Musician Kevin Johnston has to be just about our favorite regular hanging around Brooklyn these days, and he makes the best beverages we've ever tasted. But alas, the time has come to put his life's endeavor on the horizon and strive for it.
Like many folks around the borough this time of year, Kevin is raising money for a creative project – in his case, to record an independent record of his own creation under the guise of the Kevin Johnston Band. What we learned from his Kickstarter page is that recording an album is terribly expensive, but Kevin's bright and shiny demeanor make us want to give give give. So why not help this young man make a record? He came all the way from Greeley, Colorado and in the last five years has shown us the goods, especially with his real fake pretend serious group The All-For-Nots. (Michael Eisner likes 'em!)
Through December 17, you can make Kevin's dreams come true by donating to his Kickstarter project, which as of this posting was over halfway towards its goal. Watch the video below and read what Kevin has to say about making music independently since his last endeavor went viral. (UPDATE: Kevin surpassed his goal of $8,000 ensuring this project will be funded.)
Brooklyn The Borough: What was the impetus to go completely independent with your forthcoming record?
Kevin Johnston: It's sort of a catch 22, I guess. I'm not really sure how, like, Guns N Roses started out. (I assume they were playing some show atop a monolith in the middle of some swamp crawling with vipers and biker chicks, when David Geffen swooped in on a hover-craft dressed in sun-god robes, pointed his magical staff directly at Axl and spake: "Thou Shalt Rock on my major label, for two, nay three albums! Here ist thine huge cash advance!") But for me it seemed like we just really needed to have some kind of recording of our band in existence before we could do things like shop to labels, sustainably play tours, get chicks, etc.
But we didn't have a label to pay for that, cuz we didn't have a record to pitch to a label. You see my plight. A few of the guys in my band had used kickstarter for other projects, and we very successful. Once we started seriously talking about what we wanted to do with this music, we realized that we wanted to really treat it properly and make it amazing, because we love what we do, and believe in the songs.
So we decided to go big (though conservative!) and involve as many people who care about us and who like our music in the process of making it happen. Kickstarter makes it pretty easy to unify the fund-raising, and pushed us to be creative, which is how we came up with this idea: If you pledge to our album, you can actually physically sing on it with us! We have a few big group vocal moments that will be on the record, and the people who care about the music have an opportunity to really own it and be a part.
BTB: What tips do you have for your creative peers in going independent?
KJ: Well, it's a struggle. I'm just starting to learn so many things about how to conduct business – and conducting business is not my forte – I'm more of a rock-out-on-stage-type. But at this point, it's crucial to dedicate time and energy to the business side of things. I have actually done so much pitching and hustling for this album fund-raiser that I barely get to even touch my guitar! I guess my advice is to be persistent and talk about things as much as you can – ideas come out of dialogue, creativity is exponential when you bounce ideas off of others, but ultimately, you are responsible for your own success. So step it up.
BTB: Do you think Kickstarter is going to change the world?
KJ: Well, if our album is funded through kickstarter, then yes. The world will change. Power will be restored to the people! The globe will rejoice in harmony. The energy from our album will sustain life on earth for infinity. Rivers will flow with the blood of the evil ones, and the seas will boil with the power of our highly combustible rock n' roll. If our record is funded, blind men will see, and lame men will walk. Lame men will even become super un-lame if they pledge to our kickstarter. They will even become, yes: rad. Become rad TODAY!