What: Princess Music
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-377-1666
More info: bluebirdtheater.net
Princess Music releases a debut LP titled Odobenidae this week. In case the walrus on the album cover doesn’t tip anyone off, know that the title is a family of the Pinnipeds species, of which the walrus is the only living member. We talked to Princess Music frontman Tyler Ludwick about all that walrus imagery and how he wrote and recorded a record with a 17-piece orchestra, which will join him and his usual four-piece band on stage at the Bluebird Theatre on Friday night.
So on Friday you’ll celebrate the release of your first LP. How does it feel?
It feels really good.
And it’s been a year in the making, right?
Off and on. We started recording all the stuff maybe even more than a year ago, then I started writing for the orchestra about nine months ago.
How did that process go? When did you decide to bring in the orchestra?
I think it started with a conversation I was having with my violinist, Rachel (Sliker) in the car after practice about how a lot of funding for the orchestras nowadays come from grants and endowments and things like that, and not off of ticket sales. Then, we thought, ‘Whoa, I’d love to incorporate orchestra into a popular style or popular configuration. I’d love to try my hand at writing for orchestra.’ I’d never done it before. I’d written for cello, violin and viola. I started writing for woodwinds and flutes and so on.
Was that daunting?
It was a pretty audacious undertaking. I mean, honestly, I started off kind of believing that I couldn’t do it, which is all the more reason to try.
What were the challenges of making an orchestra work with that popular style?
There really weren’t many challenges, I think, except envisioning things in that dimension — basically expanding the scope of how I experience the music, spending a lot of time in my own head, trying to wrap it around how all these instruments and harmonic textures are going to interact with each other.
What was it like finally getting on stage with the orchestra to rehearse?
It’s the epitome of my whole life’s work as an artist, I think. Up to this point, it’s really the pinnacle.
One last thing: What’s with the walrus imagery?
I think that’s more so just to tie the ethos of the record revolving around walruses and whatnot. However, I think I just — I had accidentally said something about a walrus when I was trying to write lyrics and kind of saw it as a very attractive image, to me, in my mind. It made me realize that I had sort of harbored all of these unconscious feelings about walruses being these very triumphant and stark — but sometimes vulnerable — creatures, which is how I wanted the record to sound. The watercolor (album art) itself — it’s all blotchy. It reflects my desire for the album to come across as something sort of grand in its humility, and humble in its grandeur. It’s oxymoronic in that way.