Instrumentalist/producer Bruce Somers and singer/songwriter Free Dominguez of Kidneythieves have the Kickstarter community and Billboard magazine on their side for this crowdfunding campaign. Their fifth full-length album, The MEND, is a Kickstarter staff pick and has already surpassed its original $45,000 goal with almost a month remaining in the campaign. The popularity of the campaign bears out the Billboard pronouncement that describes the electronic music duo to be “as menacing as the urban legend from which they took their name.” Now that they’ve met their base goal for the album plus the merchandise, they’re using the rest of the campaign to build momentum so that The MEND can lead to shows, travel, videos, and more in 2016.
The goals for the crowdfunding donations include an album with a “kickass” sound and top-quality vinyl; locally, ethically manufactured merchandise; shows, the record release and possibly touring; and a video. The American-made merch includes hoodies and tee-shirts produced in Los Angeles. But those goals give Kickstarter supporters the opportunity to act in the role of a record company. The songs on The MEND are inspired by the brokenness of a world in need of fixing. Kidneythieves explains, “It’s not the End. It’s The MEND.” The themes are derived from our own faults and struggles, the empathy that we experience, the triumphs we achieve and the hope that drives us. For the duo, there is nothing more important than connecting with fellow musicians and an audience to share the powerful exchange of love and music.
The strength of the campaign sends a powerful message to potential partners in the industry that fans want Kidneythieves to thrive. Somers’ musical background is reminiscent of the industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails and the metal sound of Rage Against the Machine; Dominguez with her affinity for hip-hop, trip-hop, and beat music, evokes Tricky and Portishead.
The Kidneythieves résumé includes four full-length electronic rock EPs, three major video games, numerous projects, television shows, and collaborations. The result of their efforts has yielded a loyal following. Their unique sound has found an audience in the cinematic and television world as well, thanks to the soundtracks of films as varied as Queen of the Damned, Bride of Chucky, CSI: Miami and Warehouse 13. This versatility is part of the pulse of the modern entertainment scene. “Musicians can’t rely on record labels to do everything now, so we look for other sources,” says Somers. Dominguez agrees: “We’ve been noticing that there are more 15-18 year-olds coming to shows and emailing us and I think it’s a by-product of the exposure we’ve had in video games. We have this amazing legion of loyal fans now that is a lot more eclectic than when we started out.”
Dominguez and Somers have vetted their business partners thoroughly. The local Los Angeles company that will be producing the vinyl records has been in business for over 30 years and has committed to a 24-week timeline from the time they receive the music until they deliver the final product in vinyl. The artwork will be created by Brian Bowen Smith, who has worked with Kidneythieves before, along with other familiar names from the past. The final product will be the innovative and creative force that Kidneythieves have come to expect.