By MIKE CHAIKEN
The fairy tale goes that a hot band receives a big cash advance from a salivating big label record company. Said band records an epic album, sells a bajillion records, pays back the label, and moves into a mansion on the hill.
Oftentimes, however, a band doesn’t get to live that fairy tale. And oftentimes, just scratching up the cash to put some tracks down on tape is a battle.
So, the Austin, Texas-based band … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead is following in the footsteps of many bands these days. They are turning to crowdfunding to bankroll their record.
Trail of Dead, which was set to play the Spaceland Ballroom in Hamden on Wednesday, July 10, has launched a PledgeMusic campaign for its next EP, “Tao Of The Dead Part III,” which they hope to release in September.
Fans can donate to the album’s recording, with a portion of the proceeds also going to the charity APLE, which helps protect children‘s rights in Cambodia.
Jason said the band took this crowdfunding route because “we’re still on an indie label and they don’t have a lot of money.” Additionally, the band wanted to have something new for the fans in 2013.
“We were working on new ideas and it seemed like a good idea (to crowdfund) rather than to tap into resources we don’t have,” said Jason. “It was the smartest way to go.”
In today’s music industry, Jason said, “A lot of people are becoming more independent.”
The use of crowdfunding also fosters a stronger connection between fans and the band, explained Jason. By directly helping the band, the fans build a personal connection to the project. “People feel if they donate to this project, they have a hand in it,” said Jason.
As of July 2, which was about one month into the PledgeMusic campaign, Jason said Trail of Dead was 57 percent toward its goal and there were still three more months to go in the campaign. “For us, that’s surprising.”
If the band overshoots its crowdfunding goal, will the EP become a full-length album?
“Not this time around,” said Jason. Even though “Tao of the Dead” will be an EP, said Jason, it’s still a “good chunk of music” with an expected 25 minute running time.
As far as where Trail of Dead stands, creatively, with “Tao of the Dead Part III,” Jason said the band is currently working on writing lyrics and giving more form to the melodic ideas underway. But the rest of the music is nearly ready for recording.
Trail of Dead, which also includes Conrad Keely, Autry Fulbright II, and Jamie Miller, actually has moved pretty quickly on writing the EP, said Jason. Trail of Dead recently toured Europe and while there, they had the luxury of getting place to place on a tour bus. This meant that as they traveled, they had portions of the bus where they could retreat so they could write. That’s not usually possible if the band is traveling by van or plane.
With their trip to Connecticut, Jason said, they will be traveling by van. So that means, typically, they will arrive at the Spaceland Ballroom in Hamden for a sound check, play the show, pack up, go to the hotel to sleep for the night, get up early to head to the next stop, and do it all again. None of that routine is conducive to writing along the way, said Jason.
The EP will be a definite departure from their previous full length album, 2012’s “Lost Songs,” which was “more aggressive, tight knit, three to four minute songs.” The EP will be more of a throwback to the predecessor of “Lost Songs, “Tao of the Dead,” which mined a more progressive art rock feel.
Jason said the main influence for the new EP is Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” (which was the predecessor of that English band’s classic “Dark Side of the Moon”). Jason said the band likes “Meddle’s” “epic, grandiose, crazy jams” mixed with more “whimsical” moments.
“We went along that direction (of ‘Meddle’)… with different moments and peaks and valleys,” said Jason.
Also, because Conrad has been living in Cambodia, there also will be some influences from that Southeast Asian nation’s music scene.
“It’s Cambodian, psychedelic rock,” said Jason of the new songs.
Beyond the current tour that brings them to Connecticut, Jason said the band’s plan is to begin raising a family. Both his and Conrad’s significant others are pregnant.
So for the rest of 2013, Jason said, you can call the band, “Trail of Dads, bro.”
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead was slated to play The Spaceland Ballroom, 295 Treadwell St., Hamden on Wednesday, July 10. For more information, go to andyouwillknowusbythetrailofdead.bandpage.com to donate to the album, go to www. pledge music.com/projects/ trailofdead
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.