Good lord, does John Vanderslice know how to Kickstart.
There’s just a day left in the Kickstarter campaign Vanderslice launched in mid-February to finance his new album, Dagger Beach, and even though he’s already received roughly 410% of the funds he was hoping to raise, I can’t resist telling you about the “very sweet, special, awesome” rewards you can get your hands on if you contribute in the next 24 hours.
On Tuesday, I praised 2011’s wave of remix EPs for two main reasons, the first being that these companion albums provide a fresh perspective on familiar songs, which, for me, raises the value of the original compositions. But then again, I’m a sucker for intertextuality. The second reason I like these remix albums is that they put the artist in driver’s seat of something that is typically out of their hands — secondary consumption. Whether you’re dealing with remixes, live covers, or illegal downloads, songs take on a life of their own once they’ve been released, and their writers rarely benefit. Remix EPs provide a way for musicians to have some agency in a distribution paradigm that’s stacked against them. Lemons, meet lemonade. There’s another phenomenon happening right now that has that same lemonade-y feel to it, as Staunton-based musician Nelly Kate can attest: Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a service that lets you solicit funds online so you can turn your creative vision — be that a documentary, music recording, or modular and expandable crop production unit (I did not make, and could not have made, that last one up) — into a reality. After all, in the age of the interweb, why should anyone with a great idea sit around waiting for a big company to swoop in and save the day? As the not-so-great Bill O’Reilly once said, “Fuck it! We’ll do it live!” A few days ago, I found the Kickstarter page for Nelly Kate’s album Ish Ish as a result of an RVA Magazine article, and I quickly fell in love with her story. In the video on her page, Kate describes so eloquently her inspiration and goals for her album, which she recorded via reel-to-reel and will have pressed to vinyl to complete the analog process. As she mentions in the video “It takes a true sense of commitment to press a record onto vinyl,” and that’s the beauty of her project, and why it’s so perfect for Kickstarter — Kate’s passion shines through, making it impossible not to root for her. Listen below to the beautifully written and layered song from Ish Ish that she’s provided to whet our appetites, “Blue Badges,” and if you enjoy it, please head to her Kickstarter and contribute. Even though it appears that she’s reached her goal, you can still contribute at different levels and receive various gifts in return, from a digital download of the album, to a vinyl copy, to a limited edition 50-page book that features Kate’s line drawings, lyrics and inside secrets, complete with an autographed and a personal message.
Nelly Kate — “Blue Badges“