The unique thing about this project is the fact that the band is giving their record away for free once the production costs are covered. This means that fans can actively support a project from start to finish, and then see it become available for free to anyone who wants to listen! 'Digger' is released today via Motor Music, a Berlin label. This is the first time (as far as we can see) that a band, label, and crowdfunding site have worked together in this way - an exciting occasion indeed!
We caught up with the singer Elia Rediger to find out a bit more about how The Bianca Story came up with their unique concept, and what inspires them most...
1. How did you find out about wemakeit.ch?
We looked at several platforms, but our idea was a bit more radical than the average crowdfunding project! We were looking for a partner that would make it possible for us to go all the way, exactly as we wanted to, and wemakeit was perfect for that. We also had contact with the head of wemakeit, (who is also from Switzerland) so that made it quite simple to get connected.
2. Whose idea was it to give away your music for free after you’d achieved all the funding you’d need to make your 3rd album?
One evening in Zürich we were having dinner as a band. We weren’t satisfied with the current crowdfunding situation, and how you have your record in a store for 12 bucks, but it’s downloadable everywhere for free. This paradox led us to come up with the idea for our record. We called our label the next day, and they were up for it. 3 days after that we were in the mountains shooting the video! It seems like we have been the first band to do this, and I think that’s why it’s gone so far, spreading to the USA, the UK, and all these blogs. It started as a small idea, but it has a certain ‘sparkle’ to it, and we’re very pleased about that.
3. I saw a video of your manager, Tim Renner from Motor Records, explaining the theory behind your crowdfunding project and the album title, 'Digger'. The video portrays a mountain blocking the way between you and your fans, which you metaphorically ‘dig through’ – who came up with this metaphor, which has extended across the whole project?
We wanted to make it really exciting for everyone – we knew that if we want to achieve something like this it has to be like music, the story has to be told like music, and not just approached in an economic way. We wanted to make a metaphorical gesture. Fabian, the keyboard player came up with the tunnel idea, and we thought it was really good.
4. It says on your website that your band name comes from the Italian word for white, 'bianca', to remind you of the white sheet of paper that’s always waiting for new inspiration – what inspires you most right now?
What we’re really excited about at the moment is the big tour ahead. That’s always a great moment. Besides that, the whole underground scenery that we’ve embraced with diggers is really exciting – it is also translated into a clubbing image, the idea of going underground to go out, like in Zürich or Berlin. We like the idea of a parallel story, where you go underground and dig your own tunnel – the imagery makes sense to us.
5. Elia, you sing in the band with Anna Waibel. Do you write songs together, or is there always one person leading the ideas? Do you always write songs in English?
We go further than that – it’s basically all of us writing songs. The band is a really open thing – someone of course has the main idea, but after that, it’s really a collaborative thing. We write in different languages, we basically write in "swinglish" right? In the past, we’ve written in french, german, Italian… it’s one of the main fun parts of being in a swiss band, being able to write in different languages and have an audience who understands it. The world is so international and is turning so fast, it’s important to stand for your roots, and bring something from where you’ve come from.
6. Are there any new bands you’ve heard recently that you also think are great?
I have to be honest, I haven’t listened to much music lately. What happened over the last couple of weeks is that when people die I start listening to their records, like Lou Reed for example… there’s plenty of good stuff out there. I find it very interesting to follow David Byrne on the web, as he’s such an interdisciplinary artist.
7. Are you interested in being interdisciplinary artists too?
First of all we’re a band, but we’re quite interdisciplinary too – only boring bands are not interested in art in general. I studied art, some of the band studied art, there is always a kind of concentration there, where you focus on the whole image, the whole perspective, and not just one attitude. For example, The Bianca Story will be performing as part of a musical theatre piece called 'Gilgamesh Must Die' in Berlin's Deutsche Oper in March. We often put ourselves in a situation where we take an artistic position, not just that of a band.
8. Are you going to continue releasing your music in the same way as this album? Do you think this will become a common model in the music industry?
I dunno, I’m not sure. It might be a solution, but first and most importantly we’re looking forward to the tour, and meeting the people who made this possible. With this plan and what we achieved I think it’s really important to stay in contact with the people who helped us, and touring is the best thing for that.
9. What is your favorite venue in Switzerland?
Uh, wherever we sold out! We like surprises…
10. Is your crowdfunding scheme still open for someone to donate 45,000 euro to make you climb the Matterhorn?
I’m not sure. I think we’re quite happy that this didn’t happen. Some of the guys in the band (including me) are very afraid of heights. But it’s not that we wouldn’t do it if the offer came up!
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