Something's happened to me lately: i've suddenly become acutely aware that i used to be a kid. Ha ha funny, yes, it sounds obvious, i know. But as long as i've felt like myself, i've always been pushing ahead to the next thing - that new project, the looming deadline, the next album, the big life milestone, where i want to be, to the exclusion of all else. i've been so forward-focused for so long that it had simply never struck me to stop for a moment and look back at where i came from, or even that i came from anyplace at all.
But somehow - through some confluence of getting older, my last album tanking, absorbing the fallout as my extended family split and changed, and watching my own kids begin to solidify into themselves - looking back at the past suddenly seems intensely interesting to me.
And so, true to form, i want to use my music to explore it. And because Kickstarter exists, i need your help to try something ambitious.
Here's the plan, nutshellified: i'm going to take a week to drive across the country and record material for a new album. i grew up in many places across Canada (particularly the prairie provinces), and i haven't been back in quite awhile, decades even. So i'll be revisiting as many of my former homes and haunts and road signs and paved-over memories as i can along the way, scratching that itchy memory and unearthing new coal for my idea train.
As i drive, i'll be recording, thinking, improvising vocals, experimenting, and generally making a fool of myself within the amniotic confines of my car. i'll also be documenting the trip visually - video, digital photos, polaroids, writing, scraps, whatever i can get my eyes on. Once i return home, the recording stops, and i spend the next year wrangling all that material into a chart-topping megahit album.
Obviously, i can't tell you what it will sound like when it's complete - nothing has been recorded yet. But i do have some vague unhelpful notions. i imagine a hybridized intersection between my past albums - the glitchy deconstructionism of Vertical Lines A, the modular lofi minisongs of Humidity Patient Guide, the seat-of-my-pants extemporaneous songcraft of North Carolina and Eating Chicken, the new stuff i've had percolating, all mixed up in a bucket with the eggs on top. It could be dreamy, or caustic, or cluttered, or muddy, or meditative, or more likely all of the above.
Where's all the money going?
The chief hurdle is the car itself - one-way rentals are expensive and few companies do them. Based on my initial research, i can likely do 7 days one-way for between $1000 and $2000, depending on what's available where. Secondly, there's the flight - i don't have time for a round trip, so i'll need to either fly to or from Vancouver to make this work; a one-way flight from Toronto(ish) is around $500 depending on how quickly i can book it. And finally, there's general travel costs: food, shelter, fuel, phone calls, Kickstarter's 10% cut, costs related to producing and mailing perks, etc.
What happens if the goal doesn't get met?
Nothing - the project gets scrapped. You keep your money, i stay home and mope.
What happens if we hit the goal?
It's really happening! The trip window is somewhere between August and November (preferably late September) so i'll jump into booking as much as i can in advance to keep costs down: reserve reservations, prepare preparations, arrange arrangements. And since i won't have much else to do while i'm waiting, i'll start creating and sending some of the perks in advance.
What happens if we blow way past the goal?
Now you're just teasing me, you jerk. But of course i've thought about it. There's so many possibilities:
- Firstly, it would continue to cover the cost of the trip - $3000 is a nice round minimum, but it may be more if i can't find good deals.
- Secondly, i'm counting on a modest digital release of this album, but of course it would be better to press it up in CD/vinyl.
- i'm expecting to pay for the mastering out of pocket, but it'd be nice to have that covered too.
- Also, i would turn the money back around into more bonus features: more Impossible Polaroid film, more video, a dedicated timelapse camera, etc.
- Since this is admittedly not the greenest thing i've ever done, i could pick up a greener car or carbon offsets.
- My wife is going to be alone with two sweetly unreasonable children while i'm gone - it'd be nice to spend a little extra on childcare/a cellphone/heroin to help smooth things out.
- And finally, on the selfish tip, i could upgrade slightly to one of them fancy-pants limozeen airplane seats whut have room for yer legs.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk in my mind is that it could take longer than expected. i feel like i need to be upfront about this: fact is, i've got a family that needs me and kids who get sick and a job and deadlines and bills and sometimes even sleep, and my music-making time is at their mercy. i will be pushing hard to wrap this all up by October 2015, but there is the distinct possibility that the timeline could be nudged ahead if things get crazy. i promise i'll keep you in the loop.
Some other possibilities:
• i could get attacked by ebola wolves and die.
• i could get in a car accident and lose everything i record.
• Something/someone ruins my life so i am no longer capable of finishing the album.
• Robot zombie coup, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood dimmed tide, etc.
• Everything works out, but you think the album sucks.
• i also think the album sucks, and dive into a pack of ebola wolves.
- (22 days)