Aquabear Legion Kickstarts Fundraising Campaign for ‘Volume 6’< < Back to
For 13 years, Aquabear Legion has been bringing together Ohio-based artists to craft diverse, highly listenable and always visually gorgeous music compilations. This year the collective will release their twelfth work, Volume 6, after the conclusion of an Indiegogo $7,000 fundraising effort that will cover the entirety of the costs of the group’s second double LP pressing.
Volume 6 will include work from 23 Ohio bands from all over the state, including R. Ring, Caitlin Kraus, Andy Gabbard, Extra Medium Pony, Leggy, Hex Net, The Village Bicycle, SW Hedrick, Mary Lynn, Swarming Branch, Smug Brothers, Water Witches, Adam Remnant, Day Creeper, Bloody Show, Bridesmaid, The Safeties, Brian Harnetty, Hadak Ura, Talons’, Vacation and more.
The organization’s co-founders, Brian Koscho and Todd Jacops, said that Aquabear Legion was created in reaction to a deep-seated love of Ohio born and bred music, and a desire to connect the folks who make those sounds.
“(In 2004) Todd (Jacops) and I both lived in Athens. We both grew up in Lorain, right up by Cleveland. Not only were we involved in music, but I think we had been used to everyone around us being involved too,” said Koscho. “As we settled into Athens, we met amazing musicians and saw great bands here, and I think it immediately made us both think about connecting those dots across the state. We wanted to figure out a way to get bands in Ohio talking to each other more and do more things to celebrate Ohio music.”
Jacops echoed Koscho’s sentiments.
“The music I’ve experienced living in Ohio has been a huge influence on my life,” said Jacops. “I think that’s one of the reasons we started Aquabear – as a way to be involved and give back to that community and generally support the amazing artists that operate in this state.”
Caitlin Kraus, an Athens-based musician whose song “Follow Me” will be featured on the forthcoming release, said that inclusion into the project meant a lot to her on a personal level, as well as a professional one.
“This summer I moved back to Athens after living in Austin, TX for five years, and as soon as I returned Brian (Koscho) asked me to be a part of the project and contribute a song, and I was honored to,” said Kraus. “It allowed me to reconnect and collaborate with some of my Athens friends whom I hadn’t worked with for a while – like Adam Remnant, who recorded my song and added some other instruments to it.”
Kraus said that she thinks of Aquabear Legion as a sort of a connecting bridge for the artistic community throughout Ohio.
“Aquabear Legion creates this reciprocal relationship between artists throughout the state,” she said. “It creates more opportunities for musicians and artists, and other community members as well; and the more opportunities we have to connect, the better.”
Cleveland-based lo-fi rocker Rick Spitalsky (Extra Medium Pony, a name taken from a skit by comedian Steve Wright), whose song “Reindeer Boots” will be included on “Volume 6,” said that he appreciates being included in the project.
“There are so many things that divide musicians amongst themselves; a lot of people start thinking of music as a competitive type of thing – like one band gets a show and then there’s some jealousy because that means another band did not get that show,” he said. “It’s cool to have all these bands on the same record, promoting it together.”
Spitalsky released his second entirely self-recorded album, Meaninglessness on Exit Stencil Recordings in September. The album includes “Reindeer Boots,” which Spitalsky cited as his favorite track on the release. Spitalsky said that he hopes to finish an Extra Medium Pony EP with his new band sometime this summer.
Aquabear Legion hopes to have Volume 6 finished by July. Even seven months away from that anticipated release date — there are some interesting perks already available for donors on the group’s Indiegogo page. Some of these include limited quantities of colored vinyl; music downloads; patches; hoodies and t-shirts featuring past and present Aquabear Legion artwork and more.
“We like having the community support a project like this, I think it makes it a bit more of a group effort,” said Koscho of the campaign. “The campaign pays for the whole thing top to bottom: vinyl pressing, mastering, licensing, packaging, the record jackets, artwork, marketing, shipping and all additional expenses. If we reach our goal we can go all out with a 500 copy release in a gatefold package, but we are also prepared to dial back in quantity and packaging a little bit if we have to.”
Kicking off this weekend, the group is holding a series of fundraising events for the campaign, the first of which will be the Jan. 14 All Ohio Vinyl Night at Little Fish Brewing Company from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event will feature various Athens music folks spinning tunes late into the night, including DJ Barticus, DJ Manfish and Uncle Peacock. The first 10 people to donate $30 or more will receive a free first beer, courtesy of Aquabear Legion.
On Jan. 21, Haffa’s Records will play host to the Aquabear Listening Party 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., which will include listening to the music that has been already recorded for Volume 6 as well as a place to place pre-orders for the forthcoming compilation.