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Ask HN: I am crazy (but can you help?)
59 points by weisser on Dec 10, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments
I'm one of the co-founders of a startup called Bundio that enables artists and record labels to set up direct-to-fan subscriptions to their content. Prior to getting into startups I was a singer-songwriter but about two years ago I put music to the side for the most part. It’s a real problem because I strongly believe those that build the best platforms are actually users of those platforms. I came to the realization that I need to get back into music so I can be a user of the platform and build something remarkable. I also realized that money wasn’t going to be well-spent signing onto a new one year lease for $1k / month in Boston.

So I’m getting out of the office and hitting the road!

On January 13th I will embark from Guilford, CT (my hometown) on a cross-country tour playing/recording DIY concerts, making field recordings of artists (that I’ll add to a Bundio subscription), and meeting up with other startup founders as I pass through their towns.

55 days on the road, 25+ states (and Vancouver, BC), 30 shows (hopefully)

I’ll be documenting the entire journey daily on the site I created for the tour: http://housecallstour.com

How can you help? A number of ways: connect with me if you are on my route (http://housecallstour.com/route) or know someone that is. I’m particularly interested in meeting up with those working on digital media, social media, and music startups. As I said above, I’m trying to put on DIY shows in living rooms and houses (Edit: adding link to my music - http://housecallstour.com/about_drj). These will be house concerts (tame), not house parties (wild), so even if you haven’t hosted something like this before please do consider - it will be fun! Joining me for each show will be local performers. I could also use some help with couches to crash on along the way.

Anything I’m missing? Please let me know if you have any ideas for me or other ways you think the HN community can help!

Julian hn@bundio.com (email me for my cell #)

Why did I title the post this way?

Recently I found a post titled, “Ask HN: Am I crazy?” (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=801208)

The OP had laid out his desires to travel around the United States after finishing college to meet up with founders around the country and write about them. I was happy to see that the HN community encouraged him. I shot him an email at 1am the night I discovered the post asking if he ever went on the adventure. I never heard back.

Perhaps he'd already gone? :)

That's what I'd like to think but there were no follow-up posts on HN and the original post was from a while back.

Edit: and his post was from 1559 days ago - hopefully he didn't get lost ;)

Disappointed to see nothing at all around the middle/north of the country. I suppose I'd stay away from the snow if I was planning on travelling January - March too.

Sorry about that. I'm from New England and familiar with driving in some rough weather but I'd still be a bit concerned about traveling in the north of the country during that time of year.

Just a heads up, be careful when going over the border into Canada. I've had many friends rejected at the border because they were going to play a 'concert'. Even DIY ones will get you bounced back to the US. Don't say you're playing a concert or anything. That is unless if you've gotten the requisite paperwork then your'e okay.

Every band I know who travels into Canada even kind of regularly has a horror story about customs. My band and I have played Canada three times and of the six border crossings, we had two rough experiences. The worst of them involved them searching our phones (not mine -- I left it turned off and locked in the van) for references to drugs. They found a text message one guy sent and questioned us all about it for half an hour. It was really intense.

Definitely sound advice. I think I'll just be going to Canada to see a concert ;)

If you are playing a show, do not lie. Get all of your paperwork and do it by the book. It's free and easy, especially if it's a DIY show with no guarantee. You just need the promoter to sign some stuff and follow a few simple rules. If they catch you in a lie, they can do all kinds of crazy shit that makes it hard or impossible to play or even visit in the future. You can email me if you'd like, chrislgrigg@gmail.com, I can try to track down the templates we used last time.

Yes, IIRC it has something to do with taxable money you may make from the gigs. So it's best to tell them you're visiting for leisure.

Denton, Victoria, Marfa. You've sure chosen an eclectic mix of cities in Texas (plus, of course, Austin). BTW, you might want to take the "Dallas" off of "Dallas/Denton" since Denton is its own unique institution. :) Denton is a (two-)college town so Craigslist will help a lot.

Thanks for the tips!

I have things like Dallas/Denton the route because the actual stop is TBD but the cities are fairly close together (Dallas and Denton are about 50 minutes away from each other).

I've got a friend in Victoria so I'm stopping there for a show and to take a bit of a breather at the end of this marathon!

More like 90 minutes given how horrible 35E is these days (source: former Dentonite). I think Denton will be better suited to what you're trying to accomplish, but I'd skip any of the suburbs in between to have the best chance of drawing the audience you're after.

That might be the case for a commute in rush hour, but mid day it doesn't take nearly that long to drive between the two (I live nearby).

Cool - I've actually JUST set something up for Denton!

Will amend the route and thanks for the scoop on it taking roughly double the Google Maps estimate!

I saw Denton on there and while surprised, not really surprised. I think you can get a decent turnout there, a very music oriented town. If you're in Victoria (and you have those buffer days), would you maybe want to come out to Houston?

I'd love to come to Houston if you think you could help me set something up (I'm sure I could find some cool acts to perform) - julian at bundio.com

You might post links to some of your music -- I think more people would be interested in hosting a house concert for music that they've heard and like, rather than taking a blind risk.

YouTube? mp3 links? We're not your fans yet, you need to convince us that you have a product we're interested in.


It's on the music + bio section of the site but I should add it to the OP:


Totally dig it! Unfortunately, you're not stopping by my town... Best of luck, it's gonna be an interesting time in the south for an Americana solo act from Connecticut.

Thanks! I've only had the pleasure of being in Austin, New Orleans and Nashville previously.

Of which, only Nashville is "the south". New Orleans is maybe 50% "the south" and 50% its own thing.

Obviously no tour would be complete without the official tour t-shirt. I hope you have that on high priority.

Haha working on it!

I was reading about bleach shirt stencils in MAKE magazine actually: http://makezine.com/projects/bleach-shirt-stencil/

You could use acetate, acrylic paint, plus glue to do a dyi screenprint on the run. I did this, and I have shirts that have held up 10 years :)

Cool tip! I've honestly been thinking more about getting the schedule ironed out than merch but I'll take a look at this method.

Bleach stencil shirts can be ridiculously beautiful. They are also, for obvious reasons, quite fragile. Temporary wearable art.

They look cool, but man I hate the orange that bleach on black makes.

I had some where it was bleached up to straw-yellow. Looks gorgeous ... dies pretty quickly.

Sounds interesting - will look into ways of changing the color.

Basically, bleach longer or use a stronger bleach (which of course makes the shirt die quicker) or pick a black that is susceptible to your bleach (requires potentially pricey experimentation). It verges on alchemy :-)

Check out 'Secret House of Pancakes' based in Allston - it's an underground gig movement you may find useful.

Sounds musically delicious! Thanks!

When are you headed to Houston? There's a community concert series http://www.Facebook.com/carolinesessions which has multiple artists, last when'd of every month, FREE, benefits a rotating non profit...

You've got a great voice! Are you intending to go to SXSW, is that why your tour ends there on March 7? Joshua Tree is beautiful and so is Big Sur. Happy to connect you to some folks here in SF. Will email. Good luck and great guerrilla marketing for your startup.

Best of luck dude. Unfortunately I'll be away when you're playing near me, in Chapel Hill!

No worries and thank you!

How come you are skipping NYC?

I don't have to if you think there's something I could do there :) and I do have quite a few musician friends in Brooklyn.

The goal is to get farther south as soon as I can.

Will you do a Slayer cover?

If you pay the ASCAP blanket license!

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