When we call Bowerbirds‘ Phil Moore to chat about his band’s new Kickstarter campaign, he doesn’t hear his cell phone ring at first — the chainsaws buzzing around his North Carolina cabin are just too loud. When he calls us back, Moore apologizes, telling us that he was in the middle of making an oak table or bench. “I have a tree, so…” he says by way of explanation. Yup, the Bowerbirds love to make things — whether it be out of wood, musical notes or even pixels and pings.
Appropriately, the band’s newest endeavor is a multi-faceted kind of undertaking — and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to garner funds. First of all, they’re looking to record their next album, in addition to a new release from Moore’s side project, Island Dweller. Secondly, they’re aiming to build a solar-powered, earth-friendly recording studio in which to make said records. The studio will be located in Moore and bandmate Beth Tacular’s cabin, which they also built by hand. Their previous digs were an Airstream trailer.
“We’ve kind of run through the normal channels of record labels making a record, but we haven’t really done anything quite like this,” Moore says. The band’s last few records were released by Dead Oceans, although they recorded part of their last album, The Clearing, themselves. “The new album, it’s uncertain whether we’re going to release it on a label or by ourselves. It’s up in the air right now, depending on how this Kickstarter works out,” he says.
Moore doesn’t know if the band wants to deal with record labels in the future, noting that it’s much more freeing to raise the funds yourself from fans. That way, the band knows, in advance, how many albums they’ll actually sell. “We wanted to take that anxiety out of the album-making process and just make it in our home and make it at pure as possible,” he says.
So far, it seems that the Bowerbirds’ campaign is a success, having raised more than $18,000 in about a week. Their goal is $28,000 and they still have more than a month to raise that amount — a task that shouldn’t be that hard for the Web savvy band. “We’re not only country cabin-making people,” Moore says. The band used to run a Web design business, and has a pretty strong following across their social media platforms as well as a robust email list.
Moore says that they have been promoting the campaign on the Web with gusto, and took extra time to create a video and Kickstarter page that would entice fans to contribute.
The band also rolled out some pretty intriguing rewards in order to get fans donating, including handmade amulets, dish clothes (made by Moore’s mother), lapel pins featuring the band’s dogs (made by Moore and Tacular), artwork, relationship advice from the band, guitar lessons and more. Seriously, they have a huge list of rewards up in there.
“We couldn’t stop ourselves,” Moore says. “We didn’t know what to take off the page, so we just kept adding more and more rewards.”
Perhaps he’ll add that oak table he’s currently sawing away at? We shall see.