With days to go on their quest to raise enough funds to record, produce and promote their 10th anniversary record, I caught up with 'Led Bib's' drummer and founding member Mark Holub to discuss the new album, photo shoots and the band that has shaped the last ten years of his life. (Support the new record here)
Ten years of Led Bib is a fantastic achievement, how do you feel the band has progressed over this time?
It's hard to believe that it really has been 10 years....I sort of feel like I am making it up, but as our first gig was on my birthday(!), I am pretty positive it's the truth. For me, the band has progressed loads since it started. I think in some way it's not so audible from record to record, the changes there are maybe smaller....incremental, but if you listen to our first record 'Arboretum' and our latest 'Bring Your Own', they sound pretty far apart. That said though, I do feel from the beginning there was something that was the distinctive sound of band, although that has obviously developed.
I think a lot of the development has been from the other guys in the band. It sort of feels now looking back like, 10 years ago I brought them all a concept of what I wanted to do, and I tried to fit them all into what that concept was. Gradually, I let them be freer to be themselves and they were able to find their own way to fit into that overall concept, which ended up sort of changing the original concept and making it something better! I think having the guys so on board with Led Bib is what makes it special, and means that we can somehow find a link between some members interest in free improv, others in soul or interests in whatever and create a group sound out of it.
You've attempted to fund your new album via a Kick-starter campaign, something that has increased in popularity as the 'standard' music industry model is remoulded. Why did you feel that this was the best way to go about acquiring the necessary financial support as apposed to a more traditional self or label funded excursion?
I think Kickstarter and the other similar sites are doing something really interesting, particularly for jazz. Most bands producing this kind of music aren't really making any money out of recording, it's about documenting a certain time in the band's history, but also about having something to tour on the back of.
So, it's an interesting way to fund something which is an important thing to do, but essentially is not much of, or not at all an earner. But, more importantly I think, it's a new way to relate to fans of the music, instead of just offering them a concert and a CD you are offering them a piece of yourself or a window into the way your work, and they are offering up their support for something which is yet to be created which makes it a closer relationship and is a nice way to interact with fans of the music.
What can we expect from the new record?
Well, with so much improvising, it's sort of hard to say obviously....but, we have been touring a lot of the new material for awhile now, so anyone who has seen us in the last year or so will have an idea of what the new stuff sounds like. This album will also be the first album to have a track by Liran on it!
It's hard to say exactly when you are deep into actually making something, but I think recently our music has had more of a searching quality, less darting from thing to thing as it sometimes has in the past, but what may end up on the record is yet to be seen!
The prospect of a limited edition vinyl to be released alongside the album sounds fantastic for fans! Can you tell us any more about your plans for that? Numbers you're planning on producing, what it will involve etc?
The live vinyl was sort of recorded by chance. We were playing a short residency at the Vortex Club in February and the soundman on hand was recording the opening band and said he would be happy to also record the Led Bib set. We really enjoyed playing the gig and were really pleased when we listening back to the recording. So, we thought....we need to do something with this, which is actually when the idea of the kickstarter and everything was born! We actually aren't 100% positive which tracks will make it on the album as we like quite a few of them, and we haven't mixed anything, but it's likely to be 4 tracks I think(they are pretty long).
As for numbers of actual records, I think we will make 500, and they will all come with a download code, where you can download lossless formats as well as mp3 and things. People have been asking us about making a vinyl for years, and we are really excited to finally be doing it.
And finally... any plans for a quintessentially quirky Led Bib photo shoot to accompany the album? (I'm pretty sure this would drive pledges)
Not really yet. I had thought about possibly a fishing trip theme, but I think it may end up difficult to do logistically. Often I come up with some idea for the pictures and then am met with the reality of actually trying to do it and it turns our quite different. I mean, with the last one I wanted to do a British colonial thing in the desert, with a whole tea service, but it obviously was difficult to find a desert in Walthamstow, and I knew a friend who had a bear costume, so we sort of went with that....we will see.
Mark also wished to add...
While we obviously have been going for 10 years because we love making music together, it's really the fact that there are people to listen to us that makes it all worthwhile. Doing strings of gigs for little money can become a bit disheartening, but it only takes one gig with a nice audience and someone saying, hey your music is really special, to make you realise what you do it for. So, I want to thank all the people who have supported us over these 10 years, be that by coming to our gigs, buying our albums or by being our wives/girlfriends and have to put up with us moaning about each other, constantly doing inside jokes and generally being nuisances. We hope to see all of you out on the road in 2014!