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Student band fundraises for new album with Kickstarter campaign

By , Senior Photojournalist  |  Sunday, April 21, 2013 11:51 AM

[slidepress gallery = '130421_word_party_audio']

When junior Luke Darger’s band, The Word Party, ran out of money recording its first full-length album, the members refused to embrace the “starving artist” stereotype and pledged to raise $1,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter allows users to create online campaigns to fund creative projects that only produce profit if they succeed to raise their minimum amount before their chosen deadline. The Word Party’s campaign deadline is May 8.

“What I’ve seen with Kickstarter is that it’s been a really efficient, innovative way in raising money for artistic endeavors,” Darger said. “(It’s) seeing if you can get the community around you to help you create art.”

The Word Party recorded about half the songs for its upcoming album “No One Likes You” at The Pearl Recording Studio in Minneapolis before running out of funds. The band hopes the members’ personal savings and a successful Kickstarter campaign will help finish the album in time for a summer release.

Music business professor Steve Cole thinks Kickstarter is an effective way to fundraise because of people’s readiness to participate.

“People want to be involved. They want to be part of something,” Cole said. “There seems to be, given the volume of dollars that flow into these projects, a very high willingness of people, when properly engaged, to participate.”

The Word Party origins

Darger met future bandmate Nick Strot, currently a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, in middle school.

“We hated each other at first,” Darger said. “But then we became friends because we started making hip-hop together, making beats.”

Darger and Strot continued to collaborate, covering genres from electro-pop to rock, until they were joined by drummer Austin McLaughlin and bass player Alex McCormick in August 2009 and The Word Party was born.

The band’s name originated from a comment Darger made to Strot during a party his little sister hosted.

“There were all these little kids going around like, ‘Party! Party!’ and I was just like, ‘I’m so sick of the word ‘party,’” Darger said.

Guitar player and keyboardist Sarah Mevissen joined soon after to complete the five-piece group, and the band released an EP (Extended Play) titled “So Sick Of” in September 2011.

Strot described the EP as “pretty diverse, sound-wise” and as a prequel to “No One Likes You,” which is slightly more focused.

“There’s a little bit more of that rock and roll, punk attitude,” Strot said. “Some catchy parts, a couple of dance-y parts, but it’s a little more of a darker rock, piano, guitar-driven album.”

Darger said the album’s content is mostly based on true events from his and Strot’s high school days.

“What I was going for was striking kind of an authentic, realist stand of what it’s like to grow up in our day,” Darger said. “It’s titled ‘No One Likes You’ in sort of a sarcastic, but kind of completely bored way.”

To date, the campaign has raised $835 of its $1,000 goal through 27 supporters and has 17 days to go.

Rita Kovtun can be reached at kovt1547@stthomas.edu.

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