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Happy Orchestra is recording its first album with musical masters from all over the country. Be a part of it from the ground floor!
Happy Orchestra is recording its first album with musical masters from all over the country. Be a part of it from the ground floor!
Happy Orchestra is recording its first album with musical masters from all over the country. Be a part of it from the ground floor!
83 backers pledged $7,613 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

The Debut Record project video thumbnail
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The Debut Record

$7,613

83

Playing for and with you all makes me happy. The level of talent around me is astounding, the community that supports this music scene is as strong as I’ve ever seen, and contributing to that has been incredibly life affirming. I have fun, I’m challenged in every dimension, and at the end of the day the effort I’ve put forth has gone to something 100% positive. I wanted more, and so Happy Orchestra was born.

It's been about a year of writing, rehearsing, and performing with Happy in its many sizes and flavors. Whether a trio in a tiny bar or the six-piece lineup on a venue stage, it's been important to me that I'm surrounded with humans I love and respect both as musicians and people. I'm lucky enough to live in a place where that's an easy reality to create, and now it's time to document that reality and share it with all of you!

The Happy Cards! (Skerik & Mark Mattrey not pictured)
The Happy Cards! (Skerik & Mark Mattrey not pictured)

The Plan

Over the next year I'm bringing these people together to make a record that paints a picture of the incredible musical landscape we live in. The record will feature the stellar musicians who have played with Happy so far including Skerik, Thomas Marriott, Andy Coe, Tim Kennedy, and Ian Sheridan, and a few who have yet to join the fold like Damian Erskine and Brian Haas. There will be more. We will drink your milkshake.

Putting this together will take time, partly because the people involved are all over the place, but also because a project like this requires patience to be successful. Tracks will be recorded and re-recorded, parts will be sent back and forth from all over the country, everything will get mixed and re-mixed, and the songs will evolve over time into their best expressions. A year sounds like a long time, and maybe we'll be done before then, but that's the plan.

The Happy Tees!
The Happy Tees!

Why a Kickstarter?

It's important to me to promote the value of music, musicians, and art in general to the people who consume it. I also want to demonstrate what it takes to produce a high-quality musical product and to compensate the people involved at a level closer to what they deserve. The financial picture of a recording often looks like this:

Studio + Engineer: $750/day (five days minimum for recording & mixing) 
Musicians: $100-400/session (from one song to an entire day)
Mastering: $50-100/song (a separate engineer who adjusts final volume and EQ)
Artwork: $300 CD Pressing: $1-2/unit
Vinyl Pressing: $6-7/unit (also requires second master)

A Kickstarter is a great way to interact from the ground level, and backers of the project will help compensate these artists and will get updates throughout the process that describe what's necessary to make a great record.

School Workshops

Skerik, Tim Kennedy, and I after a workshop at Kent Meridian High School
Skerik, Tim Kennedy, and I after a workshop at Kent Meridian High School

Finally, it's important to me that students of art get to interact with people making a living doing what they love. As a kid in high school, I scoffed when a teacher told me I should consider being a musician because I thought it would be impossible. I eventually found my way, but not without the help and guidance of others who rejected the "safe path" to pursue their passion.

Included in the rewards is an opportunity for backers to send members of Happy Orchestra to schools to play, talk, and hang out with Seattle-area art students. The goal of these workshops is to leave them with a realistic picture of the rewards and challenges of a life in the arts, and to encourage them to work hard and follow the path they see most fitting for themselves. Take a look at the options and do what you can!

Thanks!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement, the next year is going to be great! :-)

Risks and challenges

There are lots of moving pieces to making a recording, and the most challenging will be just getting these people in the same room at the same time. Luckily, Happy is equipped with a secret weapon in Ian Sheridan, who is an incredible audio engineer on top of being an incredible bassist (see Gravity and Richie Aldente). Having Ian on board will give us the flexibility to record people at different times and in different places, and will allow us to be patient with the process and avoid rushing through sessions.

Having already gone through the process of producing six records, I'm confident we'll have the time and tools necessary to make a great album!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $6 or more About $6

    High quality digital download of four tracks from the Video Session featuring Skerik, Thomas Marriott, Andy Coe, Tim Kennedy, Ian Sheridan, and Tarik Abouzied

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Video Session download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    New Record CD and High-Quality Download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards

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    32 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    New Record CD and Download PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    New Record CD and Download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    11 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Producer Credit in liner notes PLUS New Record CD and Download PLUS Video Session download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    3 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    2 tickets to CD Release Show (Seattle/Olympia/Portland) PLUS Producer Credit in liner notes PLUS New Record CD and Download PLUS Video Session download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    12 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A music lesson with Tarik Abouzied PLUS New Record CD and Download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    3 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    A music lesson with Tarik Abouzied PLUS Producer Credit in liner notes PLUS New Record CD and Download PLUS Video Session download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    A music lesson with Tarik Abouzied PLUS 2 tickets to CD Release Show (Seattle/Olympia/Portland) PLUS Producer Credit in liner notes PLUS New Record CD and Download PLUS Video Session download PLUS a 12-card deck of Happy Orchestra musician trading cards PLUS a Happy Orchestra t-shirt

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    4 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Send three members of Happy Orchestra to a school for a workshop on musicianship and artistry. School can be of your choice or one chosen by band and must be within 30 miles of Seattle.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Send Happy Orchestra to a school for a workshop on musicianship and artistry. School can be of your choice or one chosen by band and must be within 30 miles of Seattle.

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    Pledge $1,400 or more About $1,400

    A Happy Orchestra 4tet performance at your event. Must be within 50 miles of Seattle.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    A Happy Orchestra performance at your event. Must be within 50 miles of Seattle.

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    1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)