A Chat with Schreiner (3.5.19)

Image courtesy of Schreiner

Talking inspiration, funny tour tales, plans for the future and the background for his debut album Kingdom From, here is our chat with blues-rocker Schreiner.

OSR: What’s the inspiration behind Kingdom From?

S: Kingdom From chronicles one of the most intense and most important periods of my life. In the 18 months leading up to its release, I experienced so many major life events and personal turning points. I’d lost a number of friends and close relatives in the years prior, and the grief I experienced during that time really changed my perspective and priorities. I suddenly understood the seriousness and brevity of life, and that inspired me to roll up my sleeves and start to work in earnest on the deep issues behind my substance abuse problems. So, that’s the backstory.

I would say the album really got started with me kicking a longstanding addiction to amphetamines (among other things), cleaning up life, and moving forward with an entirely new level of clarity and purpose. Shortly after that, my wife and I were married. A month after that I tore my left Achilles tendon all the way through but had to put off the surgery I needed because of the pace of my performance schedule.

I’d had a major breakthrough in my career, which was great, but it meant that I was performing 300+ shows per year and didn’t really have the option to slow down. I’d sustained the injury during the busiest time of the year for musicians, and knew I’d need the money to pay off the surgery. Long story short, I was performing for four months on a leg that didn’t work and was in constant pain. I finally got the surgery I needed, but by then my muscles had atrophied a great deal and the recovery was complicated.

While I was still in a cast and on crutches, my wife broke the news that she was pregnant, and she began having health problems related to the pregnancy. Our son, Valor, arrived a month early, and although ultimately both mom and baby made it through, my wife’s very nearly died in the process. Afterwards, she understandably required a lot of extra help during the recovery, which was made harder since I was still recovering myself.

During the 18 months leading up to the release of Kingdom From, life in all its terrifying complexity came flooding in and never let up. But, it was also a tremendously meaningful and fulfilling time creatively. Each song on the record represents so many hours of work, countless challenges overcome, and a simple willingness to continue suffering for the things that matter most.

OSR: What was your favourite song to write on the album?

S: Hard question, but I would say ‘Coyote Beautiful’. There’s a true story behind that one and a very complicated, bittersweet one at that. I felt like I was able to accurately capture that complexity with all the different textures and melodic ideas, so that was a really satisfying one for me personally.

OSR: Do have any plans to tour?

S: Absolutely. This upcoming year will be an exciting one on that front. Our performance schedule will be expanding to include a lot more of the continental United States, as well as international destinations. Stay tuned.

OSR: What is your favourite part of touring?

S: Meeting great people and absorbing all the different cultures that they come from. I’ve been really fortunate to have travelled so much of the world, and that part never gets old.

OSR: What is the funniest thing to happen to you while on tour?

S: Well, it’s never fun while you’re in the middle of it, but out of necessity I’ve stayed in some REALLY terrible hotels over the years. A lot of my funniest memories from touring come from remembering those places.

OSR: Who are your biggest influences?

S: There are a lot more than I can detail here, but to name a few: The Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Black Keys, and John Mayer.

OSR: Apart from music, do you have any other hidden talents?

S: I find cooking therapeutic, so I’ve gotten pretty good at that over the years.

OSR: What plans do you have for the future?

S: In the immediate future, my plans include working my ass off on our next record and the collaborations we’ll be doing with other artists, touring, writing, and producing projects for the artists I’m developing. Too much more to tell on that front.

OSR: Do you experience performance anxiety before doing a show?

S: It depends on the show, but not usually. I’ve performed 1000+ shows in the last three years, so I’ve basically inoculated myself to most performance stress.

OSR: Do you have advice for new bands?

S: Keep grinding and be merciless in your critique of your own work. Music is a game that you win through constant personal evolution and by simply continuing to play the game.

OSR: Do you have anything to say to your fans?

S: Yes. Thank you and stay tuned. This is going to be a hell of a next year for us!

Thank you to Schreiner for chatting with us. To engage with him, please check out his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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