What a ride...

As the final days of 2016 tick down I've been reflecting on what was easily the most productive year I've ever had.  It was only four years ago I started this acoustic journey and I could never have imagined it would lead this far so soon. I released my debut album, toured Canada multiple times, landed sponsorships from some amazing companies and shared the stage with some of my favourite musicians.

On that note I'm very excited to announce my new partnership with Dimarzio Pickups. It's a dream come true to join a roster of artists that include my childhood heroes Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. 

Looking forward, 2017 will be another huge year that will see multiple releases including my next acoustic instrumental album 'Chasing The Light'. The title reflects my tireless pusuit to capture inspiration and I'm proud to say this music is easily the best I've ever composed. I'll be recording once again with the legendary Antoine Dufour this coming June and plan to have the album out by late July.

I also plan to release my debut vocal album featuring 10 original songs inspired by my travels through South East Asia.  

As well, I'll be in the studio this February recording the next Stache album 'All Hail The Rail' and will also be unleashing the new 'West Of Hell' record. 

It's a challenge balancing all these musical hats at times but I am one of the luckiest musicians in the world to work with such wonderful people while getting to follow my dreams. 

 

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to listen to my music and visit this site, it means the world to me to have your support!!

I plan to blog extensively so check back often as this will be the best place to keep up with my activities and first place you'll hear updates.

Happy New Years and see you next year!!

Kris

 

 

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A day in the life

Yesterday I celebrated my 25th year of being a guitar instructor by teaching for 12 hours with no break. The craziest part is that I enjoyed every second of it thanks in large part to my students who brought so much passion and enthusiasm to each lesson.

 

The intense schedule was an accident and I didn't realize I had booked such a long day until 3am the night before while finishing up some transcribing.

 

At first I was horrified wondering how I'd manage to survive the upcoming day but that fear quickly turned into a welcome challenge. Some well timed meal replacement bars along with copious amounts of caffeine paved my way to the finish line.

 

Half way through the day my record streak was threatened by a last minute cancellation but a hero student jumped up to save the day by agreeing to extend his lesson an extra hour.

 

It was 25 years ago that I landed my first teaching job at Cheam Music in my hometown of Chilliwack.

My dad bullshitted my way into the gig by assuring the owner Gordie that I knew everything there was to know about guitar and voilà, I had my first job in music.

I was 16 years old and as green as it gets but managed to hold it together long enough to know I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life.

 

I remember those early days very well and can honestly say I love teaching just as much today as I did back then.

I've worked with well over a thousand students,hit a peak load of over 40 hours a week and slowly but surely have established myself as a valued instructor in the area.

 

I've worked with beginner to advanced level in almost every style and genre you can imagine.

I've proudly watched my "kids" grow up to become some of the greatest players in the area and perform in some amazing bands. Many have even gone on to become teachers themselves, words cannot describe how good that makes me feel.

I've taught Stairway To Heaven, Sweet Child O'Mine, Wish You Were Here and Sweet Home Alabama more times than I can count but still get joy from watching someone else learn them for the first time. No part of teaching means more to me than witnessing the initial sparks of inspiration a new student gets from learning their first songs and realizing THIS is something they are going to do for the rest of their lives.

 

I want to sincerely thank all my students, past and present, for sharing their love and passion of music with me for over a quarter century!!

 

 

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And the wheels keep turning...

It's 6:40 am ET as we fly down the Quebec highways on route to our next gig.

My bandmates are peacefully asleep and contributing some of their finest works to our "Snorechestra". Our trusty and multi-talented driver 'G-Tone' sings quietly to himself up front while I enjoy the genius and force of nature that is Mr.Jeff Buckley through my earphones.

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it but this is the first time I've really dug into Jeff's music. Like so many, I'm haunted by his ethereal vocals and immense talent, one that threatens to jump out of my earbuds and strangle my soul with his musical beauty.

I'm not ashamed to admit I have tears in my eyes at this very moment, his inspired melodies are reminding me yet again why I've chosen this life path so many times before.

This is tour #5 of the year, a year that's seen me play more shows than ever before and we're only 7 months in. I'm smiling from ear to ear, IT'S REALLY BEEN THAT MUCH FUN:) !!!!

My last post came on the heals of my first ever solo tour, (#3) one that overwhelmed me in every sense of the word by its scope and life lessons.

I barely had time to catch my breath while taking in the unfamiliar surroundings of my new home before commencing my next adventure.

That one was with fellow finger stylist 'Calum Graham'.

We played and sang our hearts out and somewhere during the shared journey, became brothers.  Performing alongside Calum was a dream come true and I grew so much as a musician as a result.

After that stint it was straight into the bus for the first ever cross Canadian Cocaine Moustache tour.

This is my band of brothers, my best friends and some of the funniest and genuine people I've ever known. This band works it's ass off to create some really badass music. I'm so proud of our achievement and level of execution on this tour. Night after night we have played our best and won over the crowd.

Next up I'll be performing at the Metallion festival in northern B.C. with all 3 of my main projects.

Both my bands are featured headliners and I've also been asked to perform a solo acoustic set. I can't think of a better way to celebrate this wonderful year of music then by getting the opportunity to fire off all my canons on the same weekend:)

 

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A tale of two tours

13,000 kms, 21 shows, 0 speeding tickets and 0 animal kills = one hell of a successful tour!!

 

I'm absolutely thrilled with the results of my first solo tour across Canada and never could have imagined it'd go so well. Don't get me wrong, I had very high hopes it would work out but also had to be realistic something bad would likely happen. To look back now as I lay in my own bed and reflect on the last month is a very satisfying gift in its own right.

 

The shows that stick out the most were the ones I expected the least from. I found that the most rewarding experiences had nothing to do with how many people attended or how much money I made. More so, it was in the shared experience of transporting both myself and the audience to another level that brought me the greatest joy.

This music I shared was a vehicle built from the heart and created through years of life experiences. Performing it live has been cathartic and getting to personally witness its effects on others has been an inspiration to me.

All of this has certainly confirmed core beliefs I've had since a young age but had long ago abandoned in pursuit of false and material happiness.

 

I'd always dreamt my music would one day take me traveling around the world and resonate with like minded people.

For most of my adult life I sat around waiting for  musical opportunities to present themselves while silently suffering internally at my inability to make anything concrete happen.

Coupling that with the all too common financial strain of dealing with life's daily challenges proved to be an overwhelming obstacle in reaching my life dreams. I knew I had to rethink my priorities and restructure my entire life or I would risk never venturing out of my safe and predictable existence to see if there was something better waiting for me.

So I gave up my house, job, car and everything I owned except for two acoustic guitars and embarked on an adventure around the world that would forever change my life for the better.

Traveling forces you to live in the moment, it challenges you to grow out of your comfort zone and face fears you didn't know you had.

All in all it proved to be the ultimate catalyst I needed to rediscover who I really was in my core, a musician with a story to share. I truly believe we all possess this ability to connect with our truest natures but the challenges and obstacles are so high in number we are literally beat down from reaching them.

 

I've never owned less yet owed more and this is not an easy place to exist but it has challenged me to continually push myself on my craft and for that I've never felt richer. I've had to make very difficult choices along the way while giving up many other hobbies and interests but too many things were preventing me from focusing my energy on music.

I started to remember the power I possessed as a kid. A stubborn and defiant trait that knew in my heart, the only thing I truly wanted to do was play guitar and immerse myself in music. I wondered in frustration, how at the adult age of 30 could I have lost that inspired spark and allowed life to overwhelm me into complacency.

I'd always promised myself I would stay true to my heart and yet now felt like a traitor to my own cause. I was somewhat successful to wear this disconnected mask for many years before my glass world shattered. I'll spare the intimate details for another time and place but suffice to say, I would not be where I am today without being forced to faced my demons head on.

If you've read this far it's likely you're looking for inspiration to help on your own personal journey and that's why I've dedicated this blog to such introspective topics.

Many musicians I've met on the road have told me personally that my shared story and journey have helped and inspired them. I could receive no greater honor in life so thank you for that sincerely!

I don't think for one second that what I've gone through or what I currently feel is at all applicable to anyone else. We all have our own unique story to write.

I personally find it more liberating to share my true story rather than hide it and pretend everything has come via talent or was easily obtained. The very concept of talent is as false and misleading a thought as there ever was.

Sure, some of us possess various traits and skills that could be mistaken for talent but nobody ever got anywhere by sitting around and doing nothing. It's not what you are given, it's what you do with it that makes the journey worthwhile.

 

 

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Tour Update

 

 

Just under 7,000 kms and 16 shows under my belt. What an adventure it's been so far including my near run in with a jaywalking moose that most certainly would have destroyed my Honda Fit tour bus.

Canada sure is a beautiful, unique and challenging country to tour with endless stretches of deserted highway and kamikaze wildlife looking to thwart your journey at every turn.

 

I'm currently enjoying a rather mellow day off in the inspiring city of Montreal and have been graciously taken in by the multi talented couple of JJ Coolidge and his lovely Sandra.

It's been wonderful to pause and catch my breath before embarking again tomorrow to begin the long journey back home. This French Canadian paradise is the perfect place to reflect while enjoying fantastic company and rich culture.

 

Overall the turnouts and shows have been amazing, especially back on the familiar home turf of B.C. and Alberta. The early success of those shows took much of the pressure off my eastern leg which has definitely been sparse in support save for a wonderful night in Kitchener.

 

Regardless of the hit and miss turnouts, I'm really happy to have forged this far and have gained a better understanding of what to do differently for next time. No one could have predicted the record breaking temperatures and summer like conditions that have basked Ontario and Quebec in a haze of celebratory joy.

The last thing anyone wants to do here is be stuck inside some dark venue while the rest of the population is out enjoying parks, patios and camping retreats. This is a common theme I've noticed over the last 5 or so years of touring across Canada and it particularly affects the big cities. I've concluded that the conventional wisdom of saving your prize weekend gigs for the larger cities is actually backwards. From now on I will attempt to book my big city dates on week nights and save the weekends for smaller the towns who's inhabitants generally get to enjoy the outdoors on a more regular basis.

 

Many people have inquired about how I went about booking this tour so I'll do my best to share the strategy here albeit in a nutshell.

 

It took about two months and hundreds of cold calls and emails to line up these dates. I started by drawing up a loose outline of the tour stops focusing first on anchoring the weekends in with big cities.

It was an incredibly time consuming experience but I learned a lot along the way.

I would google live music venues for each city, research prospective venues to find a good fit and then customize my message in hopes of securing a gig. Just to give you an idea of how this played out, I attempted over 20 bookings in Winnipeg and received not a single response.

 

I had a bit of help on two of the gigs but otherwise this method worked best for the most part.

After I locked in the "anchor" dates I then filled in the weekdays with smaller town dates that were ideally no more than 4hrs driving distance.

 

I sought out rooms that had a special vibe conducive to a sharing an intimate  musical experience.

The ideal seating capacity is 30-70 as this lends itself to a very special communication between myself and the audience.

I like to imagine how it would have been long ago in Spain before flamenco became a commodity to be sold in Larger venues. The 'Duende' or spirit of the muse is much easier to share in smaller spaces with an attentive audience. The original cantina parties must have been something to behold, a far cry from the impersonal experience of a thousand plus seat theatre.

Don't get me wrong, ultimately I'm aiming to take this show to theatre size venues but I do enjoy the intimacy of a small yet enthusiastic audience dearly and would happily spend the rest of my life performing for them.

 

I rented a Bose L1 model II system from L&M with extra large sub speaker as most of the venues were not equipped for live performance. Those systems are ideal for traveling solo performers and the ease of setup is unmatched.

 

Traveling solo in a Honda Fit is the most economical way to go these days. Gas is affordable, there is plenty of space and I even have enough room in the back to fully stretch out in my bunk. I loved showing off the amount of gear I could stow to stunned friends and family.

 

So there you have it, I'm the composer, performer, booking agent, driver, sound man, merch guy and marketing team. It's a lot of hats to wear but a necessary part of the process I'm sure anyone who's ever gone into business for themselves can relate to.

 

Live music support is definitely on the decline due to numerous reasons including the downturned economy, venues closing, and a shift in lifestyle that sees less people venturing out to traditional drinking establishments. Also,many people are turned off by the thought of a live act that is often so loud it's nearly impossible to talk and connect with friends and family.

However, life will always change so it's up to us to adapt or we risk becoming jaded and cynical.

Someone, somewhere has always figured out a solution and always will.

I envision the industry side of music as a long lineup of great musicians queuing up for the same door they were told was the only way to success.

It's daunting at times to see how many people are in that line so rather than wait and suffer a slow death, I focus on building my own doors. For better or for worse and at the very least, it's exciting to forge your own path to a career in the arts. I'm more than happy to just make ends meet while pursuing my passion and getting to share it with people who have a similar appreciation for original music.

Having said that, I do have some lofty goals that will involve a large personal investment of time and money. I'd love to open a school of music that focuses primarily on reaching children that face various life challenges including disability, learning disabilities and poverty.

The trick will always be to find the balance between keeping my art pure and inspired while learning to run the business side that ensures I'll be able to continue. It's an uncomfortable thought at the best of times but nowadays you have no choice but to be your own advocate.

 

I am very fortunate to be where I am today and grateful for every bit of this experience . It wasn't always this way and yes I worked my ass off to get here but many things have had to line up for me to be in this space. It will always be a goal of mine to help spread useful information and inspiration so please feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions regarding your own artistic career development.

 

That's all for now, I hope you are all enjoying your muse and want to thank you sincerely for supporting me and being a part of this journey.

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The Tour Commences

It's the night before I embark on my first ever solo tour across Canada and despite the worst cold I've had in two years I'm pumped!!

 

A lot has happened since I last posted including a clinic I performed alongside Pierre Bensusan and George Lowden. Talk about an experience of a lifetime,wow!!! To be fair, I only played a small role in helping George demo some of his beautiful Lowden guitars before Pierre took over but hey, those are some pretty decent bragging rights haha;)

 

George has been one of the world's most premier acoustic guitar builders since the 70's and his experience and expert skill are second only to his passion for innovation. 

His enthusiasm shone brightly as he walked us through the history of his building techniques and I was inspired by his desire to continue pushing the envelope of his craft.

As Tiger Woods once said " matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part".

 

Witnessing the indescribable gifts of Pierre Bensusan left me a changed man for the better.  I truly had no idea how good he was. Much more than just a renowned virtuoso guitarist, Pierre is the consummate musician who's reached the level of absolute freedom.

 

I am so inspired by artists like him and grateful for the gifts they have worked so hard to present us. If I'm ever feeling uninspired all I have to do is go to a concert and soak up all the energy while reminding myself of why I started doing this in the first place. It's never been about fame or sales but a connection between the performer and the audience.

In today's day and age I fear many people have replaced the viscerally stimulating experience of sharing a live musical experience and replaced it with a canned version coming out of a lifeless box.

Anyone who says there is no more good music coming out needs to crawl out of their isolated tech cave and venture outside for some live music. In my opinion, the fall of the record industry has led to a resurgence in the creative underground musical community.

Yes there are many new challenges artists face in getting compensated for the work and I for one know these all to well. However, it's almost like a clean slate and opportunities are only limited by your imagination or lack thereof.

Instead of "queuing up" in an infinitely long line for a door someone else told you to go through, build your own.

In other words, don't go where the ball is, design your own court and throw it wherever the hell you want.

 

Now onto the tour....

 

Spending countless hours trying to improve my guitar and vocal skills has been fun and rewarding but somewhere along the way I realized I now have to be a (dreaded word amongst guitarists) FRONTMAN!!!

Talk about getting thrown out of my comfort zone. I have been very fortunate to perform alongside two of the best frontmen in Vancouver, Chris "The Heathen" Valagao and Jesse "White Willie Sniffsum" Burch. These guys are bosses and command, I mean demand an audiences attention. Despite my best efforts to "shred" a crowds face off with a raging guitar solo I often look up after only to see their eyes glued to the real stars of the show.

Hats off to the true frontmen and women of the world, you keep us entertained and put out your heart and soul out night after night.

I do believe in the value of entertainment while still putting out a high level musical experience. So many of my favorite players have mastered this difficult marriage, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, and Steve Vai just to name a couple.

Fewer still are those rare performers who's very essence exudes so much coolness they merely need to show up for the crowd to go wild. I'm looking at you Paco De Lucia and Miles Davis R.I.P.

 

So to summarize and with all of the above in mind, I'm highly inspired theses days and want to share that energy with everyone who takes the time to come out and hear me live.

My shows won't be perfect but they'll be full of heart and a desire to communicate as authentically as I'm capable of night after night.

 

See you at the show:)

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The Storm Before The Calm

Lot's of big announcements to make and the first place anyone gets to hear them is right here on my cozy little blog.

First off, I want to say what an honor and a pleasure it is to be one of the first artists signed to FretMonkey Records alongside some of my favorite guitarists. It's a family run operation led by 2015 CGF champion Blake Goodwin. He and his family have a different vision for what a record company can achieve while taking great care of its artists. I am still an independent, self financed artist but I now have a big, amazingly talented family standing behind me to help spread my musical love.

Please check out all the wonderful artists, music and videos here http://www.fretmonkeyrecords.com/#!kris-schulz/k75aa 

I'm also thrilled to announce my first solo tour of Canada for this coming May and June.  

I've been experiencing the highs and lows of self promotion and tour booking through endless hours of tedious work but I really have enjoyed every minute of it ( well almost lol)

Every time a door slams shut in my face it makes me want to push harder. I'm surprised how hard it is to book a gig in Canada for a new artist but with venues closing down and less people supporting live music I guess it's an understandable problem. None the less, I have successfully linked a string of shows together that will take me from Vancouver to Toronto this May.  

For me, the most exciting part of this tour is in meeting new people and growing as a performer.  I'm planning a mixed set of instrumentals off my new album as well as some vocal songs that I plan to record later this year.

Another major highlight will getting to share the stage with one of my favorite composers and guitarists Dylan Ryche http://www.dylanryche.com/

We'll be performing together on Friday, May 20th in Toronto at the Central Bar.

 

I'm also beyond thrilled to announce Calum Graham and I will be doing a tour of B.C. together this June. Calum is a very special musician and a great guy. I'm really excited to show him around m home city and more importantly, show off his insanely good musical skills to a new audience.

Stay tuned for a full announcement of all the tour dates later this week. 

I'd also love to reach out to anyone who's thinking of hosting a house concert. Feel free to message me through the site as I'd love to connect on smaller, more intimate setting. 

 

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Ten More Seconds

9 years ago today my mom Joanna passed away at the age of 52 from an overdose after battling depression and addictions for most of her life.  I was born in 1975 and although she was only 20, she'd already been through enough life challenges to seriously wound her.

That year would be devastating beyond belief as my Grandpa Jack and uncles John and Michael passed away, all from unrelated incidents. I was too young to understand the emotional trauma inflicted on my family at the time but as I aged, I developed an acute sense of how deeply that loss affected her.

Despite struggling with addiction, my mom always did her best to shelter me from pain and shower me with love. She was a strong, beautiful and thoughtful person who would lend her heart and soul to anyone who needed it and I benefited greatly from her gifts of empathy and compassion.

Filled with regret, I often imagine a life where things had gone differently however, her story is a powerful lesson in the fragility we share as human beings.

I decided to share this with you for a number of reasons, the most important one is to help spread the understanding that not everyone gets a chance to choose their path in life. Contrary to what the "strong, high and mighty" would have you believe, life is wildly unpredictable and seldom rewards fairly.

Whether it's emotional distress, mental illness, chronic pain or addictions, many of us are struggling with illnesses and afflictions that can't be seen.

As a society, we're often quick to judge and blame others for their shortcomings without understanding the full story. Empathy and compassion are the tools that help us reach a better level of understanding with each other, in my moms honor I will strive to spread that message.

 

 

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Now What?

I'm sitting quietly in my living room reflecting on the experiences that comprised most of the last two months. Gratefully breathless is a good way to describe how I'm feeling.

The thing that strikes me the most through all of this has been the amount of times I've heard someone say they were inspired by the show or after listening to the album. I never imagined my journey and music would resonate with so many people. What a pleasure it is to do what I love and have so much positive support in return. If anyone hears me utter so much as a whiff of a complaint regarding my music career you have full permission to give me a good wack in the head.

I think back to days when fear would have stopped me from venturing on this path and have to remind myself daily that it's only a sign I'm pushing in the right direction.  So with that in mind I begin the next stage of the adventure with new music in my heart and touring plans that will see me hit Canada from shore to shore three times over the next six months.

I'm really excited to get this album out there the old fashioned way by taking it from city to city and town to town in person. From Vancouver to Halifax and everywhere in between I'm ready to unleash these tunes and meet the people who keep live music alive and well.

If anyone across our great nation would like me to make a stop in their hometown please message me through this site. Connecting with people is a true passion of mine and combining that with a shared love of live music is the holy grail for a musician like me.

 

 

 

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Post show recap of pre show musings:)

 (This was a Facebook post I decided to republish that was written just a few days before my album release party on Jan.15 2016. It really sums up where I'm at these days and seemed like a good inclusion to my meandering blog)

 

The release party is only a few days away and I haven't had much time left over lately to reflect on what's been happening.

I wanted to share a bit of my process with you and shed some light on my motives and inspiration for all of this.

 

I've been putting in endless days now for as far back as I can remember and have invested my entire savings into making the album of my life.

I've gone so far as to sell guitars to cover the costs of production but launching this album and throwing the release party has been a labour of love. I've really enjoyed the experience as it has been nothing short of amazing.

 

Some people don't understand why I practice so hard or put so much time,energy or money into my music. It's not about impressing people or showing off, I don't play "crazy guitar" to blow people away. The music I write simply reflects my appreciation for life in all its ups and downs. It's not about getting famous or "making it" , those terms and concepts are complete bullshit to me. Anyone who knows me understands those are the least of my concerns or life goals.

I don't practice for the same reasons I once did when I was a kid, now it's all about focus and settling my mind through hours of dedicated study.

 

2015 was a tough year for loss and it had a dramatic effect on how I view and value life.  I'm grateful more than ever for the time I get to share with loved ones and people I genuinely connect with. Life is too short not to do the things that make us happy and connect with the people that inspire our lives.

 

 

December Musings

There has been a ton of behind the scenes work going on over the last few months as I prepare for the Jan.15 launch of "While The City Sleeps".

 

Despite playing on many albums over the years,  I've never solely overseen the completion of one until now. It's been a valuable lesson and truly a labor of love. It's in the final stages of pressing and  will  be ready to ship out by the first week of January. 

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I've also been putting a ton of work into organizing the album release party @ the Planetarium Star Theater and am thrilled to say that it sold out within a week. Filling a 230 seat venue is no small feat, I am very proud of accomplishing it!!

As a result, I've added a second show that same night @10pm. Tickets for that show are still available through my website or Bluedog Guitar Shop

None of this would be possibly without the support of my friends, family and fans. It's a wonderful feeling to know that many people are as excited as I am for this release. I've literally put my heart, sweat and tears into this music for over three years now and every note means something special to me. I've never felt a stronger connection to music despite having over 38 years of live performance under my belt. 

On another front, I've just finished up my final tracks for the new West Of Hell album. I'll save most of the hype for that till another day but I will say that this recording is definitely taking things to the next level. This is the band I dreamed of playing in when I first picked up an electric guitar. 

I'm loving the "multiple hat" style of my work these days and am finding a satisfying balance in the diversity.

Many years I struggled to keep it all together because playing many styles of music is very demanding. There were many stages to this process and looking back, I can see them very clearly. Blues, Rockabilly, Metal, Classical, Folk,Jazz, Flamenco, pick, fingers Bla Bla Bla...

I finally feel as though all of those boxes have been dissolved and feel the sense of musical freedom I always wanted.

 

 

Happy holidays, see you in 2016!! 

 

Adventures in cyberspace pt.I

As you've probably figured out by now I'm kinda new to the whole self promotion gig. Being raised in the MTV era certainly didn't help my perception of how the music industry really worked, I thought all you needed was to be a good musician but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Anyways, here we are at the bottom of 2015 and the musical landscape has changed dramatically. It's the era of self promotion and its never been easier to get your stuff out there, the only problem is everyone else is trying to do it too.

Getting your music heard In the crowded realms of social media is a challenge to say the least but  If you're reading this, chances are you already like what I'm doing so thank you sincerely for supporting!!

I've recently discovered the value of Instagram (@kris_schulz) and for the time being it seems like a creative way for artists to display their work and build up a fan base. I'm trying to keep regular content coming which is at the expense of valuable practice time but as I've found time and time again, as rewarding as creating music is unto itself it's true value lies in connecting people which can only be done if they get a chance to hear it. 

Thanks for listening!! 

 

 

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State of Mind

Things have been rolling faster and faster over the last few years and many times I've felt overwhelmed by the gap between my goals and accomplishments as a musician(Human). I've been at this for most of my life, put in countless hours of practice, thinking, obsessing , avoiding.... You get the drift.

If there is one thing that's been a constant throughout, it's that you get what you give. I'm not just talking about brute force effort (although that counts for something) I'm also talking about perspective and frame of mind. You see, I've had some ups here and there but for long stretches of time I felt down about my playing (life) and nothing seemed to "fix" it until I really started to dig into the core of my values. I realized first and foremost that as serious as music is to me it's always gotta be fun. So with that in mind I slowly started to rebuild myself as a player(person), step by painful step. I could write a small novel about all the books I read and strategies I attempted to help me find my way but the simplest way to put it is that I had a major change of perspective.

The catalyst for change can sometimes come in the worst moments of your life and mine was certainly rooted in pain and loss yet it's our mortal fragility that drives us to seek answers and look within.

A lot of us are challenged by a hyper connected, 24/7 world that ruthlessly erodes our core values and before we know it, we're going through the motions and feel unsatisfied. I learned to wear a convincing mask to help me blend in but underneath I struggled to find purpose. I think trying to fit  in was probably a primitive survival instinct but these days it's more important than ever to find grounding and be who you really are despite what others think.  I think judging one and other is  a grotesque, ingrained trait we naturally posses,it's also the reason we're so hard on ourselves. 

So how does this all relate to music? 

It was during these moments of reflection that I realized how much fear was stopping me from growing and taking chances. The fear of failure, looking foolish for failing, not being as good as I pretended to be and even the fear of success. These walls stood in my way for many years and they are still visible but I'm working hard every day to overcome my own prison and the liberation is the best reward. I know the fear will never fully dissipate bit I'm ok with that and as long as I'm grateful for everything positive in my life I know things will be ok.

Viva la musik!!!!

If anyone who reads this wants to know more details about the books that helped me and some of the concepts I've learned please email as I'd be happy to share. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and be a part of my journey!!  

 

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Attack of the Three Headed Guitar Monster pt.1

 

The past week was easily one of the best of my life!!!

The 3 headed guitar monster that is myself, @AdrianBellue and Don Alder left nothing standing in our wake as we blitzed and blazed through sold out shows in Vancouver and Chilliwack.

In Addition to that,  Adrian and I hit 2 open mics, played 4  emotional house concerts and  shared birthday celebrations with three of the closest people in my life. Oh yeah, and I got to jam with Optimus Prime:D

 I'm feeling more inspired than ever about my musical journey and owe so much of it to the fellow musicians in my life and in particular Adrian. I watched him literally heal people with his immense musical gifts over and over, this is the true power of music!!

I have one more acoustic show scheduled this Thursday before I return to my metal roots and start preparing for two very exciting upcoming West Of Hell and Stache  shows.

I'm thrilled to be a part of Modern Banshee and the Limbic Landwalkers amazing musical/visual performance of "The Moon,the Pool and the String" At the Planetarium this Thursday (15th). Anyone who's ever watched a show at the Planetarium knows how spectacular this is gonna be. I'll be performing a set of my trippiest tunes to help set the mood for the sonic and visual experience that follows.

 

 

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Updates

Hi everyone, thanks again for visiting my new website!!! 

I hope to step up my game by keeping on top of these updates and finally tackling my social media phobias lol.

 

This is a very exciting week as I'll be opening up for Don Alder's album release party Saturday Oct.3rd at Bluedog Guitars. Don is one of my favourite musicians and has had a big influence on my acoustic playing. If someone had told me a few years ago I'd be sharing the stage with him I never would have believed it.

Actually, it was about 3 years ago I first met Don at the Vancouver Guitar Show which was coincidentally the first time I met Jenn and Paul from Bluedog, serendipitous indeed

I'm also bringing up my friend and amazing guitarist Adrian Bellue to spend the week here and see the sights while being the sounds of Vancouver. Adrian and I both recorded albums recently with Antoine Dufour, we finally got to meet at this years CGF. Meeting Adrian was one of the highlights of the whole festival for me, he is an incredibly inspired musician and an awesome person!!

I'll be proudly bringing the three of us back to my hometown of Chilliwack to perform at Tractorgrease Cafe on Thursday Oct 8th.

As far as my album release goes I'm aiming for a January 2016 launch. I'll be releasing the first single "Ferus Caballus" any day now so keep your eyes and ears open.  I'm going against the grain by including a 16 page booklet and even printing cd's "gasp" and am very fortunate to have monster guitarist Sean DeBurca taking care of all my illustrations and layout. 

Lastly, I'll be releasing music/tab book for the entire album. I can't tell you what a dream come true that is for me and am very indebted to Mark Grover from guitar-transcriptions.com for helping to make it a reality.

Getting ready for the 2015 CGF

It's been a busy couple of weeks preparing for the 11th annual Canadian Fingerstyle Chamionships held in Kingston Ontario. This will be my third time attending in three years and likely my last for awhile as I'd like to take a break from the stress of competing.

The best parts of this experience so far have definitely been the dramatic improvement I've noticed in my playing and also the camraderie and community spirit an event like this fosters. It was a real honour and humbling experience finishing fourth last year but music is not about winning and that is true to the spirit of the CGF which is all about having a good time and making friends. 

As usual, I have left much of the planning to the last minute and at the time of writing this do not have my plane tickets purchased haha. I seem to have an aversion to doing anything in a traditional way, wonder if there is a diagnosis for this.

see you at the lake

 

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