Hi friends, Sean and Gina here. We have been hard at work writing, arranging, demoing, mixing and mastering 10 brand new tracks for our debut record as soft center. We're insanely excited to bring them to you as they should be–on vinyl.
Ok fine, but can you tell me what this is about in 3 pithy bullet points?
- It's a Kickstarter project born out of another Kickstarter project. We started off recording using days purchased through John Vanderslice's original TTO Kickstarter to record this album, so in a way it will hopefully be double-y enabled by Kickstarter. We think the meta-ness of that, creative goals being fulfilled out of someone else's creative goals, is pretty cool.
- We've been working with some very noteworthy, talented people, like Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, Sparklehorse, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down), Scott Hull (Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, The Breeders) and Emily Bate. We've also been collaborating with amazing folks on our art and rewards, like Derek Bradley, Mike Krol and Shane-Michael Vidaurri.
- We recorded entirely analog. The whole album has been/will be recorded to tape, so we're excited to release it on vinyl and keep the analog good-ness of the project flowing.
What's so great about vinyl anyway?
What's not great about vinyl? Do you have no heart? No soul? JK, we know not everyone's into it, although we think it's a pretty lovely listening experience and the right fit for this project for a number of reasons. But you don't have to take our word for it!
Even after all that...this vinyl thing: I'm not sold. Can I get your music digitally?
Absolutely. There's something for everyone. In addition to the physical record, we also have a digital EP and lots of other goodies, including stickers, a print and even a CD from our old band, Palmyra.
Speaking of digital listening, is there anything I can check out right now?
Well, this is eerie..it's as if you knew we had this first single to share with you as part of our Kickstarter launch. Get out of our heads.
You guys seem awfully into this studio. What's so special about it?
JV's Tiny Telephone studios ARE really special. Here's where you can learn more (or just gawk at the gear list).
Here are some more photos from our time in the studio so you can get a feel for the space:
Hey, I'm not trying to be rude, but I don't really care about any of this. Can you just tell me all about the rewards?
Of course! Here they are in great detail:
“soft center” is both the name of our project and our eponymous debut EP, available early through Kickstarter. The EP will have 3 glorious tracks: east jesus, no pattern and undressed, all recorded by Beau Sorenson and mastered by Scott Hull.
Tape Deck Sticker
An homage to the reel-to-reels. Mike Krol and Shane-Michael Vidaurri teamed up to design and illustrate our tape deck soft center sticker.
This one's pretty straightforward: no pattern, the record! 10 brand new soft center songs, all recorded to tape, coming soon to a turntable near you.
Artist and designer Derek Bradley has designed every last bit of our cover art and we've been basically blown away at every pass by his swoopy shapes and lovely colors. He's also come up with a very special print, just for this Kickstarter. It will be printed just for you on riso. Colors may vary.
Palmyra's Mis-En-Scene CD
Back in the day, Sean and Gina used to play in another band, a band called Palmyra. Through this Kickstarter, you can also pick up the nearly out-of-print debut album from that original group, Mis-en-Scene.
Get a one-hour guitar lesson with Sean (he's very good), either in person (if you're in NJ/NY) or virtually over a video call. We'll arrange a mutually agreeable time and go from there.
Select this reward and we'll come to your house (in the tri-state NYC area) and put on an awesome show for you and your friends. We'll figure out a date, other logistics and take it from there.
This includes a ticket to our future NYC album release show (date and venue TBD).
Can you tell me more about all the awesome people who have come together to make this thing happen?
This project has been a massive group effort. We want to take a minute to shout out the whole team, because it's been a dream:
On the music side:
- Gina Pensiero - songwriting, arrangements, guitar & vox; Gina's past projects include Palmyra, Umberto and The Dumb & Ugly Club.
- Sean Lango - songwriting, arrangements, guitar, drums, bass, keys, pedal steel & ok yeah basically every other instrument; in addition to being a member of Palmyra, Sean also records and plays regularly with Mike Krol, teaches guitar lessons and edits the Thinking Poker podcast.
- Emily Bate - background vox, arrangements; a longtime collaborator of both Gina's and Sean's, Emily is a Philadelphia-based singer, composer and harmony fanatic. Other projects include Going Down Mount Moriah, and several shows with frequent collaborator Erin Markey.
- Beau Sorenson - engineer; in addition to capturing and sculpting every single beautiful sound on the record, Beau's got an impressive list of other bands and musicians he's engineered and produced for, including Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Mould, Superchunk and Sparklehorse.
- Scott Hull - mastering engineer; Scott is a world-renowned mastering engineer and owner of Masterdisk. He's worked with everyone from Nirvana to Madonna to The Rolling Stones to The Talking Heads.
On art and video side:
- Derek Bradley - album art design; Derek is an LA-based visual artist, photographer, designer and the very best happy hour companion.
- Michael Barringer - video & video editing; Michael helped us make our Kickstarter video, but when he's not doing that, he's writing, filming, editing and acting. His most recent project is Backsiders.
- Mindy Tucker - photography; the very talented Mindy took our headshots and achieved the near impossible feat of making us look both cool and attractive.
- Mike Krol - sticker design; before Mike was a Merge Recs phenom, he was a graphic designer and we somehow conned him into designing a sticker for us.
- Shane-Michael Vidaurri - sticker illustration; Shane is a graphic novelist and illustrator who expertly drew that beautiful tape deck featured in our sticker.
How will the money be used?
Making physical vinyl records independently is a pricey endeavor. In addition to the cost of the recording and mastering, there's also the expense of pressing the vinyl itself. We've already put a big investment into making this record happen (including fronting the costs of studio time, engineering, physical supplies like tape, travel, etc). The money we're asking will be going primarily to the pressing and production of the record itself. Here's a rough breakdown of how our total costs will likely shake out, not including Kickstarter fees, taxes and other shipping/logistics costs:
Can you show me that embarrassing photo of you two from high school again?
Risks and challenges
Music is something we do primarily for the love of it. We believe in this work and are extremely motivated to get it out to you. With that said, not much in life is guaranteed. We think the following are fairly unlikely, but worth mentioning in a section called "risks and challenges:"
- Kickstarter is all or nothing. That means that if we don't reach our goal, we won't get the funding we need to complete the project.
- Most of the record is finished, but we still do have a few tracks to record, mix and master. Sessions to complete this work are scheduled for late Jan.
- Timing isn't a guarantee, but a very good estimate. Record pressing can inherently mean record pressing delays. Supply and demand are not balanced in this market, which means that production can sometimes lag. All reward delivery dates are our best guesses and we will do everything we can to hit them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)