Madd Wikkid Wants to Make You His Rick Rubin
Crowdfunding is de rigueur for lots of actors looking to get their pet projects off the ground. Your hard-earned Kickstarter dollars basically made Kristen Bell’s Veronica Mars movie and also successfully funded the Reading Rainbow revival, so the next generation of littles can bask in the glory of LeVar Burton. But shockingly, musicians aren’t really taking advantage of the opportunity for the masses to pay for their new albums or side works. In fact, the most successful musician to crowdfund her music is Australian singer Alison Palmer, who raised more than $1.2 million on Kickstarter.
So what happens when a musician and sound engineer—who doesn’t happen to be Pharrell—not only crowdfunds the money for a new album, but also crowdsources the music itself? Apparently, you get a mashup “Musical Adventure,” which is set to become the latest concoction from New Orleans-based Earl Scioneaux III, also known as the Madd Wikkid.
Scioneaux has seen previous success on Kickstarter, most recently last year with Brassft Punk, his New Orleans-style Daft Punk tribute band that raised more than $20,000, double his original goal. But this time the funds—again $10,000 as an original goal—will be spent mainly on production, instead of a brass band. As he notes: It’s pretty expensive to produce a song when you don’t know what you want the song to sound like.
That process, unique in its involvement of the audience, will go something like this: Scioneaux will propose various song elements (lyrics, guitar parts, chords) in personal subreddits, and then he’ll allow his backers to vote and comment before he selects the winners. Over time, he’ll balance crowd suggestions with his own musical leanings, adding elements until the song is complete. “Some decisions I’m going to have to make on my own,” he says. “But when there are major things, I want to try and let the group have as much influence as possible.”
The artist’s latest adventure, he assures us, will take money-based feedback to a whole new level. “I want it to be as interactive and participatory as it can be while still curating it in a way that will keep it on track to be functional,” he says.
“Functional” is the key word here, and while democracy is a good thing—especially when it makes something cool—it doesn’t always yield particularly creative group projects. (See: Carly Rae Jepsen and her American Idol debut. Yikes.) And fundamental questions certainly remain: Will this whole Reddit experiment work? Will it generate a radio hit? Will it even generate anything at all? Give the man some money and maybe you’ll find out. The least you’ll get is a little Rick Rubin cred.