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!
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.
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.
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!
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)