For many years I've been wanting to write an album. The particular idea for this album has been stewing in my head since mid-2015, but the struggle to find time and make enough money for my family has continually pushed this project off to the side. I'm finally in a position where I can squeeze in time during some days of the week to write music, and I know I have to hit the gas hard while this window of opportunity is available. I will be writing all the songs & pieces, writing out all the orchestration into sheet music for the instrumentalists, recording all the music with my own equipment, performing about half the instruments, singing, and mixing all the music.
This album is an exploration of nature and mankind's relationship with it. It's about the tension between perceiving the beauty of nature while acknowledging its harshness toward us, and man's response towards God and nature, the balance of peace and community, and a spiritual resolution to our strife. The songs throughout the album often have a specific natural scene or season that serves as a metaphor for a spiritual meaning.
My style is unusual and a little experimental. The backbone of most of the music is a bit folk style or acoustic guitar driven, but there is heavy orchestration around the folk instruments to give it an Impressionistic flare. You'll hear nods at composers like Debussy and Respighi superimposed over current artists' styles like Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Swell Season. You'll hear a lot of string instruments, trombone, trumpet, woodwinds, guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, and everyone's favorite, the euphonium!
Most importantly, I'm feeling a pressing importance to impart this music and message to the people I know. I want to draw attention to the simple beauty and peace of the natural world that's around us, and I want us to savor it now while it lasts. I take a lot of joy in assigning a musical idea to a particular sound in nature, and an especially great amount of joy in painting the color of the feeling in that natural scene. In doing this, I've found it much easier to feel a sort of peaceful magic, that comes with feeling the first cold front of the Fall, or hearing a mourning dove, or seeing a bright moon at night. I want people to find this peaceful commonground of the natural of world so that we can find solace from our contentious political environment.
I wouldn't ask for money unless I knew I could steward your generosity well. I have a timeline and a budget in place. I'm targeting a release date for October 2018 and have dated goals for completing each necessary step all the way back til today, and built a budget. The total amount that I need to make this happen is about $9,500 (updated April 2018).
$485 went to the album artwork. Artwork was finished in March 2018, by Ashley Kopp-Wenzel. You can view some of her other work here: http://ashleykopp.com/photography/
$1,705 went towards hiring musicians, complete April 18, 2018. The original budget was $3,300, but because the musicians were so awesome, we got the material done much quicker than expected.
$600 will go to mastering, which will happen late May/early June. I'm not going to send this off to one of those 20-dollar online mastering programs. My friend, Ben Kesler, is a super-legit mastering engineer and is willing to advise on the mix and help me out with other sorts of final steps. This relationship should go a long ways to making this album how it should be.
$5,179 is the quote I got for pressing vinyls. I am doing a digital release and vinyl release. Vinyl is the preferred medium to experience this music. It's a bit attention-demanding, so ideally a relaxed living room setting will give you the best experience. It's probably not good music for driving to. Regardless, the vinyl agency provides a free download to accompany each album purchase, so you can listen to it however you want.
$600ish will cover copyright, digital release costs, ISBN #'s, distribution, album layout formatting, etc...
I will not have any costs for studio time or mixing. This will save thousands of dollars. I have all the equipment, software, knowledge, and experience I need to make and mix a good recording. I've spent 10 years learning audio with the intention of being good enough to make my music sound good. This saves a lot of money, and gives me a lot of creative freedom and time to mix exactly how I want it to sound.
I can't do this album without your help. I'm not aiming for this to be the next big thing, and I am not banking on this project having a good return on investment, nor am I quitting my day job. The financial and political independence of this project will allow my creativity and transparency to shine through. I have no obligation to any record companies, sponsors, contracts, or commercial interests. This is how art is made and why it's different from any given corporate-funded product. Without your support, it simply won't happen. I refuse to use my music writing for the sake of commercial interest; I only have the music itself and how it affects its listeners in mind. I'm tired of living year to year regretful that I haven't yet taken my music writing seriously and began publishing. If it takes off, I'll be happy with that. If it doesn't, I'll be able to move on with life happy and content knowing that I once did what I felt like I should do and that I tried my best.
So here's the fun part. If you donate $25 or more, you will get a vinyl once they're released. If we don't make the goal, then vinyl may not be produced, at least not immediately after release. In that case, I would just offer a free download of the music, and if online sales amount to enough to print vinyls, you'll get your copy in due time. If you're not someone that I live near, track me down on facebook and I'll find a way to get your record sent to you come Fall 2018.
Thank you so much for your interest in my project! Check out my new website, DevinLaRue.com. I have some old music there to listen to, and a blog that's mapping my updates and progress.
- Hughes Family
- Simon Yost
- Joan Sikes
- Vivian Crosby