Why I’m Leaving New Albion

31 Jul

After years of working in complete and utter obscurity, making albums for absolutely no one, i have made a series of fantastical musical opera albums that have garnered a following who love the series and want to see more. For them i will throw out a little bonus act(s) and hell, i’d love one last waltz too, but in truth, the trilogy is over and i’m leaving New Albion, despite for the first time in my life having a creation that is popular, well liked, is actually purchased and has people coming back for more.

This seems rather stupid if not outright insane.


It’s what’s best for the piece.

What i care about, month after month of making each and every project is the question “What is best for the piece?”

If i end the New Albion trilogy, right here, right now, it stands with distinction. It did not go on too long (okay, matter of opinion, but i don’t think so), it did not keep sadly going long after it’s initial glory days, i did not turn into the kind of artist who keeps some fantasy series going forever because it’s a paycheck, and finally, you don’t have to cry as you watch with each successive album it go down the shitter because the artist ran out of ideas/motivation/fire in his belly. The series that should have ended seasons or books ago.

Walk away now, and none of that happens. The series stands proudly. You want more? Better you want more than wish it had stopped at less.

Besides, i will be better as an artist if i continue to push myself onto new things.

I like the New Albion series, i love it, i’ve lived with it for 3 years now, but i can do better. I know i can if i just keep working… trying… pushing myself… this is not my Song Of Ice And Fire. New Albion has taught me valuable lessons that will serve well as i develop. I cannot develop if i stop here. I am not done travelling. I am not ready to settle down. I have not made my magnum opus.

With New Albion i have arrived at a level of vision and competency i have worked years and years to get to. I have musical projects from when i was very young you will never hear. Caravan… The Dogs Project… okay The Fallen i kept updating for years because i had other folks who kept wanting to make it a theater thing… but that updating for years into new version after new version taught me a valuable lesson: DON’T DO IT. Move the fuck ON.

That early, early work never made it anywhere because, frankly, it wasn’t good enough. My artistic ambition far outwieghed my skill set, the tools i had available, and the maturity of my artistic decision making.

It took me a long time to finally reach the level where i can make stuff like New Albion, but now that i CAN, holy shit, i’m not stopping here. Just think what i could make if i keep going. I have to keep going. To stay in New Albion is to artistically stop in a way that i’m not ready for. It’s not you, baby, it’s me, i’m just not…. ready to settle down.

Basically, it’s best for New Albion if  we leave it here, where it has a beginning and an ending and didn’t outstay its welcome. It’s best for me to keep trying new stuff, like a Horror Opera, i mean, see, that? I’m EXCITED about it. I have NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL TO DO and yet i’m SO sure i can do it. That is how i make my best work. That’s how i felt about the steampunk opera. I had an idea that excited me, no idea what the hell to do and was SO sure i could do it.

I’m excited for one last little New Albion forray, but it will be bit… off the beaten track. In the way that New Albion 7 is a different creature than the other New Albions. (I made New Albion 7 because  i had decided after the SO that i could NOT make a dieslepunk opera. It was a cute idea, the whole trilogy thing, but after considering it, i decided i couldn’t actually pull of a dieselpunk opera. I didn’t have the sounds, couldn’t make a good jazz era style… oh well. Nice idea but can’t do it. Then i thought maybe i’ll make a single little track. Instead of an opera i’ll just a make a little bonus track that takes place after the SO in the dieselpunk era and that’ll be in place of a dieselpunk opera. No trilogy, just a little bonus track. it’ll skip oevr the part that would have been in an opera, i.e. the actual war.

But then… it went well. I did okay. I enjoyed it. I thought… well hell, i could make something like this for a bit longer. I thought about no dieslepunk opera, just a series of tracks that take place in and around the civil war. No real continuing story line, just a bunch of snapshots. Each track would be like a different issue of a pulp magazine. But in making New Albion 7 i started watching film noir and researching and thinking about dieslepunk things and the fever started to grow.

Then one day i was sick and laying on the couch and i read the first paragraph of the book I-O by Simon Logan. It’s a book of dark, industrial short stories. I read the first two paragraphs, where it described this… roboty thing made of rusty iron who lives in a junkyard. I put the book down, lay back, and John O’Brien appeared before me.  And i knew for sure i would going to make an entire dieslepunk opera, come hell or high water. (also my natural father, John Gwynne-Craig had very recently died. And his sister, my aunt Patsy i had grown to really love. I hadn’t known either very long, i’m adopted and raised, happily, in another family, but the whole meeting my natural father thing and then him dying just a few years later was kind of… weird and affected my strangely. It all ended up in the opera although i didn’t see how much i was doing it for a long time.)

Each one of these operas was made with the motivation that nothing, NOTHING was going to stop me. And NOTHING was going to stop me from making absolutely sure they didn’t suck. I was going to make them. They were NOT. GOING. TO. SUCK. And i would fight my way through the bowels of hell itself if i had to.

And that’s why they don’t suck. Because i wasn’t coasting on an already existing reputation. I wasn’t phoning it in for another paycheck.  I cannot keep making blank-punk albums that take place in New Albion because that is exactly the road that leads there from here.

So that’s why. I’m going to do a bonus New Albion thing in whatever shape that ends up. I’m going to make a creepy Slenderman Opera (which i going to rule, i swear). At some point after i will begin a new epicy thing, but of course, only if it’s truly what’s best for the piece. Still, i like epics. I think in epics. I want to make Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. I want to make A Song Of Ice And Fire. (Hell, i wanna make Dr. Horrible. Don’t think i couldn’t do a real Lovecraft Funksical. I know i did the Cthulhu Funksical, and i could TOTALLY go WAY the fuck past that. However, i have no plans to pursue that line of thought at all.)

So: that’s the why. But stick with me, after the bonus act, i’ll have to work REAL hard to keep y’all with me, knowing that the default is often “yeah, but not as good as his New Albion stuff. Yeah, not as good as the steampunk opera. Yeah, but it just isn’t….”  That awaits every artist. And the only way past it is to work real hard and grand slam it next time around. Basically, you like this stuff? Well don’t worry. Stay tuned. I ain’t done yet. I’m just getting started. I got more goodies in my bag for you, coming round plenty soon enough.


Oh yeah, and: The Steampunk Opera, with a little luck and people putting it up, might just blow the hell up one day. Maybe one day here, you all would be able to go to the theater and see a balls to the wall performance of the SO. Put it out there. Perform it. And one day…


Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


8 responses to “Why I’m Leaving New Albion

  1. Tony Turner

    July 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    The New Albion Trilogy has been a true delight to see unfold. I have fallen in love with the imaginative characters and concepts in the first installment, and fell in love with them again as they kept being expanded upon. You made a fantastical world, and yet it had the ability to relate back to the listener. As sad as I am to leave New Albion I am truly looking forward to more amazing worlds and the music that plays within them.

    Thank you.

  2. alexanderchesebro

    July 31, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I support your decision entirely. As astounding as I think the New Albion Trilogy is, I believe it is a wise choice to leave that fantastic world behind and push into new territory. I’m excited to see what whatever comes next and I’m sure that it will be just as mind-fizzling and explosive as the New Albion series!

  3. Jason Batts

    August 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I just want to take a moment to join in what the support that has already been said. I discovered New Albion around the time you published Radio Hour and have completely fallen in love with the world. I am looking forward to that final soiree you mentioned, as well as everything that is to come. Sure, what comes later won’t be New Albion, but it’ll still be yours and completely worth giving it a whirl on its own merit. I want to make sure I’m still listening on the day your start your “Song of Fire and Ice” or “Dr. Horrible”.

    Best wishes and happy writing until we all meet up in Elysium.

  4. Dan

    August 1, 2014 at 3:13 am

    I’ve loved New Albion since August 2012. It has shaped my life as well, and I thank you. I would follow you into battle, you are a genius and I can’t wait for people to see that. The SO will explode, I promise you. And I can’t wait for whatever you do next (seriously pumped for Slenderman). This post made me more happy than sad. Sure, New Albion ended, but it’s a new beginning for you and you will do great things.

  5. absolutionjailor

    August 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    You’ve ended New Albion perfectly. Through Elysium, all three wove seamlessly into one. You have my complete understanding, you must stop here. Everyone has seen a sequel they would rather not exist, sat through a prequel that damaged rather than expanded their love of the original, seen a spin-off that seems like a cruel stab at the source that shouldn’t have been. No one knows what’s better for New Albion than you, Paul.

    I’m looking forward to the Dark Opera. Slenderman is a popular topic that may give you a boost in exposure. You deserve it and much more. And if it gets big, it could open doors… Imagine, your opera could be to to a proper Slender sequel what Jonathan Coulton’s “Still Alive” was to Valve’s Portal.

  6. Moira Darke

    August 3, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Due to a lack of internet connection and a deep desire for New Albion to not be over (I was downright positive you were going to nuke the city or something) I only just finished the Atompunk Opera.

    Oh. Oh my. I’m confused and sad and happy and weirded out and, to put it into internet phrasing, have lost my ability to “even.” I cannot even.

    The Steampunk Opera music has been part of my life for a while now. I’ve pounded out like, three novels to it, started a webcomic to it, and used it to block out the sounds (I have something called misophonia, a condition which makes certain small sounds make me feel a flood of angry emotions. Hard to explain) that would make me lose my mind.

    It’s been a fun ride.

  7. maddirosex

    August 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I just wanted to say I respect the hell out of you for this attitude. So often you see someone driving their creation into the ground, constantly chasing and trying to rekindle that first spark of awesome. More often than not they end up weakening the original work by associating it in peoples’ heads with that later sense of desperation.

    Been listening to your stuff since Dolls of New Albion Act 1, and enjoying every second of it, and I think I speak for a lot of your fans when I say I’m looking forward to what comes next, even with New Albion being laid to rest

  8. Alexis

    August 14, 2017 at 5:56 am

    For a long time I had only heard New Albion 1. When I saw how long the play was, I chucked it into “watch later” and left it. The first time I saw it I was BLOWN AWAY, and loved it to the point that I lost sleep thinking about how I would make it myself (after seeing 3 different versions and ranking them). Thank you so much for making this trilogy, it holds a dear place in my heart.


    Seriously. I am so fucking impressed man, you’re such a good writer. The voodoopunks in the first two plays have the best music omg. Edgar is genuinely scary. The last act of The Dolls of New Albion was FANTASTIC. The Soiree was REALLY FUN TO LISTEN TO. The Green Room Pale was so creepy, and followed by the almost aggressively peppy Government song was a really good choice!! I really liked it!!! The Discussion having the old police song in the start was so jarring omg. Blood Red Dogs is also one of my favourites, and I’m trying to translate it into the Composition island in My Singing Monsters but I can’t figure out a certain chord so it’s annoying me because I really want to preserve that amazingness. The slow fade out in the Voodoopunks was FUCKING BRILLIANT. The reprise being slower when they wake up is also a great touch! John O’brien’s last song really hits hard. The last New Albion is also really, really emotional but I won’t get into The New Albion Guide to Analogue Consciousness because this is already way too long but yeah, in short, THANK YOU.


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