All good bands must come to an end. And when they do, it can be rather bittersweet. It certainly is for Tyler Ludwick. On Tuesday, he announced via Facebook that his longtime experimental chamber pop project, Princess Music, will be breaking up after one last show on August 28 at the hi-dive.
Started in 2010 by Ludwick and drummer Robin Chestnut, Princess Music quickly turned into a sonically expansive quintet when Ludwick added Jeremy Averitt on bass, Rachel Sliker on violin and viola, as well as Psyche Cassandra Dunkhase on cello. With this lineup, Ludwick quickly began writing for strings, becoming the band's main songwriter and arranger.
After plenty of shows and a very successful Kickstarter campaign (which raised more than $10,000 for recording costs), Princess Music released it's debut album, Odobenidae, in August 2013. Since the album's release, however, Ludwick began losing his taste for the heavily orchestrated songs that make up the eight-track effort.
"That whole album represented the place that I was in as an artist, where I was so into using organic textures coupled with a rock band core." Ludwick explains. "I was influenced by straight-up composers; listening to the 'emperor' concerto and all these other pieces by Beethoven."
Like his main muse Beethoven, Ludwick studied classical composition at a young age. For Odobenidae, he wrote all of the music, which included arrangements for guitar, violin, viola, bass, cello, flutes and even bass clarinet. While this was a rewarding process, the songs were lacking a certain visceral element.
"The music I have been making so far has been very 'from the brain,' it's been very cerebral," Ludwick notes, "Now I think my vision have been more modernized. I don't want to notate music anymore, I just want to be able to feel the ideas and play them and have them there."
Part of Ludwick's newfound, spontaneous approach to songwriting was inspired by his home studio, which he has been building over the past few months.
"When it's just me in my bedroom recording on my computer, the ideas come much more easily. It's ultimately just what I want to hear," Ludwick muses. "What if I don't want to hear [Princess Music] in my songs? What do I do? I can either put all the time, money, resources and energy in teaching the members of the band a new vision or I can decide to start anew."
Although starting over was a hard and saddening decision, Ludwick feels positive about it. "I know it seems completely ridiculous, that I would dash away four years of hard work, writing all these songs that I know are good with a band that is second to none," Ludwick says. "But they did not represent the complete culmination of my influences and what I want to become as an artist. I'm still growing."
Princess Music will play one final show on August 28 at the hi-dive. Eventually, he plans to unveil a slew of fresh songs under a new moniker that will help him grow even more as a musician. To him, both of these notions are a silver lining.
"There's still going to be good that comes out of this," he says. "It's not the end of the book, it's not the end of the saga, it's going to continue to go on."
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