In February 2011, student band DreamReel played their first show on campus. Now, a Kickstarter for their first album has raised over $1,000, and the band members are reeling.
“It’s just unreal that this is actually happening and we’re making this,” said Mike Shapiro, DreamReel frontman and a senior majoring in electrical engineering. “I’m incredibly proud of the musicians in this group.”
DreamReel’s Kickstarter for their self-titled album began on Sept. 26 and hit its $600 goal just four days afterward, following a performance by Shapiro at the WHRW World Radio Concert that prompted three posts on Binghamton Crushes.
The band formed in January 2011 and had their first show a month later, at Late Nite’s Spring 2011 Battle of the Bands. Since then, they’ve performed Downtown and on campus, even opening for Kishi Bashi last semester. Shapiro, also the band’s guitarist and lyricist, met the other members in 2010 through Explorchestra, a campus group that plays music composed by students and “in every genre and instrumentation.” Two of the group’s members, Ayelet Kershenbaum (violin and backing vocals) and Alex Berg (percussion and eggshaker), graduated last spring while Manar Alherech (bass and backing vocals), who joined the band in March 2011, is still a Binghamton University student.
DreamReel’s style is folk rock with story-like lyrics, comparable to The Mountain Goats and Iron & Wine. They already have a few singles, “The Feint” being the most popular.
The band tries to get as many gigs as possible, even if every band member is not able to attend every show.
“Sometimes we wouldn’t have the whole band,” said Alherech, a senior double-majoring in Arabic and chemistry. “Sometimes we wouldn’t have a violinist, or a drummer.”
By the end of last fall, the band had 10 songs written for an album. With a spring graduation date looming for half the band, DreamReel knew that if they wanted to record an album, it would have to be soon. Fortunately, WHRW, where Shapiro is a DJ, has a recording studio.
“I’ve been writing songs since high school, and I’ve always wanted to record my songs on something more than my laptop,” Shapiro said. “I wanted to do something more professional, and I saw that we had the tools at the radio station to do that.”
The band recorded most of the album last winter break, but couldn’t find time to finish it during the spring semester. The band members stayed after graduation during the summer to record the rest. Since then, they’ve mixed and mastered the album with LogicPro. Another student band, Basic Printer, also raised money for an album through Kickstarter over the summer and used WHRW for recording.
On Kickstarter, people pledge money in exchange for perks. If the funds aren’t raised by a certain amount of time, the project becomes canceled and pledgers don’t have to pay anything. The band planned to front the money for the album themselves if they were unable to convince enough people to buy albums, posters, T-shirts and pictures of Kershenbaum’s cat.
“We originally planned to raise the money in 14 [days],” Shapiro said. “We were having conversations like, ‘You know, if we don’t make the goal, we’ll each donate $100 each.’”
To make physical copies of the album, DreamReel used an online service called Disc Makers. Based on demand from family and friends who wanted to listen to their music, they estimated they needed around 100 copies, the cost of which was around $600 — their Kickstarter goal.
Although the goal has been reached, people can still donate money in exchange for perks before the Kickstarter project closes on Oct. 12. DreamReel will be playing a concert that night at 9 p.m. in the Undergrounds to promote the new album, which they will be selling in hard-copy form thanks to their devoted fans.