Author Archives: paulms

About paulms

My name is Paul Shapera, a musician working under the name Mocha Lab. I make albums, theater shows, videos, dance pieces, commercials and move around a lot.

Slenderman Video

slender man

I have now progressed to a point where i have created a complete mythos for the world in which i will build the Slenderman Opera, including the purpose of the Slenderman and various other world building details. My post from the other day was a good start and since then it’s progressed well, to the point where i have a complete enough mythos for now.

Also, more importantly, I HAVE THE OVERTURE! In my head. I have to make it of course, but i know what i’m going to do with it. And i like it. I have a thing: the Overture to my operas are a microcosm of the opera itself. Nail the overture, nail the opera. For that reason i will spend extra time on only the overture before i even begin the operas proper. I’ll leave songs in the opera in various states and move on if i think the flow of creation is better served getting an entire act down then going back and properly scaffolding the songs, but not the overtures. The overtures set the entire musical world for the entire piece. Nail the overture, nail the opera.

Now i might as well actually find out what other folks have done with Slenderman.

There are those who tend to get upset and offended by the idea of formulating my own mythos with very, very little knowledge about Slender man (or steampunk when i began the Steampunk Opera). Only after the process is well underway do i bother to do any real research into what the hell the genre already is. I understand how this would be annoying, but alas, i personally find this to be the best way for me. I am interested in creativity, originality and making something interesting, and this works best when my understanding of a genre is superficial and i’m not bound by a million rules and details.

See, it would be different if i were writing fan fiction. If i made something that takes place in another artist’s already established universe then you absolutely cannot break canon. Otherwise, why the hell are you writing in an already established universe? I like steampunk and the other punks and creepypasta because it’s a vague genre with no center and any artist can swing a mythos in any direction they see fit.

I’d rather create a mythos that’s interesting and original, write a story and some characters around it (the actual story and character part i have not done yet, all of this is just a warm up exercise) and THEN dig into other peoples’ takes. I don’t want to create something derivative, i want to create something fresh.

Now that i’m secure in the mythos i’ve made and will set my plot in, i’m ready to slowly start exploring others’ versions of a Slenderman Mythos. (if i’m really far off and really disrespectful to the existent meme i will change the monster to whatever Tall Man variation works best). Also, now that i’m secure in the mythos i’ve made i can start sitting down to write an actual plot. One way that works very well for me is to go somewhere (not my studio) with a notebook, sit down for an hour and simply start free writing. I have a few loose, basic character ideas that could work for either a lead female (probably Lauren) or lead male. I’m not sure if i’ll use this nun idea, but if i go with a variation of it i’d likely use Kayleigh McKnight. On top of this, anyone out there female and have an insanely cool voice? i could also use some fresh blood.

In taking to viewing and posting Slenderman videos (your suggestions are welcome) i feel by far the best place to start is with MarbleHornets. Anyone familiar with Slender Man is undoubtedly quite familiar with this. It is very… subtle. It is committing, all chips in, to the found footage approach and subtle realism. (Something i would not do. In writing an musical opera, i cannot approach this the way a film maker can.)

Marble Hornets is a YouTube webseries and ARG inspired by the Slender Manonline mythos. The first episode was posted on YouTube on June 20, 2009, following a post its creator Troy Wagner created on Something Awful the previous day. To date, there are 87 entries chronicling the series.”


Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


My Fun With Narrators

Yesterday we listed my favorite Narrators. Today we take a waltz through the past piles of discarded toy parts of how i played with them.

At the end we’ll go way back to the beginning, stuff from the college years no human being will ever hear in full. But first we start with a Narrator i first dreamed up back in a piece i wrote while college age (and living in a college town, but not actually in college as i dropped out my sophmore year). It was redone a time or two since then so the sound quality is actually up to snuff. This is definitely a Narrator as the Devil type of deal from The Fallen:

I wrote 3 musicals in that period, The Fallen, Caravan, and The Red River. Oh, and Shadow & Flames. 4. Sorry. We’ll play something from Caravan at the end (it’s old and rough) but by the time i had done Red River i realized i was not good enough to actually nail the kind of thing i was trying so very hard to do. So i stopped making fantastical musicals, adopted the moniker Mocha Lab and turned my attention to making actual albums and exploring as many styles as i could.

However, storytelling is something i really love, am deeply interested in and cannot run away from. So even while making these other albums, i threw in stories and Narrations.  While running from my failed attempts at fantastical musicals i stumbled across a method of storytelling with music that worked vastly better than the over reaching of the pieces i had tried to write prior. It was the idea of just simply reciting a damn story and not trying to be cute about how to tell it. I had set out to make some songs based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, i REALLY didn’t want it to be overdramatic and sucky as i felt those musicals were, and figured maybe the way to go was to just read the damn story straight out and break every now and then to do music interludes. This worked for me and became a blueprint i would adopt for telling story songs for the next few albums.

I kept this type of narration up, skipping it on Subduction (an important album for me as that was the very first album i felt i had ever made which finally hit an acceptable audio quality.), I started to once again dream of maybe doing stories one day as i made Anamnesis, an album about religion and spirituality. The a prior version of the track was originally created a few years before during a failed attempt to make a vampire story album that told this story in this Book Of Nod, a book associated with a vampire larking thing. I knew people who did it and while couch surfing read a copy that someone had and thought i could build off that and make a telling of Cain and the first vampires. I made half of it. A little more. Then i abandoned it. Made a hip hop album instead with some MCs i had befriended. I don’t have a copy of that one anymore or i’d play a track sometime for kicks and giggles.

After Anamnesis, i couldn’t deny the urge any more. So i said screw it and made Cthulhu: The Funksical. While the big track A Melancholy Tale is the big narration number, the lyrics had been written years before at the end of the worst year of my damn life. The style was firmly in the Mermaid and such era. The narration for the Cthulhu song cycle was much more interesting, as i didn’t try to be serious and had some lighthearted fun for a change, something my work really should be doing far more often. It also brought a Narrator with an actual personality


This last one’s from the  very, very early days. College age-ish days.  Early equipment, no computer, just a  keyboard with a 16 track sequencer, a cassette 4 track, and a yearning to be SuperEpicMan. Obviously it’s unreleasable and is from the vault where the trials of our youth rest. But i really, really was interested in Narrators and this was a seminal example of my first playing about with them. From a project called Caravan.

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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


The 10 Most Awesome And Best Narrators

I love to play with Narrators. I’ve always loved to play with Narrators. When i was a teenager and ran across the Bob Fosse holy trinity of Narrators (Cabaret/Pippin/All That Jazz) i was utterly fascinated, inspired and immediately set about playing with them in my own work. I really have a thing for when Narrators become a meta elements, more than just a voice doing a job.

This is a list of my top Narrators. This mean SPECIFIC roles, not just people who narrate. Yes, Morgan Freeman would win hands down for best person to get to narrate something, but i mean specifically an interesting narrator role. I also insist that the narrator has to be their own character. They can’t be the main character doing aside voice overs. They CAN dip into and be part of the cast in a limited regard. But they exists fundamentally as themselves, as Narrators and/or Masters Of Ceremony

10. The Criminologist from Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s not that the guy has a big part, but it’s just so… memorable and fun and awesome.

9. Into The Woods

This is classic example of the kind of playing with the Narrator i love. He starts off as a straight Narrator, but dips into the play every so often as the long lost father figure. The two roles can strangely coincide at moments but THEN, in one of my favorite moments in musical theater, the cast, who’s getting absolutely buggered in Act 2, decide they don’t like how he’s telling the story AND KILL HIM. OMFG i LOVE this idea. On the other hand, i am seething with anger because they thought of it first and now i can’t do it without ripping them off.

8. Kurt Vonnegut- Breakfast Of Champions:

Bringing a book into this is a bad idea. Literature opens up a whole nother universe of Narrator possiblities and examples i can’t afford to get sidetracked on right now. But i must. I really must. The reason why is there are quite a few examples of the Narrator actually being the author and actually inserting themselves into the work itself in order to converse with the protagonist. Cerebus, Animal Man, The Dark Tower series, the list goes on. It’s a rarely used trope, but it’s out there and here’s the thing: Vonnegut did it first (i believe) and went so batshit with it, no one has come close to touching the jaw dropping existential awesomeness in which he did it. I can’t talk about playing with Narrators without bringing up Breakfast of Champions, i just can’t.

7. The Man From Another Place – Twin Peaks

This one isn’t actually a Narrator. At all. Hell, you can’t ever really understand him. And yet conceptually… conceptually he IS like a Master Of Ceremonies existing on another layer of reality, a sub-level to ours. He is the go between between that level and this one and the entities who exist on both. He’s… he offers the most heavy conceptual ideas of how to play with MCs and the most creative and wild speculations. He is a huge influence in ways that cannot be put into words.

6. The Big Lebowski:

What is not to love about the Narrator? Every line he delivers is gold to be quoted and requoted. He belongs in an over the top John Wayne movie but is instead describing The Dude and helps to strangely sell the idea that this lazy, washed up hippy reject does in fact, against all first rational impressions really have his thumb on a higher spiritual way of Being. Also, i reiterate, every time he shows up on screen i want to memorize every word he says and say it about people i know while walking along beside them.

5. Winnie The Pooh:

Oh you don’t think Winnie The Pooh is worth a serious discussion? You too grown up for The Pooh? I pity you and the fruits of your loin. For many of us, this was the very first exposure to breaking the 4th wall. 5 years old, watching a cartoon special on TV (especially back in the day when a cartoon on a. not on saturday and b. on prime time! was an enormously big deal. You’d wait for WEEKS for this shit.) And boom, breaking the 4th wall, going meta on your 5 year old mind. It was awesome. i never looked back and from then on, i was prepared at any moment to break the 4th wall of reality. (This is actually true. In elementary school i used to suddenly turn and address the audience of godlike beings who was watching us from the outside reality much like we watched TV people living their lives. I would make asides to them all the time.)

4. The Central Scrutinizer from Joe’s Garage:

What can i say? I know every word to this triple album. I have for years. Back in the youngin’ days you’d snigger over the songs on album 1 and all the sex jokes (of which there are a lot), but as you grow older, the insane musical shit that happens later and the sheer unapologetic darkness of Zappa’s uncompromising message stay with you and never gets old. The Cental Scrutinizer is  classic play on the Narrator trope. He sometimes dips into the actual story, he ACTS all knowing, he THINKS he’s all knowing, but clearly he is unreliable and to be ultimately fought against and disdained. Although at the end even he fades away and unmasks himself as Zappa after the message has been delivered. (Watermelon In Easter Hay. Holy shit.)

3. The Stage Manager from Our Town:

This SHOULD be number one. It really should and i apologize for that. The others had a  more personal impact on me so they’re getting the higher rating, but if this list were objective, this would be number one. You cannot hold a discussion, a real discussion, about playing with a Narrator and various Narrator tropes without using discussing the Stage Manager. I’ll even go so far as to say  the Stage Manager is the archetype to which all else is compared. I… i can’t even begin to discuss The Stage Manager because you can’t start talking about how the playwrite (Thornton Wilder) plays with the Narrator and stop in less than a half hour. The Stage Manager is EVERYthing… guide to the audience, dipping into the action, key to our understanding of the world we’re witnessing, an omnipotent catalyst (for Emily’s Day)… the town itself evolves a consciousness and that consciousness has a certain amount of godlike attributes and THAT is the Narrator.

2. Pippin:

Everything i did with Lloyd the Narrator in the Dieselpunk Opera ultimately traces back to seeing Pippin when i was 15 years old. I loved the songs, i liked the whole artist finding himself thing,. but HOLY SHITBALLS the ending BLEW MY LITTLE 15 YEAR OLD MIND. Seriously, it was the end of Pippin that did this thing to me that changed everything and set me upon a certain course and set of ideas that not only guided a whole shitload of my artistic explorations but culminated years and years later in The Dieselpunk Opera.

1. Cabaret:

This Narrator is not 4th wall breaking, not meta or mystical or omnipresent or any of the fancy things all these others are. He is just simply a Master of Ceremonies. But no other single Narrator inspired me to the degree the MC from Cabaret did. He’s dark. He’s decadent. He IS in control of the show and he is strangely… otherworldly. But not in the usual fantastical ways i often enjoy. It’s just a great character built so well by the original Joel Grey. He’s a blueprint for an archetype which i imagine has also inspired reams of other artists creating and playing with Narrators.

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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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While We Wait For The 6 CD Set, Let’s Talk Slenderman, The Opera

slenderman the opera

With the 6 CD set to be manufactured and the Bonus Album online, our work in New Albion is done for a spell. Thus we turn our attention to the next big project: The Slenderman Opera.

In general, i have put very little thought into it. I put all my attention into one album at a time (unless a paid gig comes along) so Slenderman has had to wait until the The Room Beneath New Albion is done. This isn’t to say i’ve NEVER thought about it. There’s been a night or two.

I had one idea that’s probably too insane to actually make a musical out of. It had to do with 3 to 4 acts all of which take place in unfolding layers of reality. I don’t mean like a multiverse type of different realities, i mean if reality were made up of different levels, like layers of an onion.

Back in a DC 4 comic series about a young magician written by Neil Gaiman (The Books Of Magic? I don’t remember), he had this kid journey to the end of time. There at the end of time everything had imploded into tarot card archetypes. Only the characters of the tarot were left. I loved that. I’m not saying i’m going to use that (i’m not), but picture if a tarot archetype were a sub-layer of reality to ours. That…kiiiiind of thing would be what i mean by layers.

It’s ridiculous of course. I’m probably going to get a completely different main idea. I’m just talking.

All Along The Watcher always took place on a sub level of reality to me. The song. That little song story always for me took place on a sub level just like the tarot level. And there’s an archtypal thing going on on that level… THAT kind of archtypal thing is more representative of how to portray that level.

But.. so what if there are different layers and a sub-sub layer is where the Slenderman derives from. Like… the entire creepy pasta type of style in various media on the net are portraying when this sub-sub level rises up and congeals into ours. All the creepy pasta phenomenon is a reality more primal and even more “true” than ours. We are a bubble built by people on the sub level below ours to live on, protected from the lovecraftian actual nature of the universe. But our bubble is not without holes.

There could be a religion. Or a particular order of monks. The religion has this whole doctrine which as actually completely bogus and doesn’t matter, since the only purpose it actually has is to spread certain prayers. The content of the prayers is also meaningless. They are made up by these monks to disseminate because of the phonetics of the prayers, which act as audio keys to keep our bubble locked, or simply help keep it holding together. (If you’ve heard Cthulhu: The Funksical that’s an idea i brought up there) Masses of people reciting these particular prayers keeps our world safe.

As to the purpose of the Slenderman i don’t know and obviously i shouldn’t ever say until the project comes out. That;s a tough one. Needs to be REAL good. Can’t do some crappy cop out like “the denizens of that layer subsist off of feeding from the souls of the layers above them and the Slendermen are the collectors of that food.” Hell no. That is SO obvious. We’ve got to do better than that.

Of course this whole general idea is ridiculous and no fool in their right mind would make this the backdrop for a friggin musical. I mean… they’d have to be a nutjob. Seriously. Ridiculous.




Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


The Bonus New Albion Is Out (and a little backstory for those who have heard it)

Out Now The Room Beneath NA - Final copy

Right, so, if you don’t know, the full length album The Room Beneath New Albion is now online.

The 6 CD collection of all New Albion albums is beginning to be manufactured and will be available in about 2 weeks tops. You will know. I will be very, very loud about it being available.

So, as with most New Albion story album musical opera thingies, there is a pile of backstory that could not be fit into the actual album due to… in this case usually flow.

Oh… i should mention: SPOILERS. If you haven’t listened you probably shouldn’t read on.

Two things worth mentioning today: the “Stanger” who visits the Tribe and what happens to Alice Young after the end.

I’ll just tell you right now that i will not tell you what happens after the end. I KNEW, i was GOING to put it in, but two things occurred. Number 1, there was no place to put an explanation of what happened after the ending. The last song has a particular emotional flow: the clash of groups, a quiet intimate moment between A&A, the kiss and the talk with the “Angels”. Emotionally it flows very nicely. The only way to mention what occurs AFTER the AIngels are done talking is to have one last Alex voice over. If i do it somewhere before the AIngels speak i ruin the emotional flow. I definitely don’t want it AFTER they speak because i want the album to end with them having the last word. It works too well having them end it. So, there was no room.

Number 2: It then occurred to me it was much cooler if the options were left up in the air. There’s only a couple of options and i LIKE the ambiguity. If i tell you what my original plan was, it sort of becomes canon. If i like a movie, aren’t sure what happened in a certain part off screen and read the film maker telling me what THEY originally envisioned that wasn’t put in, it kind of becomes canon for me. Now i know what they intended. So… i’m going kind of go with not saying anything. But the options as i saw it were:

a. Alice stays with Alex and they hole up in that room together for as long as she has left. She needs to keep snorting the sand, but they spend it together in the room while she withers away. (and it should be mentioned that above them New Albion is days away from erupting in riots)

b. She stops taking the sand and finally goes back to her tribe. She’s not going to make a full recovery, she’s got a limited time left no matter what (although more without taking any more of the sand for certain) and she has changed fundamentally in ways in which it is unsure she’d ever be able to fully transition back to being a true part of her tribe. BUT she would go back and there’d be some solace there. She’d certainly have a lot of information about the future, that’s for sure.

c. The hit/fix/snort whatever of the sand she took to hear the AIngels speak (which requires a pretty hefty dose) was the last one she had in her. She hears the Aingels one last time but it kills her.

I’m open to more options, but those were the 3 i considered. One of those was the one i was set upon until i decided it was best left open.

So, the Stranger who appears to the Tribe.

Back in the conception phase, i had a whole thing thought out.. a whole spoken dialogue thing when the stranger first appeared that would go in that middle section (in the 1st song when Alex talks). It was unlikely that i would ever actually put it in since spoken dialogue REALLY is difficult to make work. It almost never does, sounds too forced and kills the flow. Take the 1st song… having a spoken bit, where the “Stranger” delivers a little monologue or it (which has some humrous elements) utterly changes the mood we spend the whole song cultivating. There was no way it was ever going to actually be put in.

But, i do that have the stranger all worked out.

The Stranger is from the future. Early Atompunk era likely. He has the genetic anomaly inherited from the Tribe long ago which allows the Sand to move you through time. It is not as strong in later generations as it was in the Tribe’s time. The Tribe’s time is when it was the most.. uh…. pure. (that’s a bad word for it, but you get the idea) However, even diluted, the Stranger has enough of the gene to make a one time trip.

The Stranger is basically a hippy. He thinks he’s on a really crazy trip. (and he is in a sense) He also comes from a time when the Sand is rather available. So the AIngels contact him (as they can people who are on the drug. They have figured out how to contact minds on the Sand. They cannot otherwise contact people like this, but something about the human brain on that particular drug allows the AIngels to have worked out how to make contact, regardless of Time).

They need the hippy to get a bunch of Sand, take a rather heroic dose, move through time (with their help) to the Tribe’s time, present their request and give the Tribe, particularly the Chosen One the Sand. They cannot contact the Tribe themselves until one of them actually takes the Sand. So the hippy is charged with being their representative. Understand that if he fails, they’ll find another and another and keep sending them back until they get some member of the Tribe from some generation around that era to help. It is possible the hippy is not the first they have sent back and in fact they sent “strangers” to the 2 generations before Alice. Because of this the Tribe takes the request more seriously. However, also assume there are a limited number of people the AIngels can find to send back.

The hippy is only good for one trip. His genetic predisposition is not great enough to allow him to do this more than once and he and others of his ilk are certainly not strong enough physically and mentally to be sent to build the room.

So the hippy is sent back and wanders up to the Tribe to make this case for the weird voices that had talked to him, believing the entire time that this is all a hallucination and pretty convinced he’s gone and “done it this time”, that is, taken too much of a drug and gone around the bend.

You could have a rather clever and at times funny dialogue around this event. I just can’t possibly have it in the album. It would KILL the mood and the flow.

So, there you go. That’s the deal with the Stranger.

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


The Room Beneath New Albion Is Out Now

Out Now The Room Beneath NA - Final copy

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the digital release of the “bonus” New Albion album, The Room Beneath New Albion. Available for download.

The New Albion Trilogy Box Set is coming. The set is on its way to the manufacturers and when it is ready for sale (in about 2 weeks) an announcement will be made. In the meantime, i invite you to enjoy this album, a tale from New Albion’s colorful history.


Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


Phase 6: Mixing (and Mastering)

Coming The Room Beneath New Albion

Ah mixing.

I can write and record an entire song in three days. I mean, melody, lyrics, play every instrumental part, vocals, EVERYthing. Three days.

I can mix and fidget with it for the rest of my damn life.

Turn this instrument up juUUUUUUuust a hair…. this down… oOO, piano’s too strong on this part, go in and play the piano chords softer… ride cymbal is too loud on this part… guitar effect doesn’t cut through on this part, try another…. no try another…. wait the first one was the best… etc, etc, etc.

I can do this forEVER.

There does come a point when listening to a project when nothing truly bothers me and it’s ready to finally be released. This is usually about 2 hours before the moment i promised to release it.

The Room Beneath New Albion is due out tomorrow. It was finished early. Early meaning last night, about 40 hours before the actual release. That’s a record. Not that i didn’t think of something i could fiddle with this morning, but i have also learned there is a limit to how much you SHOULD fiddle. You can fiddle until you have completely new album. You can fiddle until you have redone everything, then redone THAT to change it back to the way it was in the first place. Do not do this. Be decisive. When it no longer bothers you STOP questioning it, let it be, and finish the thing.

Still, getting every detail just right can be excruciating. It’s difficult to go into the process in any more details because the mix and the sound is so subjective. I like it like this, so i mix it the way i like it.

When i first started making albums i was in high school. My buddy Jeff Miller and i would go to this music store every year and rent a 4 track. We’d write an entire album worth of material, get friends of ours who played bass and drums to play the songs, record it and make an album.

I heard the first of these albums just last XMas for the first time in many years. Dear God, it was excruciatingly bad. Although to be fair, Jeff’s end held up pretty nicely. As did the other musicians. My end of things was by far the weak link.

This exact pattern would play out over the next several years. Every year we’d rent a 4 track (then 8 track) and record and album. After high school, i went to college for a year and a half, dropped out, moved up to Penn State, formed a band with ol’ Jeff and continued to make our yearly album. For another 2 years at least.

By the end of this cycle, we were just about hitting 21 ( i think we made the last one at 20) and we actually recorded in a real studio in this college town. And here’s the thing: each album did get better and the very last one, Justacorp, was actually, for first time, an actual decent album, all things considered. I mean, not professional by any industry standards, but for that moment in time, it was a level up. The cycle had completed and an education of sorts had been gained. We had brought ourselves from adolescence into young adulthood, or whatever you call that age that 21 is.

Interestingly, as usual the worst parts of the album are on my shoulders. I know this sounds a lot like over the top modesty, but it’s not and here’s why: First of all, it’s true. Secondly, for those of you reading this who aren’t adults yet, who are full of ambition and this whole hurdle of just NOT SUCKING for 5 FRIGGIN MINUTES is an issue…. my brothers and sisters, i hear your pain. I understand. I have been there.

As a youngin’ i had lots of potential. Truly.  And a WHOLE lot of artistic ambition. LOTS of that. I wanted to make concept albums and tell musical stories on an EPIC level. Oh yes i did.

But i made poor and immature artistic decisions (art does reflect life). My abilities did not match my ambition. I had neither the skills nor the…. taste and maturity to do what i wanted and instead of aiming at a target i could actually hit, i aimed WAAAAAAAAY the fuck out of reach. And honestly, the reach WAS impressive. Where i was trying to hit was truly noteworthy (unless of course you’re most of the world and think musicals and concept albums are utter shite to begin with). But i couldn’t hit it. I tried. I kept trying. I still couldn’t quit hit it. And oh how i tried. Over and over. Rinse and repeat. Years and years and years passed. I had some good times and i had some reeeeeal lean times. Everyone i knew got decent jobs and started to actually… make it in life. I worked shitty jobs that i hated, refused to get any type of job which could become a career (because like a moron i wouldn’t give up the dream), and slaved away broke as fuck making albums absolutely nobody heard or gave the slightest shit about.

But. I did get good. I did develop the skill level i needed. I did grow up and gain vastly better artistic decision making abilities. And i did go and make exactly the kind of shit i wanted to make from the beginning: fucking epic musical stories.

And this is how i learned how to mix. Advice on mixing: that’s kind of it. You do it a billion times until your ears get half decent.

AH! Hang on, i remember why i got sidetracked on a bunch of personal mush. Right… so, back in the 4 and 8 track days, i used to mix the old fashioned way. You put your fingers on the faders and you move the faders very suddenly to new positions whenever you needed the mix to change. You’d put masking tape next to each fader and you’d draw like… 8 different lines with numbers like V1 for Verse 1, C2 for 2nd chorus and when the at part would come you’d have to move the faders REALLY fast to the new spot. See, the 4 track would play into another tape player (or a DAT deck. Anyone remember those? Ah the beginning of the digital era). You’d press record on the DAT deck, then play on the 4/8 tracks and then you’d have to mix live on the spot as the DAT recorded. Screw up and you’d have to stop the whole thing, rewind all the decks and start again.

I loved that shit. Seriously. I actually miss that. Don’t get me wrong, when i FINally got a computer and figured out how to do music on a computer instead of using a keyboard with a 16 track sequencer which fed out into a 4 track (2 tracks, left and right) which i then added vocals to (on the 2 free tracks)… when i finally got a computer my whole music making ability JUMPED up several notches. And automated mixing… you’d have to be moron to go back. But still. I miss live mixing. It was… so in the moment. It was living in record.

Well. Wasn’t that a meandering post on mixing.  Let’s sum it up: play a bunch of tracks. Mix those tracks together so that it sounds good to you. Rinse. Repeat. One day quit your day job.

And with that our series is over. I have tried to give as open and transparent a look into my process as i can actually put into words.

Tomorrow you can tune in to hear the bonus New Albion story, which obviously i hope you enjoy. It is, truly, a love note from me to you. All of you listening and buying and writing about these albums online, i do not take you for granted. In fact, i LOVE YOU. So i’m sending you a love note tomorrow.  Until then, my pretties.

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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


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