Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shred Violin: Michael Shulman

Michael playing

A short clip of Michael playing

A short clip of Michael playing

Michael discusses how he got into violin and shred

Michael discusses his work and his music

Artist: Michael Shulman
Medium: Electric Violin
Location: Union Square Station by the entrance to the downtown Q (playing), Herald Square park (interview)

Michael Shulman brings his unique shred violin to New York all the way from Moscow, Russia. He has come to New York in search of a career and the chance to play music. What kind of music, you may ask? “The good kind,” he would reply, the kind of music that people like to listen to but that “they can learn something from or enrich their life with – the kind of music that any artist would want to play.”

Although a fantastic violinist and composer now, Michael was not born that way. In fact, although he began studying violin at the age of six, he was not serious about it for many years. Instead, he played on and off without seriously practicing. It was only recently that he started playing regularly and treating his instrument “with the respect it needed.” Michael attributes this change to the progression of life. At one point a person just wants to play and have fun, eventually he may feel that it is time to assert himself and use his talents to attempt to make an impact – this is what Michael’s project is about.

Michael has always been into shred and neo-classical music, ever since his father brought home Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Trilogy album when he was 12. Although shred/neo-classical can be dark and heavy, Michael believes that there is a version of any style that can appeal everyone. His goal is to bring shred to the masses and, in doing so, he’s not afraid to experiment. Michael believes that composers and artists should not be afraid of mixing styles, not be afraid of making something melodic or something that may sound like “pop.” Instead he feels that music should touch people and that if an artist is not deliberately trying to be esoteric, he/she can accomplish this while remaining true to their art. For instance, although he listens to the darkest, heaviest metal, Michael is still open to inspirations from other art forms, such as classical, pop and rock.

Michael has chosen neo-classical shred as his base because it is intelligent, technically the most challenging and impressive style and sounds beautiful. However, he admits, it’s a challenge to bring this style to the general public. He believes, though, that the style can be appreciated by all; the challenge is to create something “musically complicated and beautiful yet melodic and commercial enough for people to enjoy on a daily basis.”

Michael, of course, composes his own music. He says that each song has to do with something different and each is “very spiritual.” He is 100 percent connected to his music. Michael strives to put his art into a commercial shape so that people who aren’t academics in music can still understand it. “I like to play those notes that are worth it. I try to find those notes that are magical.”

Michael’s current project, Paganini XXI Century, is his opportunity to start from scratch. For the first time he is focusing on himself as a musician and composer instead of playing in other bands. He believes he can bring something new and exciting to the field of music and is “not trying just to create great music but great quality.” Michael is determined to take his time “make [his work] into something special, not just another shred album.” Michael is adamant about the fact that his work is about the music and he does not want the fact that he plays shred on a violin to be a “shtick” or gimmick, “that’s not the point.” Instead, Michael wants to be a great artist and composer, and great music transcends instruments.

Michael takes it one step at a time. His next step is to get financing to make his album properly; he will not release something of a lesser quality just because he has no choice. Michael wants to make a statement with the recording and, right now, needs a break and a certain amount of luck.

Finally, Michael would like to let everyone know to enjoy his music and that he’s very happy to be able to play it for them. He gives thanks to his family and close friends and says that it’s an exciting time in his life and while it is a tough battle he will never give up.

Like what you hear? Check out Michaels Influences
Composition: Bach, Tchaikovsky, Paginini
Guitar: Ritchie Blackmore, Ulric (Uli Jon) Roth, Michael Schenker
Modern neo-classical shred: Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Joseph Satriani, Jason Becker, Steve Vai, Mattias Eklundh, Guthrie Govan, Marty Friedman, Buckethead

Really like what you hear? Get in touch through


Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on your blog from a link in youtube - I love it! Keep up the good work and I'll spread the word ...

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

Interesting musician, but what's his hangup with E major? That's the chord that ended the Beatles's "A Day Inb the Life." ;-)

commuter said...

I just saw him play yesterday in the Union Square subway station, and was blown away by his performance. I watched for about an hour then bought his CD. I did a google search and came across your blog, and your interview confirmed some things I wondered about. I was curious about his influences, and Satriani, Vai, and Malmstein, along with Bach, Tchaikovsky, et. al, confirmed what I thought.

He had a great presence, concentration, and sense of performance, and I just got a feeling that he's destined for fame. He's good.

Anonymous said...

I was searching for videos on THOTH. Then I saw a musician
in the subway recently which I
used to see elsewhere -- Lorenzo
LaRoc, so I went in search of his
videos, and by sheer luck I came
upon Michael Shulman's videos.
He's amazing -- truly amazing!!!
I could watch him all day. Love
it when he dances also to his music. I don't know why someone
hasn't discovered him and made him
a big star by now -- he really deserves it.

Anonymous said...

i saw this guy on my first trip to nyc at the subway right when he started his act.. i have the whole thing on video too... it was really good.. i liked how everything in NYC is a hustle and this guy has his stuff down... I gave him a nice tip afterwards.. as wekll as a lot of other people that gathered around shortley after he started.. Every time i show people my video of my trip they all say it was really cool... Thanks for doing what u do.. and i hope u stay sucessful... devanr210@yahoo.com

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Anonymous said...

I'd like to buy his music. Does anyone no where to find it. His website does not work

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He is pretty impressive and it is nice to walk near of there and listen to his music.

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