Stacked Like Pancakes frontman Kellen McKay has penned a letter explaining the reason behind using Kickstarter to fund their upcoming record, Strange Creatures. He said:
“A LETTER FROM KELLEN:
I have great news. The album is finished! Finished being written, that is. All fourteen tracks.
Now that we’ve announced our new album Strange Creatures, I thought it might interest you – the Pancake Nation – to know a little more about what’s going on in my head and my vision for the future. You’ll have to forgive me that aside from releasing our new single ‘Hollow’, I haven’t given many details thus far. I even keep secrets from my bandmates (…you can ask them…they hate it).
So let me briefly tell you the story of my music so far. The first album I wrote, We’re Not Insane (2011) was written by my depressed, adolescent self who idolized Reel Big Fish and experienced heartbreak for the first time. I wrote the majority of our second album while studying music in college, and so THIS IS US (2015) is ultimately a combination of journey and discovery through my education to uncover what Stacked Like Pancakes COULD sound like.
But I’m not journeying anymore. I’m not discovering anymore. Strange Creatures (2018) will be the album that defines the sound of Stacked Like Pancakes.
I’ve realized something. We’ve been championing that we’re an independent artist. But just because we are not signed to a record label doesn’t mean we are independent. In other words, we are not independent if we depend on you. So when I say ‘You are our record label,’ it’s not a bogus catchphrase. It’s the truth. We launched an all-or-nothing Kickstarter to fund the new album with a goal of $100,000. The logic behind this is quite simple: if we don’t have a record label to front the cost, what if 10,000 people pre-ordered the $10 album?
The logic aside, there are two questions about the Kickstarter I’ve heard murmurs of that I would like to address.
‘WHAT DO YOU NEED $100,000 FOR?’
Yes, it’s a lot of money. To be honest, it’s probably more money than the seven of us made last year in our personal income combined. But I want us all to be on the same page, so let me break it down for you.
Off the top, ~$7,000 will go to Kickstarter as their fee for the service. And did you notice that when you make your pledge, you didn’t pay a credit card fee or tax? That’s because we cover both of those, which is ~$3,000 in card fees and….we’ll just leave the taxes out for now and I’ll worry about that next April. But already, a $100,000 Kickstarter is actually $90,000 after fees.
The greatest cost is our producer, which is MORE THAN HALF of the Kickstarter goal. But it’s not merely a cost – it’s an investment. I know we keep tossing around ‘multi-platinum record producer’, but we need to put this into the context. Matt Squire is investing in our future sound as much as we are, and I am grateful to have developed a friendship with him that will only strengthen the album.
And then there’s, well, everything else. We will spend tens of thousands of dollars on making thousands of copies of CD’s and vinyl, album artwork and design, marketing, social media and real world promotions, music videos, new merchandise, website development, legal fees, copyrights….and so much more. I’d rather not continue the list because I really do love all of it.
‘WHY AREN’T YOU SIGNED TO A RECORD LABEL?’
Great question. I don’t really have a clear answer for you, but just know that neither does the music industry for me. I’ve worked very hard for this band for over a decade, and there were some very difficult times for me over the years. When you’re repeatedly told by people you look up to: ‘You’re doing all the right things!’ over and over again, while your great achievements feel few and far between – it can get to your head. And then I think, ‘Why isn’t this easier? I need a record label. Everything would be easier.’
If I’m so fortunate to be asked the question, ‘Do you have any advice for people just starting in the music industry?’ my answer is almost always the same: You have to be relentless. And on several occasions, I’ve had to take my own advice to overcome my greatest challenges. Despite the challenges, the more successes I have without a record label, the more I believe that we can do this without them. I’m not bitter; I’m confident.
You’ll hear more of my story, those struggles, and my ideals in this very personal album. I really need this album to exist outside my head. I want you to hear everything.
My hope is that this insight can inspire those who haven’t yet pledged to our Kickstarter to do so now. There are a lot of cool reward tiers you can choose with your pre-order. Also, it is a PLEDGE to pay when the Kickstarter is completed April 29th – no transaction will be made today when you pre-order. At the time of writing this, we’ve already raised over $30,000 – and that is nothing short of incredible. We are so grateful for all of the support we’ve had thus far.
But again, this is Kickstarter is all or nothing. This album is ALL or NOTHING. If you wait until the album comes out to buy it, it won’t come out. You are our record label, and we need your help.
Pre-order STRANGE CREATURES on our Kickstarter today by following the link below.
Please share and spread the word.
Thank you. 💙
The album announcement included the debut of their new single, titled “Hollow”. The Kickstarter had raised $31,686 at the time of this writing.