Album launch tonight
Hello Funders, the album launch is tonight in Smock Alley! Doors from 8ish and we'll start playing from 9ish...Smock Alley has a great bar so come along and have a drink before hand. See some of you tonight for songs and stories and fortune telling and hopefully see the rest of you at another gig in the future.
Irish Times review and launch reminder
Did you see the Big Starving Thing review in Friday's Irish Times? Here it is:
Don't forget the album launch is in Smock Alley on June 14th! If you've already got tickets through the Fund It campaign I'll be in touch with you soon by email to remind you, if not then you can still get them from www.smockalley.com.
I'm delighted with the reaction the album is getting so far and I can't wait to play these songs live with the band and to celebrate on the 14th, but for now it's back to rehearsing for me!
Your Big Starving Thing digital download
Everyone who chose the digital download reward should have an email in their inbox right now with a link to the download (get in touch at email@example.com if you don't).
I hope you all love it!
p.s. Have you heard a track from Big Starving Thing on the radio lately? We've started getting plays on Blue Of The Night and 2XM. Hopefully the start of a trend!
p.p.s If you haven't signed up for the mailing list yet you can do that here:
Dates for the diary
I wanted to get in touch to give you all some dates for your diaries.
On May 17th I'll be hosting a small listening party in my home for the top Funder (I'll be in touch with you shortly to confirm details). I'll feed you some Spring time tasty treats, water you with homebrew (last Autumns Elderberry wine is perfect for drinking now) and I'll be performing some songs for you. Since you all have tickets to the album launch I didn't want to perform the exact same set so instead I'll be performing a few songs with piano and vocal harmonies. Very few venues in Ireland have nice pianos so it's a treat to get to perform on my own!
The album will be officially released the next day on May 18th: this just means that it will be available to buy from that date on but of course since you all pre-ordered copies you'll be getting yours asap if you haven't already. This will be the date when you can start gloating to anyone who just bought a copy saying "New release is it?! Oh that old thing I've had it ages, listened to it a million times already!"
The launch gig will be in Dublin in Smock Alley Theatre (the 'Boys School' venue) on June 14th. Anyone who's been to a performance there will tell you it's an incredible, evocative space and I'm so delighted I found the right place to present the music. A little closer to the time I'll be in touch with all Funders who are due tickets to the launch with further details. If you can't make the date but are due tickets through your Fund It reward please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to find another performance in the future that I could offer you tickets to instead.
We'll also be performing in Cleere's Theatre Kilkenny on June 12th. This will be our first time playing in Kilkenny so if you have any friends in Kilkenny let them know and help spread the word!
If you haven't seen it already here's a short teaser video I made for Same But Better from editing footage from the 1956 Film Autumn Leaves (which is in the Public Domain). Frankenstein Joan Crawford never looked better!
Thank you for your support kind patrons of the arts!
Order of songs on the album...a humbling blunder!
Have you heard of Annie Atkins? She is the graphic designer and prop-maker who works on all of Wes Anderson films and she makes some incredibly beautiful pieces. The sets and props on his films are meticulously crafted and she designed everything from the stamps on the letters received by characters in The Grand Budapest Hotel to the magical unfolding Mendl's Patisserie boxes...where she spelt 'Patisserie' wrong! The mistake was fixed in the movies with CGI magic in post production and now the original bright pink boxes, with the inaccurate spelling, are sought after as collector items. Everyone makes mistakes I guess.
Which brings me to my point...I found a mistake on the original run of Big Starving Thing. It's a small mistake, and easily fixed, but a humble reminder that I need to keep an eye on the details!
I've already sent out some CDs to Funders, so if you've already received a CD you're one of the lucky few who have an original collectable item :) I hope you don't mind my blunder! The mistake is in the order of the tracks on your CD: they don't match the artwork. Track 5 and 6 are accidentally swapped. So on your CDs 'Broken Woman' is track 5 and 'Kamikaze' is track 6.
On all future CDs the track order will match the artwork.
It will take approximately a week to fix the issue but as soon as it's fixed I'll send out the remainder of the CDs to anyone who hasn't received one yet.
Thank you all for your incredible support,
Big Starving Thing is HERE!
The CDs arrived in the post today and it's thanks to all you generous patrons of the arts! I've sent an email to everyone who pre-ordered CDs through Fund It so check your inbox, reply with your address and I'll have them in the post asap. If you pre-ordered a digital download I'll be in touch shortly.
The official release date will be May 18th and there'll be a celebratory launch gig closer to that date.
In the meantime here's a short teaser video for Same But Better. If we could peek inside Mr Tom Peeping's mind it might look a little something like this:
I've made a music video for the track Show Me which you might remember from a previous update is about a mother and newborn communing in a garden at springtime. Thank you all for your patience, I'm waiting for the CDs to be pressed and as soon as I have them I'll be sending them out to you all.
Thank you all for your patience
I know you if you funded the album you probably expected to have one by now! Me too! The time-line hasn't gone exactly as I thought it would but the album is on it's way, very soon now.
Thank you all for your patience!
Interview with Remy's Music & Film Blog
I was delighted to do this interview with Remy's Music and Film Blog with all these tasty questions about childrens books why my characters are all such wierdos! Check it out here:
Big Starving Thing Video 5
Here's video number 5 about the album and this time I'm talking about the song Kamikaze, the character Sally and one of the inspirations : The Fillyjonk Who Believed in Disaster!
Video number four: Show Me
Hope you're all enjoying the videos so far about the characters and stories behind the album. Today's video is about a telepathic baby!
Just follow the link below:
I've posted up the third video about the album, the last Halloween themed one (probably, I mean I do love monsters a lot!). Here's Handholding:
Introducing The Screamer
I've posted up the second video right in time for Halloween: Introducing The Screamer.
Thank you all for the funding, the sharing and all the interest in the project so far! I'm so delighted that people have been showing such an interest.
Ríona Sally Hartman
Interview with The Last Mixed Tape
The Last Mixed Tape kindly did an interview with me about my Fund It campaign and about the upcoming album. Check it out:
Introducing Mr Tom Peeping
My style of songwriting is very much linked with storytelling, and I particularly love stories with a surreal or magical element: sci-fi, magical realism, fantasy...I love it all. I have lots of characters from my album to tell you about over the coming weeks including The Screamer, Sally and a telepathic mother and child but first I'd like to start with Mr Tom Peeping:
Well I did say there'd be a few surpirses!
I did say that the listening party would involve a few surprises along the way and here's the first one: one lucky funder will be going home with a Roji Designs screen print!
Roji (Steven McNamara) does beautiful screen prints of animals that live in Ireland. You can find them in The Irish Design Shop, Jam Art Prints, on Etsy and best of all at my listening party!
Check out www.rojidesigns.com and take a look for yourself.
Ríona Sally Hartman
Feed The Big Starving Thing (re-posted from rionasallyhartman.com)
You might have noticed I haven’t been updating the website very often lately. There’s a pretty simple explanation for that: I’ve been busy finishing my album!
It’s been a long time coming. I started the album almost two years ago when I went into the studio with a group of incredible musicians. We spent a few evenings (ha more like all nighters!) in Windmill Lane studios with Stephen White and a few days recording in The Ventry with Dave McCune and we more or less went in and played live. We overdubbed some backing vocals and some viola parts here and there but for the most part we played the songs how we would play them at a gig. So what happened between now and then? Why has it taken me nearly two years to finish it?
Well there’s a long answer and a short answer. The short answer is I ran out of time and money. A big part of that was that I was busy getting a degree (I’ve got two now: Architecture and Jazz Performance: I’ll wear them like earrings!) which was expensive and very time consuming. I was also busy working on other projects…and that’s where the long answer comes in.
Yes it’s true I ran out of money and time, and I took on other projects in the meantime in part to help fund studio time for my own album, but it’s also true that after recording with the band I realised that the recordings had the potential to be incredible! I had that line from spiderman going through my brain on repeat: ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and the power that these musicians had over their instrument, the power to realize my songs with such skill and beauty was ‘great’ in every sense of the word. But my skills in the studio when it came to editing, mixing…etc. were limited. When I started trying to mix and edit the album (with Dave McCune behind the desk) I realised that to do these tracks justice I needed to improve my studio chops. I needed to get better at articulating what I wanted and how to achieve it. So the longer answer isn’t just that I spent two years earning the money to finish the album, it’s that every other project I did during those two years was training so that I could go back into studio and do the album justice.
And I really believe I have! Over the last month or two I’ve been in studio about a day a week (whenever I can get a day free between other projects, gigging and teaching) and I’ve taken the album apart and put it back together again. I overdubbed piano parts. I overdubbed backing vocals. I made big sweeping decisions like cutting whole songs and stripping songs back to nothing but bass and vocals. After two years of having these recordings in the back of my mind, two years of practicing and gigging and building on my studio skills, I went back in with fresh ears and finished it relatively effortlessly.
Things that frustrated me in the past I found solutions for quickly and things about the album that I loved I brought to the forefront.
There are a few little tweaks that I want to make here and there: a touch more reverb on some guitar parts, panning the backing vocals so that they’re wider apart…etc. but it’s more or less done. Now it’s time to master and print it and that’s where Fund It comes in! I’m running a Fund It campaign over the next 35 days to raise 2200 euro to master and print the album.
I thought of the Fund It style campaigns that I’ve funded in the past that I enjoyed and tried to take the best bits from them:
I funded a Dublin walking tour run by le cool that was excellent because the rewards were simple and direct. For every ten euro you funded you got to go on a walking tour, and the tours were excellent, well researched and so much fun! So I tried to pick rewards that were simple and that people who are interested in my music would want : CDs, downloads, tickets to the launch and (for a select few) an invite to a once off listening party.
Recently I funded Becca Steven’s album through Pledge (a site similar to Fund It but based in the US) and her updates on the songwriting and recording process were brilliant. The updates were really insightful and she posted rough demos of the songs in process, bits and pieces of unpolished home recordings she had done while writing the album. They managed to get me even more excited about an album that I was already pretty damn excited about. So I’m going to try to take some cues from her when it comes to Fund It updates.
So with all that said I’m delighted to point you in the direction of my Fund It campaign! There’ll be lots more updates over the next 35 days while the campaign is running. I’m very excited for you all to hear the album.
Ríona Sally Hartman