Written by : Nick Price
When The Contribution first announced they were getting together back in 2010, they made quite the splash in the music world. Combining musicians from Railroad Earth, New Monsoon and The String Cheese Incident, The Contribution created a style of music that was perfect for them. The first album Which Way World was such a success that it fueled the fires for their sophomore attempt: Wilderness & Space. Wilderness & Space leaves off right where their last attempt ended. Bringing back that classic sound full of passion and driven by thought provoking lyrics. The album will be released through various charities a song at a time each month, until a complete album is released in the fall.
Check out the following interview with founding member, Tim Carbone, to get some more insight into the future of the band.
- To begin and set up this interview, where did the idea of forming The Contribution come from?
It came from playing with two members of the band Jeff Miller & Phil Ferlino of New Monsoon. We crossed paths several times…I would sit in with them and Jeff would sit in with my band Railroad Earth. So, over the course of two or three years we became very close friends…until I just blurted out ‘we should just make a record sometime’. Two months later we got together in the Bay Area to write some songs together…setting up for five days and wrote two-thirds of the album.
- What was your first reaction to being referred to as a “jamband super group”?
On the one hand, I was like ‘oh-no, that’s a big title to live up too’. It was a title that Relix Magazine came up with that I didn’t put a lot of merit into. If you listen to The Contribution, we aren’t really a jamband anyways. It’s kind of a mashup of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. The music filters through our musical sensibilities and our tastes and it’s just kind of what comes out. We never sit down and say ‘let’s make it sound like this’.
- It has been seven years since your debut release of Which Way World, what made you all decide to do another album?
We’ve been writing the album for five years. Everything within The Contribution happens at a glacial pace because everyone is so busy with their own things. We all are very enthusiastic about it, talk amongst ourselves all the time, so I view with The Contribution that time is measured more like dog years. So, 7 years is more like 2 years.
- For this album, you have added three new musicians to the mix in Sheryl Renee (Black Swan Singers), Matt Butler (Everyone Orchestra) & Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic). What accounted for these additions & how did this change the overall sound and approach?
Sheryl joined for the live shows in association for Which Way World & she also sang with her vocal group Black Swan Singers on the album. She and I hit it off really well and she’s like a sister to me at this point. She called me and told me she wanted to be a part of whatever we did. On this album, we sing duets on three songs. She also sings lead on one song, that’s more of a soul-tune that I wrote the lyrics for Jeff after his mother passed away to breast cancer.
Matt we brought aboard after recording two songs at TRI Studio and brought Matt onboard because Jason Hann had gotten so busy with EOTO that we couldn’t sync schedules. We switched out to Matt on drums with Jason’s blessing. The same situation came a couple years later after writing the rest of the songs in Denver. Matt became so busy and we had three other songs we wanted to track and asked Duane to join us after making a record with Great American Taxi.
- You are really changing up how albums are released with Wilderness & Space, can you share how you decided to come up with the “track at a time” approach?
It really came down to doing something that made sense since the band doesn’t tour. I asked why are we doing this and it came down to the fact that we love making music and we want to share it. But we asked ourselves what would make sense and how could it serve a purpose. We put aside the money from the first record to record the second album. So since the record was essentially paid for, all the pieces fit together. So we said, let’s release the first track as a single and every month, we give that money away to a non-profit. Then we’ll release the vinyl record in October with a modest GoFundMe to put money aside for the next record, which we are already in works on. This will be our mode of operation going forward, which is perfect since the name of the band is The Contribution.
- You are donating to a few notable charities: Rex Foundation, Conscious Alliance & HeadCount, to name a few. How did you decide on which charities to support?
I put out an initial email to all the members in the band to see what projects or non-profits that they wanted included, so everyone had a voice in putting back into the community.
- What’s something that ended up surprising you at the completion of the album? Did anything evolve from something unexpected?
Some of the surprising things that happened were some of the ideas of adding new sounds and how those were executed. New montages that I did not expect to happen, which really gave us an intricate sound that I never could have imagined. These are the things you hope for as you are in the studio and now it’s just figuring out how to translate them to a live performance.