This is an article about you, me, music, money and muses. At the end I'm going to ask for some cash for an idea I've got festering. It'll be a tiny sum, and you'll get something in return, but it's best I say that part up front now - so we don't feel dirty later. Odd how talks on money can pollute a conversation, and how owing money can kill a kinship so quickly, ain't it? Unfortunately, the same rings through for money and music. Like bed-fellows in an unhappy marriage, each take the other for granted, and neither can count on the other to turn up when needed most. But, currency and creativity are in it for the long run - tied together since time immemorial. The same goes for all the arts...
When Harry Met Jimmy
Did you know James Joyce only had one patron? Harriet Shaw Weaver. His works had a horrible habit of being banned, with his own country refusing to sell them - or even help return his body for burial as he had wished. It is safe to say without Harriet, Joyce's lineage of ground-breaking literary work likely would have been lost. She coughed up the money for his early works, and to have Ulysses published, when no one else would touch it. She even sent him an allowance to keep him writing after its subsequent ban– all because she believed in him as an artist.
The Life of Brian: A Beatles' Movie
Due to the controversial premise of possibly the funniest film ever made, Monty Python's Life of Brian, it was near impossible to get the production started. John Cleese recently discussed how all the top companies wouldn't back the religious themed movie, due to the backlash it could (and did) evoke – but, thankfully the loveliest, most spiritual Beatle, George Harrison, put up the capital singlehandedly to get it made. When ask why he did it, he replied: “I read the script, loved it, and then I wanted to see the film.” But let's get back to music, shall we, with a thought that may have crossed your mind...
Ed Sheeran is Doing Fine, So What's the Problem?
It is true Ed Sheeran is doing very well indeed, and seems to be equally at home with the business side of making music, as he is crafting songs.
The examples of his business acumen are as abundant...
Here you can see him rapping about Nando’s to get free chicken.
Here's Ed describing how the first thing he does every morning, is check how his album sales are doing in EVERY single market... as you do.
Safe to say, Ed Sheeran would make a great business man even if he ever hung up his guitar for good. And he's not alone: 50 Cent made far more money off Vitamin Water than on his album sales combined, Bono did the same investing in Facebook, and Mick Jagger received a business degree at the prestigious London School of Economics.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using your gift for marketing, or ability to make shrewd business decisions to earn some cash, but that's not the way I want to do things.
But, still, you may be thinking...
If you got the talent, you shouldn't be struggling. You only have yourself to blame!
Yeah, I thought the same, and then I discovered the heart-wrenching story of blues extraordinaire Blind Willie McTell, who busked for change till his dying day, and, oh yes, EVERY SINGLE ORCHESTRA WORKING TODAY!
Turns out donations are not only the norm today, they've been instrumental in getting instrumentalists to play their instruments since, well, forever.
What I Want to Do
I want to make an album. Over the past year I've worked and toured with two exceptional musicians/composers named Felix Buchner and David Michalke, and we really think we've something special on our hands. It's a 11-13 song vinyl album (and download, don't worry) with a loose narrative running through-out, interweaving the themes, characters and landscape of the songs we've been working on into one solid piece.
That's it? Well, no.
The album will be part music, part original art-piece, lined with original drawings by a wonderful artist, Stephanie Hannon, that'll compliment the lyrical, visual aesthetic of the music to a degree we are incredibly excited about.
How, What, Where?
Outside Studio, Valentine's Day, 2017
After knowing each other only two weeks, Felix, Dave and I went into a Berlin studio, The Famous Gold Watch, and recorded a 5 song EP in one 8 hour session on Valentine’s Day, 2017. I really had no idea what I was doing, or even wanted from the experience, but the studio stood out as somewhere I knew I had to try out properly when time, experience and money allowed it. I've been offered a wonderful deal by the owner of the establishment and Felix, Dave and I are set to go record the tracks in September.
And, just as I'm writing this, we're also pleased to announce the wonderful trumpet player, Rosie Baldwin, we also be joining the fold for our recording sessions.
Can I Hear Something?
Sure! Here's an example of a new more experimental piece we're working on - the bare bones of a song, before we add all manner of trumpet, strings and piano we get our sticky paws on.
Why I Think You Should Back Me, and What I Need,
We have faith in the songs. Felix and Dave are musicians I am honoured and enamoured to know, let alone play, tour and create with in a city where nothing resembling reliability is typical. We're lucky to have each other, and we want to build something together.
The artwork is worthy of a patron in its own right, and we're humbled to have such a talent joining us for this project. You will soon be able to catch a glimpse of some mock ups below.
But, in the mean time here's a sample of artist's work along with her website you can check out.
What'll it cost?
Including, recording for 4 days in September, productions, vinyl pressing, paying the musicians and collecting, piecing together the art.
Total Estimate: 3,300 Euro That's it, Really!
And once this sum is reached I will reach out to all you lovely patrons, after a long, blubbery thank you message - naturally - letting you know we've made it, and you can stop funding us, knowing you've made real difference to our lives.
What I Promise in Return
If our goal is reached, I promise to remain independent forever: no record companies, so no corporate opportunity for dulling of sound, vision or themes of the work. I will not take a cent of your money for my own pocket, all will go toward the recording of the record, printing of the vinyl and compensating the musicians, producers and artists involved.
How Payment Works:
Patreon acts in such a way that you give a small amount each month to the performer, however, if you'd prefer to pay in one lump sum you can cancel your Patronage as soon as your first payment goes through. Read here how it works. (also, don't worry about dollars, the exchange will work out similar enough)
What's it for you?
Along with knowing you've supported independent music, there are certain milestones even small donations can reach.
- Give: €1 or more
Get: It's the thought that counts so good feelings coming your way, hombre. Sincere thank you too, as the little ones do add up!
- Give: €10 or more
Get: Thank You Postcard, Download of LP
Who doesn't love getting postcards? A lil thank you message along with a download code for the LP, too, once it's made.
- Give: €25 or more
Get: Improv'd Song, Download of LP,
I'll make an improvised 1 of a kind song either about you or a topic of your choice, package and send it your way. Alongside all of the above.
- Give: €50 or more
Get: Limited Edition Print
Our commissioned artist, Stephanie Hannon, is willing to give an original print of her work, alongside all of the above. (Limited offer - 50 prints available)
- Give €75 or more
Get: Your name will be personally thanked in the notes of the album... and you get all of the above.
- Give: €100 or more
Get: Deal for Life
Receive a signed copy of The Works (Artwork, Download and Finished Vinyl) and of any album or EP I make for the rest of my days - before anyone else. This is a deal for life. And a huge thank you for your investment. Of course, all of the above is coming your way too.
The muses behind creativity often only become apparent to the artist after they're confronted with the final result of their tireless exploration of craft and intuition. That's a fancy way of saying, I had no idea what the hell I was writing until I was done: and what I was left with was a collection of songs, interrelated with a loose narrative.
In other words, a god-damned Album, of all things. And albums need studios, and production and quite literally for this particular one "all that jazz".
That's where you come in but, first...
What's it all about? Y'know, Themes, Concept, that Malarkey
Love, loss, longing, fleeing and returns come up again and again in the tunes. There's also a healthy mix of murder ballads, strange goings-on, dread and drug-use. All drenched in an Irish landscape and a balladeer's sensibility.
Vague enough for ya? Yeah, sorry about that but I'd be a bit weird to get too specific before we even set foot in the studio.
But I will update you with snippets of demos of recordings as we progress.
We have a title though: THE PRICK AND THE PETAL
If you want be a petal and donate please following the instructions written, alternatively if you want to be... eh.... anything else, no hard feelings.
All the love,