Though it ended up being one of the most successful music projects on Kickstarter (bringing in $187,048, nearly doubling their $100K goal), it wasn’t exactly sweat free. “I worked 12-16 hours a day for three months on this, and it wrecked me,” said Adam Turla, front man for the band.
The result is the dark, though beautiful Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, combining the best elements from the band’s earlier works.
Currently finishing up a tour with Say Anything, Turla spoke about the new record, the Kickstarter campaign and finding a new home at Bloodshot Records.
How's the tour with Say Anything going? Any memorable stories yet?
It's been interesting. We always do bar shows so it has been nice playing for an all-ages crowd. Definitely a large percentage of the audience has no idea who we are but we have certainly won some new fans. The most memorable thing so far happened on a day off when we went to a giant haunted house in Buffalo our friend owns and did a drunken private walkthrough. Our drummer Dagan went to sleep in the van early and we got some of the monsters to hide in the vans with chainsaws and wake him up (and) scare him. He loved it.
Can you talk a little bit about Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon?
It's a dark album that covers a lot of bases. I feel like it represents a lot of what Murder By Death has done in the past and also where we have been going musically. We make nods to older albums while also trying new things. It has a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe where there are a few songs about small towns with a seedy underbelly.
Were you apprehensive about funding this one on your own through Kickstarter?
Yes, partially because with the transparency of Kickstarter, you open up yourself to ignorant comments. We were lucky: we only got three shit-talkers reach out to us, and they had just glanced at the number we were making, not realizing how much work and money all the deliveries would cost us. Two of the three actually wrote back and apologized.
Were you surprised by the amount you were able to raise?
Yes and no. Thrilled, certainly, but we knew we were offering really good prices for some fun stuff and our fans have supported us a lot in the past when we decide to do alternative ideas. Many of the ideas came from years of fans saying "you should do this..." etc. We just made it all happen. The main thing that was so cool about it was all the goodwill that people wished us through the process; So much support and so many compliments and words of encouragement. It really allowed us to interact with our fans in a way that we had never been able to before, and we are a very open band.
Would you go that route again?
It depends on where the music industry goes. We have had so many emails from fans saying "please do another Kickstarter for your next album! It was so fun!", but my original thought was that you only get one. It is strange that money from album sales just dried up, but interesting that people are willing to fund an album with creative items/trips/ideas. I should also mention that I personally did all the work for the Kickstarter, barring some help packaging from friends. I worked 12-16 hours a day for three months on this, and it wrecked me. Still, I would do it again if it felt right.
This is your first record with Bloodshot Records. How did you connect with them? It’s a great label and seems like a natural fit given your sound.
Been talking with them for years and thought it would be a cool combination. I feel like it's a good match and they are good people!
How does the addition of Scott change the band's dynamic?
We can do so much more lush arrangements and sound combinations. It's very exciting, plus he is a great dude and fun to write with and tour with.