In the music industry, most artists send a copy of their new record to critics. Andrew Broder skipped this step and sent his new album directly to his audience.
Like reverse fan mail, Broder owed the folks expecting his latest release as Fog — they’re the ones who made it happen.
After retiring the Fog moniker for nearly a decade, Minneapolis experimental musician Broder turned to Kickstarter to make “For Good,” his new album as Fog.
Three hundred twenty-four backers pledged more than $17,000 to fund “For Good,” helping turn Broder’s (and his fans’) ambitions into reality.
“Once I got past the initial weirdness of explicitly asking people for money, it [was] really rewarding,” Broder said. “It’s a cool thing to make any kind of art and know that the people who are going to appreciate it the most are the ones who directly made it happen.”
Relying on fans to fund the album made recording a much more relaxed process, Broder said.
“Going the traditional route of finding a record label to put it out and court them — I didn’t feel like I was suited for that,” Broder said. “There was a peace to making this record that I hadn’t felt before.”
Broder’s calm working style seeps into the record’s sound, especially on the piano-driven title track.
Broder’s influences span the avant-garde pop spectrum on “For Good,” from Beach House to Fiona Apple. Like Apple, Broder’s gentle vocal delivery belies his music’s power.
“I like to be contemplative without being at a musical stand-still — I like things to have musical momentum and push,” Broder said. “It feels like it has force behind it, while giving you something to chew on in the writing.”
On “Kid Kuma,” Broder’s voice echoes above electronic drums, murky piano chords and a funky guitar and bass sequence, culminating in a bridge driven by polyrhythmic finger snaps.
“For Good” is familiar yet far away from the genre-bending experiments on previous Fog albums — an upgrade to the music production software Ableton expanded Broder’s possibilities as a producer.
“[Ableton] enabled me to conjure up sounds I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise,” Broder said.
Despite the new world of electronic tones Ableton provided, Broder’s 14-year career making records as Fog helped him narrow his focus for the sound of “For Good.”
Broder’s artistic longevity means he knows himself well enough to create precisely the art he wants to hear.
“I knew what sound I wanted before I made it. I executed it pretty close to what I had in my head,” Broder said. “The more intimately you know yourself, the clearer it becomes what you feel like you need to do in certain situations. That applies to music as well.”