Deakin explains what happened to nearly $26,000 in donations, and updates fans on the status of the long-delayed project.
In December 2009, Animal Collective member Deakin launched a Kickstarter to fund a project that would unite his solo music, a book, and efforts to raise awareness about and help to end slavery in Mali. Nearly three years later, backers have not received any of the promised rewards for donating, and updates from Deakin have been few and far between.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Deakin (aka Joshua Dibb) tries to explain what happened to the project. Rather than graft, this seems to be a case of a failure to communicate about the natural delays of the creative process.
The main point of contention is where the funds went. Funds were originally supposed to help get Deakin to Mali for the Festival in the Desert, but he assures fans that they did not bankroll his trip. Instead, the $25,985 went to TEMEDT, a Mali charity working to help enslaved black Tuareg people. “I realized that I felt incredibly uncomfortable about the idea of asking people to fund a trip for me to go to Africa… that’s why the project turned into a charity thing.”
As for the merchandise promised to backers, the delay is due to the overall lack of progress on his solo material. “The gifts were supposed to be based around the music that I had been writing at that time, and when I came back, I personally felt really dissatisfied with it,” he says. “For me, as an artist — whether or not people can be sympathetic to this or not — it’s just been a much slower process to do things on my own than with the band.”
Still, he apologizes for not updating donors more regularly. From a message sent to donors in August (which he’s not sure was actually delivered), he said, “I promise that for the rest of year my only two priorities will be to finish this and to be on tour with Animal Collective. I will keep you updated monthly on what is going on. Lastly I would like to speak to all of you directly if that is something that you would like.”