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May 21, 2008

Video Blog #4 - may 20 2008 [updated]

I've been working on building a live rig I can use to perform the ruiner material live.

But it also must allow me to manipulate and loop sound in real time combined with pre-recorded elements & samples.

This video is an overview of the very beginning stages of my experiments.

runtime - 8:41

feedback always welcome!

[UPDATE -5.22.08]

Based on a few comments and emails from you guys on this most recent video about the "direction" my music is taking, I want to address a few things.

It's interesting to know (flattering actually) that some people are concerned I might be giving up on solo bass. I'm not. My taste in music runs pretty wide.

Some time ago, in another post, I mentioned that in addition to solo bass, I wanted to do a hard rock/industrial type project (done: ruiner severhead) a "jeff schmidt band" kind of project, a downtempo electronic project, and some avant garde experimental stuff. Plus remain open to whatever other ideas pop up along the way.

Currently, I'm trying to figure out the technology that will enable me to perform this kind of music in a compelling way as a soloist. That's what you see in the video. This process requires time. Just as getting into altered tunings took a great deal of time to get comfortable with - working with new tools - controllers, software etc... will too.

Because there is a limited amount of time available to me, I have to set priorities.

So, I decided to pause work on another "proper" solo bass CD to make time available to getting some of these other skills "under my hands" - as the jazz cats like to say.

There are other reasons too. Creatively, I want to make sure my solo works evolve and grow. I don't want to make re-statements of things I've already said. Or have my concept remain beholden to old ideas and expectations. I feel the same way with any new ruiner severhead material.

It's just part of who I am. The artists I admire & respect most are the one's who push past what becomes easy for them to find new approaches and ideas.


Because I get into moods and shift my focus fairly regularly - I'm thinking of adapting an approach that matches my personality. Instead of looking at any of these projects as "ALBUMS" that require 11-13 tunes thus months of time each, I'll write and release the material as its completed. Tune by tune. Or maybe I'll release demos. Just have to figure out the best way to do that. Maybe through the podcast? Any way - all brain fart thoughts right now.

May 20, 2008

What, Why & for Whom?

A few weeks ago I had dinner with my wife Valerie, and an entrepreneur who has become part of her vastly expanding network of inspiring people.

At one point, he asked me a few questions about my music.

These were not the kind of questions I am used to getting - what tunings do you use? why do you play upside down? who is your biggest influence? etc...

Instead, he wanted to know how many CD sales I get from having videos on YouTube.

I answered that there's no real way to know for sure. People arrive at my CD Baby page from all over the place. CD Baby only tells me the link they came from directly. So while the number of people that come directly from YouTube is low, it doesn't mean that Youtube wasn't in the chain that ultimately led a person to my CD Baby page.

Then he asked me who my "target audience" was. Target audience? Uhhhh I don't know.

I know it's mostly bass players who have bought my music and come out to see me play live. But I don't think I've targeted them intentionally.

I made my CD, Outre for me. Since it's solo bass I guess it's natural to think bass players would be most interested in it. But I've never really marketed it or sent it out to magazines for review etc.... Nor have I tried to expose it to wider audience.

Anyway - there were more questions like this. The kind of questions which only a business perspective would inspire. It caused me to think in a way I had not yet really considered.

The ultimate question his inquiry was really trying to answer was - "Is Solo Bass a business?" Or more specifically, is "Jeff Schmidt - Solo Bass" a business?

It's not something I'd ever asked myself seriously. I have only considered the art of it - never the commerce.

I didn't get back into music to find a way to make a living - but as a way to feed my soul. I need to create. I need to experiment, push boundaries & buttons and try new things and put it out into the world. If I can't do that, I get cranky.

This is an entirely different mindset from one that says - I need to create a product that appeals to lots of people.

Or is it?

Perhaps that's a false dichotomy.

Anyway - this kind of questioning has made me think differently about what I'm doing. Why I'm doing it. And WHO I'm doing it for.

It's pretty easy to see that most art would never happen if it were forced to meet the "Is this a business" test.

But I have a hard time believing that kind of thinking should be removed from the artistic process entirely.

What do you think?

May 14, 2008

Ruiner Severhead gets physical (limited edition)

alter-ego project leaps from the virtual only world to the physical world.

4 wikkid cool handmade designs - each one personally assembled by Ruiner Severhead.

From left to right, top to bottom SINS - FATHER WILLIE - THE CRUSADER - SNAKE HANDLER


13 tracks of high quality CD audio - not the mp3 burns.

Also includes Bonus track - exclusive Ruiner re-mix of demond wilson's Etude #4

Limited edition.

not sure how many - but based on how much glue I got all over the place certainly no more than 100.

I'll have some of each design available at Solo Bass Night 4 - tonight in Berkeley.

You're coming . . . . right?