Don’t be too alarmed by the video above, the fadolín and coffee are getting along just fine!
You are busy, so I’ll get right to the point — for about the price of a cup of coffee, you can join my other friends and fans to help support my ecosystem for creating new music and videos, for encouraging the next generation and making sure a vital musical instrument takes flight on a broader stage. This is not a drill – by banding together with small individual amounts, together we can achieve great things.
I invite you to join me on Patreon and thank you for your support.
Why do I need your support? We have arrived to an era of streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc.) which — though incredibly convenient to use — pay artists less than $.002 per stream. Those fractional cents don’t add up — even major artists have trouble recouping their expenses at these rates, let alone independent artists like me. Getting heard by fans is even harder –– Facebook expects musicians to pay for targeted ads in order to be seen by their own fans, even if they already “like” your page.
A few years ago, 330 of our friends and fans contributed to our Kickstarter campaign, thanks to which we were able to record a second album with Ljova and the Kontraband and make our European debut. Since then the band has performed many times in the US, Canada, and recently made our Asia debut with a residency in Taiwan. We also recorded a Tiny Desk Concert for National Public Radio.
While Kickstarter was the launchpad for a single project, Patreon is the launch of a more longterm vision. When you support my work on Patreon, you set a level of support that is comfortable for you — as little as $1 — and in return, you will be the first to receive whatever it is that I make. You’ll only support me when I make something — this is not a monthly bill, and you can even limit your support to one or two per month, in case I get too prolific.
Making new music involves many moving parts — first and foremost, paying other musicians for their time and talent. It involves paying for rehearsal spaces and recording studios, paying artisans who specialize in mixing, mastering, video and graphic design. There are transportation costs and occasional childcare costs. And of course, musicians have to eat — a good meal can make or break a recording session. Even a cup of coffee can make a huge difference — assuming you don’t spill it on your instrument, that is, like I did in the video above.
But my Patreon is about more than just making albums.
Here’s a sample of what else your money would go towards —
First and foremost, I would love your help making the music world a little more intimate by focusing on LIVE experiences with popup concerts and free school outreach programs around the world. I want to put on concerts in empty storefronts, on subway platforms, at a playground, in the park, in the parking lot – anywhere. Concert venues are great, but I want to attract and ignite the attention of the casual passerby, the uninitiated, the disenfranchised. I’d love to rehearse new programs and create new repertoire, and involve many of my colleagues in New York and everywhere we travel.
As much as I love the idea of live broadcasting a concert from our living room, the truth is that music is best experienced live, when the musician and the audience are in the same time and space. Chances are that when I live stream something, you might be in transit, on the toilet, in a meeting or fast asleep. I will try my best to invest in quality live broadcasting of pop-up concerts, however.
School concerts — I am developing a program suitable for school assemblies, focusing on what a composer does, how an idea changes over time, and how musicians bring to it something of their own. I’d love to offer school programs free of charge to schools who otherwise can’t afford to pay.
Weekly informal jam sessions — for some time now I’ve been noticing a striking lack of opportunities for students who enjoy playing non-classical music in New York City. There is no venue for them, no community. My hope is to create a space for informal weekly jam sessions for kids where they jam on tunes they are practicing and are drawn to share new music with each other. Want to learn the theme from your favorite video game? The song you made up on the way to school? I can help you figure it out – and teach it to your friends in the class. I need your help to fund the rental of a venue for something like this to take place, and am hopeful to offer this class for free to those who can’t afford to pay.
Creating new videos — it’s no secret that the best way to get your music into the world is to create a killer music video, and I’ve been collaborating with filmmakers for over a decade, leading to some of my most thrilling and unexpected turns. For creating videos of my non-film music, I’ve typically leaned on the Prelinger Archive for free archival footage (you may have seen this video for “Russian Winterland” or this trailer for our show at National Sawdust). I would love to make videos using new material and inviting great collaborators to dream with me — and here, too, I need your support.
Lastly, I want to focus on promoting the fadolín — the six string violin in the video above, which has become my second instrument after the viola. I love the fadolín and want to continue expanding the repertoire by writing a book of scales and etudes, and ultimately — a suite of dances, reminiscent of the solo violin and cello works of Bach. I find that the fadolín is vital as a solo and chamber music instrument, in any multi-genre setting, but the amount of notated music for it is minuscule. If the instrument has a chance of cultivating a following, that amount needs to grow rapidly.
These are some starter ideas — I am hopeful we can launch many of these longterm projects and a achieve a whole lot more.
When you visit my Patreon page, you will see different levels of support for you to consider — and while the rewards will differ, your support will be vital to my work at any level! Please chose an amount that is comfortable for you — your participation in the Patreon is what matters the most, not the amount.
Thank you again for being a supporter of my work! I am looking forward to working with you on these new ideas.
Here’s to a new year of making music and creating visible new work!