by Darcy Penner
As independent bands watch music industry executives rapidly drag their boats out of drying revenue-rivers and chop them into a bunch of mini-boats for the multitude of fresh revenue-creeks, crowd-sourcing campaigns to secure project-capital have become the norm.
Whether Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or whatever flavour of the minute, artists from the local revenue-hopeless performance-art-rock project to long-time running acts such as Misery Signals or Murder By Death are relying on start-up capital from their fans.
Which brings us to Winnipeg’s post-hardcore/punk rock act Distances. Blasting through their inaugural year as a relentless freight train of solid mid-tempo riffs and great tone, the band has released a head-turning four-song EP, shared the stage with the likes of Title Fight, Living with Lions, and (on May 23rd) the original Comeback Kid lineup, they are now off to record their debut full-length.
In July, the band will be touring their way to Vancouver to track with Stu McKillop at Rain City Recorders (Carpenter, Daggermouth, Living with Lions). And, in case the previous three paragraphs didn’t set this up for you, they’re just over halfway through their Indiegogocampaign and almost halfway to their goal.
“Basically what we’re trying to do is get this band off the ground,” explains guitarist Nic Herzog. “And if everything goes well with this crowd-sourcing campaign, it will help us get our finances in order to not only make this record, but to follow up on it – to make sure we can tour it and get it into the hands of people that will help us further our career.”
“We’re not looking for hand-outs. We’re essentially looking for an advance from our listeners to help us because we’re an independent band.”
Distances is asking for $5000 and have eight bundles to choose between, from a sticker/button pack for $5 to an enormous $1000 everything pack. The campaign launched March 14th and runs until May 13th.
“We think when people want to hear this record and they’re interested in us – our new material or anything – [this campaign] will make it feel like it will be as much their record as ours, because they’re helping us do it,” says newly crowned vocalist Dylan James.
Convincing people to purchase a product they have not heard can be a difficult sell, even to connected fans. So it begs the question, what can anyone interested in Distances expect for their investment?
“We’ve come out of our comfort zone,” says Herzog. “People that liked the first EP are going to take away what they liked about it and it’s still going to be there, but they are going to be surprised by new things.”
“We’ve definitely found our sound. We’ve just matured it a bit and evolved it a bit.”
A major part of this evolution has been the addition of James on vocals. The drummer for Dangercat, James has been at the helm for about five months, and is spoken of as a god-send for their sound, live set, and writing process.
“Having Dylan [James] we feel a lot more comfortable with the band as a whole,” says Herzog. “He’s probably one of the best musicians in the band. He’s an excellent drummer and so he has a lot to say when it comes to bringing songs together… he brings a lot to the table.”
His first singing gig, James downplays the notion of being a “frontman.” “I don’t think about it that way… I don’t like being the center of attention, I don’t know why, I’m just not a fan,” admits James. “We go on as a unit; we come off as a unit.”
With a pure love for writing songs, fans can expect not only an EP of select songs from the full-length to be released next, but possibly separately recorded material before the full-length drops.
“We’re going to wait to find the right home for [the full-length],” explains Herzog. “We’re not looking at putting it into anybody’s hands until we feel that they are really going to help us to craft our sound, and not just try to mold it.”
“We would rather be with a label that would help us to realize our own potential than to turn us into something.”
The band will be flying McKillop to Winnipeg to track drums at Bedside Studio, and then leaving June 20th to play three dates on the way to Vancouver before taking two weeks in the studio and playing their way back. Fans can also expect a filmed in-studio set while they are in Raincity.