Tree meets Blue Sky Black Death
  • Courtesy Dream Collabo’s Facebook page
  • Tree meets Blue Sky Black Death

There are so many musicians soliciting money from fans through crowd-funding sites that some of the luster has worn off. These days artists flocking to Kickstarter or Indiegogo for cash flow have to really put in work in order to get potential benefactors to feel like they’re actually contributing more than cash. The feeling that you’re actually participating in the process of releasing a piece of music is part of what I’ve thought was so appealing about these kinds of sites, but it’s also easy for artists to abuse fans and treat them like ATMs.

Fortunately that’s not every case. Just the other day I got hooked by a fund-raising project to release a seven-inch that pairs local MC-producer Tree with Seattle production duo Blue Sky Black Death. I wanted to contribute almost immediately not just because I’m a fan of both acts, but because the site hosting the campaign, Dream Collabo, posits itself as more of a fan-oriented funding site; anyone can sign up and propose a potential musical collaboration with whatever musicians they’d like to see make some tracks. It’s a little more complicated than that—the Dream Collabo team has to put in the work to make sure the two artists in a pitched project actually will work together before they can ask the public for funds to record and release the music—but it’s a concept that separates the new crowd-funding site from the Kickstarter knockoffs. “The idea is that it’s kind of a forum for demand,” says Dream Collabo cofounder Oliver Monday.

The Tree meets Blue Sky Black Death project is only the second Dream Collabo project since Monday came up with the concept a few years ago, and he’s still developing that idea. “We’re starting out with people we’re kind of already connected with,” Mondays says. Monday lives in Oakland and in 2011 he started releasing music with rappers from the Bay Area under the Dream Collabo name—Monday dropped a solo mixtape by Main Attrakionz’s Mondre Man and the debut from recent Fool’s Gold signee 100s, Ice Cold Perm (which was produced by Monday’s cousin, Joe Wax). A Manhattan programmer named Bob Whitney befriended Monday after becoming a fan of the music he released, and together they launched the current crowd-sourced version of Dream Collabo.

Last month they launched the site’s first crowd-funded project, a collaboration between Main Attrakionz’s Squadda B and Berkeley experimental producer Yalls. “The first campaign was almost like a Beta test,” Monday says. “It was largely targeted amongst friends and family in the Bay Area scene.” The campaign with Tree is the first where Oliver reached out to artists outside his hometown scene. “It’s exactly what we want to do really, is branch out and cross-pollinate,” Monday says. The proposed Tree and Blue Sky Black Death collaboration exemplifies Monday’s desire to bring different voices together—currently he’s focused on hip-hop because it’s what he knows best, but he’d like to expand to include musicians from other genres as the site grows. “We’d love to ramp it up where we do a new one every week and then one every day, but we’re developing it,” he says. “We’d love to scale it up. I’m pretty confident that we will.”