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.

All Vocals Are In

All the vocalists have recorded (and rerecorded) their vocals. I have them all now. I’ve been plugging them in studiously over the past 2 weeks and at long last i am listening to the Weird West Cabaret in its final form. It it sounds freakin awesome.

I’ll be fiddling with levels and vocal processing for several more days. I recently learned a couple tricks about dealing with vocals from a guy who happened to pass by the village. Did i already talk about this? So y’all know i live in this little tiny village the Balkans, and one day this couple stopped by. see the village as they want to leave the city and live in a idyllic nature spot. Our village is famous for this ( truthfully because an American moved there and that has been all over the news do to the  efforts of my neighbor, the village “mayor” who has capiltalized on my living there as far as he could. Don’t judge him too harshly, he managed to get the road leading in fixed, and that thing was more potholes than road, no exageration. But he has sent so many tv crews and reporters to my house that eventually i had to tell him to cut it out. )

Anyway, this couple stopped by to check out the village and check out the american. Turns out the guy is a professional sound engineer. So i took him down to my studio and asked him if he had any advice on how to get the vocals on my albums to sound better without actually buying new mics. Two hours later we went back upstairs and i had just had a master class in vocal processing. To casual listeners it won’t really register, my previous vocals weren’t terrible (nor state od the art), and the differences are rather subtle. But the difference is there none the less and more astute listeners will notice some subtle differences.

It is always a thrill to finally hear all the vocals sung by the actual singers. And we reach a point where all the choices made over the past 7 months are set and one has hopefully reached a point where one loves it. Oh i love this one. Even if the rest of the world thinks it’s a flaming piece of shit, i love it. This won’t put food on the table, mind you, but it’s a nice feeling none the less.

The alm will likely come out on Tues, Dec 6th. I’ll make an announcement when i get Sarah DeBuck’s album cover art (or within 48 hours, whichever comes first). 

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


Preview Of Henry The Alchemist Featuring Rhys Owen

From the upcoming album Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret. I would mention that this song is definitely a homage of sorts to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I am still fidgeting with it, but i really want to share it, so here it is.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

So Who’s Actually On Henry The Alchemist Anyway?

I have been off having adventures in the states and England. I went to the states to see the election in person surrounded by friends and countrymen. In between pints at Zeno’s and the Happy Valley Brewery i mixed the vocals as they were sent to me. Afterwards i flew to England and recorded Rhys Owen, who utterly kicked ass on Henry The Alchemist. Holy shit, he freackin OWNED that song.

So with that done, there’s no point putzing about. This is who is on it. In most cases it was simply who got it to me first and quality of the recording.There were a few performances that were great but the quality was juuuuust not quite usable. I’m so sorry.

Kieron Wharton

Kristin Poehls

James Gibson

Shira Leigh Imira Durica

Hannah Delemir

and of course Tim Ledsam as Evan

I’m going to post Henry online as soon as i get time to make a really proper mix. I just got back last night and have some catching up to do.

The completed album will be out early December, definitely. I’ll make a formal post soon.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Odd And Wonderful Dolls Of Nicole West


You can check out her Facebook page here

Nicole West:

“I’ve been an artist pretty much my whole life. Born with the gift or “calling” you might say. My mom tells me that she saw it in me as a small child when I would bite animal shapes out of my toast. I was lucky to have a mom that let me run free with my artistic muse, even as far as letting me draw murals on my bedroom wall.

I have no formal training in art. Took some classes here and there in high school and some college courses but never got a lot from them. I have drawn and painted much in my life, but my true muse has always been in the form of sculpture. Horses were almost always my subject. (Ask my mom, there was a stables worth of modeling clay horses in our freezer at any given time)<

I didn’t sculpt the human form until I decided one day to make a doll for my mom. She had a large collection of dolls as a child that were given away. When she told me that story I knew I had to try my hand at it to give her something special. 20 years later I find myself here, loving what I do. It’s quite amazing to look back through the years at the many pieces and how I can see my style change and grow. Some I still love, some make me laugh, others make me cringe.”


Leave a comment

Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


Writing Prompt: The Day The World Changed

Check out or join Essay Club at


The Archangel Michael stood surveying the assembled hosts of heaven. They stood rank and file, swords and shields gleaming in the sunlight. Beside him the angel Gabriel finished marking down some numbers and sighed.

“I wish i could say this was overkill. But all the angelic warriors of heaven are assembled and ready for battel should it come to that.”

“Good,” replied Michael. “I hope we don’t need them. You’ve rechecked the calculations? There’s no chance we’re wrong?”

“No sir. At 3:13 AM this afternoon in Sunnyhearst, Illonois a Level Aleph event chain will possibly be set off depending on how the split second moment goes. It’s been millenia since we’ve seen an Aleph Level and last time we barely stopped it.”

Michael bowed his head. “Yes. I remember.” He straigtened himself up and prepared to order his troops. “That ball will go where want or we shall die trying.”

The Archdemon  Asmodeus stood surveying the assembled hosts of hell. They stood rank and file, swords and shields gleaming in the firelight. Beside him the demon Bael  finished marking down some numbers and sighed.

“I wish i could say this was overkill. But all the demonic warriors of hell are assembled and ready for battle should it come to that.”

“Good,” replied Asmodeus. “I hope we don’t need them. You’ve rechecked the calculations? There’s no chance we’re wrong?”

“No sir. At 3:13 AM this afternoon in Sunnyhearst, Illonois, a Level Aleph event chain will possibly be set off depending on how the split second moment goes. We’ve run and rerun the possible outcomes again and again and it’s…. ” Bael paused, “Baliel shit himself and frankly sir, i don’t blame him.”

Asmodeus bowed his head. “So be it then.”  He straigtened himself up and prepared to order his troops. “That ball will go where want or we shall die trying.”


At 3 PM  at the Sunnyhearst Middle School athletic field, the soccer match between the  Sunnydale Middle School Girls Soccer Team and Woodland Hills Middle School Girls Team kicked off. Woodland Hills was favored to win but the Sunnyhearst girls had put in extra practice this week and Cassie Ferguson’s mom had made her her lucky bacon and eggs breakfast so there was definitely hope.

Cassie Ferguson hadn’t really liked soccer all that much when she started. She was a little on the bookworm side and would have preferred to cosplay on the weekends with her other geeky friends, but there weren’t many oppurtunities around Sunnyhearst for a 12 year to dress up and go full fandom and her dad had insisted that she needed some physical activities to round out her bookish ones. He promised if she did soccer she could do whatever other weird dorky hobbies she wanted uncritisized, so she agreed.

Surprisingly, she had gradually come to enjoy it. She thought the other girls would be too jocky and butch, but over time they had all built a comraderie and Cassie had come to realize that she actually had a whole bunch of resentment and aggression bottled up inside her and having an outlet for it was quite a relief. The fear she used to fear when some butch tank from the other team sized her up had turned to a malicious smile in the expectation of carnage that was to come.

Focused on the game she could not see a shining angel with a sword and fiery demon in armor floating above her.



“I’m going to have to ask you to not interfere with that girl’s goal kick,” Michael said.

Asmodeus chuckled. “You sick, self righteous bastards. I don’t know what game you’re up to, but we cannot let you go ahead with this.”

Michael drew his sword. “I do not have time for this. The goal kick is 5 minutes away. Remove yourself. I have brought a fully armed host with me and intend to see this through.” Across the western sky appeared thousands of armed angels.

Asmodeus drew his sword. “Stand down, Michael. I have brought a host with me too. And as you will recall from the old days, mine is bigger than yours.”  Across the eastern sky appeared thousands of armed demons.

Shouts from the middle school soccer match drifted up. The two adversaries glanced down at it then back at one another.

“So be it,” said Michael.

The fight began.


As the Woodland Hills Middle School Girls tried to run the ball down the field thousands of flying demons clashed in the sky above with thousands of angels. The fighting was fierce and unhindered. Angels screamed in rage and slashed, blood spraying across their faces. Demon screeched in horror and bloodlust, stabbing, biting, ripping their enemies apart in a gory orgy of violence.

Finally the Sunnydale Middle School Girls Soccer Team got the ball and at 3:12 it was passed to Cassie who brought it in for a goal kick. The moment was nearing.

Michael panted, paused, armor dented, face covered in bruises. “Asmodeus. Please. I know you’re not unreasonable. Why would even you want this to happen? I beg you, let me stop that goal. If there is any sense of reason in you…”

Asmodeus, equally bloody and bruised, also stopped and looked taken aback. “Michael, are you fucking with my head?”

“I do not… fuck with people’s heads.”

“No. No you do not.” Asmodeus hung in the air. “Michael, you misundestand. We are here to prevent that goal. You could not possibly think we would want these kind of consequences?”

“You… you mean…”

A cheer rose up from below. Both entities looked down as Cassie Ferguson, 12 year old member of the Sunnyhearts Middle School Girls Soccer Team, scored.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


Weird West Cabaret. Promo art? Cover?

Weird West Cabaret. Promo art? Cover?

weird west cabaret paul shapera steampunkanothercover7

It’s an excellent piece by Sarah DeBuck and a possible contender for album cover, although i believe i may prefer it as promo poster. But then i think this is pretty solid. Any thoughts? Promo poster? Album cover? I personally think that the album cover would best be served by not featuring characters, but my god i really love this.


Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Writing Prompt: Oh My God We’re All Going To Die

I haven’t done a writing circle in a long awhile. Ten years kind of long. And time is not something i have a lot of. But… creativity is a muscle which should be exercised constantly, i’m doing deep editing on the Cabaret album which is more tedious then creative, and my buddy Matthew Broyles is involved so.. i’m in. And it’s good. I enjoy writing short stories on the fly. The prompts are 900 words or less, so you have to keep it short and tame.

Week 1 prompt: Oh My God We’re All Going To Die


1992: In their senior year of high school Dennis Brobart and his best friend Gary Zygote form the symphonic metal band Centurion Rampage along with a guy in their class named Scott who plays drums and listens to Ozzy. They practice religiously in Scott’s basement, learning covers and writing original songs with quite complicated phrasings and rhythms. A major triumph occurs when bassist Phil joins and is able to score them a gig at the beginning of the summer opening for hard core band The Slurping Rogers.

Dennis and Gary are the main writing team and at the time, best friends. They often sit outside as the weather warms up and talk of their dreams of stardom and world domination.

The gig is a disaster. The boys’ compositions are impressively ambitious, but alas, they do not possess anywhere near the required skill to adequately perform them. Also, the hard core audience hates them. After the gig Gary gets wasted with The Slurping Rogers. Dennis cries for awhile then walks 7 miles home.


1996: At college together, Dennis and Gary continue the band. After a terrible falling out with their old drummer (who they fire for ”lack of chops”, although Dennis is secretly relieved for jealousy reasons) they replace the other members and after a few years at college are actually rather decent. Their following is relatively small and to the boys’ sadness include very, very few female fans. However, some of the bros at Phi Sigma Beta think they’re the bomb and they play all their parties as well as some bar gigs.


2000: After college Dennis and Gary and their drummer Alex all move to Philadelphia together to take the band to heights of glory. They scour gigs around the city and eventually land a couple regular nights at some clubs. They pull together money from their days jobs (of which Gary has the best and therefore is often asked to contribute the most) and record their first CD, Universal Spasmodium, which to them sounds like the height of professionalism. To their credit, it is indeed just this side of listenable.

However, it is now several years after college and while the band is surviving, their dreams of glory are giving way to a certain tedium. Alex quits and is replaced and Gary starts getting promotions which he keeps quiet from Dennis and the band so he isn’t asked to contribute even more cash. Gary starts to think seriously about quitting the band and focusing fully on his burgeoning career. Also, Gary and Dennis have been living together since college and by now drive each other nuts.


2002: The band records their second album Wasteland of Depravity. They sell 475 copies all told at gigs which they consider to be a monumental success. Dennis sleeps with Gary’s girlfriend, feels incredible shame but doesn’t tell him. That is, until at a summer festival they do acid together and Dennis in a fit of drug induced guilt, confesses. Gary doesn’t mind at all. Until he comes down that is, at which point he starts minding a great deal. The two get separate places soon after, although the band stays together.


2003: Gary tells Dennis he is quitting the band. Dennis cries for an hour and begs him to stay long enough to record one last CD. By now Gary barely thinks about the band as his job is going quite well and is rather more engaging and fulfilling then he would have imagined. He shows up at gigs and practices, although has managed to get practices whittled down to next to nothing. Dennis is writing most of the songs and has written a double album story cycle he has titled Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die.

Gary has given it a lot of thought and decides that what he really needs more than anything, is to just never see Dennis’ god damn face ever again, or at least for a decade or two. Their drummer and bassist don’t care either way.  They are in 3 to 4 different bands each, including a wedding band together which pays the bills shockingly well. Of all their bands, Centurion Rampage is their second to least favorite so they’re fine with the news that Gary wants to go, and plan on splitting when he does.

Despite all this, Dennis convinces the band to record this last CD. He even gets them to practice more, which they all do grudgingly out of guilt for breaking his little crybaby heart.


2004: The CD is recorded and finished. The band splits up, although they perform the full album live twice before they do. They sell 27 copies at the gig.

They never see each other again.

In September Dennis uploads the album online then heads out to California to work as a hired marijuana farmer. He figures he’ll pick the weed, make some money and figure out what to do next.


Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die by Centurion Rampage becomes a bit of an internet phenomenon, at least among symphonic metal fans. While the band had had a hard time attracting fans of the genre in their area, across the net there turns out to be a ton of them. And they love the album. Bands for the next 2 decades site the album as a major influence.

Unfortunately, on his trip to California Dennis got into a car crash during a rain storm and was killed.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized