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Gonzo Latest News: Dave Bainbridge interview

Date Published: 11th February 2013



JON. Crowdfunding is becoming an integral part of the 21st Century music business model. Why did you decide to go this route?

DAVE: Even when I recorded my first solo album, Veil of Gossamer back in 2003/4, the music industry was already undergoing some seismic shifts, with the then-standard model (artist signing to label - label paying for the recording and promotion of album - artist eventually recouping the 'loan' from the label years later) beginning to crumble. In hindsight there were good and bad things about the old way of doing things. At least money was made available to actually record, manufacture, release, and promote an album, even though the deals were usually stacked very much in favour of the record label.
Now, there are very few record labels left that are prepared to commit to funding anything that is not mainstream pop. With illegal downloading, the dominance of iTunes, Amazon and the like, and the general economic situation, everyone's margins are being squeezed. So crowdfunding seemed to me like the logical next step. 

With Iona we have built up a loyal following over the years, and many fans have become friends and it has been great to see those early followers of the band's music now bringing their children to gigs. So I loved the idea that the people who have supported us over the years by buying our music could actually be more involved in the creation of my next album by means of crowdfunding. In the past we've taken pre-orders for the last few Iona albums, which we've used to fund the recordings, and this seems a logical next step.

At the time of writing there is just over a week to run on the Indiegogo campaign, and over £12,000 of my £15,000 goal has been raised! This is more than I could have expected to get from a record label and it would be great to actually get to the goal - not least because it would release another £750 as Indiegogo give back 5% of the 9% they take if you reach our goal. This would, for example pay for some amazing artwork from Ed Unitski.
JON: How much of the new album has been written in advance?
DAVE: I've written about 2/3rds of it at this point. Some tracks are more or less finished, pending the replacement of my programmed drums, bass and string parts, whilst some are still 'work in progress'. Usually I have an idea of what I want to say in the piece (musically and / or lyrically) - then it's just a case of honing that until I'm happy with it. I have loads more track ideas than will fit on one album, so it will be a case of choosing which to use.
JON: From the excerpts that can be heard on the indie go go promo video, it seems that this is very complex and technically sophisticated music. Just hearing it with sequenced percussion makes one itch to hear the finished thing. Who will be playing on the album?
DAVE: I hope that what comes across more than anything is that the music sounds exciting and exhilarating but also emotive. There are places where the music is fairly complex, but I hope these parts make people feel excited and thrilled. The kind of feeling you might get on a roller coaster (but without feeling sick lol!). I remember when I was 13 first hearing The Mahavishnu Orchestra on the radio. It might have been Radio Luxembourg and it was from a live concert. I'd never heard anything like it - incredible virtuosity and energy, but it also made total musical sense. I was so excited that I managed to record some of it on an old tape recorder and even though it was quite late, I literally ran to my friend's house a half mile away to tell him about it! I'd love people to have something like that experience listening to the album. 
There are also parts of the album that are much slower and more simple - I always like to have these contrasts in the music I write. In fact, one of my aims has been to try and have a guitar solo that only has one note, but that note just cuts the heart like a knife. I remember a June Tabor track on which Martin Simpson's entry is this one acoustic slide guitar note and it's just amazing in its emotional impact. So I have a track I'm working on that has (almost) a one note solo. Not sure yet whether it will be on the album - depends how it turns out, but it would certainly be a big contrast to another track on the album, which is a hell for leather fast electric guitar solo over a very fast drums and bass groove.
I already have some contributions from other musicians - my very good friend and former bandmate Troy Donockley (Nightwish / The Bad Shepherds) on uilleann pipes and low whistles, Frank van Essen from Iona on viola - and he will be recording some string ensembles on several tracks as well as some electric violin, Martin Nolan from Iona also on uilleann pipes on one track, Joanne Hogg from Iona (vocals), bassist Simon Goulding (Robbie Williams etc, etc) on one track, Gabriel Alonso playing various orchestral percussion (tympani, gongs, crotales etc) on several tracks. But the drum kit parts and the rest of the bass parts will be done by the explosive combination of Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse Band / Affector etc) and Randy George (Neal Morse Band / Morse, Portnoy and George etc). Both of these are virtuoso musicians, steeped in the modern progressive rock genre who will be perfect for the music. I'm also hoping to have Todd Reynolds from New York play some solo violin. He's an incredible musician. Although the majority of the music will be instrumental, there will be some significant vocal sections here and there and there will be several great vocalists, including Sally Moulds, the daughter of Kerry Minnear from the '70's band Gentle Giant, plus others to be confirmed.
JON: Will the various musicians have a compositional input or will they be playing prewritten parts.
DAVE: The music is all written by me, so they will be playing from my demos and charts, but I'm always open to other musicians ideas and creativity. I've chosen these musicians because I want them to bring their own style and feel to the music. That's when the magic happens! However, I will be collaborating with a lyricist on a few tracks as that's not my strong point. I have lyrical themes for some of the tracks but need someone who is able to interpret them in a more poetic way than I can!
JON: Once you have this project out of the way, what will you be doing next?
DAVE: This will take up a lot of time as I'll also be doing the promotion, fulfilling all the campaign perks (including at least 7 solo house concerts) etc! But it would be great to do some band gigs with the material from this album and from 'Veil of Gossamer' if it could be economically viable. Aside from that, there are more Iona UK gigs planned for later this year and we're looking at planning another USA tour for 2014. I've also been commissioned to write the music for a new children's animated series called 'Boy and The Dinosaur', which should go into production in the autumn, so it's going to be a busy time! 
to check out the campaign and please share with others you think might be interested. It would be great to share this journey with you!"
Dave (also see Dave's Facebook page - www.facebook.com/DaveBainbridgeMusic)

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