January 18, 2014
The Kickstarter Eﬀect"
Interview with Indie musician Laurence Szucs about
crowdsourcing his new album Splinters and Cinders
Laurence Szucs has started a 45 day Kickstarter campaign to fund
production of his new album Splinters and Cinders. After the ﬁrst
15 days, he has raised over AUD 4,000 from 28 backers - we talked
to him about the project."
Your Kickstarter project for Splinters and Cinders is 15
days into the campaign - how do you feel about this?
I feel all to aware of the 75% still
I am excited... and anxious. Achieving 100% funding for this
Kickstarter means a lot to me. I have put over 2 years work into
making this album and started recording it 13 months ago. I have a
lot riding on the success of it and as a result I have strong feelings
about it. I think we are in a good position, 10 days in, 25% funded,
however I feel all too aware of the 75% still to go. I am excited to
see that there are passionate supporters who share my excitement
in ﬁnishing this album and in turn, I feel a great sense of gratitude
towards them. As a result, I feel that if I don't make my target, I
January 18, 2014
am letting these early supporters or 'pledgers' down. The fear of
letting pledgers down by not reaching my target is deﬁnitely an
unexpected campaign anxiety! Do other Kickstarters feel like this?
Is this normal? Is this a thing? Do all Kickstarter campaigns have
to prepare themselves to spend a campaign on an alleged edge of
pledge dread gratitude? If it wasn't a thing, it has a name now so it
probably is a thing from here on in, sorry everyone. I also feel a
little lost. I don't know what to expect or what is normal. I have
read about how to make a successful Kickstarter campaign but I
have little to no idea what the journey was like for other
campaigners and as such, I don't have much to compare my
current position to."
What's your ideas and strategy with rewards?
Our ideas and strategy with rewards are to give people a broad
range of interesting, rewarding rewards. We wanted to ﬁnd a
balance between ridiculous, fun things people could do with the
band, such as being sunset serenaded on a hot air balloon ride and
rewards which showed direct value such as pre-orders of the
I'd be lying if I said it has been
album, download or CD. I really want people who pledge to feel
that they are founding members of the band who are making this
record possible, so we built rewards around that! There's a number
of very personal rewards such as concerts or skype concerts but in
particular, an opportunity to appear in our next ﬁlm clip. I hope
that the rewards help people get to know the band."
January 18, 2014
You are trying to raise AUD 20,000. How much of your own
money are you investing in this project?
It's impolite to ask about money but I guess it's even ruder if I
dodge your question. Well, I've invested around $15,000 so far into
recording this album, not including travel costs and related costs of
recording a 9 piece band out of town. There has been a large
investment in time too. I mean, making this album inhibits me
from a 9 to 5 job to fund this record as I regularly need weeks oﬀ
to work on it. I have been very lucky to have found work doing
short term contracts but I'd be lying if I said it has been easy. It has
become unfeasible to keep living/working/recording/writing music
this way and if I kept trying to do it, it would take another 13
months to ﬁnish the record! So far, the investment has not been all
mine. Even before the Kickstarter was conceived, many people had
gotten on board to help however they can. Some people have been
very generous with money, others with their time and talents, such
as J Walker helping out, the ﬁlm clip crew, writers, musicians and
Andy Stewart, my producer, has invested countless hours oﬀ the
books to try and get this record over the line. Really, this album is
very much a team eﬀort; there will be a lot of us celebrating if this
crowd sourcing is a success."
January 18, 2014
What was the immediate feedback of friends and
My friends and colleagues are keen to get on board. They seem
genuinely interested in the project and excited to get an
opportunity to be a part of it. Where I was nervous at ﬁrst to share
it with people as I felt maybe they would see it as me asking for a
hand out, the reaction was quite the opposite. My friends and
colleagues are glad to get on board and want to be an active role in
the story; some pledgers have even been messaging me for ongoing
updates. On the whole, most of the feedback has come in the form
of pledges. There is one particular written piece of feedback from
someone I'm yet to meet in China which is inspirational to say the
least. They said my music is 'So beautiful, like fresh air, spring
water of the mountain'. I really enjoy both fresh air and spring
water, so it's encouraging feedback."
What's the level of anxiety?
The level of anxiety is very high, so, just slightly more than usual.
I'm coping though as I'm no stranger to anxiety, a lot of the songs
on this record were born from it. There is so much riding on the
success of this campaign that it is hard not to feel anxious,
however, it is outweighed by hope; I really hope we make it. I
know if we do, we can give back something great and I want to
show people that. I have a copy of all of the songs unmixed, so I
know what I'm working with from here. I'm not anxious about
being able to deliver a great album, I know with some funding and
help over the line, we can do that."
Any advise you would give to other musicians who would
like to start a campaign?
I'm not sure if I'm in any position to give advice at this stage but as
with all things, research. We put a lot of time into reading what has
worked for others and what hasn't. I think it helps to spend 90%
of your time thinking about your problem and researching it, and
10% writing it up. The whole crowd sourcing topic is pretty
interesting too, so you'll ﬁnd it somewhat of a page turner. "
Any other feedback on KICKSTARTER – what's good and
what could be improved?
January 18, 2014
It's great how easy it is to support projects. For me, it's about
getting in early and being a part of interesting goings on. One
thing I'd like to see, is it would be great if rewards could also be an
equity stake. You pledge 100 dollars, you make your 100 dollars
back with the percentage of proﬁt, like a stock. I think it’s a great
idea and would entice more people to put some money onto other
Thank you very much and good luck!" "
Please email email@example.com for invitation to the dropbox
containing music video, songs, photos etc."
Laurence Szucs Facebook