Two Player Will Only Release Their Album If You Donate to HAAM
Austin duo launches all-or-nothing fundraiser for musician health
By Kevin Curtin,
10:00AM, Tue. Jun. 1, 2021
It’s not altogether uncommon for a band to donate the proceeds from a recording to a worthy nonprofit, but one Austin group says they’ll only release their album if it first generates $3,250 for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
Two Player, a dynamic guitar and drums power duo consisting of brothers Tim “Bonesaw” Kepner and Dave “Hoag” Kepner, have completed their sophomore full-length, titled Power Plant, and today launch a coinciding GoFundMe campaign. Once total donations reach the fundraising goal, they’ll release the 12-song set on all platforms. If they don’t hit their financial target, then no one will ever hear the album.
The Kepners, who anchor the heavy and sometimes serene reggae rock band Full Service, which put out an astonishing 15 discs 2004-2015, count themselves HAAM members since 2006. The organization equips Austin’s working musicians with access to affordable healthcare coverage and helps with tax credits and premium assistance. That aid typically covers roughly 2,000 local artists annually largely through grassroots fundraising.
Still, no HAAM benefit ever posited itself as a do-or-die mission, where music’s public existence hinges on attaining a specific mark of crowdsourced contributions. Really, though, locals have come to expect such novel release concepts from the Kepners. In 2013, they promoted the Full Service album Carousel by sending each purchaser a plantable tree sapling native to their geographic area.
In contrast to Two Players’ stylistically ranging debut Futureman in 2019, Power Plant’s a collection of cranked-up alternative rock with muscly guitar riffs and Hoag’s airy, melodic vocals. If it sounds like late Nineties rock, that’s because it quite literally came from that era. It’s a lost work from their post-teenage years, revisited as adults.
Coming of age on the East Coast, they’d made primitive instrumental recordings of those dozen songs and kept it on a CD-R titled Sports and Heavy Music. Over the years, the Kepners occasionally listened back and told themselves, “Someday, we’ll do something with that.” Turns out, the only motivation they needed was a global pandemic.
Shelving a half-finished collection of new material, they decided instead to re-record their erstwhile demos at their South Austin commercial studio the Dream. The DNA-sharing bandmates committed to maintaining all the old arrangements, while adding vocals. As such, they effectively collaborated with their former selves.
“We’ve written so many songs and toured so much in the intervening 20-something years, so to skip back to a complete thing from back then was fun,” explains Bonesaw.
“It was like time capsule, like a letter to yourself, but a musical letter with no words,” adds Hoag, who produced the album. “So 40-year-old me is writing lyrics to the tunes of 20-year-old me.”
If you’d like to listen Power Plant, drop a donation towards HAAM right here.