Why, yes, I have been looking through all the varied cool creative projects on Kickstarter recently. I’m excited that the Kickstarter business model is facilitating the sharing of so much art. My fellow Wesleyan alum Amanda Palmer is currently in the middle of a ridiculously successful Kickstarter project. At this writing, Amanda Palmer: The new RECORD, ART BOOK, and TOUR is 765% funded at $766,042 and I have no doubt that number will keep climbing. Having tried the major label route and not cared for it, she is doing independent production of her new album and tour and supporting it with an art book and gallery shows as well. While there are some places Wesleyan falls woefully short, the school actually is kind of great at encouraging the sort of minds that want to do four things at once and do them big and somehow make them fit together. Although I used to host Amanda Palmer’s web site gratis, when she was with the Dresden Dolls, I don’t know her. But anyone who would use Fucking as their middle name — AFP/Amanda Fucking Palmer — is aces in my book.
hi folks, it’s AFP. this is my first BIG, LEGIT studio album undertaking since breaking from a major label. i’ve spent four years writing the songs for this record, and more recently, putting together the perfect band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, comprised of genius musicians/arrangers/programmers MICHAEL MCQUILKEN, CHAD RAINES, and JHEREK BISCHOFF. in march, we locked ourselves up in a studio in Australia and, with the help of producer/engineer John Congleton (who’s worked with a zillion amazing people including St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, and Xiu Xiu), we made what I believe is my best fucking album to date. it sounds…BEYOND EPIC. we laid down “The Bed Song”, “Massachusetts Avenue”, “The Killing Type”, “Trout Heart Replica” and a slew of other tracks…some solo piano, but many featuring HORNS (locally sourced in Melbourne, Australia!), SYNTHESIZERS, GUITAAAARRRRR, and BIG BAD-ASS ORCHESTRAL ARRANGEMENTS that will blow your domepiece. we’re working on finalizing the arrangements and mastering as i write this text. i expect great, big, giant things to happen when this record comes out in september. the band & i will be touring it across the globe ALL YEAR. here is me with the band, plus performance artists anthony cleave & jess daly, in melbourne right before taking stage:
NOW, about the ARTWORK. over the last six months i’ve been working in secret with OVER THIRTY visual artist friends of mine (full list below) to create a massive explosion of song-inspired album art, in all different kinds of media. some people took the project really literally and made super lyrics-specific paintings….some people went way abstract. the end result is an EXPLOSION of incredible art.
here is the list of artists who made things (alphabetically by first name):
Amanda Palmer, Blake Brasher, Cassandra Long, Conrad Keely (…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead), Cynthia von Buhler, David Mack, Desi, DJ Spooky (Paul Miller), Empire SNAFU Restoration Project, Hans Rickheit, Heide Hatry, Judith Clute, Kambriel, Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses), Kyle Cassidy, Lee Barron, Meghan Howland, Michael Pope, Michael Zulli, Molly Crabapple, Neil Gaiman, Nicole Duennebier, Rick Berry, Robyn Hitchcock, Sarah Beetson, Shepard Fairey, Steven Bogart, Sylvia K, Tao Lin, Tony Albert, Vladimir Zimikov, Walter Sickert, and Zea Barker.
since i’m now without a giant label to front the gazillions of dollars that it always takes to manufacture and promote a record this big, i’m coming to you to gather funds so that i have the capital to put it out with a huge fucking bang. i think kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms like this are the BEST way to put out music right now – no label, no rules, no fuss, no muss. just us, the music, and the art. i’m also making sure EVERY PRODUCT sold through this kickstarter is unique to this campaign, to reward all of you who KNEW ME WHEN and were willing to support me from Day One.
here we go, yo:
**ALL SHIPPING COSTS ARE INCLUDED IN EVERY PACKAGE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE!**please bear this in mind when you look at the prices. it was easier to do things this way, but it also means, in the spirit of art-in-the-mail-democracy, that those of you living in new york might be paying a little bit more to cover the shipping to the people in, say, tibet.
while i can’t force you to listen to it on a certain type of media, at a certain time of day, with a special pair of headphones, with a certain flavor of incense burning while you consume a very specific whiskey…i CAN make sure that what you get in your mailbox containing said music is as badass, fancy, and gorgeous as possible. i’ll be damned if i don’t at least PRESENT it to you in as fancy a way as possible.
you can get a digital download for as little as A DOLLAR.
but, should you wish to HOLD a copy of my album…
• both the COMPACT DISC and VINYL will be limited edition “kickstarter-backer” editions, never to be made again.
• the COMPACT DISC will be in a beautiful hard-bound case and include an art booklet.
• the VINYL will be a black 180 gram double-record set, and come in a gorgeously packaged case with extensive large-format art. you will freak.
over THIRTY artists have been slaving away for the past few months to make art (over 70 images so far!) for this album, and the results are STUNNING. here’s a sneak peak at a FEW:
ALL of the art will be printed in a beautifully bound ART BOOK. the artists include some of my long-time collaborators, like Cynthia von Buhler, Cassandra Long, Molly Crabapple, Kyle Cassidy in collaboration Neil Gaiman, Zea Barker, and my favorite 7-year-old draw-er on Twitter, @GavinLovesAFP. I also reached out to some new artists I’ve never worked with, like the german sculptor Heide Hatry, brooklyn writer/artist Tao Lin, and many others. but best of all I talked some of my musician friends (like DJ spooky, kristin hersh from throwing muses, conrad keely from …trail of dead, and one of my songwriting HEROES robyn hitchcock) into making art which you’ll be able to see:
• in a hard-bound ART BOOK (similar to the “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” book) which will contain the art, photos, lyrics, behind-the-scenes looks at some of the artist’s creations, and much more
• LIVE and IN PERSON on our ART SHOW TOUR June-August (we’ll be hitting Berlin, London, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston)
this is a package i dreamed up for people who like to get SHIT IN THE MAIL, CONSTANTLY. when i was a teenager i used to love 7″-of-the-month-clubs, punk rock style, and fanzines that would arrive with weird ziploc bags full of crap in them. if you’re a freak for surprises…this is the package for you. over the course of the summer, you’ll get a series of 5 packages (sent every few weeks starting in july). the final package will include the deluxe backer-edition of the album, and packages 1-4 are going to be limited edition 7″ vinyl that feature some of the amazing album artwork. and with your 7″ singles, i’ll also include an ARTS&CRAFTS SURPRISE. i wanted to stay away from things like shirts and posters and crap…i wanted to make things for you to DO, and MAKE, and SHARE back at me. i’m really proud of the bizarre things we thought up for this. the shipping of multiple packages all summer long is going to cost us a lot, and that’s reflected in the price.
“BUT ((SAD FACE)) I DON’T HAVE A TURNTABLE….”
THEN BUY ONE FROM US. YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE.
VINYL IS BACK. we’re going to buy and decorate some really high-quality Crosley USB-turntables and include them in higher-priced packages JUST FOR THIS REASON.
at some point this summer Cassandra Long (who also happens to be my housemate), Meghan Howland, and a few of the other Album Artists are going to have a massive 2-day party in boston during which we get together and paint all these turntables for you. your excuse not to buy vinyl IS GONE! POOF!
last july, I started randomly drawing people who tweeted black and white photos of themselves to me…with a sharpie of course, because I always have one on my person, because THAT is the secret to being a successful musician. I love to draw these in quiet moments on the road or at home before the mayhem of the day starts. I figured I would extend the offer to be a sharpie-rendition of ANYTHING you send – it doesn’t have to be you…it could be a loved one, a lost one, a place, a favorite mug…go crazy. we’ll pack it up really nicely and send it to you right along with all the music & art book stuffs. here are some that i’ve done in the past (for twitter-folk @sermoiii and @SDuPreeBemis):
i’ll have neil explain this one, because he writes gooder than me. please be amused at the fact he is, therefore, referring to himself in the third person:
“To make art for ‘The Bed Song’, Neil wrote a script, as if Neil were making a script for a five panel graphic novel, and gave it to Kyle. Kyle and Neil talked, emailed, Kyle took photos, and the final sequence of five shots that made ‘The Bed Song’ art was created.
Which left us with a lot of amazing photos of people in beds that we didn’t use. And we wanted people to see them. So we are making a limited edition book, with writing by Neil and photographs by Kyle and lyrics by Amanda. Unless you are one of the models in the beds, Neil, Kyle or Amanda, this Kickstarter will probably be the only way you can get one, I’m afraid. There will be a limited, signed, numbered edition of 666 copies, with a very small number of additional unnumbered artists proofs.
Warning. The book contains naked people, naked emotions and unmade beds.”
TO KICK OFF THIS YEAR OF MADNESS, in which we’ll be touring ALL OVER THE WORLD, we’re going to unveil the new material and the original large-format album art/paintings LIVE in six select cities: BOSTON, NEW YORK, LA, SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON and BERLIN. in every city, we’ve PARTNERED with a local ART GALLERY or EVENT SPACE, where we’ll hang the art on beautiful walls for y’all to come and admire in person. then we’ll have a special kick-off ART OPENING just for kickstarter supporters who back the event. we’ll load you down with odd gifts, hugs, and drinks (if you’re of age…if not, root beer throwdown) & the band will play a special acoustic set in the Art Space. we’re keeping these openings limited to about 100-150, even in spaces where we could fit more people. one of my favorite things about this is that i’ll get to MEET you guys in person, and thank you for your backing with a kiss. i’m hoping that our night together, among the art, making acoustic music with the band and sharing wine, will be totally fucking magical & unforgettable.
in each city, we’ll ALSO be playing a SMALL plugged-in rock show. the rock shows are open to the general public and have almost all sold out, but the art show kickstarter backers will have guaranteed guest-list to those performances, as well. the tickets to these smaller rock shows will be HARD to get, so backing in your city is a surefire way to know you’ll get in.
even though we’ve assembled a tasty variety of backer rewards – $1 all the up to $10,000 – i also know that there are some of you you are HELLA RICH and who would like to put more money towards the project. i know because…i’ve been asked. SO: for you more invest-y types, i am proud to announce THE LOANSPARK COLLECTIVE.
with LOANSPARK, i’m not asking for donations; i’m asking for people to step forward as high-level patrons and help out with interest-free loans that will be fully paid back after the album is cranked out and earning money. in exchange for your high-rolling loan, i will make some very special art and/or do a performance to support a charity you’re passionate about. it’s a slightly mad idea, but if it works, we may be onto a new form of patronage that could work for other artists…so i’m very happy to take a crack at it.
all the info is up on the LOANSPARK WEBSITE, which we’ve launched in conjunction with this project:
and that my dear comrades, is it.
WE ARE THE MEDIA: as soon as you support this kickstarter, PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU’VE DONE IT, AND SPREAD THE LINK FAR AND WIDE.
thank you, thank you, thank you.
amandapalmer.net | @amandapalmer
p.s. a random note about the video: i DID pick up all those fucking signs i’d drawn. i did not leave them in the street in melbourne. we’ll figure out what to do with them later…by the time we finished shooting (we did 2 takes), most of the cards had been run over by a car or a bicycle.
Band photos and KS video by Jim Batt | @battsignal
Collage of the ART (from l-r, top to bottom): Kyle Cassidy, Tony Albert, Cynthia von Buhler, Cassandra Long, David Mack, and Tony Albert
AFP/Keytar photo by Andrius Lipsys
Additional images/editing/maintenance by Sean Francis | @indeciSEAN