As a fan of many musical genres and a fan of musicians that are not afraid to dabble into different spheres of music it was refreshing to chat with one, John Garcia.
I was able to converse with John regarding his new album and how the process came together from start to finish.
Gaff- Hi John thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. Can you discuss with me the impetus of this new album?
JG- Sure, I had literally a box of 44 songs going back to ones I had written when I was 19 years old. So I went through the songs and 11 made it.
Gaff- How was the process of picking the songs?
JG- Really I picked ones that I could relate to and songs that would sound fresh. Five thousand miles was written for me by Danko Jones and it totally dealt with what I was going through at that time. Being away from my family, it needed to be on the album as it means a lot to me and other musician can relate to the feeling of the song. Also, having Robby Krieger play on a tune was amazing.
Also, I was able to surround myself with amazing musicians which made recording great. Really Harper Hubb and Trevor Whatever : were a big part of me doing this album and stylistically helped me out a lot as I totally trust those two as they are amazing at what they do.
I even put a cover song on the album, Rolling Stoned, that I had wanted to do and this was the time to do it.
In a way this turned into my Chinese Democracy. Finally I had to say no to a few other things so I could get this album finished.
Gaff- Was it hard saying no (to the guys of Vista Chino)?
JG- Yes really with Vista Chino because I love playing with Brant so much, that was tough, but I knew this needed to be done.
Gaff- So, while listening to the album, there are a lot of nice tones and harmonies, is that something you come up with yourself or do you collaborate with different people?
JG-Trevor and Harper really helped with the tonality of the album and surrounding myself with amazing musicians really helped out and made the album fun to record.
Gaff-The song Flower, I am a big Cult fan, I totally got a Billy Duffy, Ian Astbury vibe from that track. Are you a Cult fan?
JG-I am a massive Cult fan and I embrace it. I am surprised there are not more songs on the album that do not sound like the Cult.
Gaff- Right on, when coming up with the songs, do you relay to the musician you are working with what you are hearing in your head?
JG- This is where working with great musicians is a plus; like the guys from Hermano. Started off with 44 tunes, down to 14, then after restructuring; that is how the 11 made it on. The process really worked well on this project.
Gaff- Was there a certain groove you were striving for?
JG- Really I wanted songs that I could relate too, ones that made me feel the most. The ones that touched me the most eventually are what people will be hearing on this album.
Gaff-Can you talk to me about your approach lyrically?
JG- They are based on fiction, tragedy, stories I have seen; pieces people can relate too.
Gaff- It seems to me that some of the songs have a spiritual vibe?
JG- That is a very nice compliment, thank you very much. I am a very lucky guy that I am able to sing and release albums, and play music. Now I am a dad, a husband, I do not think of myself as a Rock Star. I just wanna be me and sing and play music really that is from the heart.
Gaff- A thing I dig about the album is that you are not sticking to one sound; a lot of the tunes have a different vibe to them
JG- I do not stay in one place for long, and I get criticized for that. Who says I have to always stay in the same place. Who makes up that rule? There are no rules in art. That is why on this album it was nice to collaborate with so many great musicians.
Gaff-Can you chat with me about vocal arrangements and your influences?
JG-I love Phillip Bailey, Rufus Wainwright, Terence Trent D’arby. I am a huge fan of so many great singers. They all have a different flavor.
On this album the name of the game vocally really was to try and make it simple. I was really conscious of keeping it tasty and not overdoing it. That is when the producer pulls it on in.
I have known Trevor for over 20 years so I have complete trust in what he tells me. I have known Harper for 5 years now. The two are incredibly smart: know their shit and also this was recorded in a real studio, not John Garcia’s studio with a pro tools rig in my home, but a real studio; Thunder Underground studio.
Those two guys make records. Without Harper, the Vista Chino record would have never happened: I brought them in so when making my own record I wanted those two involved.
In terms of vocals, I like the distorted pieces as I feel it brings out certain emotions. We all listen to the vocals, with effects or not, some of the background vocals and we all agree collectively on what works.
Gaff-So it sounds as if this was a great experience and everyone involved really made it a nice collaboration.
JG- Yeah, I really needed to get this album out. As I said there are songs on here that I have really wanted to get out and I am happy that people can hear them.
The thing with the music business is that it is cool to hate the record label these days.
I am lucky, I am my own manager and I truly love the label I am on; Napalm Records. They are putting out great music that people want to hear and treat the artist great. They are going into a few different genres which is also great so more people will know about the label. It is great being on a label that puts out music for the common man.
Gaff- So what are the touring plans?
JG- I will be hitting Australia in September and the in March/April I will be hitting the West and East coast.
Gaff- Thank you so much for taking the time, I know you have a busy schedule.
JG-It was my pleasure, and this was more like a conversation so I enjoyed talking with you.
I just want to thank John again as he had a million things going on that day and made time for me to have a really nice chat with him about music. I feel that is the key, we spoke about music my friends.
Everyone gets wrapped up in so many different things that we forget about the things that are put on this earth to make us feel. It could be sadness, it can be elation, and it can be anything. Next time you are feeling like you are spinning out of control, remember the power of music and let it free you, if only for a few moments, hold onto those moments as that is what really matters.
As John said, “They are no rules in art.” Remember that and let it take you to a place that truly can heal at times the nonsense that gets in the way of us channeling our energies not to the ones we love, but to the people that can be stuck in their game and want to drag you in.
One man gathers what another man spills,