Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
We made it!!! The Kickstarter for Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s These fleeting moments reached the $12k goal Thursday, and we’re almost to the first stretch goal (which adds a bonus CD to the package). There are 2 more days on the campaign, this is exciting! I’ve created some add-ons for pledgers, to get even more cool stuff.
Add-ons are additional items you can add to your pledge.Add-on instructions
1 Determine the total cost of the item(s) you would like to add from the list below. • Include postage for overseas orders.
2 Visit the Kickstarter page and click the blue “Manage” button that appears next to your current pledge amount. • If you have not pledged yet, it will say ‘Back this Project.’ • Add-ons require a pledge at the $25 or higher tier,
3 On the next page, select “Update your pledge” • Increase your pledge in the ‘Pledge Amount’ box by the total of the add-ons you want. • Do not change the tier you are currently pledged at unless you also want to increase to a new pledge level. In that case, you will then need to add the total of your add-ons to the amount of the new tier you choose. • Accept the new total.
4 Send a message to Sam (via Kickstarter) with a list of the items you want.Do I need to add shipping/handling?
Maybe. Shipping & handling is included for U.S. backers. Additional worldwide shipping as specified below.Add-ons to choose from:
1 — The Rope LP – handmade cover (100 available) ($25) The vinyl itself is “new old stock” pressed in 1986. The covers are handmade in 2016, with color photos glued to a one-color printed black LP jacket. Album title written by Sam, and signed by Sam.
Please note this important disclaimer: Due to the age of the unplayed vinyl, there is some warping. If you are opposed to any warpage on your LPs, please do not select this item. I asked the most exacting Blacktape vinyl customer to review a copy. He writes: “True, I like to have a ‘perfect’ record, but still this plays out and the warping issue is not audible. The only way to know it’s warped is to look at it. The warp on mine is not a bother to me. Others might have issues with it, of course. When I replayed my copy with a record weight it was flat warp free.” Also keep in mind the vinyl has been in storage for 30 years, so the album will need a wet cleaning to remove dust and such. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: in December. Add $5 for international shipping ($30 total)
2 — Black Tape For A Blue Girl Black Tote Bag ($20) http://www.companycasuals.com/CompanyCasuals/b.jsp?id=1087&prodimage=imglib/catl/B050UBK03MS.jpg&swatch=Black This 14x14x3 inch black tote is perfect for carrying LPs or a quick supermarket trip. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($22 total)
The following CDs are limited quantity, They will be removed them from this list when they run out.
3 — Of these reminders 2-CD box set – (5 available) ($50) https://www.discogs.com/Various-Of-These-Reminders/release/203770 The original 1994 Projekt Black Tape For A Blue Girl cover-song box set. 2 CDs, artcards + sticker, in jewel case, shrinkwrap. Might be some corner wear after years of storage. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $5 for international shipping ($55 total)
4 — This Lush Garden CD – (5 available) ($25) https://www.discogs.com/black-tape-for-a-blue-girl-This-Lush-Garden-Within/release/6524721 The original 1993 Projekt edition, when the booklet was slipped into a translucent sleeve. In jewel case, shrinkwrap. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($27 total)
5 — A Teardrop left behind – (5 available) ($25) https://www.discogs.com/black-tape-for-a-blue-girl-A-Teardrop-Left-Behind/release/528972 The 2nd 1991 Hyperium edition. In jewel case, shrinkwrap. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($27 total)
6 — Revue Noir single – (5 available) ($10) https://www.discogs.com/Revue-Noir-The-Revue-Noir-Single/release/1040588 The 2006 self-released 3-song CD-single Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. No additional charge for international shipping
I was interviewed by Patrick of Mapanare. His article is here, he only had room for about 25% of what we talked about, so I am posting the rest for you.
1- Tell me about the new project, musically and thematically where is it coming from?
These fleeting moments is the new album. I’m Kickstarting the deluxe-CD and double-lp; a standard edition will be in stores August 12th. It’s been a long time since the last Black Tape For A Blue Girl CD, it was 2009. For this one, musically I decided to make an album that goes back and touches upon the band’s 90s sound. The ethereal, gothic, heavenly voices sound. Plus more instrumentals than on the last few releases. I’ve been doing a lot more crowdfunding over the last few years, and this choice is somewhat inspired by what I’m hearing from the people who support my music: the aspect of the band they are really excited about. But it also just feels right to me at this moment. 10 Neurotics was pretty much as far as I could go in writing melodic, concise songs. I wanted to go back and create textural, moody, expansive music, with lyrics.
What makes it work so well for me is Oscar is singing again. He was the band’s vocalist for the first 13 years, 7 releases. I really love his voice singing my lyrics. Having him involved let me go to places as a songwriter I haven’t been in a while. His daughter Dani sings the female vocals, and their voices work nicely together, and she does a wonderful job on the songs I wrote for her to sing solo. Nick is playing viola. Brian Viglione is the only other band member who comes along from 10 Neurotics; he’s also the drummer in the Dresden Dolls.
Like Remnants of a deeper purity, I tried to stick with a “core band” on this release. To give it more of a cohesive feeling. There are a few guests who capture certain sounds I was looking to add. Chase plays great electric guitar + bass on “Limitless,” which is the catchiest track on the album; the lyrics are philosophical questions dealing with living to our fullest potential. The album explored those sorts of themes that we all ask ourself as we get to the mid-point in our life.
2- What led you to go the crowdfunding route? What attracted you to the model?
The music business has changed so drastically since the 80s and 90s. As an artist, I need to change with the landscape and figure out what works to allow me to keep making art, and connect with the people who really care about what I create. Crowdfunding is ideal for that. For example, sometimes I ask Kickstarter pledgers how they discovered the band. And often it’s some variation of, “Oh, I remember your music from the 90s. I didn’t even know you were still around. This is cool that I can help out.” It’s very much a personal connection to a few people who really care about my music. Yes, Fleeting will be out there on Spotify and youTube, and will be heard by the most people that way. But in order to bring in the funding necessary to record and pay my band, I need something more direct then just the royalties that might be earned down the road from sales. Because you and I both know where sales are at these days.
3- Are you planning additional “stretch goals” – should people keep coming back to your Kickstarter to check out? (I mean after the pledge of course!).
Sure, I have a few stretch goals for this release. Assuming it funds, there’s a CD of extra tracks as the first one, color vinyl as the next one. I like the idea of being able to make the release even more deluxe, after the initial goal has been reached. I’ve added some new premiums and will probably have some add-ons at the end.
4- You’ve been making music for a long time—What is the same and what is different when you create?
Yeah, 2016 is the 30th anniversary of Black Tape For A Blue Girl, and I was making music for 3 years before that. It has been a long while (laughs).
I think the biggest difference on the musical side is over the last couple years I have been very prolific, starting (and scrapping) a lot of songs before settling on the ones that are on the album. I guess I feel I’m a lot better at creating music vs back in the early days. I’m not saying one era is better than the other because of that, just that it’s not as much of a struggle to get the sound I want now. That makes it all a lot more fun for me. Of course, there’s still all the angsty parts about recording. Like writing and rewriting lyrics until I feel they are good enough to present to the singers. And doing the mixes and getting OCD and tweaking miniscule level changes on the word “memories” that nobody will ever notice anyway. Digital recording makes small changes a lot easier, but it’s still stressful and makes me both excited and annoyed at the same time. In the end, it turns out beautifully and I enjoy the music. But the process is sort of a love/hate relationship at times.
5-Any plans to play shows with this new music?
Honestly, I don’t think so. What I really want to do is keep making music. Getting geared up to play is a big time suck; we only have so much time in the day, right? I have to ask myself where I want to direct my energy. And playing live is not third or even fourth on my list. I do enjoy playing live, it’s fun to go out and meet people, but it also has a lot of tedious aspects. And ultimately, I don’t feel right asking band members to perform my music, when I’m not able to fairly pay them for their time. I’d rather go in and work on new songs, and keep moving forwards on the music.
6- You mentioned it’s been seven years between releases from Blacktape. That seems like an unwise marketing strategy.
Oh yeah, I agree (laughs). It really wasn’t my intention to go that long after 10 Neurotics. One thing, then another. Like you, Pat, I’m a father. That definitely takes up a lot of my time; my son lives with me half the week. I wrote a novel. I moved across the country. I recorded an electronic album.
But a big source of the delay before I left Brooklyn in 2013 was an ongoing funk about the music business. I know many musicians who go through the same thing. They’re asking if there’s even a point anymore? I was just talking about this with somebody yesterday. They feel they were in their prime as an artist, and then the rug was pulled out from under them, as listeners switched to getting music for free. Yeah, I argued that argument, fought that battle, but then I realized I couldn’t change things. The war was already lost for those of us who measure success by units sold and dollars brought in. No matter how much I talk about artists needing to be respected and payed, things aren’t going back to the 90s where Blacktape could sell 10,000+ on each release. I realized that I create music to have it heard. I know that my music is getting a lot of play on streaming sites and through illegal downloads. And apparently even bootlegs in China. None of that makes my life easier, but it does tell me that what I’ve created is getting out there and getting heard.
I suspect the only thing worse then people stealing your music, is nobody stealing your music. That nobody cares about it.
But meh! I don’t even think of it as “stealing” anymore. It’s just the way things have evolved. It’s the new reality. Free is people’s favorite price point. Of course, money coming in from music is how I am able to keep doing it; so yeah, I still want to see income from my work. But I’ve accepted that all I can do is move forward within the environment that we have today. And look for the new ways to earn from my work. Such as my Patreon page, or crowdfunding…
Yah, ok. I got off the topic there. The long time between releases…. Nearly three years ago I settled in here in Portland. I had room for a home studio for the first time in eight years, I started working on music. Some of those first songs ended up on the album, as the instrumental section on the third side of the LP. I also met Nick, a great violist here in town. We worked together and I was able to conjure up some of that strings + electronics sound like on Chaos or Remnants. That spurred me along to work more in this direction.
Running a record company (Projekt) is good to stay away from having “a real job;” but ultimately, it’s my own music that people care about. And that’s where I’ve been putting my energy lately. The world is shaped however you are conceiving it; I decided to look at it in a way that encourages the things I want to exist.
And now my plan is to keep creating. To get a lot more consistant about releasing music. I had created my own downward spiral there for a while in the beginning of this decade. “Free music, bah! Nobody cares, why bother?!” But crowdfunding reconnected me with the people who care, and that motivated me to think about my art in new ways. A positive, and explorative way. And to make albums like this, again.
Thanks for letting me talk about this with you, Pat.
The campaign for the new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album passed the 110th-pledger, and we’re 62% of the way to the $12,000 goal. I really appreciate seeing your support of my work. It’s been seven years since the last new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album, and the music business has changed a lotin those years. Being supported by people who care about my art is really encouraging.
I like reconnecting with you. I’ve been told that back in the 90s, my songs helped many of you through tough times. Often, it was the soundtrack to your high school or college years. These connections help remind me why I am making music.
I create to connect with you.
I write something that matters to me, in hopes that it matters to you, too.
This new album is like the classic 90s releases with a mix of relationship-songs as well as existential reflections on life. Those messy questions about who I am and where I am on my path.
Please spread the word: http://kck.st/1NAqsMOThis page is an archive of the premiums that have sold-out
Watch the video and please make a pledge!
Deluxe limited CD & 2LP. Picking up Blacktape’s classic 90s darkwave, ethereal sound; original vocalist Oscar returns on their 30th anniversary.
I’m so excited about this album. It turned out great. Oscar Herrera is singing again after a 17-year retirement and he sounds amazing. I have been a fan of his voice since I first saw his band in the early 80s, so it’s especially monumental to me that he’s singing my music again. His involvement allowed me to write the type of songs I know only Oscar could perform! He suggested his daughter Dani as the band’s female vocalist, and it was a great idea. Their voices work nicely together, and she touchingly delivers a number of songs on her own. You know I’m big on family, so that connection is extra cool.
Listening to your comments over the years regarding what you like about my work, I think I’ve created an album that is a perfect follow-up to the releases from the 90s. There’s nearly 25 minutes of instrumentals, there’s strings, there’s deep personal lyrics reflecting on life, there’s ethereal & neo-classical, there’s dramatic and emotional vocals, and some old synths that I haven’t used in forever.
1. The vastness of life 17:42 2. Limitless 3:20 3. One promised love 4:29 4. Bike shop / absolute zero 3:08 5. Affinity 3:12 6. Please don’t go 3:56 7. Six thirteen 4:43 8. Zug köln 4:08 9. Meditation on the skeleton 9:46 10. Desert rat-kangaroo 3:08 11. She’s gone 4:02 12. She ran so far away that she no longer can be found 4:26 13. You’re inside me 4:06 Pledge your support at Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1NAqsMO
This weekend it’s all Black tape for a blue girl over here!
I’ve been designing the digipak + booklet for These fleeting moments. I’m working with the photos I shot this week of Mercy in the bass, the band photos, and the lyrics. It is a process of realizing the ideas that have been drifting around in my thoughts for the last couple of months. Trying design ideas out, keeping them, or rejecting them. Improving, improving…
It’s looking good.
While I work at my computer, I’m listening to the most recent (and almost) final master of the album. It sounds great! Mastering is the final process of bringing the album together sonically. Howard takes my mixes, and adds compression, eq, and other stuff that tightens everything up and pulls the tracks together. The songs are diverse, with different instrumentation, and different vocalists. Now it’s sounding like one session, one band.
I dropped by Stereotypes and listened on very expensive speakers, plus on the three sets of speakers here in my house. We’re almost finished with the mastering!
In this process, I’ve learned about what I like to hear in my music, as far as what colors are important to me. This is a good lesson for working on the next album. Because yes, I’m already thinking about starting the next Blacktape album!
I had to reject the booklet on Remnants of a deeper purity (30th anniversary edition) because the printing was off (seems like not enough black, but the rep at the plant says it was too much yellow and cyan). Either way, argghhhh! They have to throw those 1000 in the trash and reprint; at least they’re paying for it, as they are the ones who messed up. Why don’t they proof things, before they go through the whole process of cutting, stapling, shipping? Oh, for the days of tight quality control. I don’t know if I mentioned I had to throw away the first run of stickers, because they were badly printed (by a different plant). Ugh! The booklet reprint is delaying the album a bit.
But it’s got to be done right! Especially since my patrons at Patreon are helping me pay for it!
I’ve received the vinyl on the BIKE SHOP ep, at long last! If you’re one of the Kickstarter backers, or if you’re curious, check this post. If you want to pre-order a copy, order here at the Projekt website. Do keep in mind that when I launch the Kickstarter for These fleeting moments, BIKE SHOP will be included in the vinyl tier.
As I sit here at the computer for hours, I’m spinning around ideas about what could be in that Kickstarter. If there’s anything Blacktape that you think would be an interesting reward, please suggest it on the Patreon page.
Have a great rest of your weekend, Sam
Image below might be Not Safe For Work, depending on where you work…
This morning, I tried a few more tests of Mercy in the bass (for the cover of These fleeting moments). I’ve been doing tests along the way (as I modify the bass) because I want to be really ready for the shoot. I work without a crew and I find I often miss things on set. I do a good job technically (focus, lighting, angles), but find that leads me to under-focus on the form of the body: arranging the shot. That’s why we’re practicing now, so I will be less worried about the bass, and more aware of the overall.
Even though Mercy (quite proudly) fits inside, This weekend I plan to cut the bass at the bottom to give her a few more inches of room.
I’ve never worked with an object on a cover (I did, years ago in college, on videos). So this has been a pretty fun experience.
Also, Harley wanted in on the act. Naturally. Cats! : )
Today’s post to you is brought to you by circular saw
On Tuesday, I sent the mixes of These fleeting moments to Howard, my mastering guy. That followed a weekend of driving myself a bit batty, finding small changes that seemed urgently necessary (“Is the first half of that word a db too loud? Could the drums go up .3 db in the instrumental section?”) It’s the sort of obsessive stuff that loops in my brain right at the end of the mix. But you know what? The album sounds amazing! So much good stuff, I cannot wait for the world to hear it.
The album has a May 5 deadline to meet the release date for the distributor. That means in the next few weeks I will shoot the cover photo and design the packaging. Next week, I will shoot a photo of Grace for the booklet. In 10 days I will shoot the cover photos (I am still searching for a location). Right after that, I fly to NYC to photograph Brian for the booklet. And I have to do the graphic design as well.
I just came in from the yard, and dusted myself off after making the first “modification” to the bass. I cut it open; next I will check if Mercy fits inside as is. I think I will need to do some work to make it wider, but maybe she’s petite enough?
As I was setting up the scraps for the third photo, I got a great idea for the top premium on the Kickstarter for the Deluxe CD. I’ll make a few Joseph Cornell Box-like boxes using pieces of the bass, outtake photographs, and other bits that fit the mood. That will be a fun thing to make for a few lucky backers!
Two weeks ago, I drove 600 miles into California to record with Mark Seelig. As mentioned to my Patreon patrons recently, Mark plays bansuri flutes on the Fleeting track “Meditations on the Skeleton.” R. Scot Johns commented, “I really like Mark’s flute, but would much prefer the track with no vocal…” Your wish is my command! The backstory on this track is a bit long, you can read the full blog at Patreon. The short version is that I am going to create a bonus album, an extended version of this track as an ambient/electronic journey. I will go into the studio to work with the tracks I recorded with Mark. Process, edit, texturize. My next studio project… Soon.
You might remember the Bike Shop vinyl EP that I Kickstarted back in September. Guess what! It’s almost finished. The plant says the vinyl will be pressed mid-April. OMG, vinyl takes forever! Sorry about this, but it’s been in slow-motion at the plant for a while. I’m ready to ship them, as soon as I have them in hand.
After I get These fleeting moments designed, I am going to launch the Kickstarter for the deluxe CD edition. I have interesting design ideas for the release, ideas are still spinning & forming in my head. Stay tuned for details. I hope you will support this release. It’s the first Black tape for a blue girl album in seven years, and it’s a great one! I am thrilled with Oscar Herrera’s return to the band. He says this is the best Blacktape album yet! I love hearing his voice in the music again; it was great creating these songs for him to sing! The album met my intention of sounding like it was born from the same place as the classic 90s Blacktape albums.
There’s a blog here from January, with links to videos of the band in the studio.
It’s going to be a busy two months, there is a lot for a Black Tape For A Blue Girl fan to look forward to! Thank you so much for your interest in my work, and your support.
I thought I’d share some of the visuals I’ve been looking at lately…
1 At the very top is a close up of Mark Seelig’s flutes. Starting below that on the left and then working clockwise…
2 The Bike Shop Vinyl test pressings. The 2nd set of test pressings. I’ve sent copies out to three of the Time Trial level supporters.
3 I dropped by Cascade and picked up some samples of the 12″ cover and insert for Bike Shop. Ooooooh, they look nice. Amber Shine on the cover is just about life size. You can’t do that on a CD! Read a short blog about it (with larger photo) on the Kickstarter Update page. Michael Plaster has signed copies of the cover, and mailed them to me for my signature (these are for the backers, but there will be some leftovers for sale on the Projekt site, after all the backer packages have been mailed.)
4 Paulo in Portugal purchased a copy of the Remnants of a deeper purity vinyl release. I prepared it, signed it, and shipped it off to him. There are still around 50 copies left. If you would like a signed copy for yourself, be sure to tell Joe when you order, and also message me.
5 I designed a 4″ Projekt beer coaster. It’s at the printer.
6 I sent in the 20th anniversary CD edition of Remnants. Yes, really. It’s 20 years this summer! Wow. It will be a 6-panel digipak with 2-CDs (digi design shown here), with a deluxe 16-page booklet, and also a 1-color sticker (see that image on Facebook). This package is super deluxe thanks to the backing I receive at Patreon.
Thanks for your interest, and taking the time to read this.
Stay tune for the Fleeting deluxe CD Kickstarter, launching in May.
Projekt’s first new release in a while on the darkwave side of the label is Beneath the Serene from Mercury’s Antennae. This is a perfect release for all fans of Projekt’s classic ethereal, shoegaze, dreampop sound. The duo of Erick and Dru are joined by bassist Cindy for a beautifully dynamic set of songs.
I’ll be talking about the album more in the coming weeks. Today, check out the printer’s proof of the ecoWallet. We expect to have the CD in hand early next week, then Joe will start shipping from Philly. You can stake your claim on one of the 300 copies with a pre-order at the introductory price of $12.
New Releases for FebruarySteve Roach: Emotions Revealed CD or download A delayed transmission from the early 80s. These lost tracks created just prior to the Structures from Silence era represent two then-emerging sides of Steve’s artistic muse. Erik Wøllo: Visions CD or download This remastered $7 budget-priced collection brings together 8 standout tracks from the 12 Projekt releases by this renowned Norwegian electronic artist. Visionsinvites you into an hour of the impressive and kinetic music of Erik Wollo. Steve Roach: Live In Tucson – Pinnacle Moments CD or download Limited edition of 300. Recorded February 14th, 2015 at Tucson’s Solar Culture Galactic Center. The flow of energy this music holds offers an empowering way to ride an emotional soundwave into the present moment.