Here’s my recent interview with Brittany Joy Cooper at PledgeMusic:
1. Can you talk about the songs on the new album? How far back do they go for you?
“Dangerously Close” (the new album) is a mix of songs I wrote for an unfinished EP project I started in 2010 (including the first single “Pretty Garden) and a large handful of demo’s I’ve been performing regularly at my house gig at Hog Penny Pub in Bermuda. I debuted many of the demo’s for the project on my independent music podcast, The Blinding Heights over the past 18 months.
I wrote all the songs myself on acoustic guitar, except for a couple of tracks I co-wrote with another guitar player for the first time. Through a mutual friend I hooked up with an awesome electric guitarist based out of Columbus, OH named Chris Steberl and we wrote and demoed 3 tracks together about a year ago. They were guitar heavy, ’80s glam rock influenced kick ass tracks and two of them have been selected to be produced for this album project.
All recording and mixing will be done at Metalworks Studios in Toronto, Canada same as my first record – great facility, great crew. There will definitely be some different rock n’ roll flavours throughout this 2nd album… I like to keep it tasty for the fans out there.
2. You’ve played in Bermuda for some time. How in the world did you end up there from your home in Canada?
In the early part of the ’00s I performed throughout the Caribbean on Carnival and Celebrity Cruise Lines. It was mix of rock guitar duo and “Jimmy Buffett” happy hour stuff. Then in 2004 I was lucky enough to be on a ship that was doing a regular run to Hamilton, Bermuda every week. I struck up a relationship with the owner of Hog Penny by jamming with the house band at the time and I’ve been performing there ever since… 7 seasons so far!
It’s a been great 5 night a week gig to work on improving my singing, playing, songwriting and stagecraft. I’ve been fortunate to find a stable gig that allows me to make a living performing music without having to go on the road. It’s a small island with an even smaller music scene, but the pros still outweigh the cons, especially with the proliferation and ease of access to the Internet worldwide.
3. Where did PledgeMusic enter the picture as a way to release the album?
I mentioned earlier that I host a monthly podcast called, The Blinding Heights and on each episode I do a 30 min Feature Artist spot on a particular band or artist that I want to spotlight. In particular, Jesse Terry ran a successful campaign for his last album via PledgeMusic and after speaking at length with him about my options I decided to investigate PledgeMusic further. A couple of conversations with Matt Lydon at the PledgeMusic US office sealed the deal.
I liked both the music centric presentation and the well thought-out back-end running the site and its services. The fact that I didn’t need to be a US resident (IE. as per Kickstarter) was a necessity for my project.
4. You’re very close to your goal. What’s the feeling so far with the ability to connect with fans and watch the process play out?
Well, I can definitely say that competing against Santa Claus at this time of year has been stiff competition! If I had the choice, I wouldn’t run a campaign again over the holidays, but I’ve had lots of great response from friends and fans saying that want to pledge.
The tricky part is simply putting the project in front of everyone’s face enough times that they actually take the 5-10 minutes needed to check out the project site at PledgeMusic, create an account and pledge their support. I’ve had pledges come from all over the world, including fans I’ve never personally interacted with – so that’s been a pleasant surprise.
As I come into my final week to hit 100%, I’ll do a full-court press from Boxing Day onward and make my goal. Then it’s the 2nd phase of the campaign to hit 200% before the digital download of the album releases in late March.
I’d also like to add that it’s a great feature made available by PledgeMusic to be able to donate 10% of all my funds raised after hitting 100% to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation charity. Great cause that is very active in the rebuilding process in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This is an awesome feature to help raise awareness for both the charity itself and my album campaign.
5. Can you talk about your own classic rock influences growing up? Was that an influence from your parents or someone else?
Most of the music I heard growing up was played in the car by my Dad. Boxes of cassette tapes laid around all over the place and my favourites were Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi to name a few… many artists who strongly influence my own musical passions today.
I like to tell fans that are just discovering my music that I play “new classic rock”. It seems that with the fragmentation of the entire music industry, niche artists are going to be the most successful on an independent level. And by successful I mean that they are able to create an independent music business based on their original music and performances while generating a profit. The key to this is sustaining a growing fan base and continually focusing on creating new content and then promoting it.
6. The hardcover photo book exclusive is a great idea. Where did that idea originate?
I have a friend of mine I’ve known for years here in Bermuda that has taken many photos of me and the show since 2005. We discussed the idea of creating a very limited edition photo album that would showcase some of the great performances and scenes that are unique to this island. Due to the low costs to self-publish hardcover books in small quantities available now (IE. MyPublisher.com), this was a viable option.
All of my pledge rewards are worked out to be scalable depending upon the success of the campaign and the volume of items needed to be produced. This is another plus about crowd-sourcing an album project, is the ability to scale and grow the scope of the album as the project progresses while giving fans an interactive, behind-the-scenes view.
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for inviting me to participate on your blog and relate my experience so far. It’s been a cool ride and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens over the next few months.
There’s a great intro video that previews the first single “Pretty Garden” on my PledgeMusic page. If you like new classic rock, then please take a look and listen.
Rock on and Happy Holidays!