I always say that Gardening, Not Architecture was intended to be an online-only project, never to play a single show -- and that's true. Everything that has happened since I posted "The First EP" online for free in 2007 has happened in answer to a call from people who believed in the music, the idea, and in me.
If I never intended to play a show, then I certainly never intended to record a second full-length album! And that's probably why I had no problem investing my entire life savings into recording and self-releasing the first album, "First LP," followed by over a year of near-constant touring and couch surfing. I never really thought past any of that; I was doing it because it made me happy. I wasn't concerned about album sales or record labels, so I didn't consider the fact that maybe people would like the music and want... more.
My savings are gone and have been replaced by two jobs, which don't leave much in the way of savings after all the bills are paid. It's been almost two years since I released "First LP," and I have built up quite the arsenal of new experiences and songs that are begging to be released. I don't want to seek out a label or other people who could possibly loan me money to record, since it would be at the cost of them having creative control and influence over what I do and how I do it. Plus: I'm not trying to "get famous" with this project. I have already been in those bands that want to "make it" and it was nowhere near as rewarding as making music I personally enjoy, to share with people I care about, to create meaningful moments and connections, and to leave something of value behind when I'm gone. I made a promise to myself that I'd keep doing G,NA only as long as it was honest and enjoyable -- and to me, so far, that means keeping the project independent and free of influence from anyone.
I have the chance to go into the studio this fall with the incredibly talented Steve Choi, from Rx Bandits, to co-produce my second full-length album, which I'll be self-releasing by the end of the year. But without a savings account to dip into, and without a full band of people working to save money in a hurry, I am at the mercy of either working the two jobs I currently have long enough to raise the funds -- and who knows when that will be? -- or trying to raise the funds on my own through something like Kickstarter.
I've hosted my own fundraisers on the G,NA website in the past, and I've always offered limited edition and/or handmade items as incentives for those donations. I have a running list of "Official Sponsors" on my website: people who have donated to the G,NA fundraisers over the past two years to keep me on the road and help me stay afloat. For this Kickstarter campaign, I've put together what I think is the most valuable collection of G,NA-related collectibles I could think of: limited edition merchandise, handmade items, exclusive new music, unreleased music, and even some memorabilia from my year on the road! I think that everyone who donates, new fans or old, will get something in return that they'll be able to truly enjoy -- not to mention my everlasting love and gratitude.
The amount of money it will cost me to buy a plane ticket to California and record, mix and master the album is around $5,000. If I want to manufacture CDs or vinyl or any merch right off the bat, it will be more than that. If I want to be able to take off three weeks to record without having to worry about rent, bills, food, and other life expenses, it will be way more than that. Check out the last thing on the list of Rewards to see my Dream Amount. If we hit that mark, then I will press an exclusive Kickstarter edition of the second album on vinyl, and every single person who donated will get a numbered/signed copy.
Here's a helpful chart I made to see how realistic the goal of this fundraiser is:
*If 500 people pledge $10, we'll hit the $5,000 amount.
*If 1,000 people pledge $10, we'll hit the Dream Amount and everyone will get vinyl.
*If 200 people pledge $25, we'll hit the $5,000 amount.
*If 400 people pledge $25, we'll hit the Dream Amount and everyone will get vinyl.
Your help spreading the word about this effort means the world to me. To those of you who have been involved with G,NA for a while, thank you again and again, endlessly and relentlessly, for all that you have already done to push this thing forward. If you are new to this project, thank you for taking a chance and putting in the effort to discover new music, and I hope you'll be around for a long time to come!
Sarah / Gardening, Not Architecture
- (50 days)