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.

Electro Swing: Parov Stelar

We continue our exploration of Electro Swing with Parov Stelar, an Austrian musician, producer and DJ. And MAN, this stuff really swings



And of course, how them there kids is dancin’ to this here shenanigans. Cause seriously, watching this guy dance is freaking awesome.

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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


Caravan Palace:Vintage Hopping Electro Swing

First off, thank you everybody for your submissions. They’re wonderful and i will announce the folks in 2 days time. (if you haven’t sent and want to… basically please do it tomorrow). Thank you all for your interest and based on the response i will make sure to do this again to allow folks who didn’t get in this time to do so next time around.

In the meantime, i really wanted to share my new favorite thing. Psyche Corp, who plays Han-Mi sends me youtube vids occasion, whenever the mood strikes or even sometimes when she sees something that pertains to something in the cabaret (some of them are even what she imagine another character feeling based on the plot she’s aware of, which has been interesting because a couple times it’s a… shade of emotion i hadn’t thought of.)

Anyway, a few days ago she sent me this, and I FRICKIN LOVE THIS. The style is electro swing, a genre i’m about to really dive into listening wise, but off the cuff, Caravan Palace just DOES it for me and encapsulates an intro into a genre i’m really ready to hear. Obviously it’s centered on the merging between old style and new. It’s not simply a mimic of the old style (something i’m struggling with), it truly fuses a current, modern sample based, beat making approach with the soul of the old, the old soul nicely remaining and shining through.  I’m really in love with this band, and they will be my gateway.

Their website is here.



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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


Henry The Alchemist: Recording Spoken Snippets

Holy jumpin’ juggalos, i did not expect the reaction on social media to the request for people to do spoken snippets.

SOOoooo…. hmm… this creates a dilemma. How do i choose? How do i possibly know who to choose? Here’s my solution:

I know i am using Timothy Ledsam for the boyfriend parts. I will use Mandy Gasson for one of the lines, DEFinitely. The other lines… you want em? Just record yourself doing them and once i have all i need i’ll tell you all. Just choose a line, or a couple of lines, record them, send them in, and once i have enough good ones to go with i’ll let everyone know.

My email is

Here is the demo of the song. While i sing the demo vocals, i am NOT singing the vocals on the album.  Rhys Owen is. You will note at the song’s climax the worst attempt at a wailing falsetto you’ve ever heard. This is because i cannot sing a wailing falsetto. Rhys Owen CAN. I heard him do it on the video that made me hire him. I heard it and i thought “Hot damn that boy can hit a wailing falsetto, you bet your butt i’m putting a wailing falsetto bit in his song.” So i am singing a pathetic attempt at one in order to show him that that is what should be sung there, just a million times better.

None of this pertains to you fine folks. During the  3rd bridge, at 4:45, you will hear the snippet lines. The first bridge, where Henry and his boyfriend are having an intimate conversation, the boyfriend (Evan) will be performed by Timothy Ledsam. The next one, with the old geezer will be performed by me as the old geezer. The next one, with the many voices, that is all you.

It begins around 4:45

The lines are:

  1. “Henry! There’s a new monster attacking the town! We need Hurl, you’ve got to get it up!
  2. (Female) “He can’t get it up?! But if he doesn’t change we’ll all die!”
  3. “Listen up everyone, we’ve all got to pitch in to give Henry an erection”
  4. (Must be sung by at least two people together. If you record this line, get a friend and sing:) “Get it up, Henry, get it up!”
  5. (I am planning on doing this one, but if you REAAAlly think you can pull it off…. has to be a very baritone cowboy voice, very straight and manly sounding, like a guy from Texas named Bubba:) “Get the Men’s Rowing Club over here. Git yer clothes off and start showering. Yeah, spank each other playfully! You… you cowboys you… oh! Okay, well… you don’t need instructions… Where’s the college kid? Good! Give me that shy freshmen look… pretend you’ve never seen one before… yer so curious you just gotta… oh, it’s working! Come on, Henry! Rise and shine, boy!”

The lines are not gender specific except 2 must be female and 5 must be male. Please send .wav files, not mp3s.

So.. just record them and send them in. As soon as i have what i need, i’ll make and announcement. This was the fairest method i could devise. My email is


Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Uncategorized


Does Anybody Want To Record Some Short Spoken Snippets For The Cabaret?

I have a song in which there are little spoken snippets happening during the bridge sections. It’s just background environment characters saying little quips that pertain to the story the song is telling. They say  some odd things because the song subject is a little odd and risque. I need several voices and thus several people. If a few of you wanted to do it, (assuming you do it well, small snippet or not) and had the ability to record themselves relatively decently (it doesn’t need to be hi end, but it does need to be passable) i’d like to try it out.

Any takers?




Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


There’s A Man In The Woods

This is awesome. You should watch it


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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


What I Do For Work, Pt. 2: Heroic Journey Of The Chocolate Obsessed Squirrel

This was the project where i really bloomed as a sound designer, compiling and using sound effects. Obviously i do all the music, too, but i learned more on this project about sound effects than anything else.

The point of these longer commercials is that they actually break down into smaller the 30 second spots that you see on TV. So while this one tells the full story in it’s minute long version, it usually air as just the first half or just the second half. The score of course adjusts to each smaller permutation.

While a commercial campaign technically exists to please the client, and ultimately the director’s job is to balance his vision of the piece with pleasing the client, my job as composer (and sound designer) isn’t really to please the client. It’s to please the director. I will never meet with or interact with the client. In a commercial gig, the director is god, and when he is happy, i am happy. When you make your own songs on your own albums, you can be the god do whatever you want. In a commercial gig, you exist to make the director’s vision happen as they envision it, just like in a film. Being sent back multiple times at the beginning of the process to get the “sound” of the score right is perfectly normal and should be expected. Once a sound of the score is decided upon it’s usually pretty obvious what to do from there, although there will be a few more rounds of notes. (More build here, more subtle here, lose this instrument here, etc)

The thing is, it’s enormously fun work, especially because you can be asked to do music beds in style you wouldn’t normally try. I love that part. This particular video is not an example of that, but i’m just saying. This score was good fun to make, simple and straight forward enough, and like i said, i progressed enormously as a sound effects designer on this one.

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Posted by on August 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Test. Short film with music and sfx by paul shapera

I’ve had to take a break from working on the Weird West Cabaret, due to a couple actual paying jobs all coming in at the same time. What are actual paying jobs for me like, you didn’t actually ask? Well, they’re like this example.

I work with a few media houses who email me every now and then with a job creating music and sound effects for whatever project they’re working on. Sometimes it’s a commercial or similar type of campaign, sometimes it’s some promotional video for something or other. Like this short film commissioned by the European Zweifel Chips.

Obviously i do all the music you hear, but i also do all the sfx, meaning, anything that isn’t the voices is being added by me. Footsteps? Yup. Every individual step is added in, every click, even the sound of the air in the room, which you don’t even notice you hear, but i assure you, is there in some cases and is added in by your friendly professional sound designer.

I’ve done a lot of work with this particualr director, Mike Huber, and he, more than anyone has taught and helped make me a better sound designer. He used to do sfx design and it’s advice from him that changed my way of thinking. See, as a musician, sound effects has always been something to be added in and around the music. the music is the central piece of audio, the sfx stuff added in around it to fill out the environment. It was on a project previous to this, a chocolate commercial featuring a squirrel, where he suggested i create an entire bed of sfx without music that would sound as complete and real world as possible, down to the sound of the air in the different spaces. This was an epiphany, creating to complete audio beds, one of music, one of purely sfx. My power with the sound design force grew three sizes that day.

So this is the next project we did and i always really liked it, so i’m going to share it. The current project (this is not the current one) is for FIFA and involves a big band score. But that’s for much later. In the meantime:

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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Uncategorized