PLSDSP Live EP coming soon

Good news! The PLSDSP live EP is being mixed & we expect to have the recording out to donors this month. Public release (for free of course) will follow a few weeks after that.

And yes, it’s unfortunately just an EP. We had unrecoverable recording errors on the second half of the show, so this will just be the first 5 songs and a little bit of video. There is a little orchestra in those first five tracks, but not a ton, which is disappointing. It is definitely better than nothing, and doing a “one night only” event meant we were always running a risk of something going wrong. And hey, it did!

All the more reason to do it again, right? Alas, we just can’t afford that; we used the donations to do it once, and we gave the remainder to the Awesöme Orchestra Collective as promised. Maybe someday we can make it happen, knowing what we know now!

Anyway, stay tuned to your mailboxes shortly if you are a donor, and set your calendars for early May for the public release! (And how pretty is the cover, featuring photography by Sandy K, Smith?)

PLSDSP Live: The Afterglow

Last night’s live performance of Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans with Awesöme Orchestra Collective was everything we’d dared hope it might be — an inspiring night of making music for and with an audience, taking our silly idea to its unlikely sophisticated conclusion. We were thrilled at how it went, and we can now confirm that there is no better way to make your live debut as a band by playing with a 90-piece orchestra. Really not bad for our first gig.

Several special thanks are in order, as unlike the album, this was not a two-person project:

– Katrin Auch, producer, costumer, videographer, and the third Ninja
– Sandy Smith and Rachelle Rabin, who captured photos and video in real time
– Our extended band family of Travis KindredAnthony MartinezMike Christie, and Brad Marasco
– “The Fab Four” harmony vocalists Hannah WolfErik SmithStephanie Dowling & Blythe Renay
– David MöschlerBrian Adam McCuneBaily Hopkins and the rest of the amazing folks at Awesöme Orchestra Collective who actually provided a functional answer to “where the hell do we find an orchestra?”
– Brendan West, who made Hertz Hall possible and then made Hertz Hall sound glorious
– John Thompson, who built and operated our one true celebrity, R2-D2
– Doug Lilly and Juli Gamble, who ran check-in even though they’d barely unpacked their things after moving to the area
– Philip Wolf, for the awesome help in front and behind stage
– Our sponsors, Coherent Blue Software and This Old Game, whose support ensured everybody who attended left with a full-color program that included all the lyrics
– Steve Marinucci & Andrew Gilbert for the kind words in the press
– Tony Baldini, whose illustration for our fundraising t-shirt and mini-posters turned out incredible despite our commission coming at a terrible time in his workflow

And of course, we appreciate everyone who gave this event time, money, or attention. To us, it’s like we haven’t shut up about it for six months, but we knew we had one shot at this, and we really did need all the help we could get! So if nothing else, thank you for enduring our fundraising campaign. We were not only able to cover our costs but we’ll be donating the additional funding directly to AO so they can continue their musical adventures around the Bay Area.

We will release much nicer photos, audio, and video as we get them cleaned up and edited, but here are a few of our behind-the-scenes shots — they do not do justice to the energy in the room and the positive, collaborative spirit of everyone involved.

Our hope is to release the concert as a live album, free as usual. Watch this space. We’re going to take a nap.

PLSDSP Live: October 20 in Berkeley!

Here’s the info you’ve been waiting for! On Saturday October 20 we’re performing all of Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans live — with the full power of the Awesöme Orchestra Collective.— at Hertz Hall at UC Berkeley. And we need your help in making it happen!

Performing the album live with a full orchestra is something we might only get to do once, so Jude and I really want to make this everything we feel it can be. Hertz Hall was designed for symphonic music — it will sound phenomenal — and we want to have the show recorded in both audio and video formats, which we will release publicly at a later date. So to make all of that happen, we’ve come up with a three-prong, one-time fundraiser:

DONATE: If you just want to donate a few bucks, we have an account on PayPal  — anything helps! All donors will receive a download link for the live recording of the show in advance of its public release, and your names will be included in the credits (if you want that). So please make sure you include your email of choice somewhere in there — we’ll assume it’s your PayPal address unless you say otherwise.

UPDATE: VIP & VIP Plus tickets are no longer available — thank you for the enthusiastic support! Standard free seating is still available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 6pm! 
If you plan to attend in person, we’re setting aside the first few rows at $20 per seat. If you donate $20 through PayPal and specify that you want a “VIP ticket” (please note if you’re planning to attend with friends or family, you can get as many $20 premium seats as you want until they’re gone), we will have a VIP list at the door with your name on it. And if you really want to shoot the works, a super-generous $40 $30 gets you a literal front row seat second row seat plus a souvenir packet including a laser-cut PLSDSP keychain, a desktop R2 model, some PLSDSP guitar picks, a custom replica of the infamous plans themselves, and other goodies that we are still putting together. There are only a limited number of these special seats, so claim your “VIP Plus” package early! Same email contact rules apply — let us know where we can send you a link to the recording when the time comes.

LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT: If you cannot attend but you like getting physical stuff for your donation, we are selling a limited-edition t-shirt which will only be available for the duration of this fundraiser. It features a commissioned illustration by Tony Baldini of Lightning Dogs fame. (Since Spreadshirt doesn’t show us your email when you order, you’ll need to drop us a note with your order number so we know how to send you a download link later.) More info on the shirt is here.

All the funds we’ve received so far from the release of the album are being applied to our costs here, but it’s not quite enough. That said, any funds we raise in excess of what we need to cover our costs go to the Awesöme Orchestra. Nothing will be wasted and we will not take advantage of anyone’s generosity. We just can’t pay for all of this out of pocket.

We’ve put together an amazingly talented band with players and singers from around the country, plus the Awesöme Orchestra is appropriately named. They will also perform selections from John Williams’ film score as part of the show, and we have a few other fun things planned too. The venue seats more than 600 people, and the show will be appropriate for all ages. Cosplay is strongly encouraged! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

We are thrilled that we get the chance to perform the album live, and we are committed to doing this as well as it can be done. If you can help — either by donating some money or simply spreading the word about the event and the fundraiser — please do. It’s deeply appreciated. Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to share a social media reminder for the event, and to spread the word about the fundraiser, just send folks to this page, please!

We can’t wait for October 20!


March 2017 Update

The last month has been very productive. While we had hoped to have everything squared away and done by the end of February, we are spilling into March — but there’s enough wiggle room in the schedule that it’s not terrible.

We have eight tracks fully complete now, with the ninth in final mix, on the bubble of being approved for release. That leaves four songs. Two of those are complete except for relatively minor instrumental additions/changes; we have some digital instruments that can be improved or replaced or both, so that needs to happen. The remaining two songs were pretty bare as of last weekend, but now have content all the way through to confirm structure, whether it be bass or guide vocal or piano or some mix of the above. Now it’s a question of “decorating the tree” (or “hanging meat on the skeleton” if you prefer a different holiday). We are each adopting one of those tracks as we build them out, then we’ll swap and finish each other’s work. That will probably take us a few more weeks, but with so many songs done — the first six sequentially, and now very close to the first eight in order — we’re in good shape as the video pitches get underway.

We have a friend representing our biz dev interests, approaching online content producers and distributors about making videos for some of the songs we’ve recorded. While that’s happening, Kat is working on album art (which is pretty darned close to done) as well as a few other visual surprises, including new promotional photos. And weirdly, we are working on getting this very website — which is as clean as a whistle — removed from some internet malware blacklists. Guess there were old issues with WordPress that got us flagged, but after the site was fixed, the flags were never removed. We’re now going to the individual watchdog sites and asking for new evaluations. That’s what we get for running our own website.

While we considered working with outside musicians, we did wind up doing everything ourselves — drums, esoteric instruments, you name it — and we are still working all weekend every weekend, plus some time after work during the week when energy and responsibilities allow — at the expense of our gaming, for sure. But we’re definitely at the point where we listen to the tracks and no longer say “What the hell are we doing?” but “Wow, we did that?” Hopefully you will, too.

February 2017 update

For the second half of 2016, we were basically sidelined by real life. The last two months, we’ve done everything we can to make up for that; the last three weekends have been particularly fruitful/exhausting. We’re also at that crucial time where we feel like we’re getting a lot of great work done…but we still cannot tell anybody what we’re up to. This will all be explained once the project is officially announced and we start promoting it, but trust us — we’re bustin’ our butts here.

The very good news: The first five tracks are as complete as we can make them. Through a friend who has biz skills, we are now ready to approach potential video partners with these songs as our calling card, along with the full (copyrighted!) lyrics and a project overview.

Please cross your fingers.