Indie Rock success story I Fight Dragons recently ended their first Kickstarter campaign to produce an epic new album without their old label, Atlantic Records. Starting with a meager goal of $20,000 dollars, the band raised $115,052 in a month. They have some really exciting plans for the coming months before they release their new album, The Near Future, in December. I reached out to the singer Brian Mazzaferri with some question regarding his musical influences, experience with Kickstarter, and what he thinks of the term “nerd” which he graciously answered.
Jeremy Dawson- What are some of your influences musically?
Brian Mazzaferri- My favorite band is Fountains of Wayne, but the band as a whole’s musical influences vary pretty widely from Weezer to Wilco to Michael Jackson to Metallica.
Jeremy- You are obviously inspired by video games in a lot of your music. What is your favorite game or series to play? Have you been playing anything recently?
Brian- My favorite genre is SNES RPG games like Final Fantasy 2(4) and 3(6), Earthbound, Chrono Trigger. In terms of current gaming I play a fair amount of Starcraft II
Jeremy- Why choose Kickstarter? What are your impressions of it so far?
Brian- I’m loving it! I think it’s a brilliant site that allows projects to happen that could really never happen in traditional ways. It’s been a hugely humbling and amazing ride so far for us.
Jeremy- As far as Kickstarter goes, what would you say has been the biggest influence on your success (other than how awesome the band is) and where have you had the most return from marketing? Has it been a social networking campaign (facebook, twitter, reddit) or from somewhere else?
Brian- Honestly we have gone very very light on any other external marketing angles. We tried to make a great Kickstarter campaign and video that would be fun for people to be a part of, and then we posted about it on our Facebook/twitter and our email list, but beyond that we’ve mostly just been enjoying the ride!
Jeremy- What advice would you give to people looking to get started in the industry?
Brian- Create, learn, repeat. Make things and put them into the world, then see how it goes and see what you’d like to change, then get back to making things. I think if you stick to that cycle you can’t go wrong over a longer time period.
Jeremy- What does the term nerd mean to you?
Brian- I think it’s a pretty loaded term at this point, but I’ve always thought of myself as a nerd. Growing up as an honors student that was into epic fantasy literature I guess it was inevitable, but I find it fascinating the way the term itself has acquired such loaded positive and negative associations for different groups of people, even to the point that there’s a lot of nerdier-than-thou backlash going around these days. To be honest I think of the term nerd as something that I am, not really something that I specifically do.
If you aren’t familiar with this band yet, you really should be. I Fight Dragons is a rock band out of Chicago that combines the upbeat tempo and catchy guitar riffs of classic pop/rock bands and combines it with chiptunes, sound effects sampled from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Gameboys, lyrics chock full of video game references, and song titles like “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth”. They have one full length album which is available as a free download on their website as well as 3 other EPs and have toured with The Protomen, Cobra Starship, mc chris, and last year played the entire Vans Warped Tour. I was first introduced to this band by their wonderful music video cRaZie$, where hipster zombies are fought using video game peripherals in a creepy cabin in the woods. The music was catchy, the video funny, and I was hooked.
The 180 gram physical vinyl of The Near Future has been transformed by the overwhelming support of the fans into a trifold packaging complete with a 7-inch single pressed on a picture disc shaped like an 8-bit fireball, a small graphic novel, and lyrics to accompany the story told on one side of the album which will be a 20 minute chip tune rock opera “involving superpowers, a love story, a parallel dimension, and some epic battles.” Epic indeed.
The band has a very humble way about them and really try to respond to all the fans that have supported them and they deserve all the success that has come to them. If you would like to donate to the project still, the band has set up a paypal donation page with all of the rewards from the non-limited tiers here. Be on the lookout for The Near Future and a review by yours truly coming in December.