The musicians comprising Tellico have been around Asheville for years, but the self-described “Appalachiacana” roots band itself is a new incarnation. Imagine each member’s astonishment when a $7,500 Kickstarter campaign supporting the band’s debut album was funded in under a day.
“I am as surprised at the success as anyone,” says Anya Hinkle, who claims guitar, fiddle and vocal duties in addition to songwriting. But Hinkle’s astonishment may be modesty incognito, considering the legwork the band undertook pre-launch.
Throughout 2014, Tellico put serious effort into building a mailing list of fans, but in place of an e-mail blast, Tellico employed the snail method.
“Right before the campaign, we contacted people individually, by phone or email, who we thought would be interested in being involved,” explains Hinkle. “We had some of our bigger donors and house concert hosts lined up ahead of time. … From there, we just launched and crossed our fingers!”
Whether it was the treating-fans-like-valued-collaborators approach or the crossed fingers that worked, Tellico earned a $7,500 IOU from Kickstarter within 24 hours of its Oct. 15 launch. By day nine, the band had raised more than $10,000.
“Since this campaign has always been about how to get the music out there into the world, our goal for the last half of the campaign is to engage as many people as we can who might be interested in the music we are making,” says Hinkle. She adds that the Tellico’s next milestone is to attract 200 backers by the campaign’s conclusion on Nov. 17.
“These folks will be our record label. They will have an investment in the project and a relationship with us,” Hinkle says. She describes the band-backer alliance as adding “a tremendous sense of value” to the group’s efforts.
Tellico did exceed its original goal by thousands of dollars, but don’t expect to see plumes of money escaping the windows of Sound Temple and Echo Mountain Recording Studios, where the musicians hope to collaborate with local engineer Chris Rosser. Hinkle says Tellico’s goal-setting strategy was to aim below the true budget, since Kickstarter campaigns require all-or-nothing bets.
“We can afford to take a little extra time in the studio without rushing through everything, hire a producer to help us in the studio, hire a publicist to send our disks to radio and media and of course, press more CDs than what we originally budgeted,” says Hinkle. “We are really, really fortunate to have some options.”
Tellico features Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle, vocals), Stig Stiglets (bass, vocals), Aaron Ballance (Dobro, lap steel) and Jed Willis (mandolin, clawhammer banjo, Telecaster). Visit tellicoband.com for more information.