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December 08, 2012

Made it!

December 08, 2012

Today's Think Kit prompt was to write about something I made this year and to describe the process and end result. There were several ways I could have gone with this one because I'm usually working on at least one creative project at any given time. However, I'm really proud of the double-LP pressing of Nine Different Kinds of Gone: A Tribute to Kenny Childers I helped make for Musical Family Tree this year.

This project was conceived and assembled by friends of Kenny Childers, a highly talented Indiana songwriter and musician (most notably, he's the frontman for Gentleman Caller, who also released a new record in 2012). It was released on bandcamp as a digital tribute to Kenny for his 40th birthday, but Jeb Banner thought the album was strong enough to warrant a vinyl release. Since I was the new director of MFT, he delegated that task to me.

Coming into the project in the middle was kind of challenging and confusing, but it's also the main reason that I have ended up being so proud of the end result. I'm used to handling projects and musical releases all on my own; I often make all the decisions. In this case, many of the decisions had already been made, and I felt like I was "taking over" in the middle of the process. This required flexibility and lots of communication. It took me out of my comfort zone to work with a lot other people on this, but I think the final product will justify all of the hard work that everyone put into it. I definitely couldn't have done this one by myself.

We created a Kickstarter campaign to help raise some of the funding we would need to press a double-LP vinyl edition. I can't express how excited it made me to see the community unite around this project. The campaign was successful, but we didn't raise nearly enough money to cover the entire process (our beginning estimate of the cost was too low). Through a little more fundraising and a lot of saving up our nickels and dimes, MFT was able to get the recordings re-mastered for vinyl (by the legendary Paul Mahern) and to afford the rest of the manufacturing process for 300 copies of the album.

Karl from Joyful Noise Recordings helped us get the records pressed through Pirates Press, Jason Krothe designed an awesome cover image, and Jarod from In Case of Emergency Press produced the attractive screen-printed covers. It's been a long process, as vinyl manufacturing tends to be, but I'm thrilled with the end result. The records sound great, and the package has a cool, handmade vibe to it. Managing this project was a vital learning experience for me because it required collaboration, compromise, patience, and organizational skills.

Our Kickstarter backers are probably sick of my claims about how close we are to having this release out, but now the finish line is truly within reach. As you can see from the photos, all the pieces are in place, and I've made a few "prototypes" of the album just to see everything in its final state.

We still have to cut and fold covers, stamp records with titles, assemble them, and ship them, all of which will be time-consuming, but I fully expect to have this album to backers by Christmas and in local record shops around that time. Hopefully we'll be selling them online soon as well, which means you won't want to wait a long time to order one - at only 300 copies, we expect these to vanish quickly!



This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: What did you make this year? Whether work-related or something more personal (like a song, craft project, or work of art), share your process and the end result.

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