After another successful crowdfunding campaign at PledgeMusic, California melodic post hardcore tinged hard rock act PROJECT 86 are almost ready to unveil their new anniversary record, wrapping up 20 years of their existence and serving as their 10th full length offering! Selling nearly 500 000 copies of their records released via Atlantic, Tooth & Nail and independendly via Team Black Recordings, and going through various different periods of rock music fluctuations throughout over 2 decades, made them stronger and ready to reach out for more. We sat down with them to ask about the crowdfunding experience, their new chapter and plans for the future.
Hey guys! How are you? With your 10th record on the way, how does it feel to have it almost out?
It feels like quite an accomplishent! 20 years, 10 albums. Nice round numbers. and the material is very strong, so we don’t show our signs of “age.” ;)
After the Kickstarter adventure 6 years ago and the independent release of Knives To The Future via Team Black Recordings, you’re back with the crowdfunding method. How has it been this time? What goals have you set up for your latest fan-driven campaign?
One of the goals is to make sure fans are 100% fulfilled, and to make it VERY special for our 20th anniversary. So, we got pretty creative with all the packages and benefits, especially as compared to the other campaigns that are out there. One thing we are proud of is The fans get to hear the music as we write it months before anyone else can hear it. I am also doing an oral history of the band with photos from my personal archives. It has been very cool to traverse our extensive history together with the fans. We have even raffled off custom project 86 headphones along with the way, and have given tons of free merch away at various milestones. Everyone has been SUPER supportive and in the celebratory mindset!
How did you come up with this particular set of ideas and benefits for the listeners? Have there been some benchmark crowdfunding actions that inspired you to organize similar social actions?
For the most part this is a wholly unique campaign…we haven’t seen too much out there like it. Plenty of bands do tshirts, hoodies, etc., but we tried to take it to a whole new level. The Pledgers got an exclusive EP (5 songs) of cover material we recorded. We made exclusive show experience tickets to our fall tour, where fans received signed setlists, guitar paicks, posters, cds, and a private acoustic show. I make Calligraphy parchments with song lyrics for people. There is a ton more…we really put a lot of thought into making it unlike other campaigns out there!
How did you feel about the platform you used for crowdfunding this time? Compared to previous campaigns, did the possibilities offered by Pledge Music fit your needs more?
One cool thing about Pledgemusic is that you can truly customize the length of the campaign to suit the vision of your album cycle. So, this time around, it is a one-year project, where we release new music every single month. This allows people to jump on board as we go, and offers a good incentive to casual fans, not just the die hard ones. Right now, if you pledge even at the lowest level ($15 preorder of the digital album), you receive 6 tracks for download, plus get to listen to 4 brand new songs which everyone else won’t hear until our album drops this fall. It’s win/win.
How do you feel about the current state of independent music distribution? What is wrong with the current system?
It is so difficult to make a living as an artist these days because of streaming and Youtube, as well as the ridiculous amount of tech we are exposed to. Plus, why would you go to a concert when you can just watch one at home on all your digital devices? People are just flat-out lazy now, and who can blame us? We can get anything we want at home, without ever having to leave our couches. It’s a civilization-wise issue that affects artists in the utmost. If I had my way, the world should have a mandatory “tech shut down day” every week which would force people to get out of the house and visit a local record store or go to a show! I joke, but it would be nice to return to a time where CD sales and concert ticket sales were flourishing!
Can you envisage this method of funding records becoming even more popular way to fund artists’ needs? How do you think will the music industry change and what can reorganize or even replace it?
I feel like it really has replaced the label system in many ways, and will continue to do so. Labels neither market nor advance artists money anymore, so what is their function? Connecting directly with fans allows artists to receive monies to fund recordings, plus provide supporters with one-of-a-kind experiences and merchandise. It’s all upside for the artists…
GO HERE to watch more videos from PROJECT 86!
Ok guys, so back to your record, both writing and recording wise, how smooth was the process?
Still working on it. So far, it has been phenomenal. We have four tracks finished and not a filler one of the bunch. It has more than one fan proclaiming this will be one of our best albums. Of course, I have to say all that, but the proof is in the pudding. I can honestly say the material is very strong.
Lyrics-wise, what kind of experience and revelations came through your work this time?
I am pretty much writing about gallows, death, destruction, chaos, and disaster so far. Much can be learned from difficulty in this life.
Looking back, how do you feel PROJECT 86 evolved over time?
I think we have evolved into a pretty balanced, diverse rock band, capable of moments of vulnerability as well as brutality. I believe our sound defies genre or comparison to other artists, and that has always been the goal.
Lastly, what’s in the future? What’s the plan for 2017?
Touring both in the US and Europe is a must. Headlining, as well as supporting. We have been light on shows the last year or so, so it will be good to be back out there, connecting with fans and (hopefully) making new ones.
Great! Thanks so much for your time and take care! The last words are yours.