Being a fan of Brooklyn indie rock band Pela in the 2000s was like being in a cult. And in recent years, being a fan of Augustines (originally known as We Are Augustines) has felt like belonging to a community. Now, the story of their two chief players, Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson, are the focus of a documentary that is seeking for financial funding through Kickstarter.
It’s a worthy cause.
Rise: The Story of Augustines details the two musicians’ triumph over personal tragedy, the unimaginable series of adversity that dates back to their early years in Pela, and the cause taken by every one of their fans, and that’s simply: “Everyone needs to hear this music.”
Ask anyone who was touched by it (this writer included), and they’ll tell you that Pela’s debut and final album Anytown Graffiti remains one of the strongest, most moving musical masterpieces of the 21st century. It was almost baffling that they didn’t become the biggest indie band in the world by the late-‘2000s, but the personal setbacks in the private lives of McCarthy and Sanderson took a backseat to any rage against an increasingly abominable music industry. Fans of Pela identified with themselves as a sort of secret club; by 2011, the duo re-emerged with drummer Rob Allen to form We Are Augustines, and finally, their magical music was starting to reach a wider, global audience. Their last two records received the acclaim and attention, deservedly, that Anytown Graffiti never received.
We couldn’t be happier for them, and we’re thrilled this documentary is being made. Our secret club has gone global.
“It’s our belief this film will inspire and motivate people to follow their dreams,” Howe says in the video.
Related: Vanyaland speaks with Eric Sanderson of Augustines, October 2013
Related: Augustines perform an acoustic encore, live at Brighton Music Hall, March 2014
Here’s more from the Kickstarter description page:
The story of a band that overcame massive adversity & personal tragedy to become the most critically acclaimed indie band in the world.
From director Todd Howe – “Why have I decided to make this film?”
Augustines evoke an incredible sense of providence in their story, and in their music. Like the others interviewed for this film, I immediately was drawn to the band’s passion and artistry. So many people over the past few years have come together, giving selflessly to the band for one reason. Their music needed to be heard. I feel incredibly lucky to be in the unique position to make this film. Along with producer, and Big Vulture co-founder, Josh Kincaid, it is our intention that RISE transcends both music and band to stand on its own as a truly compelling film.
This is an independent film. It is neither commissioned nor funded by the band. However, we have the blessing of all involved in the Augustines camp to document their story, with unrestricted access.
To me, what makes this film so unique are the band members. The fact that they have been through so much in their history makes the success they now have inspirational on another level altogether.
On December 8, 2014, Augustines will perform at London’s prestigious Roundhouse to over 3,500 people. This show and the preceding European tour will provide a triumphant backdrop as we follow Augustines back through their history, showing just why their dedicated fan base continues to fervently grow. Augustines have something rare. Their live shows exemplify the band’s best qualities: passion and élan, heartbreak and intimacy, all imbued with a power that can barely be contained. Rarely has a rock band made their fans feel so alive.