When I saw out and proud rocker Brett Gleason had begun a Kickstarter campaign, I knew I had to be a part of it. First, I am a fan of his music which is always an important factor for me. Second, he is also a great guy, someone I was very happy to finally meet at a recent show. And last but not least, I not only really like his music, I am a fan of the genre. I've been a a Rock fan for many years, but couldn't help but notice that with very few exceptions, there were not many LGBT being heard. So when I first heard and saw "I Am Not", I became excited. And Brett has maintained my interest and excitement since then, with two EPs and every demo I could listen to. With just over a week left to go with his Kickstarter campaign, I asked Brett a few questions about life as an independent musician, and the intricacies of crowd funding, and more.
S2MD: Could you tell me a little about 'Full Length'? We know it will include songs from both EPs, 'The Thawing' and 'The Dissonance', but will there be new songs as well?
BG: My EP’s were meant to be demos; I recorded and mixed them in my bedroom, performing every instrument myself but with the implosion of the music industry I realized I was going to be alone and decided to start releasing on a small scale so when I was finally ready to invest in a proper studio record, I would have an audience waiting and my own sound developed. I’ll be taking those earlier recordings out of circulation, as this will be my first official, debut record. With a live drummer, cellist and seasoned producer, this LP will have a much bigger, more dynamic sound. I’m writing newer material but it’s so different I’m saving it for the follow up and using this opportunity to perfect the piano based electro rock I’ve been working so hard on.
S2MD: How does having a Producer change things? Is there more or less pressure while in the studio?
BG: Having a proper producer means I have another brain, heart and highly trained set of ears next to mine. I’m a competent engineer but aside from not having state of the art equipment at home, I don’t have the experience and skills to always get the sounds I’m looking for nor do I have as expansive an ear as someone who makes diverse recordings for a living. A lot of what I’ve released was a compromise between what I heard and what I could make. There will be no compromises this time.
In January of 2010, Brett released the music video for "I Am Not", the song first found on his EP, 'The Dissonance'. The dark imagery was perfect for the song, and Brett's startling good looks translated very well in the medium. It was the first exposure to the artist, and I will admit I quickly went to iTunes to make 'The Dissonance' a part of my music library. Here is the music video for "I Am Not".
S2MD: How has crowd funding changed things? Is it one more 'social media' vehicle or one more skill needed for the independent musician?
BG: Crowd funding is necessary for the independent artist, especially a solo one like myself but it’s just a tool and it’s up to the artist to use it effectively and responsibly. So many artists think you just post it online and it magically gets funding but it’s a lot of work. Aside from posting and tweeting about it, I’m personally writing all my fans and asking them to help. More than time consuming it’s emotionally daunting. Most people say no, a few say yes and some delete you from FaceBook.
S2MD: And as people get on board, how does that feel? Does it create more pressure, or more confidence, allowing you to grow as an artist?
BG: It’s an amazing feeling. Not just because it brings me closer to making the music but because it’s a concrete showing of support. Only a very small percentage of fans will ever reach out and tell me what my work means to them so when they back the record, I know it – and when I write to thank them, it begins a personal dialogue that inspires and motivates me. So far, 123 people have chipped in and I feel so much less alone, like I really have people to whom this matters.
In November of 2012, Brett released his latest music video, featuring the song "Calculated" off 'The Thawing' EP. While maintaining some of the dark nature of "I Am Not", there was a level of delicacy and intricacy in "Calculated", and it is reflected in the video.
S2MD: How do you come up with the 'perks' for the pledges?
BG: I think of what I would want and try to keep it intimate; the fun of crowd funding is the kind of access to the artist and creative process that it should bring along with it. It’s also important to keep the pricing lower than what it would be on sale to the general public and get it to them before anyone else. Backers are VIP’s.
S2MD: How does 'Full Length' fit in the arc of your musical journey?
BG: ‘Full Length’ is the culmination of almost a decade of experimentation that led to a fusion of styles, genres and sounds. This is the first chapter. Everything else was the prologue.
I hope that answered any questions you might have about 'Full Length' you had for Brett. If it hasn't, I am sure Brett would be more than glad to answer himself. You can check out his official website, and also find him on the social media sites Twitter and Facebook. You can also visit his Kickstarter page, where you can read more about 'Full Length', and also see the list of perks you can get by participating. They included download of his four singles for just a single dollar, to electronic downloads of both his EPs with just a $5 pledge, to autographed CDs and posters, and so much more. You can click on the graphic below to get to the Kickstarter page, and find the options for yourself.