Rock band asks fans for help with recording costs

‘Crowdfunding’ replaces traditional arts patronage

April 25, 2012 | Young Voices
Aaron Epp | Special to Young Voices

It takes a village to make an album. Oh Village, a four-piece rock band from Abbotsford, B.C., is planning to pay for its upcoming EP by “crowdfunding” the project.

Scott Currie, the band’s lead singer and pianist, came up with the idea after seeing one of his favourite bands, popular Christian ska act Five Iron Frenzy, fund one of its albums in a similar way. Over 90 days, Currie and his band mates—guitarist Jake Janzen, bassist David Dueckman and drummer Stephen Dahl—are raising funds via, a website dedicated to crowdfunding initiatives.

“Crowdfunding [or micro-patronage] is a new way to support creative people and endeavours,” according to “In ages past, wealthy patrons would commission works of art, such as symphonies, from the recognizable artists and musicians of the day. Crowdfunding is the same idea, but rather than looking for a large contribution from a wealthy patron, artists and entrepreneurs . . . look for small contributions from lots of people.”

Anyone can make a donation, and the band is rewarding different levels of donations with different items in return, from a copy of the EP to an Oh Village T-shirt.

“I looked into it and it seemed like a really effective way to fund an album,” Currie says. “It’s a lot of fun to do because the prizes are a lot of fun to put together.”

The band, whose members range in age from 17 to 19 and who all attend Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, is hoping to raise $7,000 in order to record a six-song EP in July at The Sound Suite, a studio in Abbotsford. takes 4 percent of the money raised if the band reaches its goal, and eight per cent if it falls short. The website says it does this to encourage people to set a reasonable financial goal and then work hard to meet it.

Fifteen days into its campaign, the band had already raised $700. The musicians are confident they will meet their goal by the time their 90-day campaign is over at the end of June, but they are planning to record the EP no matter what.

“If our RocketHub numbers and support don’t hit seven grand, we’re going to make something work,” Janzen says, adding that the band is working odd jobs and organizing other fundraisers, like a bake sale, to help cover the costs of recording and manufacturing the disc.

Crowdfunding has become increasingly popular in recent years, with a diverse list of musicians, including Juno-nominated Winnipeg singer-songwriter Cara Luft and seminal New York hip-hop group Public Enemy, using it to fund recording projects. The film adaptation of the popular Donald Miller book, Blue Like Jazz, was also funded in part by a crowdfunding campaign on, a website similar to RocketHub.

A recent op-ed piece published on Vancouver alt-weekly The Georgia Straight’s website was critical of crowdfunding, with the writer arguing that “notions like suffering for your art and putting your money where your mouth is have been replaced by sickeningly safe-and-easy websites that allow you to turn your band into a charitable cause in five minutes.
. . . Instead of panhandling online, here’s a novel idea: ‘crowdsource’ a little business acumen and produce something people actually want to give you money for.”

Janzen points out that Oh Village isn’t simply asking for a handout, as everyone who makes a donation of at least $10 will receive something in return.

Dueckman agrees, adding that crowdfunding is a way to involve fans and supporters in a recording project from the ground up. “We’re trying to involve people in something that could be really awesome,” he says. “If people are excited about this and they want to support our music and be a part of it, we’re excited about them being a part of it.”

To watch a video about Oh Village’s fundraising campaign, and read updates, visit

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