Hello supporters and lovers of artistic, sincere, uplifting music! Wlecome to the latest project by our band, KC Roberts & the Live Revolution (KCLR). We are an original, independent, 7-piece (sometimes 12-piece) Canadian funk band from Toronto. We have just launched our first tour in Europe, and then going to the studio to record our next full length record in the fall. We have a brand new band, rehearsed and ready to lay it down. We are looking to music lovers, fans and friends to get involved and help us make some magic again. Here is our story...
My name’s KC Roberts. I am a guitarist, songwriter and singer who’s lived in Toronto, Canada my whole life. In 2009, I founded this band alongside my good friend and bassist, Matt Fullbrook. We joined up with a very special group of local musicians and we called ourselves KC Roberts & the Live Revolution. We immediately went to the studio and recorded an album called Parkdale Funk 1, which turns 10 years old this month. Over the next 8 years, we went on to make 7 full-length albums. Out of all of them, probably the most special to me was Parkdale Funk 2. Thanks to our first ever crowdfund and the incredible support of our fans who contributed $27,000, we had the freedom to take our time in the studio, experiment with sounds and ideas, and record a 27 track double CD. We had amazing guest musicians, a big band, strings, amazing Canadian MCs and over 40 musicians total playing across the record. We set out with a goal to put as much love, passion and soul into that record as possible. Still to this day if you listen through that record you can hear the magic and the moments that we were fortunate enough to catch on tape (yeah to tape). We bought a tape machine lol. His name is Bruce.
Parkdale Funk 2 was released in 2014 to a sold out Mod Club in Toronto, with people lined up outside who had to be turned away. It was the beginning of a new time for the band. We played hundreds of shows for huge packed rooms, festivals, small clubs in different towns and everywhere in between. We blasted our fiery music for every new crowd with the hope of inspiring musical passion and making people feel free, happy and lost in the vibe. We rocked for jam-packed crowds at places like The Phoenix sharing the stage with Lettuce, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Dj Z-trip, Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys), Jack Bruce (Cream), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), The Trews, Rival Sons, DJ A-Skillz and more. No matter what age or genre of the crowd, we found a way to connect to them with our energy, passion and funky sounds. We threw big parties in Toronto where we would play 3 - 4 hours of live original music.
In 2015 we shot a 17 song live of the floor DVD to highlight the wonderful musicians in the band and showcase the live energy we’d built over the previous few years. We did another crowdfund to finish the production and editing of the DVD and support us on a big tour across the west coast of Canada and the U.S. The tour was the experience of our lives. We tore it up in front of new audiences, forging bonds with new fans and friends. Meanwhile, a Japanese record label released two KCLR compilation albums, which showed up in Tower Records in Japan and sold about 3000 copies each. We started to see videos of musicians in Japan, Colombia, and in Europe covering our music: always different songs from different records. Even though we couldn’t seem to get the Canadian music industry to dance with us for very long at any given time, we were having an effect on people and our music was being heard. We were doing this completely independently. Our fans were the only support we needed.
What’s happened since the last crowdfund?
The thing is, maintaining any original band is difficult. It can feel like a group marriage at times, and when you have 7-8 band members it can be even more challenging. We had gone extremely hard for 8 years, and even though we were just starting to build serious momentum, people’s lives became more complicated. Some members of the band had to move on and deal with life events - kids, relationships, new job opportunities. It all kind of hit at once at a time when we had an opportunity to really light the rocket fuel and push harder than ever before. The band split up.
However, that’s life. I immediately put together a new band to fulfill certain obligations and pre-booked gigs and was blessed with a fantastic new band of amazing musicians. For me personally, though, the spark was gone. I was feeling slightly broken, since from my perspective I wasn’t just grieving over the 8 years with that band, but also the many years before that of starting bands, losing players, pushing up hill just to make the best music I could. I felt like I was back to square one, and I was exhausted. Next thing I knew, I had developed a vocal hemorrhage (coughing up blood at a gig) and had to stop singing for months. I even did a show with my band where I hired another singer. Around this point, KCLR started feeling like a jobbing band, and like a kind of shackle on my leg. We would fulfill commitments, but that fire to push the music and make new exciting art felt like an echo from the past. This was really not what I wanted the music and the band to be about. KCLR is about passion, taking chances, moving forward, believing in art and the possibilities of music. I began taking other musical opportunities, playing guitar for more people and started to explore my solo music through an acoustic guitar.
The New Band
Over the past year, a brand new band started to form, but it wasn’t until the past month or so that things really started to click. Enter drummer, Austin Gembora, and keyboardist, Jeremy Ugro. Our first jam with these guys was only in June, but I could IMMEDIATELY tell that this was going to be a crazy good band. Sometimes it’s all about the right chemistry. Not only does a good band need great musicians, but it needs the right kind of people to spark creativity together and catch ideas in a way lets the magic happen. KCLR has always needed a good symbiosis and energy, because there’s a lot going on musically with a lot of musicians. Once we have the right people and start having fun, crazy stuff starts to happen. I’m already inspired for the first time in three years and I’ve started writing like a fiend. New songs are popping up that we’re really excited about. Rehearsals have been a blast, and even the old material is starting to breathe new life again. We may even start re-doing some of the old material. We’re booked to go into the studio in September and start writing a new record.
You’re making a new record, too?
We are booked to go to Noble Street Recording Studio in early September to start recording our new full-length record. This record will be both the culmination of this new exciting band, as well the next chapter and evolution of where we left off with Parkdale Funk 2. If Parkdale Funk 2 was an experiment in trying to explore and fuse different styles, genres and sides of the band than this new album would be the lessons learned from that experiment. The same way a muscle forms and strengthens after being broken apart and exercised, this record is the next step in our music and songwriting. This album is set to be produced carefully, and concisely over time. We want to make another timeless record with great songs that we can tour on and share with the world over the next few years.
Tell me more about the tour
Early this year, Kultursommer, a music festival in Oldenburg, Germany contacted us out of the blue and told us they’d love to have KCLR perform in the summer. Every person in the music business I’ve ever met has said, “you absolutely NEED to get the band Europe, they love this kinda music!” I was always like “For sure, that’s the dream, I just need plane tickets for 7 guys.” Well, this festival offer was on July 19th and seemed like a really cool first seed to try and make something special happen. We landed two additional festivals (Germany, Austria) on August 2nd, and 3rd, which was exciting but it left a huge gap between gigs. I knew this was our one chance to finally make a European tour happen, but we needed more gigs. We immediately applied for a Canada Council travel grant, while calling every music club in Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria, and Switzerland. We picked up one more festival gig and two club shows. Weeks of grinding, and two rejected grant applications later, we’ve bought plane tickets - out of pocket - and we left for Germany on July 18th! As of now, we have 6 gigs, and we’re waiting for some other potential opportunities to come in. We’ve put our own money down on accommodations and a tour van, and we’re 100% freaking bringing KCLR to Europe!
We are going to Europe to finally bring this band and our live show to a completely new market. We’re heading over with CDs, a crazy tight band and a will to rock harder than ever before. We’re also going to use this as a ramp up to recording the new album. During the first week of the tour, we’re staying at a renovated barn that’s owned by a German poet, who specifically requested this space to be used for art and music. We are going to live together for a week right after the first festival and write new music, jam ideas, rehearse, make videos and create anything we can toward the new album. We want to use this whole experience as fuel to catch the best possible musical ideas. We are also recording live from the first festival straight to Radio Bremen, giving us even more exposure right from the moment we arrive. We have shows in Amsterdam, Berlin, Austria and all over Germany. Our goal is to make so much noise over there that next year we go back and do ten times more. Maybe Canada Council will get behind us on the next trip (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Why do you need this money?
Recently we just put our entire 7 record discography on Spotify. This was exciting to do in one way, but I also realized that it was basically the end of us making any money off years of original recorded music (at least by people buying CDs). There’s no easy way to thrive as an original band while trying to create, tour and take chances, and it’s not getting any easier. I don’t need to tell you how much money we had to front to get plane tickets for 7 guys, plus transport and accommodations. Also to feed the guys on tour, and try to pay them something fair for the work taken off to make this trip happen. It’s a lot! We need help to make this tour work, and to give us the chance to keep pushing and make an even bigger splash next year with more festivals and tour dates.
Don’t forget that as soon as we get back we’ll be recording, mixing and mastering a brand new full length record. The more money we can raise here, the more love we can put into this record, and the more videos and music we can make around it. Right now we have a team building around the band – musicians, video artists, publicity and more. We want to make this leap and try to create the best music we can, and we’ve always been better when our fans have played a bigger role. If you love this band, if you love the music we’ve made and would like to see us make more, we need your help. This is a big chance for us to strike while the iron is hot, and take the Live Revolution to the rest of the world. This band has always been by the fans and for the fans. We’re calling to y’all to jump in and be a part of this moment with us.
What do I get if I contribute?
KCLR needs your help to make this new record as amazing as possible and make sure that we absolutely kill the European tour. By next year, we want to be positioned to make international tours and festivals a regular part of our band's trajectory. We have put together a ton of really cool and fun packages for you to purchase. We’ll have the album digital download, as well as tickets to various big cool shows and after parties. Also, we’ll have a very special printed album book, with lyrics and pictures and moments from the making of the record. This will be a book that you can read along and experience the record visually as you listen. You can live stream our shows in Germany. For $500 you can pick a song for us to cover and we’ll do a special unique take on that song and even invite you to rehearsal to give production notes, and then invite you to the show where we perform it. You can order a copy of our limited first run of vinyl copies of the new record (this will be our first Vinyl ever). For $1000 KC will write a tune in your honour, with your story in mind. There are so many cool treats and packages. Make sure to go over to the reward section and check em out.
Anything else I should know?
Final thoughts - I often find myself asking what this band means to me. There are so many other styles of music I want to explore, and other things I want to do in my life. I hope very soon to make a solo record that shows off the different songs and ideas in my head, but KCLR is something very unique and special. This group is where I put my blood, sweat, and tears this last decade of my life. It became something bigger than me, and bigger than anything I expected. This band is a place where passionate musicians come together to make exciting fun music together, free from the pressures of corporate interests and superficial industry boundaries. This band is for people who want to celebrate possibility, positivity, musicianship, to dance, to sing to play together. This band is more than me or the musicians that make it up: this band is the people's band. I want to make that statement more true with each note we play and every word that escapes my lips. This band may just be another fire lit in a wide open night of a million glowing dots, but we want to make that flame leap as high as we can, as long as we can. We appreciate all of you more than we can express.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges for the creation of this album are similar to any major artistic endeavour: time, money and creativity. The band has already written a handful of great songs for the new album and we've set aside plenty of time during the European tour for writing. Sometimes the creative process hits snags and can change the timeline of a project.
We have studio time booked in Toronto starting in September that we've already paid for. Based on our previous experience making records, a successful Kickstarter campaign will put us in a great position to deliver on time and on budget, but there is always the risk that the project could go over-budget, and, therefore, past deadline.
We will keep backers fully up to date on the progress of the touring, writing, recording and manufacturing of rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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