Meet Michal Šelep, a bassist from Slovakia who has a great knack for story telling, as you’ll see below.
Michal also seems to have a great outlook on life and music. He’s the No Treble reader in the spotlight for the week of May 25, 2015.
It’s been 22 years since I’ve been making my first noises. I was born and raised in Spišská Belá, Slovakia. The first musical moments I remember were when I was around 3, my uncle had me constantly listening to music of Jean-Michel Jarre, which really was a blessing, as I later found out that Marcus Miller was one of the bass players playing all that great music I soaked in through all those days. To this day, those are probably the deepest experiences with music I had. I took some classical piano lessons later, but that was not a good idea. I was given my first bass when I was 16, after that, it’s been a few years of struggle in front of YouTube, first bands and all that. In 2012 I took my first Skype lesson from Anthony Wellington and that pretty much changed my life and bass playing around. Ant is the MAN and I owe to him most of what I know about bass and music. That first lesson punched me in the face with the fact that I’d better really start workin’ on stuff, with real discipline – a word that’s been very awkward to me , a millenial raised on sitting in front of computer games all day. Since then, the bass guitar took me to the USA twice to study with Ant, to a Berklee summer course in Italy, and last year, I was mesmerized by the experience of attending Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature camp, thanks to a scholarship funded by Fodera in memory of the late Joe Compito. That turned everything around for me again. I suggest every musician should go there at least once in their lifetime. Go there this year if you didn’t yet! Right now, I am gigging around Slovakia with various artists and studying life and music every day. I am humbled by and thank God for having met some of the greatest and most beautiful people around the world thanks to bass and music and I’m looking forward to all that’s coming!
I’m currently gigging around Slovakia and studying psychology and music in Bratislava.
It’s been about 6 marvelous years so far!
Bands & Gigs:
I’m currently playing with a singer/songwriter Zuzana Mikulcová, we’ve just released our first album “Slová” under the label of Music Fund Slovakia. She’s an awesome singer and I love playing with the band, it’s great people and musicians.
Once a month, I play worship services in Poprad with the band Awakening.
I also play around clubs in Bratislava with anybody who needs a bassist :)
- 2014 Accuracy Miró 5 standard – my main bass, has a nice “Spanish” vibe to it :)
- 2005 Fender Marcus Miller signature Jazz Bass, modified – thin oil finish, Nordstrand pickups, wooden pickguard, Hipshot D-tuner.
- Kuckovsky Custom fretless “Blondyn” – bartolini P4 + piezzo pickups.
- DR Strings on all my basses – Lo-Riders .40’s on the fretted, Black Beauties .50’s on the fretless.
- Aguilar TH350 + Aguilar DB112 as my main rig.
- Phill Jones C4 box for “public transportation” gigs.
- Zoom MS-60b for the very few effects that I use.
- Digitech JamMan solo for practicing.
Why I play the bass:
I wanted to be in a band with a brother of a girl I was (and still am!) in love with. One night, they were throwing a party in their rehearsal room and me – not drinking and being a hip-hop guy in a house full of punk people, sitting in a corner, saw this old bass leaning to a wall. I took it to my lap and realized that is the instrument I saw my uncle practising at home and making those cool slap and pop sounds. I didn’t realize back then that thumping was not cool for punk music – but that is another story :)
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Well, a few times, I’ve been told that I got a lotta groove for a young pale kid from eastern Europe. Maybe that’s it!
Marcus Miller, Anthony Wellington and Victor Wooten are the three thatt influenced my bass playing the most. Then it’s Pino Palladino, Tony Levin, Jaco and Bona. Not bass-exclusive, it’s D’Angelo, the whole neo-soul movement, John Mayer, oldschool hip-hop artists. Recently, I’ve been listening to Leonard Bernstein’s “Unanswered Question” lectures and performances of classical music – that was a huge eye opener. Generally, it’s anyone who has attained true mastery in his/her field. And last but not least, my family, close ones, my lovely girlfriend and the most creative Creator there is.