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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko is ready to make a new CD! We have the songs, the skills, the space, and the drums. All we need are the tools.
St. Louis Osuwa Taiko is ready to make a new CD! We have the songs, the skills, the space, and the drums. All we need are the tools.
69 backers pledged $5,753 to help bring this project to life.

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UPDATE: Thanks to our backers, we’ve reached our original funding and first several stretch goals! Anything we can raise beyond that will help us make our second album even better through higher quality equipment. We’ll explain more in the stretch goals section below… 

Help Us Independently Produce Our Second CD

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko's first album, “Drive,” was released in 2011 -- four years ago. The response from our fans has been extremely positive, and we are always asked when our next CD will be out.

We are excited to announce that we are ready for the next album. We have plenty of unrecorded, original songs, including some brand new ones, and are absolutely pumped to start recording them. Our goal is to have a new, high-quality album completed before the 2016 Japanese Festival in St. Louis.

We plan to take a different approach to recording this CD than we did with "Drive." Instead of renting a studio, using their equipment, and hiring an audio engineer, we have decided to handle the production ourselves, from recording to mixing. Unusual? Perhaps, but it actually makes a lot of sense for us. Our taiko studio has plenty of room for our huge drums and other instruments, and we have members with audio recording and engineering credentials.

Jason Penrod obtained his BFA in Performing Arts - Lighting & Sound and has worked as a recording engineer for several large theaters and various smaller projects. Joel Balestra worked as a radio DJ for more than three years and served as the station's chief engineer for two. Considering their individual backgrounds, alongside everything we learned during the production of "Drive" about the unique challenges of recording taiko, we are confident we can handle every step of production.

In order to independently produce our album, we need to buy our own recording equipment. Of course, such equipment comes with a heavy price tag. However, at $40/hour or more, the cost of using a studio for the amount of time we need would be comparable, and this is a one-time investment. We can use the same equipment to produce future albums and singles, record live shows, and even create a library of our songs for teaching and learning purposes.

The funds raised during this campaign will go toward purchasing the following equipment:

In total, we seek to raise $3,500 during September. This goal is achievable - but only with your help!

Stretch Goals:

When we created the budget for making our new album, we carefully chose equipment and software that would be good enough to ensure quality audio, but still inexpensive. If we can raise a little more here and there, we can buy better equipment and create a better CD. Meeting our stretch goals will allow us to make the following improvements: 

$3,725 – Better Microphone Pre-Amps          ACHIEVED!

The microphone might capture the sound, but it’s the pre-amp that keeps the signal clean and gets it to the mixer. The nicer the pre-amp, the cleaner and less noisy the signal, the better the recording we’ll be able to get. That’s why upgrading the pre-amps is our first step.

$4,065 - Avid Pro Tools          ACHIEVED!

Our original plan was to use REAPER, a capable DAW (digital audio workstation) that would be low-cost for a non-profit group like ours. However, the ideal software for this project is Avid Pro Tools - the industry standard DAW used by producers around the globe; including Rick Rubin, Danger Mouse and Dr. Dre. This major upgrade to our recording arsenal will help us create a truly professional album.

$4,145 - Two More Songs          ACHIEVED!

What’s that you say? Ten songs isn’t enough? You want MORE? Well as it turns out we have quite the repertoire of unrecorded songs and if more songs is what you want, than this stretch goal will cover the costs to master more songs for the album.

$4,245 - Extra Soundproofing          ACHIEVED!

We’ve got a great plan for soundproofing the studio for recording purposes, but this is an area where a little more can go a long way. Adding more soundproofing will allow more flexibility in the number and types of performers we can record, provide better ways to shield from different types of interference and help with any surprises our building might spring on us.  

$4,525 - Tascam DR-40          ACHIEVED!

The Tascam DR-40 is a portable, four-track digital recorder that has two built-in directional microphones as well as external inputs. What does that mean for you? It would enable us to make quick in-studio recordings for play back when learning songs or preparing for recordings, meaning our performances and CD tracks will be better musically. We would also be able to use it in the future to capture high-quality recordings of live performances.

$5,500 - Workstation          ACHIEVED!

We've based our Kickstarter on the understanding that group members would lend a PC to handle recording. Ideally though, instead of just an external hard drive, we'd like to purchase a dedicated workstation for recording the album and all future projects. We'll be able to customize it for our recording purposes, making sure it's powerful enough to edit and mix music while remaining quiet during recording sessions.

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge will probably be scheduling. We intend to take the time and care needed to make this a top-notch album. Each song will require several recordings and plenty of practice. Most of this can be accomplished during our normal practice time but will have to be balanced with our performance schedule. If we need to coordinate additional time, it will be tricky given our individual job and family commitments. However, we have handled complex time management before and we are committed to seeing this through.

Of course, as with any new piece of high-tech equipment, there can be a learning curve to get it working just right, as well as a slight risk that some equipment might not function properly. These are only minor obstacles and should not hinder our recording in any significant way.

We plan to release our new album before the 2016 St. Louis Japanese Festival (Sept. 3-5). If unexpected delays make it clear we cannot meet this goal, we will inform our supporters and keep you updated on our progress.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Access to making-of footage (timed exclusive)

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    Digital copy of our new album

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    Signed, physical copy of our new album

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Signed, physical copy of our new album, plus a physical copy of our first album, "Drive."

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Special donor T-shirt and signed, physical copy of our new album.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    An invitation for yourself and a guest to our CD release reception. Also includes the $75 level reward.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Be included on the new album yourself as part of a chant or yell. Also includes the $75 level reward and an invitation to our CD release reception.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    $200 reward level, plus a private performance (travel expenses not included)

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Your own taiko drum and stand, made by us with a signed drum-head and our dearest thanks.

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Funding period

- (29 days)