Indianapolis record label Joyful Noise Recordings has put together a musical compilation called “50 Bands & A Cat for Indiana Equality” with Lil BUB as the mascot. The compilation features 50 songs from 50 different bands. The profits will be sent to Freedom Indiana, the ACLU of Indiana and Indy Pride. The compilation is available through May 31.
Karl Hofstetter, president and curator of Joyful Noise Recordings, said he was horrified when he heard RFRA had been passed into law. In addition to the things he didn’t like about the law itself, he also said it gave people the wrong idea of what the state is like.
“The idea for the comp. was to just gather as many good songs together from bands that we’re friends with and try to put it out in an interesting way that lets people know that this isn’t our Indiana,” ?Hofstetter said.
Valparaiso native Chris Funk, a member of Portland, Ore., band The Decemberists, contacted Joyful Noise Recordings with the same idea, Hofstetter said. It was originally his idea to have Lil BUB involved.
Then, when he found out Lil BUB owner Mike Bridavsky had already written a statement from the cat’s perspective on the subject, Hofstetter said he knew he wanted the social media-famous cat to be involved.
After talking to friends involved in politics and LGBT issues in Indianapolis, Hofstetter said he chose Freedom Indiana and the ACLU of Indiana because “they’re the ones that are actually changing the legislation that we want to have change.”
He said he chose Indy Pride for the third organization because he didn’t want the compilation to only be about politics.
“That’s what spurred this thing, but we also wanted some of this money to go to helping in the community, not just changing laws,” ?Hofstetter said.
People who purchase the compilation receive a digital download of the compilation as well as the song of their choice on a lathe-cut ?vinyl record.
Lathe-cut vinyl is a 1940s process in which each record is made in real-time by a needle sticking into the vinyl, cutting the groove. While this style of record pressing is impractical for making large amounts of a single record, Hofstetter said it gives them flexibility to press the individual songs to vinyl.
“We might end up with 400 people who want the Godspeed You! Black Emperor song, but we might only end up with 10 people who want the Child Bite song,” ?he said.
Supporters can even purchase a vinyl recording of Lil BUB’s introduction to the compilation, which Hofstetter said is about 30 seconds of the cat making ?various sounds.
Several people have already chosen the “BUB sounds” as their preferred physical copy, ?Hofstetter said.
With the help of Decemberists member Funk, Joyful Noise Recordings gathered 50 songs by everyone from Andrew Dost of the New York band fun. to the Athens, Ga., band of Montreal.
When Hofstetter started contacting bands to participate, he said he was willing to take any song the bands wanted to offer, even if it was the most popular song from their album. He said he was surprised when more than half of the bands sent in either previously unreleased or really rare songs.
Hofstetter said of Montreal front man Kevin Barnes sent in a song he wrote and recorded on his phone the same day he sent it in, titled “she courts calamities,” that will probably end up on the band’s next album.
Several Indiana bands also appear on the compilation, from local band Thee Open Sex to the Indianapolis band Margot & the ?Nuclear So and Sos.
Thee Open Sex’s contribution to the compilation, “Multiples,” is the first recording from the group with its current lineup to be released.
John Dawson, a guitarist in Thee Open Sex, said Funk contacted him to ask for some music from his band as well as other bands on Magnetic South Recordings, the local record label Dawson ?co-founded.
“He said he was going to put together a comp. to raise money for organizations that are doing pro-LGBTQ activism in the state of Indiana and wanted to know if we had some audio to contribute ?to that,” Dawson said.
With the presidential election cycle coming up, Dawson said he’s concerned the organizations supported by the compilation won’t have the money they need to represent marginalized voices.
Participating in the compilation is a way for him to provide support he otherwise wouldn’t be able to give, Dawson said.
“If the label had a million dollars,” he said, “I’d give it to the ACLU and Indy Pride, but, alas, we don’t.”