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Captain Robert
Abney Park
Made By Makers - Save the World, Kill The Corporations 
21st-Jul-2012 07:17 pm

It occurred to me you guys might find this cool. All of the stuff we sell in our cart is hand made by independent artists and craftsmen. Every single thing. Our CD's are of course written and recorded by us, and they are mastered by a guy named Brian Hazard who has a world class mastering suit in his house. When he's done, he sends them to a friend for replication.


Things like t-shirts and scarves...anything "printed"...are made by our friend Gabe at Gryphon Art. Gabe is just a guy with shirt printers in his basement, but he does a flawless job for us, and has for years and years.


Goggles are currently made by Mac. He makes 'em all by hand...and you can see him at nearly all our west coast shows.

Fancy leather work like this High Altitude Mask is made by Thomas, who is the dude behind Brute Force Leather. Again, he's got a big ass workshop in a basement, and hires his friends to help him build and ship stuff.

Even our shipping girl Dizzy is just a friend who works from home (I'd do it myself, but I suck at it.).

The reason why I'm mentioning this is because I think its important to know that when you buy something online from a PERSON, your money is not feeding the corporate machine, its helping artists follow their dreams. Another important thing to know is that since everybody works at home, nobody is driving to work. "No driving" means less traffic, and reduces greenhouse gas admissions. Buying from a small business often is helping save the environment!

Buying from Abney Park helps Abney Park follow our dreams, and all the other artists we support! And in a small way its helping the environment while its helping give people a better life. That's really worth something, ya know?
22nd-Jul-2010 03:06 am (UTC) - I wholeheartedly agree.
More often than not {as a videographer} I run into people asking for favors and wanting me to do something on the cheap or 'as a favor' which is amazingly annoying.

So I can certainly see where you're coming from when you mention stuff like this.

22nd-Jul-2010 03:14 am (UTC)
Indeed, and thank you for reminding everyone of this! This is one of the things that I like about SteamPunk in general...

And, incidentally, FANTASTIC show at Little Red Studio on the 10th! That was the most fun I've had out anywhere all this year so far!
22nd-Jul-2010 04:15 am (UTC)
I'm a new, semi-rabid fan - and this just makes me feel even better about tossing money your way for your fabulous music.

Top favorites for me are Lost Horizons, Death of Tragedy, and Aether Shanties.

Anyway, thanks for the great music, and I really hope to be able to see you guys live someday.
22nd-Jul-2010 04:51 am (UTC)
Aye, Captain, that is something very good to know. I knew you were a DIY band (still laughing about the video you posted about packing and shipping off the Aether Shantie CD's).

It is great that you inform the world at large about the other items. That makes it even more worthwhile to purchase them, knowing that the money goes where it has to.

Thank you!

And as jenbooks said, I also hope to be seeing you live sometime!

Edited at 2010-07-22 04:52 am (UTC)
22nd-Jul-2010 07:33 am (UTC)
As a "one person business", I can see where you're coming from. Still, you seem to be missing something from the other side of the equation.

At what point do YOU become a corporation? 100 sales, 1,000, a million? What happens if you start playing Wimbley Stadium and your ticket prices have to go up to $350 a seat to cover expenses? What if you have to start selling through TicketBastards? Are you still an artist, or have you crossed over into corporate territory, or both?

People tend to forget that a corporation is nothing but a large collection of people, started by a person with a good idea and a lot of hard work. If a corporation provides a valuable service at a reasonable price, using responsible business practices and fair employee policies, then where is the evil?

The people who work at corporations do things like provide goods, pay taxes and support their families, and are in no way less deserving than the individual aritsan. Heck, I don't WANT to weave my own fabric or tan my own leather, do you?

Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmm...."
22nd-Jul-2010 07:35 am (UTC)
BTW, I have tried to tan my own leather, and dear Bob it stinks!
22nd-Jul-2010 07:42 am (UTC)
Whenthey employees go to work and have miserable jobs and lives, there is a difference.

Been there, done that. There is a difference. I'm not talking "less deserving" I'm saying "less happy". Unless that WAS your dream, then go you! Serve the man!
(Deleted comment)
22nd-Jul-2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
If ya work for a huge company, it's hard to fathom what your missing, but it comes down to absolute freedom. When any of these guys wake up in the morning, it's totally up to them when and if they do any thing that day - and they only go places and dress a cretin way when it fun for them (normally steampunk, going to a con or festival!)
22nd-Jul-2010 11:48 am (UTC)
I think the sticky wicket is, how many major corporations actually hold to that sort of ideal? You could say that Google qualifies, but I'd be hard pressed to name another.
And most are very far indeed from even the vaguest nodding acquaintance with good behavior.
22nd-Jul-2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
...and I could tell you horror stories about google. My sister worked there. Apple is too. Ya get big, and ya get evil.
22nd-Jul-2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
The great big 'un:

Love or hate Alex Jones and his films, the one that boasted a posting with over 6.5 million views was actually removed by them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

Or (if one believes such), the poster must have removed it himself to set up a publicity stunt in cooperation with the infowars bunch...
22nd-Jul-2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting who did your mastering. I'd love to hear a before-and-after of one of the tracks on Aether Shanties.
22nd-Jul-2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Neat idea! I'll set that up!
22nd-Jul-2010 05:27 pm (UTC)

What Robert said above regarding corporations follows a theory I have been building for some time - that once a corporation gets to a certain size threshold, it becomes psychotic.

The reason is that once you go from managing individuals and considering individual needs to managing "herds" of individuals - basically a few slave drivers driving many slaves (called "internal span of control" in industry), and using a low common denominator to determine the needs of the herd... the balance shifts from "human" to "antisocial and driven entirely by profit and power over the marketplace." Basically "Ya get big, ya get evil."

I have been trying to work out the size an organization has to get to in order for this to happen...but it seems to vary from industry to industry. I have a business degree myself, so I know how to speak the language. I spent most of my life in the corporate and bureaucratic world. But I can't stand the culture of large organizations. I won't willingly return to it.

And I try to keep out of it with my money, but I still use gasoline to get to shows, and I end up stopping at Wally World for ice. I didn't build my own car, and I CERTAINLY don't tan the leather I make the goggles from. I re-use and re-condition old leather when possible though.

I love making goggles and stuff, and I love going to shows and watching the magic happen when people see my work and are delighted, whether they buy anything that day or not. I feel I've touched their lives somehow.

Abney Park are good family. And that's what it feels like... A pirate sky station where you know all the artisans and what they do to contribute. Thanks, Robert, for posting this. - Mac McGowan

22nd-Jul-2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
I also can't stress enough:


From personal freedom and happyness, to traffic, to greenhouse gassess,to less dependancy on forgien oil, to destroying habitates were all the freeways and workplaces are...its a fact that if EVERYBODY worked and home, the world would be MUCH better.
22nd-Jul-2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I find I use much less gasoline and consume less, generally. I re-use. I wear what I want (no monthly dry-cleaning bill). And I am MUCH happier! If you can find a way, work at home.
22nd-Jul-2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
I most heartily agree with you on this, sirrah.
I spent...well...not all that long, but long enough to hate it, working in a few different office buildings...local branches of giant, terrifying corporations...and though I was actually drawing a decent paycheck, I hated the work and I hated myself. So I quit my job once I realized it was not getting me where I wanted to go in life. Jobless, I ended up where I am now--working as an editor for my father (for almost no actual payment--food and a roof over my head more than making up for it) so that he will be able to travel the world this coming semester.

And that is why I have no cash to order your very spiffy merchandise (as soon as I get cash that does not go towards books or victuals, however, I'll change that).
I salute you and your crafting comrades.
22nd-Jul-2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Hey! I loved my ten minute tree-lined walk to my last job. :'(
23rd-Jul-2010 06:08 am (UTC)
This is so very true. I was a corporate engineer for the last fifteen years then got laid off a year and a half ago, and life has substantially improved. Learned a new trade - blacksmithing - never going back to corporate slavery.
Caught your show at the Little Red Studio, and loved every second of it. Scored the last shirt on the table, and I've gotten a ton of good comments on it.
23rd-Jul-2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
And, I might add, you scored an arm bracer from me! I appreciate the business!
23rd-Jul-2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
And a pretty piece of work it is, too. I'm putting together an outfit for this fall, and that bracer is going to work into it very well.
For my first exposure to the steam community, I am very impressed by the quality and craftsmanship of the wares I saw. I'm really looking forward to Steamcon in November.

22nd-Jul-2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Not even just "corporation", but "organization", I should think.

I've worked in academia for the past several years. The college that was part of a big public system was a madhouse squared, filled with indifference and malice and led by complete assclowns. I'm now at one of the Seven Sisters, and although it's got its own levels of WTFery, there's really no comparison. I'm working harder than I ever have in my life, but I'm actually happy to do it.
22nd-Jul-2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
When I find myself of a means to spend more money than what is required for concerts and albums, I will definitely buy some of your fabulous merch! :D If those of us who are independent artisans support each other as much as possible, in the long run we'll all do better.
22nd-Jul-2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
First off: THANK YOU!!! My husband and I are fans of yours for the great music and we're artists as well (I'm a freelance photographer, he's a jeweler). So we totally understand where you're comin' from. And he was on cloud nine when he saw ya'll at AKon this year in Dallas. And if y'all ever need a freelance photographer in the Metroplex . . .lemme know. capturedsoulsphotos at gmail dot com.
22nd-Jul-2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks for that. I knew the leather stuff was handmade, but I didn't know about the t-shirts and CDs, and that makes me happy.
24th-Jul-2010 06:34 am (UTC)
Just FYI, leather products support the animal agriculture industry - contrary to popular belief, leather isn't just a 'by-product' of food animal slaughtering - which is the single largest cause of pollution and environmental devastation in the world. Cutting out leather would drastically increase your ability to help the environment.

ETA: I should add the most important thing, making vegan friendly things opens your client base up to even more people!

Edited at 2010-07-24 06:36 am (UTC)
24th-Jul-2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
One could dispute that petroleum based products (leather substitute) is far worse then methane produced by farms.

Also, I hate bullshit plastic crap, almost religiously. If you ever want to debate animal rights (of which I'm a huge proponent, but in an unconventional way) I'd be happy to, but not here. It's one of those issues that get a lot of people mad in a short time.
25th-Jul-2010 06:14 am (UTC)
I'd love to see Mr. Hazard wearing his mastering suit--transistor cufflinks and all! :D

And, yeah, I also support animal rights, but there's just something about leather that feels like it has so much history inside it, like old varnished wood, or patina'd copper. Kerosene is the only steampunk petroleum product!
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