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.

Once Again, Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret Is Now Available! Also: SO?!?

Once Again, Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret Is Now Available! Also: SO?!?

Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret is out now!

This album is a pulp opera: that is, a musical story taking place in a specific pop culture genre, in this case, the weird west. Think the old west meets werewolves, lovecraftian monsters, sinister carnivals, and of course, flying, face eating zombie babies. A small group of performers appear onstage every Saturday night at the town saloon to perform an ongoing cabaret led by Miss Helen. This particular week focuses on the tragedies of their existence with sweeping songs.

Miss Helen's Weird West Cabaret

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, for all those you already listening to it: SO????!!!!??? WHADAYA THINK? I’m dying to know. I just…. sit here in my far off foreign land, making my little… cabaret for… who knows who. I wonder if the thing that i really hoped would work on someone’s heart and psyche actually works. Is anyone even out there i wonder sometimes? Am i alone in here? If anyone’s out there to trust….

On another note: My exTREME thanks to all of you for buying this album. I cannot thank you all enough. I am grateful for each and every single purchase and it is through your overwhelming kindness that i am able to continue making albums. Seriously, i read each name of each person who pops on my notifications from Bandcamp and sometimes i even whisper to your name that you are awesome which i assure you looks very, very creepy on this end especially if you were to just walk in on me talking to my email.

As far as i can tell, reaction seems to be quite favorable. Everyone already knows Lauren is awesome, but Psyche Chimere as Han-Mi seems to be killing it. Lot of love for Han-Mi. If you have a second, i’m DYING to know what people think. I’ve been down here in this basement working on this thing for months and months and months like some mad old coot. Drop a comment if you’re in the mood.



Posted by on December 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


Out Now! Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret!

By Paul Shapera. Featuring Lauren Osborn, Psyche Chimere, and Rhys Owen. Only at Bandcamp. Itunes release next week.

Miss Helen's Weird West Cabaret


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Posted by on December 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


3 Days Until Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret

“AHHHH can’t wait to share the latest epic installment from Mr Shapera, this new musical is my favourite i’ve done with him so far I think,” – Lauren Osborn

Miss Helen's Weird West Cabaret

On Tues Dec 6th Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret does indeed come out. I’m uploading the files now and i believe tonight shall be the last listen. From the moment i put a track aside to begin work on the next one, there is a notepad full of notes on what to do to improve each track. This notepad follows the project all the way until the end. Sometimes it is a LONG list. As we near the end it becomes smaller and smaller, often focusing on things like S’s and bumping up some minor instrument a hair. The words “a hair” are used a LOT. And finally we get to the other night where everything had been taken off the list and nothing new added. It was blank. Thus i pause for a day or two, then sit down in about 15 minutes to listen to it one last time to be certain.

The cast is great.I have been fortunate to have almost exclusively worked with wonderful people on these projects. From New Albion to Lost Hollow almost everyone has been not only a joy to work with, but an honor to have onboard.

Of course as always we have Lauren Osborn. We made her the MC this time and the part was very carefully crafted for her exact skill set. Lauren is of course my big gun, my ultimate weapon. I will never tire of her voice and she has elevated my work immeasurably. Before her my work was below a certain line and with her the work is elevated above it.

Psyche Chimere from the Psyche Corporation plays the protagonist/villainess Han-Mi. I am utterly delighted with both her voice and her embodiment of the character, as i hope you will all be too. Working with her has been a joy and she’ll be along for the entire series (probably 3 Acts) You should check her out:

Rhys Owen absolutely SLAYS the big Henry The Alchemist song. I can listen to him sing all day and will be further experimenting with his voice in the next 2 acts.

How much of it is plotted? All of it and none. So, Miss Helen’s WW Cabaret is a simple 1st act. I know the entire larger story arc, the how,  where and whys. All the major big strokes.  I do not have the specifics of the next two acts plotted. There are a number of ways to approach the next bit and i’m still mulling over them.

I took my time with this one. I was careful. I really, really want this one to be good. I want to enthrall you. I want to tell you stories. I want to suck you in. I want to make your heart burst. I want you to end this album felling like you should be covered in emotional sweat from the aural workout.  I want you to sway along with it without even knowing it. I want to sweep you off your feet. I truly tried.

We shall see.




Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


Coming Dec. 6th: Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret by Paul Shapera

Miss Helen's Weird West Cabaret

Featuring Lauren Osborn as Miss Helen, Psyche Chimere as Han-Mi, Rhys Owen as Henry The Alchemist, and Studly McMuffinpants as The Sheriff. Cover and extras art by Sarah DeBuck.

The album is Act 1 of The Ballad Of Lost Hollow.

Length: 1 hour and 2 minutes. Price likely to be 7 dollars, 5 pounds, or 6 euros if purchased from Bandcamp. As usual, it will go on sale at iTunes several days later.

Listen to an early preview track:

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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


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The Cover To Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret by Sarah DeBuck

The Cover To Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret by Sarah DeBuck

Here it is, folks! By the ever wonderful Sarah DeBuck. So gorgeous i could eat it.


Coming around Dec 6th. I’ll announce for realsies tomorrow.

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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Rabbit Hole Podcast Discusses Dolls.

And Dr. Strange. And plays Disney movie duels. But yes, also has much kindness and nice fuzzy goodness sweet yummy to say about Dolls and the New Albion Trilogy.

Episode 19 – WE’RE BACK!

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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


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). 

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Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized