The Heyday on grassroots capitalism, working independently and not getting dates
The big news here is that the Heyday have a new EP out and will be playing a CD-release show on October 1st at the Gothic. But the Denver foursome has a lot more going on than just that. In this extended Q&A, bassist and vocalist Peter Wynn goes more in-depth on the band's auction-style fundraising and tells us about the challenges an indie band faces without the safety net of a label.
So you've produced this new album independently. Tell me about your departure from Aware.
We actually produced the first album on our own, too. We released it after working with a local producer, Chris Jak, who works up in Fort Collins at The Blasting Room. It was after we put that record out in September of 2007 that we started working with Aware, and their imprint A-Squared. They helped us advertise and get the album out on more of a nationwide scale. They also helped us with touring and everything, but they weren't really in the picture when we started recording. We stopped working them about a month and a half before we started recording this new EP.
Do you think you might have the same relationship with them in the wake of your new release?
Yeah, we think so. They've been super cool; there were just a couple of different reasons involved. But we talk to them all the time, and they're excited about helping us out. It's just been so long since we had anything out; about three years. We met a bunch of people out on the road who were really excited to hear our new stuff, so we've really been looking forward to this. And now here we are. We'll see what happens.
Where did you get the idea for this auction-style fundraising? It kind of reminds me of what Radiohead did with In Rainbows.
We saw a number of different groups who were doing some creative things to promote their work. We played a show with the Damnwells in Chicago in December of 2008, and they were doing a project like this. We had a few examples of some creative things people were doing, so we figured we'd combine some of those strategies.
First, we had to figure out how much money it would take for us to get this EP done. We didn't think we'd be able to raise enough for a full album, but we were okay with that. We just focused on raising enough to get about six songs done, and tried to come up with a way where it would be fun for people to donate. We started with the pre-order; some of the lower-level donations would get you a digital copy when it comes out, and that's something a lot of bands do anyway. But we came up with a lot of different ways for people to contribute.
One of the guys who contributed was able to come up and spend the day at the studio. He got to hang out all day and work on the vocals with us. We had a tiered system so that the more you contribute, the more you could participate.
Right now, we're going out to hand deliver some of the CDs, we're driving around meeting people, and we're working on a vinyl which is something we've wanted to do forever. I think people feel like they're getting more out of it than just clicking a button on I-tunes. It's a little more personal.
Definitely. It gets your fans involved, and it sounds like more of a grassroots kind of thing than a corporate kind of thing.
That's actually one of the reasons we started working with A-Squared in the first place. They had the grassroots idea, and we saw it as more of a long-term solution to some of the music industry's problems.
A-Squared wanted to get us out playing colleges, doing the acoustic thing, getting us out to meet people and being more interactive. That's really what this whole project was about. Hopefully, it will keep people as fans for a much longer period of time. Like that guy that came up to the studio, hopefully he'll remember that forever.