"I let the wings unfold and fill with love leading me on ..."
Ever since our first – unexpected – meeting during the summer of 2007, we have both felt like there were unseen hands drawing us together to create something more than each of us were doing on our own. It started during the production of Robert's solo record Heart Broken Open, for which we worked together to develop the album artwork and photos. We also sang together on several of the songs on that album (including "The Unknown" below) and collaborated on a concept and storyboard for a music video for the song "Secrets."
After the album was finished and released (on the Brooklyn-based label Big Sleep Records in 2009), we continued to let ourselves be led along this path of collaboration, staying open and saying 'yes' to the possibilities it offered.
We tried out the duo act idea for the first time at a singing/performing workshop led by singer/musician/writer/teacher Joy Askew (Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson), who reacted very favorably to our sound. Encouraged, we continued arranging existing material for our two voices and also writing new songs together, and the Oakes & Smith duo was born. We quickly set about recording demos at home and recruiting band members for shows and recordings, including acoustic guitarist Justin Hillman, pianist Zack Cross, drummer Conor Meehan, bassist Dan Fabricatore, percussionist Justin Green and electric guitarist Ross Jolly.
Since beginning to gig together in Spring, 2010, we have played many shows from Maine to New Jersey - in cafes and bars, at festivals, theaters and arts centers, and busking on street corners - and our music has been met consistently with a warm and enthusiastic response. In October, 2011, we were selected to be featured during the Made in the Berkshires festival of local artists opening night show at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA.
In summer 2011, we began work on our first professionally produced EP, recording drums, bass, acoustic guitar and piano at The Isokon Studio in Woodstock, NY, engineered by D. James Goodwin (The Bravery, Norah Jones, MTV, HBO) and Eli Walker. In early 2012, Brooklyn-based guitarist/producer Jason Loughlin (Amos Lee, Rachael Yamagata, Lesley Gore) joined the project as producer.
We have already accomplished much of the tracking and editing for the EP, but we still need to record some additional instrumentation (like strings and percussion) and then record all of the lead and backing vocals. After this is done, we need to mix and master the songs. We will then release the EP in both a digital and hard copy form, featuring Kate's original drawings and paintings, created as visual counterparts for each song. Here are two below:
By writing, singing, recording and releasing these songs, our hope is to inspire, to express a sense of love and creativity, to honor innocence and imagination, the pursuit of dreams and faithful leap-taking. We want to celebrate that mysterious call that pulls us out and asks us to try something new ... or to try something again. And simply put, we strive to make good music with good people and good intention and release as much of it as we can out into the world.
We have already invested our own money in studio, engineer and musician fees. This allowed us, last summer, to record drums, piano, acoustic guitar, bass, flute, dulcimer, mandolin, banjo and keyboards for a total of 14 songs.
We have decided now to change our strategy from releasing all 14 songs at once to focusing first on completing and releasing 5 of the songs as an EP, which is a collection of songs that is shorter in length than a full album. This will allow us to put out a high quality recording sooner and at a lower cost than if we had continued on with the full-length album. These days, EPs are getting just as much press and attention as full-length albums, so it makes professional and financial sense to get a shorter recording out now for release and review.
We will dedicate the money we raise during this campaign to completing the recording, mixing, mastering of these first 5 songs. We'll then make this EP available to buy at shows and at online retailers like iTunes and Amazon. We'll also send it out for reviews, to radio stations and use it to seek out music licensing and other opportunities. After this initial push, we plan to turn our attention back to the other songs we started recording and finish and release those, as well. This will allow us to have a steady stream of new releases - both EPs and singles - for roughly the next year to come, keeping our sound fresh and our new releases continually being seen by fans, reviewers and industry people.
The remaining costs for this first 5-song EP break down, roughly, as follows:
- $1,700 - producer/editor/engineer fee
- $500 - additional session musicians fees
- $1,000 - mixing fee
- $500 - mastering fee
- $700 - printing costs
- $1,000 - promotion costs
- $600 - Kickstarter/Amazon fee
We will not receive any money (and no one's credit card will be charged) if we do not reach our $6,000 goal by the end of this campaign. However, we can receive more than our goal, if that much is pledged. Any money that we receive in excess of our $6,000 goal will be put toward completing the other 9 songs that we have started to record.
Any amount of money you can give will help us reach our goal. We can't thank you enough for getting involved and making a pledge. It's not only the two of us you are supporting, but all of the musicians, engineers and producers that are working with us, as well. Thank you.
Special thanks to Abbey Keith, who shot and edited our video.
- (46 days)