Wires: A Year Later

I put the digital version of the album up on sale at the end of November 2011, but the physical CDs didn’t surface until January 30th 2012, so the album has been available properly for a year now. It’s been a busy one.

I’d just come back from playing at the Guinness Cork Jazz festival at the end of October when I went and got the record mastered in Limerick. There were a few niggles with the first master, so there was a retake, and then I finally had something in my hand that I could put out there and have people listen to.

Honestly, I don’t know how to express just how afraid I was of that step.

For a very long time, I was the guy off to the side of the stage playing piano for someone else. Or having a few songs of my own before the main event. But mostly, playing other people’s music.

This was the first time I had properly recorded something of my own, performing and singing and taking the lead on the whole thing. To finally have the finished tracks in my hands was the scariest thing.

I knew that not everyone would like the music. And although you try and tell yourself that it doesn’t matter if anyone likes it at all, it really does. Why else record? Why else put music out there? You want someone to connect to the songs in the way that you did writing and recording them.

I was already reeling that 113 people had enough faith in my music to fund it and help it to get finished. I really was hoping that at least those wonderful people would enjoy the record.

Emailing out download codes to all the funders was the most nerve-wracking experience, while also being a beautiful sort of relief.

Then there was a sort of magic to come home one day to a big box with all the CDs in it, especially after the many ups and downs with getting the design for that all ready. Seriously, the packaging side of things seemed to be a bit cursed : the first designer on board had a little accident and had to take time off work and had to cancel on doing work on this project.

Then the second designer had a computer hard drive failure after doing most of the main design work, and had to redo the whole thing again from scratch (Thanks Dónal, you legend.)

Then with the handmade edition, there were all kinds of little set backs relating to the paper, the kind of ink being used for the print, and the clarity of the text when you’re doing screenprints by hand. I spent many hours folding, cutting, gluing, signing, editioning, and numbering all the handmade ones.

There were 88 of those made. One for each piano key. They were mostly all pre-sold through the fundit campaign, and when I realised I had a few extra, those went on sale and didn’t last more than a few hours. They are a gorgeous digipack and also contain the regular cd sleeve packaging, and combined they are more personal and beautiful than I imagined we could manage to put together on such a tiny budget.

Then there were postcards and notes to write, and some people who had given their time to help out over the course of the project got little thank you cards that I made too.

I think one of the happiest moments for me was when I was able to start writing out address labels and putting the finished limited edition CDs into the post. The people in the post office got used to me appearing every day with another batch, and sending them off to places as far away as Sydney gave me as much of a thrill as meeting people in person to hand deliver the finished product.

Videos were planned. Some were recorded, some were delayed, and in one case, transformed into a live dance show instead that had a short run as part of a festival here in Galway. That was a surprise development that was certainly not a part of the original plan.

It was my first time attempting anything like this on this kind of a level, and yeah, at times I felt like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I was in over my head. But I tried to learn what I needed to, and asked advice, asked for help, and worked out answers to problems that arose. Some things didn’t work out – like a vinyl edition of the record, for example, which I would still love to do at some point.

But damnit, I’m pretty damn proud of this little record.
Now. What’s next?

Cds being sent out to funders.

(photo by Jenny of her copy of the album)

A big batch of the CDs were sent earlier this week, so hopefully those of you who pledged for a reward that included a copy of the physical album who have also sent me your addresses, will start to find the album in your post boxes!

If you’ve not already sent me your address, you’ll probably find an email from me detailing how to send it to me, but just in case, you can email me at ebby@misterebby.com with your postal address if you’re one of the few who’ve not gotten around to it yet. But don’t worry – I’ll probably contact you directly about it if I’m down to just a handful of people left still needing their copy to be sent out.

In case you missed it, you can see a little behind the scenes video about how the covers for the funders handmade edition were screen printed.

Things have been much slower than anticipated, but hopefully the final result will be worth it in the end. Do let me know when you get your copy by leaving a message on the facebook page, or tweet me, or posting a reply on this post. I like knowing that the cds arrived safe and sound. I’ve grown quite attached to the handmade versions after all the time and work that went into them.

88 is a magic number

88 folded and waiting.

88 handmade covers specially for the fundit funders finally finished tonight. In the morning they’ll be double checked for flaws or disasters, then editioned and signed and I’ll start putting together the packages to be posted out to funders very soon. There’s a bunch of you who’ve not contacted me with an email address. You’ll be getting an email reminder, and you’ll be getting yours later than everyone else because I can’t post it to you if I don’t have an address to post it to. It would make me sad if the cd didn’t get to its home.

I have a paper cut – of course it was just with the last handful that I managed to get a bad paper cut on my index finger. Damnit. I’m having a glass of wine to celebrate.

I’ve a bunch of shows coming up this summer, but the first two confirmed so far are for two different fringe festivals here in Galway. (apparently we’ve gone from no Fringes to two! Excellent stuff.)

So, July 6th I’ll be playing on the bill with three other male solo performers for an event called “Solitary Men” for the Colours Fringe. I’m very tempted to learn Loudon Wainwright’s “One Man Guy” for that gig, as that would make me chuckle. That will be in the gorgeous upstairs venue in Kelly’s on Bridge St and so far I know that Willow Sea is headlining and Matteo is also performing. I’ve not found out who the last performer is, but I’ll be sure to edit this post when I do. Seems like it’ll be a diverse evening of music, and I’m really looking forward to it. There is a door charge of €3, and it is in a licensed venue, so it’s over 18’s unfortunately.

I’m doing a full solo show for the Galway Fringe on the 22nd at 3pm in Rouge restaurant. They have a grand piano there. I’m pretty darn excited about that fact. It’s also a nice afternoon show that’s open to all ages, and it’s free! They do have pretty delicious wine there too, just saying. It’s the day of the Macnas parade for the Galway Arts Festival, so you should really be in Galway that weekend to experience the height of the summer festival season here.

I’m looking at having some singers with me as well as some string players, and I’m open to people who want to come and play with me on a song or two at that performance. Just get in touch. I’m going to be asking some of my fellow string orchestra members as well as some of the singers I had for the launch. I quite like a crowdsourced bunch of talented folk making the musical experience even richer.

Off Beaten Path producions is the dance company set up by Genevieve Ryan and Katarzyna Voetter, and they’ll be doing three dance shows as part of the Fringe festival too. One of the two pieces they’ll be presenting will be the dance they’ve choreographed to my song Codail Sámh. I’m so excited to see this being performed live, as what I’ve seen of it in workshop form has been so beautiful. We’re looking at incorporating some live music into their show too, but I’ll fill you in on exactly what’s happening closer to the time.

There’s a few other live gigs being organised at the moment too, and as soon as details are confirmed I’ll update on all those plans. As ever, I’m completely open to doing a house concert anywhere there’s a piano or where one can be set up. So, if you’ve ever fancied having an evening of live music in your home for yourself and whoever else you like, then get in touch by email or on twitter, and ask me about it.

Talking about fundit some more

Damien Mulley is blogging about :fund:it at the moment by way of three interviews with people who used the site to fund their different creative projects. I was one of those three who was interviewed by him – he emailed over a few questions about my fundit campaign back in August shortly after the campaign finished.

The first interview with Philly McMahon of thisispopbaby went up on his site yesterday, and the one with me went up today.

I remember my replies being a complete and utter brain dump, as my project wasn’t long finished when he emailed me, so everything was still in my head. If I was asked now, I’d probably be a bit more succinct on the whole. Well, maybe not.

Fund:it funders – you’ve got mail.

If you were one of the wonderful people who contributed to my album recording fundraising project on fund:it, then you should have received an initial email from me this evening about your reward. If you didn’t get any email, please do check your junk mail or spam folders, as some pledgers got in touch to let me know that their email was in their spam mail, whereas others got the mail no bother.

I guess it depends on just how strict your spam filters are. But, do take a look, just in case, and let me know if you didn’t get an email at all if you should have gotten one. It’s just a quick update letting you know that I’m back in the studio, and giving you a rough idea of what needs to be done before you can get whatever reward it is you went for.

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