Hooked On A Feeling
By Charelle Evelyn on December 3 2014
When you go to see William Kuklis perform, you may want to think about avoiding the front row – unless you want to get splashed by feels.
“When I perform live, my description of it, is I bleed onstage,” said the alt-folk musician. “I’ve got stuff to say but it’s more of an emotion than an actual message.”
A self-proclaimed high-school theatre geek turned singer/ songwriter, Kuklis has spent the past two decades emoting through song, whether it was with Vancouver-based band Cultured Cowboy or as a solo artist. “A bunch of us actors decided we wanted to start a band – so we did,” Kuklis recalled. “We taught ourselves to play instruments.”
Despite being new to the sixstring when he picked up it at the age of 19, Kuklis wasn’t a stranger to music.
“There’s a couple of photos of me as a child, crying in front of a piano,” Kuklis said, noting he also sung in choirs and did musical theatre through school. But his work with Cultured Cowboy was something new, and the group found themselves a measure of “small-time success,” Kuklis said, releasing two albums before Kuklis’ travels took him away from his bandmates.
He met his soon-to-be wife in Barkerville, where he was working as a historical interpreter and followed her to Victoria.
“From there it was a little more challenging [working with Cultured Cowboy], going back and forth doing gigs,” Kuklis said. “It just sort of evolved into doing more solo writing.” In 2001, that work turned into The Price We Pay, Kuklis’ first solo album, precipitated by a tragedy. “It was a tribute
album to a friend of a mine who committed suicide, and was also a brilliant musician,” he said. Earlier in 2014, Kuklis, who now lives with his family in Prince George, released I’ve Heard That Before. Though not necessarily borne out of a deep sadness, Kuklis finds he still writes from the heart.
“I write more on the feeling of the music,” he said, noting putting together lyrics is one of the most difficult parts of his songwriting process.
The majority of I’ve Heard That Before was self-recorded at Kuklis’ home Vinyl Deck Studios, which he originally built while living on Vancouver Island. Offering recording, mixing and production, Vinyl Deck has also given Kuklis the chance to learn from other artists’ processes. Vinyl Deck Studios is also where Kuklis has crafted scores for a few independent films.
“That plays into the whole ‘feeling’ side of it,” Kuklis said of working off a script or raw footage to create the cinematic pieces.
For more, visit williamkuklis.com and keep up with his performance schedule on his Facebook page.
REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.