Several times in youtube comments and in person, I’ve been told that I should do a Kickstarter campaign for the band. It felt good to hear that (hey, people want to give me money!) but when I imagined how the campaign would play out, it didn’t make sense. I might be able to raise $1000 to cover the cost of a new machine, which would be helpful, but the campaign wouldn’t cover my biggest deficit: time. What I need more than funds to cover capital costs is time for building machines, writing software, writing music, and above all, practicing, and the best way to get more time is to have some or all costs of living paid for. But Kickstarter campaigns don’t work that way. They are designed to cover costs for a big project that at some point comes to a finish and delivers a product, like a movie or an app. Musicians and other artistic creators don’t cross a finish line. They create a steady stream of stuff and while they’re doing that, they need to buy groceries. So I passed on passing the hat and focused on doing shows and talks.
Until now. Last year Jack Conte, one half of the youtube band Pomplamoose and a DJ/producer in his own right, started patreon.com, a crowdfunding website that aims to support musicians, artists, and other creators who make lots of thing all the time. For example, fans of a band can agree to donate $1 or $3 or $5 or more every time the band releases a new album or a new music video, and in exchange those patrons receive early and free access to music and other perks like a mention in credits, a T-Shirt, or even a Skype conversation with the band. (Patrons can put a ceiling on their monthly amount of support and can withdraw their patronage at any time.) That kind of support is exactly what I need to keep making electro-acoustic robot dance music and doing the incremental work that moves the band forward, especially because becoming a father has made doing out-of-town shows almost impossible. I invite you to check out my Patreon page at patreon.com/jazari.
With your support, I plan to work on several projects this year. The first is making music regularly–nothing like consistency to drive progress. The second is integrating the Myo gestural control armband into my rig. I just got an alpha version of the device from Thalmic labs and am figuring out its software kit and brainstorming ideas for mapping gestures to musical concepts. And the third is building a machine to play the Rhodes piano I bought last summer. The basic idea is that I’ll use the Myo controller to “steer” algorithms that generate note streams that will be played by the Rhodes bot. Finally, I want to invite guests, other humans, to play with the band and with me. There’s a lot of talented improvisers and producers in the Twin Cities, and I’d love to see what other people can do with (or against!) the robots. Your support will help make all of this happen. Thank you,