Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

DOUBLE OR NOTHING: Empire Strikes Brass is currently at Echo Mountain Recording, working toward a double album release. The musicians hope to cover at least part of the associated costs through crowdfunding. Photo from the band's Facebook page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Empire Strikes Brass’ double debut

It’s clear, based on footage from their Kickstarter video, that the musicians in Empire Strikes Brass are eating full and balanced breakfasts. With that energy, they’ve played more than 300 shows and collaborated with artists like Beats Antique and Warren Haynes since forming in 2012. What’s even more impressive is that the troupe has built a fanbase for its danceable brass music without the assistance of a recorded album. That’s about to change, though. The band is currently recording its original debut album at Echo Mountain Recording Studio and making progress on a separate project with local electronic producer Liam Collins, also known as Push/Pull. That collaboration, called Push/Pull Strikes Brass, boasts a “totally unique sound that hasn’t been done before,” says saxophonist Pauly Juhl. “Push/Pull provides a big electronic sound while Empire Strikes Brass adds live texture and big horns.” The group aims to raise $15,000 by Friday, Sept. 9, to pay for recording and releasing the two debut albums and investing in new merchandise.

On that same night, Empire Strikes Brass will lead a donation-based bar crawl that fans are welcome to attend. It starts at Foggy Mountain Brew Pub at 8 p.m., before pit stops at other musically-inclined watering holes like Tressa’s Downtown Jazz and Blues and the Asheville Music Hall. “We’ll be parading between bars, jamming with the acts at each bar and then parading to the next,” Juhl says. “The goal is to have a good time, and [we] hope to raise some funds for the Kickstarter.”

Documenting intentional communities

“We’ve been separated physically and emotionally by the marketing machines of modern society so that every single home and family must fend for itself, purchase their own set of products instead of sharing, and waste valuable time and resources,” reads a campaign page by Blue Cobalt, executive director of nonprofit Living Paradise. “It’s time that we learn to live together in harmony with each other and the planet.” Unfortunately, many of the intentional communities that are established to combat this cycle end up failing. However, the Living Paradise team is setting out to explore the factors that enable success among select alternative living arrangements at various stages of development. The first hour-long documentary in the series, available here, highlights the inner workings of a spiritual community in Florida, for example. Cobalt aims to raise $55,000 by Thursday, Sept. 15, to fund further travel and coverage for its documentary collection, titled intentional.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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