when mastering our latest album at Piety Street, I talked to John Fischbach about Perry and Kickstarter, as well as several of our other friends who have successfully funded their projects using Kickstarter, and all of these have given me utmost confidence in the Kickstarter model and company.
If you have any other questions about Kickstarter, please take a look at their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq
Another great way to help: forward this to all your friends who love music!
Thank you for supporting our art,
Alec, Dan, Brian, and PhilLast updated:
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