By: Tracy Block
Fort Lauderdale-based feel-good reggae ensemble Bushwood has left the fate of its second album in the hands of investors. But those investors are a group of dedicated fans who have displayed an impressive initiative to fund Tidal Wave via Kickstarter.
The online investment portal Kickstarter has a catch: The all-or-nothing deadline clause, which means that if Bushwood does not raise its projected $1,420, by October 5, the band receives bupkis but an A for effort.
We spoke to bassist Adam Moskowitz about this fundraising endeavor, the recording process, and a new melodic band member, Claudio Napoles.
New Times: How did you hear about Kickstarter, and why did you decide to utilize this method to raise funds for your second album?
Adam Moskowitz: We first heard about Kickstarter through our friends Emily Kopp, a great soul-pop artist, who used it to raise funds to record her debut full-length album, and our buddies in Spred the Dub, who used Kickstarter to fund their debut album. They both showed us that it could work for a band like ours and would be an excellent way to offset the expensive act of recording and releasing a full-length album independently.
Why risk the all-or-nothing aspect of Kickstarter, rather than, say, asking for donations via Paypal?
The special thing about Kickstarter is that it delivers the optimum platform for "gathering your troops" and provides a sense of urgency by putting a deadline on your project, along with the offer of great exclusive prizes directly from the band. On our Kickstarter, we offer everything from signed hard copies of the new album to custom merch, hand-written lyrics, and even an offer to make a custom YouTube video singing "Happy Birthday."
So, you're headed to St. Augustine to record. Are you working with the same team from 2011's debut?
Well, for last year's debut album, we recorded our guitar, bass, and drums at Contrast Studio in Boca Raton, but then shipped the files up to our good friend Eric "Dirty" Kaufman, who mixed and mastered them at the Fish Tank Studio in St. Augustine. Based on his work on that album, this time, we decided we wanted to do the whole process from start to finish with him. Eric has been working at the Fish Tank Studio for some time now, which operates out of the home of Lucio Rubino, an award-winning musician and producer who oversaw the entire process.
How has the recording process changed for you guys this time around?
The main difference between our new album and our previous album is a huge upgrade in quality, starting with the drum sound. We wanted this album to sound bigger, juicer, dubier, yet still very clean.
Based on the raw tracks, we know the sound on this album is going to be levels above our previous efforts, and that feels really good. We also used better gear on my bass to get that big, fat, round sound that our music needs and deserves. The guitar recordings came out incredible as well, thanks to the use of Fish Tank's Kemper Amp. We'll be finishing up with keyboards, acoustic guitar, percussion, horns, and vocals in the coming weeks.
You've officially recruited a fourth member of Bushwood, Claudio Napoles, on keys. How does infusing melody change the band's sound?
Claudio is a huge game changer for us. Previously, we had gone through a couple of keyboard players in an effort to find the right guy, but no one seemed to fit our vision perfectly. Along came Claudio. We first experienced him sitting in to jam with our good friends and reggae legends Fourth Dimension. Since he wasn't a permanent member with them and we were looking, we connected the dots and jammed with him one day.
We knew right away that we had discovered our missing piece. We are ecstatic that he will be featured on this upcoming album, and we know that if anyone enjoyed us before, they are going to love the new Bushwood sound. Along with Claudio, we have been jamming with two other musicians, our friends Carl Dykes on saxophone and Eric Schechter, who has added percussion. It's a much fuller sound, and everyone is really enjoying the new dynamic.
What can the fans expect from a Tidal Wave listen, compared to the self-titled debut?
This time around, we made a conscious effort to pen several upbeat, dance-friendly, funky tunes. We love our debut album immensely, but these new songs have sparked something incredible in us, and we have pushed ourselves to make the songs the best they could be. The album spans several styles of reggae, both upbeat and roots, but definitely has some funky and rockin' parts as well.
There's also going to be a beautiful love song on there, inspired by when we went to see Carlos Santana live. As for evolution, we have been steadily playing these songs, letting them mold and find themselves in a live setting. Since our debut, our singer and guitar player, Steve Voronokov, has been making his living through playing solo acoustic shows, which has not only improved his guitar skills but has elevated his voice and inflection tremendously.
Lyrically, it's much more expansive and deliberate. We are about positivity, and we think that will shine throughout this album. At our live shows, we find people really connecting to these songs, so we feel strongly that the songs will translate when people are listening in their cars, boats, or ear buds.
What's your scheduled release date?
We haven't completely finished recording, but we are definitely on track to be done by our Kickstarter deadline, which is the first week of October, right before we head down to the Keys to play Tiki Bash 2012, a great fundraiser for cystic fibrosis. Once it's all said and done, we will be announcing a huge album-release celebration, and we hope you all come out and get down with us.
Browse and donate to Bushwood's Kickstarter to help fund the band's second album, Tidal Wave, due the first week in October.