BY: ANGELA RATZLAFF
The Long Beach-based band The Fling gave the middleman the boot about six months ago when they realized record labels don’t mean success in the music world. The band, which was previously signed with Dangerbird Records, took the reins of business into their own hands and signed up with Pledge Music, a website that allows fans to provide money for the production of a musical act’s record or tour. The Fling sided with funding the record on their own after they got frustrated with the confines of a record label.
“We got to a point where we either have to play in my apartment … or find a way to put it out,” vocalist and guitar player Dustin Lovelis said about recording their next album on a label.
The band’s profile on Pledge Music allows fans to preorder the record, which is only going to be released on vinyl or digital format for $25 and $10 respectively.
“CDs are going to be worthless in six months, vinyl is never going to go away,” Lovelis said.
Purchasing the record is just one way fans can help out. They can also buy tickets to the record release party, which is on Nov. 29 at the Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA), for $20; a t-shirt pack for $40; or a round of golf with drummer Justin Ivey for $125.
“The pledge came up … now the idea is if people want the record to be made then they pledge,” Lovelis said. “Everyone wins, people get music and the music gets to be made.”
Initially, The Fling took a risk by signing with a label. Like most bands who sign with labels, the goal was to release their record and go on tour to get their music promoted. The group ended up quitting their jobs and devoting their lives to touring for three months, Lovelis said.
After seeing no results from the tour and getting constricting guidelines on how they could record a second album, the band didn’t see any sense in sticking with a label.
“[The label] pretty much does everything for you … you’re really not as involved as you can be,” Lovelis said. “If we make record, we just put it out and don’t have to deal with all the bullshit.”
Even though the band has sworn off working under a contract, Lovelis does not scorn all labels.
“There are other labels, like Burger Records, who put out a lot of music and do it with the musician in mind,” he said.
The possibility of signing with a label in the near future is slim, but The Fling is willing to do it if it makes sense.
“Everyone benefits from getting rid of the middleman,” Lovelis said. “There is a direct artist to fan relationship.”
Getting rid of the middleman and using Pledge Music has given the band more freedom to hire publicists they want to work with and to make an album with more creativity.
“Why not have people who want to listen to the music fund it?” he said. “That money is going straight to the record, it’s not going in our pockets.”
The next record will evolve off of what the first two records have established, Lovelis said. The direction points towards an eerie 60s psychedelic groove with a shot of 90s alternative music influences. Being a product of the 90s, Lovelis brings the influence of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Teenage Fanclub to the sound of the band.
There is a solid foundation of 60s rock, folk and country influences that infiltrate the mix and make for a whimsical play on genres.
“It’s a big bowl of soup, everything is in there,” he said. “From the beginning, we were everything and anything we wanted to be.”
The band is comprised of Lovelis on vocals and guitar; Graham Lovelis on bass and vocals; Ivey on drums and percussion; Justin Roeland on guitar, vocals, keyboard and Wurlitzer; and Joel Bond on vocals, keyboards and guitar.
When Dustin and Graham, who are brothers, got together to make music, there was no intention of making it big. A set plan of a style of music they wanted to make didn’t exist. There wasn’t even a to-do list.
Dustin was born in Long Beach, but grew up in the Inland Empire. He moved back eight years ago to live near his brother, Graham.
“I had a bunch of songs and moved out [to Long Beach],” Lovelis said. “[Justin] was already out here, we did a couple of shows with him.”
The 2008 EP, “Ghost Dance,” and 2011 full length album, “When the Madhouses Appear,” were released under the band’s own watermark, Lady Monk. They then came out with their second record, “What I’ve Seen,” in 2011 with Dangerbird Records, who also rereleased their first album.
Production for the next record began in September. The band got in contact with producer Matt Wignall, who has produced records with The Cold War Kids, Sounder and Mando Diao, to produce the next record.
Wignall came up with the idea of recording in different studios, including Sound City Studios, which has seen the likes of Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac and Nirvana. The recording process is also going to take the band to a four-day stop in Joshua Tree.
“I think being in a different environment, you think differently,” Lovelis said. “Thoughts are going to be much more different.”
The release date for the digital version of the new album is set for Nov. 29, the same day of the release party at the LBMA. The pledge drive lasts 60 days, and ends on Wed., Oct. 3.
“If the pledge thing doesn’t end up working out, we have the freedom to do anything we want to do,” Lovelis said. “We’ve never done this before – it’s a little scary going in to this, but it’s an escape from everything.”
Even though members of the band still have to hold down multiple jobs to make a living and can’t afford luxuries like a tour bus, they have found success in playing music and filling their creative needs.
“We’re looking to make music and have a good time,” Lovelis said. “We’ve already succeeded. We get to play music, we get to travel. We’ve done what we want, nothing can go wrong.”
To per-order a copy of The Fling’s new record and help out the creative funding of the new record, go to www.pledgemusic.com/artists/thefling. To check out more of their music and show updates, visit their website at www.thefling.us.