By Lauren Nicolas (Guest Contributor)
If you’re anything like me, you don’t appreciate being told what to do. You listen to Pandora instead of mainstream radio. You scoff at any awards show MTV has the audacity to churn out. You spend exorbitant amounts of time scanning the music aisles searching for new tunes instead of taking the easy route and scanning the Billboard chart. You don’t wipe the peanut butter off the knife before sticking it in the jelly. Dude, I TOTALLY get it.
You live life your way and I dig that. So I’m going outside my comfort zone by standing up on my soapbox today and highly recommending you take some time to check out the new record from the band Four Finger Five. (Still there? Ok whew! I know your finger is itching to scroll over to that little ‘x’ in the corner, but just hear me out!)
Though armed with a slick arsenal of catchy guitar riffs and groovy bass lines faintly reminiscent of 70s funk masters like Curtis Mayfield, the Michigan-based trio do an impressively solid job of carving out their own corner of a style of music that is slowly on the rise again amidst the Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers of the industry. Joining the ranks of increasingly recognizable Pop/Soul artist Fitz And The Tantrums and the already established success known as Mayer Hawthorne, Four Finger Five present their brand of old-school sensibilities on their latest album, Soul In A Suitcase, which was released on November 29th.
Plagued by worry concerning the production costs, the album– the third for the band– was projected to take two years to complete from when they began writing.
“We had all these demos and no way to clean them up,” says drummer Steve Harris. “To have that much material and have financial restrictions become a roadblock in the process… it was weighing on our minds as we looked to the future of the next record and what kind of timeline to expect.”
Like many artists without the luxury (or curse) of label dollars, the struggle to gather the funds to cover enough studio time and production assistance to complete a record at the quality level they desired, threatened to delay their forthcoming release to mid-2012. In an effort to move the process along and ride the wave of productivity they were experiencing, they reached out to their most valuable resource outside of the group: their fans.
Utilizing fundraising platform Kickstarter.org, the Michigan-based trio cut together a humorous video requesting help to amass the $5,000 necessary to produce the album.
“I thought to myself, ‘Hey, we’re on a roll here,’ and I was so pumped to get the new songs tracked and recorded… the thought of having to wait six months or more to get them on tape just killed me,” explained singer/guitarist/keyboard player Joe Sturgill.
“So we sat down and looked at our options. I had heard of people having success with Kickstarter and at first we felt — I don’t know – guilty to ask our fans to help pay for the record, but then we came to the understanding that if there are people out there willing and able to help us, we’d be fools to not offer both them and ourselves the option.”
Kickstarter has quickly become the go-to host of self-presented campaigns with one common plea: “Help us achieve our goal!” “Backers” can donate any amount of dough they can spare, with the option to shell out pre-determined amounts that coincide with pretty spiffy rewards thought up by the artists themselves. Four Finger Five offered everything from special pre-releases of the album to a thank-you in the liner notes.
And it worked.
In just over one month, and 124 backers later, the band had achieved their $5,000 goal, even overshooting it by $10.00.
“We were just amazed,” says bassist Mike Phillips, the appreciation clearly evident in his voice. “The crazy thing about Social Media is when you’re sending something out there, you can’t really pinpoint how many people you’re actually reaching. To log on and find that our fans had really pulled together for us was so humbling. It just drives you that much harder to create songs you hope they’ll enjoy.”
After over a year of crafting and recording the new set of material, the band is thrilled to finally share the music largely enabled by their loyal supporters. To celebrate the release of Soul In A Suitcase, Four Finger Five will play a slew of release parties in both Michigan and Chicago in early December 2011. Stop by their site and click on the Tour Page for more info on how to join in on the fun!
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