After years of being battered by COVID-19 restrictions, six-piece kaleidoscopic musical outfit Slowmango are asking for public help to fund part of their first full-length album release. If you donate enough, you could even buy yourself a private gig.
Support the arts: Slowmango needs your help
When COVID-19 hit, Adrian Schmidt Mumm’s work as a sound engineer dried up. But he always had his funk-fusion band Slowmango – sister of cult performance arts collective The Bait Fridge – to fall back on. When those gigs similarly evaporated, however, he was left scratching his head.
“All of us lost so much work,” the band’s guitarist tells CityMag.
Slowmango fundraising campaign
Money will go towards:
studio + engineer fees: $5000
equipment hire: $2000
artist fees: $3000
guest musicians: $1000
album art + graphic design: $1000
Indiegogo five per cent operating fee: $250
More info here.
Last year, things picked up for the group.
While dodging lockdowns and lockouts, the outfit performed at one of Australia’s most cutting-edge arts and music festivals, DARK MOFO, and slugged-out multiple performances for their local Lab residency.
But instead of funnelling a portion of their earnings into their collective band kitty, Adrian says all the band mates had to take a percentage to stay financially afloat.
“The usual way we do our fees is we pay every musician and then take a small cut from every gig and put it into a shared account. We stopped doing that and gave the money to ourselves,” he says.
“We just felt it was important to pay ourselves for the work that we were doing for the band.”
A week ago, the group – known for donning eccentric and exhilarating costumes while performing, and musically sourcing sounds from Ethiopian jazz to Middle Eastern funk – launched an online fundraising campaign asking the public for $5250.
The money will pay for the creation, production and recording of their first full-length album.
The band members – vocalist Kaspar Schmidt Mumm, keyboardist and vibraphonist Matthew Morison, bassist Aidan ‘Jazzy’ Jones, drummer Zeno Kordov, saxophonist Nicole Hobson and Adrian – will also financially contribute to the pool of money, funding the 10-day recording process.
“We’ve got our own money saved but then this is kind of some additional funds because studios and recording are really expensive,” Adrian explains.
“There’s a lot of costs: engineers, hire in the studio equipment, and then let alone like actually paying yourselves to not be working for 10 days. There’s six of us that all have kind of jobs on the side as well.”
Those who donate to the campaign will be rewarded. Options include $5 for a hug from your “favourite mango”, $60 for a limited-edition t-shirt, $500 for a jingle, and $2000 for your own private gig.
Options that didn’t make the list include “join the band for three grand” plus “go on a date with the mango of your choice,” laughs Adrian. Beyond the jokes, the musician has a serious message: if people value the arts, they should support it with their wallets.
“The income of musicians has reduced drastically over 50 years really but recording an album still costs the same,” he says.
“It’s still expensive as hell.”
Circling back to the music itself, Adrian predicts the new release will be six or seven tracks in length and different from the band’s latest self-titled three-song EP, which was released in 2020 and swirls in spiralling synth lines, frenetic energy and neo-soul. For this upcoming album, listeners should expect something different and esoteric from each song.
“There’s one song we call – and we’re not cemented on this name yet – but it’s called ‘Right On (Broccoli Cowboy)’. It’s a great name,” he says, laughing.
“It’s almost got a country thing to it but with some like Ethio-jazz in there as well and some kind of blues guitar from Mali.
“But then we’ve also got another song called ‘Floppy Disco’, which is this disco banger like four-to-the-floor and huge soaring guitar riffs. So they definitely all have their own pocket and it’s just about like really diving into that pocket and bringing the best out.”
Money raised from the fundraiser will also pay guest musicians to feature on certain tracks, including Northern Sound System alum trumpeter Daniel Isler and master of the 72-string Persian hammer dulcimer, Maryam Rahamani.
Asked why people should donate, Adrian leaves us with a final note.
“We really try and engage with the community and contribute to the community. This is just part of that whole sphere,” he says.
“Not everyone buys albums… But this is a way of supporting us and musicians and the music community of Adelaide without having to… It’s just another way of supporting that.”