Over the past two years, the Connecticut heavy music scene has become well-acquainted with metal quintet He Was A God. Leveling bars with their dynamic live performances, the band recently leveled the internet with an ambitious Kickstarter that not only met its goal, but practically DOUBLED it. Yep, these dudes set out to crowdfund $4500 to release their debut album and they raised eight grand. For their DEBUT.
So this ostensibly being a blog about the finances of underground music, I had to find out how they made their project so successful. Vocalist Benjamin Curns and bassist Dan Perrone took the time to answer a few questions about the band and the Kickstarter, check out their thoughts below!
In case folks aren't familiar with He Was A God, tell me a little about the history of the band and how you guys got together.
Benjamin Curns: He Was A God is a Southern Connecticut based metal band. We craft hard hitting songs with progressive arrangements, memorable hooks, and biting socio-political commentary. Aurally aggressive. Politically Progressive.
The other guys in the band, Chris (drums), Dan (bass), Ray (Lead guitar), and Tony (guitar/keys/backing vox) all grew up together and have been playing music with one another since the age of ten or so! I answered an online ad of theirs to audition as a singer in the summer of 2021. We played our first show that December and now…FINALLY…our first LP is finally coming!
Tell me about Muckraker! What are the themes behind the album? How is the recording process going? When do you expect to release the album?
BC: The term Muckraker referred to early 20th century journalists who were known for exposing corruption in the political and/or business spheres. The songs often reflect that same spirit as we rail against war profiteers, big pharma, school shootings, billionaire joy rides into space, the coup attempt, failures of the justice system, and a militarized police force.
Recording was a long process. First of all, it was hard to just get us to do it! We all wanted to make a record, but we really enjoy writing and performing so much that it was a difficult decision to make for us to say, “OK, seriously….no new songs or gigs for a bit!” We had to just turn our focus to it, which was not easy. We recorded in-house in our rehearsal space with Tony as the producer/engineer. As a vocalist, this was absolutely essential because we could write and add new harmonies in the moment, chase down some odd ideas, and do re-takes without worrying about the clock. As far as release dates, I wish I had specifics for you, but I’d say early 2024.
Did I read in an email (that I can't seem to find right now) that you are working with the producer of the Foo Fighters?? How did you line that up?
BC: Chris knows Ryan Boesch and suggested that he might be the right fit for mixing the record once we had finished tracking. His resume is certainly impressive -- he was assistant engineer for Foo Fighters but has full production credits with Helmet and The Melvins. Helmet’s Size Matters is one my absolute favorite records. Chris reached out to inquire about availability and the window was there! Since then, Tony has handled most of the communication with him and it has gone really smoothly.
What kind of considerations came up at the "band meeting" when you guys decided to make a Kickstarter?
Dan Perrone: We knew early on that half-assing the production of Muckraker wasn’t an option. The five of us were talking it over and Tony said something like, “If this is the last thing we ever release—and I don’t think it will be—but if it is, we have to do it right.”
At the same time, no one was looking to pass around the collection plate at HWAG shows. We were hyper-sensitive to angling a crowdfunding project in a way that was collaborative with our supporters.
Your Kickstarter was overwhelmingly successful -- not only did you meet your goal of $4,500, but by the end of one month, you raised over $8000! What do you think contributed to this success?
DP: The campaign was a huge success, and the short answer is that we have amazing friends, family and fans who showed up and supported the project. As far as we’re concerned, that’s the explanation.
The longer, less sexy answer is that we did our homework for weeks leading up to the launch date. There was a learning curve, and we went back and forth 100 times on the goal, on the menu of items, the language. Do we go with Kickstarter or Indiegogo? 30 days or 60 days? I had a conversation with Jack Symes (www.endjacksymes.com), who ran two successful Kickstarter campaigns for his albums in 2018 and 2020. I said, “Tell me everything I need to know. Tell me all the shit you didn’t think of but wish you had.” He gave me his version of a Kickstarter for Dummies, and it really helped guide the planning.
Lastly, we played to our strengths. Ben is a showman. He made a killer video announcing the launch of Muckraker. Ray edited the promo clips. Chris pushed the campaign on our social media and kept the momentum going with his own videos. Tony was putting in 100 hours a week with the recording and initial mixing but still managed to broadcast some clips of gratitude. I wrote the copy and did all the logistical bullshit.
This is a hope-for-the-best-but-maybe-expect-a-disappointing-shitshow kind of band, so hitting the target was a humbling moment for us.
If a band wants to try crowdfunding, what do you think they should have lined up or thought out beforehand?
1. Soak up as much information as you can before the launch. Look at similar projects to yours that were successful and try to spot the common denominators.
2. Set goals that are realistic but also make you a little uncomfortable. With Kickstarter, there’s no undo button. Once you’re live, you’re live.
3. Bookend it. Successful campaigns are like good movies: you want to come out strong and with the understanding that there’s a small window to hook your audience. Then you’ll probably wander in the wilderness for some time. Cap it off with a good and memorable ending.
4. Have fun with it but make mental room for the mundane administrative stuff. 5. Most importantly, hold your backers in high regard. These are people investing in you who could’ve put their dollars toward literally anything else in the world.
Find all things He Was A God here and stay tuned for Muckraker!
Featured photo by Anthony Frisketti, courtesy of the band.
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