Robbie Ellis

Robbie Makes an Album

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Hello world, Robbie Ellis here. For the last six years, I've been writing and performing comedy songs. Now I want to produce a proper studio album.

You may know me as a composer, as a music director for theatre/improv/sketch, or as a classical music broadcaster. You may know me from Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin or Chicago. You probably know that I have a unique point of view on the world.

I express that through comedy songs of strange subject matter, including root vegetables, literature, cycling, classical music, drinking, not drinking, being a New Zealander in the US surrounded by bad coffee, and love.

For my first NZ visit in 2 years, I've booked time at Orange Studios in Christchurch and Ellamy Studios in Auckland. I've lined up some fantastic players including Jono Sawyer, Yvette Audain and Sarah McCracken. Now I just need to pay for all this.

The goal of this campaign is NZ$9,000 (approx. US$6,800). After success fees, that'll just about cover studio time for recording and mixing, and professional fees for session musicians on winds, brass, strings, guitar and drums.

I'm contributing plenty of money myself, not to mention a million little jobs that a producer does. As well as arranging all the music, I'll be singing; playing piano, bass guitar and double bass; doing A LOT of the donkey-work of editing the takes together. I'll have square eyes by the end of it, I'm sure.

I want an album I'll be proud of, and one you'll be proud of too. Please give generously, and when it comes out on Spotify you can pay nothing to stream it guilt-free. Thank you.

- Hey Chicagoland! Come to MCL Chicago on Sunday September 10 at 8pm. I'll perform songs from this upcoming album, and there'll also be musical theatre, musical sketch, and guest artists. Tickets are $25 in advance from this webpage right here.

- If you donate NZ$50.00 here, that'll be close to US$38.00.
- If you donate NZ$100.00, that'll be roughly US$76.00.
- If you donate NZ$1000.00, I will love you for all eternity.
Caveat: exchange rates go up and down, your bank may charge an international transaction fee, I can't help that sorry, check with your credit card provider because some charge fees and some don't.


  • Pumpkins - album out now


    Hello Boosted and Boosted donors - my album is finished! It is called Pumpkins, and it was released today on Bandcamp, iTunes/Apple Music, and Spotify.

    Thank you to everyone who donated: you should have received your complimentary download codes in your email last week. If you did not, please contact me asap and I'll set you right.

    You can order CDs, downloads and T-shirts at my Bandcamp page:

    CDs are ready to ship within the United States. As for New Zealand, a box of CDs was stuck at Customs for two weeks. I have literally had to pay my own government a fee to pay them tax. Eh whatever. If you're in New Zealand and would like a CD, you can order one and the shipping will be the same price as within the US.

    Many thanks to Boosted and all the donors - I couldn't have done this without you! Project CLOSED.

    Pumpkins - album out now
  • Album fully tracked.


    Hello world! An update on my album.

    After eight days in the studio - 1 at Ellamy Studios in Auckland, 7 at Orange Studios in Christchurch - my album is 100%* tracked. I have preliminary mixes of all 15 songs, although some need some fine tweaks with editing.

    Right now I am forgetting about the album for 2.5 weeks while my lovely girlfriend (happy birthday, Jen) is in New Zealand for the first time and I'm showing her around. Greetings from Arrowtown by the way. I'm going to forget about the album entirely before re-embarking on edits once I'm back in Chicago.

    In alphabetical order, my songs are:
    - An Icelandic Psychedelic Rock Song About Poland
    - Bike Lane
    - Book Club
    - Dry July
    - Flat White
    - Flying Monkeys
    - How Many Legs
    - I Am a Cat
    - Love is a Four-Letter Word
    - Malört
    - Pumpkins
    - Root Vegetable Opera
    - Symphony No 1 in Eb
    - Ukulele Comedy Song
    - Where I'm From

    Dry July took the longest to track... possibly 10-11 hours all up? Ukulele Comedy Song took 25 minutes.

    I so far credit the following people (in order):
    - Louis Bernstone (tracking engineer)
    - Jono Sawyer (drums)
    - Michael Bell (tracking engineer)
    - Robbie Ellis (bass guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals, double bass, ukulele, percussion)
    - Sarah McCracken (violin)
    - Jiwon Lee (violin)
    - Pippa Mills (viola)
    - Naomi Hnat (cello)
    - Yvette Audain (clarinet & alto saxophone)
    - Kira Josephson, Charlotte Elsie Crone, Brendon Bennetts, Kris Finnerty, Michael Bell (crowd vocals)
    - Anthony Ferner (flute, piccolo & alto flute)
    - Thomas Eves (trumpets)
    - Chris Petch (trombone)
    - Matt Griffo (tracking engineer & crowd vocals)
    - Zach Stinnett (crowd vocals)
    - Thom O'Connor (mix & tracking engineer)
    - Tom Harris (accordion)
    - Jennifer Stuart (whistling)

    Timeline from here: not releasing anything until the new year. Let's be realistic. Maybe February? I hope!



    Album fully tracked.
  • Personal thanks at 450 syllables per second.


    One last crowdfunding video upon my campaign success - this is a personal thank you to every donor in the style of the Animaniacs. Also there's some Tchaikovsky and I retire the bad violin once and for all.

    Spot your name in the video!

    All session musicians are booked, the music's almost all arranged, and tracking starts on October 3. 10 days until I fly out!

    Personal thanks at 450 syllables per second.
  • Made it!


    Oh hi! If you’re reading this on Boosted’s website, you can see I reached my donation target - and with 32 hours to spare! To the 111 of you who donated, thank you. Thank you, merci, danke, gracias. Wow.

    While I’m overjoyed because I can now pay my players and studios, I am still covering other expenses out of my own pocket. For example:
    - Mastering! This costs $70+GST per track - so that’ll be nearly $1000 total.
    - Artwork! I’m guessing this’ll be three figures? Haven’t actually got a quote from any designer but I’m budgeting $400-$500.
    - CD manufacture! I know it’s 2017, but some music consumers still prefer physical media. An initial run of 300 CDs will set me back around $1500.

    Put it this way, I'm not going to say no to more money.

    There are still benefits to donating by the way: if I get your email address, you’ll get a digital preview copy of the album before everyone else, plus I’ll feature your name in an Animaniacs-style list song of all donors.

    For now, I’ll leave you with 98.7 WFMT’s traditional sound of fundraising success, performed by my hometown orchestra:

    And thank you!

    Made it!
  • The final pitch!


    Hello wonderful donors! With just 64 hours to go, I'm so so so close. I've made one final video addressing the Who, the What and the Why of my album:

    Thank you to those who have donated already, but would you do one more favour? Tell a friend. Tell two friends. Tell your jokester friend. Tell the one with the dryest sense of humour. Tell the wryest. The wriest? The most wry. Tell the dry, the wry, tell Stephen Fry. (Do any of you legitimately know Stephen Fry?)

    Only 13 days until I fly out of Chicago, and only 21 days until my first day of album tracking. I really must finish all that arranging.


    The final pitch!
  • Bad Violin Vol. 2


    Hello world! Some of you asked for more bad violin playing. Not enough of you asked for no more bad violin playing. Below, I attempt the Sibelius Violin Concerto (abridged).

    Please, tell your friends about #RobbieMakesAnAlbum - I should have made it a hashtag from the beginning. Share this project page and get that funding:

    Enjoy [sic] the video. 9 days to go!

    Bad Violin Vol. 2
  • Almost halfway!


    Thank you for all your support again - it's almost the halfway point of the crowdfunding campaign, and almost halfway to the $9,000 goal for Robbie Makes an Album.

    In true chain letter style, please pass this message on to 10 friends or you will be cursed with bad luck in love for a bkjhillion years.

    To underline the importance of paying professional players to get the best result possible, I made a video of my own violin playing. Which of Vivaldi's Four Seasons sounds the worst? Ever wanted to hear The Lark Ascending plummet to earth? Hear me put the "no" in Pachelbel's Canon, and... well... "enjoy" the video.

    Also, if you're in Chicago, don't forget to book for my album fundraiser on Sunday September 10. Presales are cheaper than door sales, just saying. Book here:

    Okay thanks everyone!

    Almost halfway!
  • Thanks to the first 50 donors!


    Hello world! Just over one week in, and nearly at 30% funded. Thank you for all your support. Tell you what: how about you tell a friend or two about this? Or all of your friends. That works too.

    In the video below, I thank each one of my first 50 donors individually in the style of the Animaniacs. It only took me 12 takes. Enjoy my video and tell all your friends that you were mentioned in song!

    Also, you can book right now for my fundraiser gig at MCL Chicago on Sunday September 10. More details here:

    Enjoy the video!

    Thanks to the first 50 donors!