Hello world, it's Jane. Unbelievable how time flies. It's been nine years since my last album and I'm finally coming out with what I believe to be my best record to date. I've spent two years developing these songs and recruited geniuses Sophocles (co-producer), Maxwell Gualtieri (co-producer), Albert Chiang (co-writer) to bring them to life with phenomenal players in tow, including Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, David Bowie, Ed Sheeran..). I took a much needed break after my last record and honestly didn't know if I had another album in me (more on this at the end). When I felt the songs again, I hopped on a plane to Barcelona, locked myself in a room for three weeks, and material came rushing through. During these Barcelona sessions, I deliberately wrote away from my normal tendencies to hatch an evolution. I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO HEAR IT.
Half the songs were written to six Picasso paintings of his lovers. I was never an avid Picasso follower, but no one escapes the fascination 'cause he's everywhere in Barcelona. The deeper I went with his love history, the uglier it got: jealousy, abuse, misogyny. He manipulated them to stop creative endeavors of their own and even pitted them against each other. Behind the ovation he receives, little attention is ever paid to these women. So the paintings are a jumping-off point to give voices to Marie Therese Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot, and Sylvette David (not a lover).
Majority of the other half are about my dad. He died in 2009 but I feel like our relationship is still changing. There was a lot of emotional trauma with him. My grieving process has been strange and a long scenic route. I think these songs are some of those scenes.
Still deciding if these are the final song names but here is the full list!
- Turnstile Hostile
- Nothing Love
- How Do I Say
- Mercy Street (Cover of Peter Gabriel). have you read the lyrics to this?!
- Hidden track!
Demo of how a song has changed over the years, still a rough cut by the end here:
What creative gentlemen. They each hold very special powers and it's been pure joy to discover this record with such thoughtful minds as co-pilots. Completing the sound are some top-notch hold-onto-your-crotch players including my hero Matt Chamberlain on drums! I have loved his work since I was 5' tall with braces. I think I died of joy that day. Matt's work.
Sophocles • Co-producer, engineer, sound specialist. Meticulous, has great taste, and enjoys all the technical parts of recording that I can't stand. A fantastic musician in his own right, he has composed music for theater, film, dance, video games, opera, television, art installations, and the concert stage.
Maxwell Gualtieri • Co-producer, noise maker brain, guitarist, puns-on-caffeine connoisseur. You know that kid who's happy alone on the couch with his gameboy? It's Maxwell but with a handheld synth modulator two inches from face and headphones on. It'll be quiet for a while, then Max enters with "Here plug this in" and it's GOLD. His new coffee company, Joules & Watts, will be roasting some SURRIJA blend coffee bean for this campaign!
Albert Chiang • Co-writer, creative guide, bassist. A generous careful listener and constant collaborator with the rare pastoral ability to see people for who they are. Great sense of details and broad strokes. Most of our sessions consisted of him on pen and notebook while I sat at the piano. Songs popped out and we made production demos that I'm excited to share. I am deeply grateful to have found such rhythm with partner full of Yes's.
Surrija • Co-producer, artist, keyboardist, whatever works. Surrija is a song from second album, also a girl I met a long ago. She was 10 yrs old, of Thai and Dutch descent, out with her mom to see music. We started talking about life - she was childlike but far wiser than her age suggested. I hoped to be like her when I grow up and decided to take on her name last year as a reminder.
A little montage of this Matt unicorn:
THE NITTY GRITTY: BUDGET & GOAL
I'm so proud of the brains, talent, and choices made on this record. Creative integrity is through the roof at every session. It has the highest production value to date!!! Here are the main expenses - it's not everything but certainly the big ones:
- Production/Studio: $5000
- Mixing/Mastering: $4000
- Talent: $9550
- Manufacturing CD packages, Posters: $4000
- Publicity: $8000
NOTE: It adds up to to $30,550. This campaign is for $25,000. That's because I saved up the first $5000 and am in this with you.
I love making things by hand, which ends up being more work. But it's more fun this way! I am stoked about these rewards. Remember, everything can be adjusted - preferences, dietary restrictions, or custom gift requests for someone else - I'm here to help.
- THE MUSIC! All CDs are signed to whoever you want with pretty liner notes to have and to hold. Or download of the album before it's released into the galaxy.
- Backer updates: Kickstarter-Live video sessions, studio footage, production sneak peeks, backstories, and of course you can ask me things.
- PDF of my notebook: phrase lists, mind maps, musings, photos, everything: this is a glorious mess but so am I, letting it all out for you to see.
- Rough Drafts: Some of these songs sound nothing like the original. We have scrapped and restarted some because they didn't feel right. It's a mild heartbreak but they always end up better. I am grateful for our openness to destroy and reconstruct.
- Baked goods/Surrija blend coffee beans: I bake and am pretty good at it (see Fig. 8). Either cookies or turrón depending on where you live. International shipping will probably get turrón since it stays fresh for longer. Limited run of SURRIJA beans!
- Random Box of Stuff: I hoard a lot of paper, art, small memorabilia, stamps etc., and am actually looking to let go of a lot of it, they are ready for good homes!
- Lithograph art with handwritten lyrics: Kickstarter-only artwork! Once the music is ready I will post all lyrics. You are welcome to pick a song or I will choose one for you.
- Video sessions with me or with whole team: Talk to me one on one, or all of us about anything. We're happy to share process or just derp out with you.
- Lunch with me (& Dashi): LA folks - if you pledge within January, Dashi says she's happy to do this before we leave at the end of the month! SF Bay/Portland - we'll figure out a time during the year, though Dashi may/may not be available!
- Custom Songs: A live take playing/singing, dedicated and uploaded to YouTube. Covers: Happy to try different languages. Written for you: I'll learn your story before writing!
- Live-streamed Concerts: old songs, covers, let me know ahead of time and I'll do them!
- Holiday House Concert 2019: Plan ahead! Surprise your friends! Originals, covers, holiday songs, if you have requests I'd be happy to dust things off.
- Permanent VIP & Executive Kickstart Producer credit: A spot on my guest list for the rest of time. This includes plays, musicals, with backstage access!!!!
THAT'S IT! JOIN US!
I am floored by the yes's and excitement surrounding this record - no label, no execs, just you and your support letting me do what I do best. Please share this campaign and tell the world you're supporting independent music. I will shout your names from a rooftop somewhere. PUT ME TO WORK!
Thank you Thank you Thank you from the bottom of my heart thing.
Past works: LUIELAND - YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Electronic Press Kit for everything I do.
Some past works, including previous Kickstarter-funded music video Southern Winds - Winner Best Music Video at Dublin Web Fest 2016.
Epilogue for the extraordinarily curious.
1) During the break, musicals seemed like a natural thing to try. And it was. But I didn't expect it to inform my songwriting so drastically. In fact, it was on projects where I was purely acting, no music contributions to lean on, that I steeply gained a new sense of humanity. I care about music, so fear of failure and risks are all wrapped up in it. But with acting, I don't have skin in the game and really flailed around 'til I learned to tread water my way. It's a group activity that forced me to drop control, gain courage, empathize, and make bold choices at every rehearsal. Doing a play while producing the record this fall, I found myself saying things that all boiled down to "I don't know but YES I want to try it" in both rooms.
2) A day in Barcelona: 7a wake up to gas tank delivery to residents by knocking their rings against the tanks. Instant coffee. eggs & bagel. Work from 9-12p: sit at keyboard playing with topic for the day. Phrase list, zoom recorder, laptop with tabs open to rhymes, thesaurus, Spotify, and pages of whatever I was researching. Lunch for an hour ish. walk to market across the street for baguette and marshmallows. Back to work 130-5p. Then 3 mi warm-up walk to the water, run for about 3 mi, walk back. Stop at park to see elder men play games. Make dinner, check news, in bed by 10p. I loved this.
3) I've had great luck and good friends who helped me get here. Phone calls, coffees, late night meets, extra retreats, or just bumping into you on the street. THANK YOU. Nothing goes unnoticed and you are all part of the reason I am here. In no particular order: Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Sean Miura, Tuesday night Cafe and Team, Tamlyn Tomita, Daniel Blinkoff, Paul Dateh, Andy Lowe, Melissa Polinar, Goh Nakamura, Priscilla Liang, Abe Kim, Chucky Kim, Daren Mooko, Greg Friedman, Danny Morledge, Marvin Yueh, Minji Chang, Amy Lew, Aunt Gloria & Uncle Michael, Uncle John & Kat, Bri, Louis Brazier, Steve Ellington, Aaron Bowen, Steph Johnson, Rob Thorsen, my CRB and Vietgone families .... THANK YOU, - Jane.
Risks and challenges
On Jan 26, I'm heading to Ashland, Oregon, to work at Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 9 months as actor and musician. There's some time pressure to finish tracking, but the main challenge lies in knowing what the remote workflow will look like once I can't be here for post-production in person. So I'm giving the record some extra time to ensure quality and successful process before releasing this summer!
At OSF, I'll in a show called "Cambodian Rock Band" by Lauren Yee, with a phenomenal cast that has become family. The show is heading to a few other cities after OSF, and I'll be taking all my gear with me to play in these towns.
POSSIBLE STRETCH GOAL - 7" or 10" VINYL!
Some of the lower frequencies in our songs won't show up on vinyl, so it is best heard on CD or digital formats. But there's a select few that would live happily as vinyl and I would love to make that happen.
- (35 days)