Interview: Gene Garcia
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I always listened to music since I was a child, overcoat black music, blues, soul, also all kinds of American music, and when I had sixteen years ago, I contacted my musician's folks and I started to sing and played the blues harp. The second question I will answer you that I have no idea what I would have done, my father wanted me to study art because I am also a painter, so I suppose I would be crazy painting, or I don't know. Who can know what the future holds for you?…
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to read, watch films, I love movies, all night or I read or I’m watching movies, listen music is very important for me, more than study my own instrument. also, I like to learn new things about science, philosophy, history, art, music, and I try to enjoy life, there is always something to learn. All this of living more the daily experience, there’re always interesting things to tell in my songs. But what most influences me is the cinema, after all, many stories and situations are experienced when you watch movies. Live, observe and feel everything.
How long has your band been around?
this is a new project in my musical career, this last work is my first solo album. Is a new beginning for me. GENESIS is the perfect word to define it. We know each other since four years ago. These musicians are chosen to do this album, the most personal of my career, but the guys come from the others bands, jazz, Afro-Cuban music, blues, soul. they live in Lisbon (Portugal) and I live two hours from the city, I’m in Badajoz (Spain), in the southwest of Spain. We have been a short time but it seems that we have known each other for a lifetime and you can prove in the songs of the album when you listen to it.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I don’t understand what you mean by this question. Which are my influences to make the album? right, my music is based on all music that I ear since I was a child, Black music, jazz blues soul gospel Afro-Cuban afro music, but in this album, Genesis, my referent is the new jazz on about all the mix that Gregory Porter makes now, a new sound actually and at once classic. I hope my answer is correct for you
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
is my first solo album on my career so the name of the project is Gene Garcia, and the album Genesis, ‘cause for me is restarting my career later 30 years on the road with other bands of blues jazz, and black music in general. In life always people start over if you want to move on. I think so.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. I'll tell you that the best, the worst no… .jajaja, I'm joking, there're many many good shows in thirty years, on the road, but I keep in my memory with a lot of emotion was when I played with The Blues Brothers in 1996, on Spain, really cool for me, and other show in 2017 I played with a symphonic orchestra, and a band of blues-rock in honor to 40 years of Elvis dead, 65 musicians on the show. They are analyzed, studied, and then we forget everything, ... hahaha, sorry, and so on until five or six good ones come out, if there were no bad shows how are you going to differentiate them from the good ones?…
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
My favorite venue to play they’re three or four, first anyplace near the beach, an old club called MERCANTIL CLUB, we played often in our own city and the theaters, especially, if they hang the sold out sing…..And the other question, my imagination is overflowing and I would like to take a tour all over best festivals, best jazz club, and that all people can listen to my music and enjoy it. We’re more than entertains, we need the applause more the breathe,…u know, there is an addictive component as all in life,….
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
wow!…this sounds good,… I would like Joe Turner, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, THE THREE J, but I think it would be impossible today, they died, they could be Rhiannon Giddens, she like me and your music too, Gregory Porter, Lizz Wrigth, Trombon Shorty, Ahmad Jamal, Taj Mahal, Pharaoh Sanders, with Sonny Rollins and many others,…. is no bad,…so cool.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
that is dedicated to other things, this not the way to win money…is a joke…that listen to a lot of music, especially your own referents, to learn, enjoy or use it as inspirations, and be prepared for everything, bad and good things, unexpected situations, and many other things, but always he must thinking in music,… with the experience and the time… with the experience and the time, I’m sure that he’ll found your own way to play your instrument.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Right, when I had 19 years old, I don’t sign a contract with Warner Music, ‘cause they wanted me only, my band no, and then I decided with a young mind, u know? I believed in my band and my friends and I did it, I don’t sing this contract. With the passing time yet in actuality, I think that it was a mistake. Never I’ll know that would have happened, maybe now I would be another kind of singer, maybe, I make other kinds of music or I don’t know. I don’t know if this decision was correct or not. it’s not easy for a young boy of nineteen years old. I should have advised myself better. There is some more. But I think you don't have to think about the things that you could and did not happen. it is no good. Done is done.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
In the last album called Genesis the song SAMADHI, for the mean your lyric. This song talks about my life, my spiritual life, shadows and lights, experiences, but now, I try to found my own spiritual way, so another beginning, the life is a beginning, not always is good for own desires or yes, but THAT’S LIFE, ….old Frank already said it!… hahaha…I’m joking. Maybe don't be absolutely anything funny, sorry,…hahaha…Shamadhi is a really cool song but this song is much more than a cool song for me….and really the other of Genesis ten songs are special for me for a reason or another. In general, the album means a lot to me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
all album songs are my favorites for play, THE JOURNEY, BACK DOOR, LET IT SHINE, WALKIN’ ALONE, all songs, in fact, the album are recorded in the studio live, that is all band and me playing twice or three times the same song and then we choose the good shot. I like to work in this way ‘cause the band and me, when we playing in a recording studio, appear a connection between us and it is also reflected in the recording, is the correct in this music. And the song or songs that most people request us on stage is usually SOUL TO SOUL and the other adaptations how JUST THE WAY YOU ARE or ISN’T IT A PITY by George Harrison, LET IT SHINE and THE JOURNEY too.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
well, in this case, the project appears when Victor Zamora (piano) and I talk about my songs and how we could make it on my way, in this album, he found Mr. Cicero Lee (double-bass) and Joel Silva (drums) with good eyes to make my project. Them Vitor and me, we work together online ‘cause Victor lives in Lisbon and I live in Spain, and at all-night, we sent the music, demos, tracks and long conversations about the songs, lyrics, what kind of music, near to jazz, near soul, etc,.. in fact, Victor is the musical director of the project. When I try to write a song I’m inspired by movies, I love movies, all kinds of good movies, when I read a book, thoughts, the interesting things that I see in the day around me, and I don’t know, … but always thinking in music. nobody knows when the muses appear, u know?… sometimes it is easy and others it is complicated. I must be good to them so they can come. I’m a good man, ……;D
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
at the first is enjoy when people listen to my music, at the second people listen and feel your sound and them analyzed your own words and message, and understood the message of love, although now people all over the world talking about love, is a fashion but is a mistreat word, and love is a fact a word very important even when it comes out of your mouth, in the moment, all change in your heart, your mind, is a magic word. I don’t know if the people realize it. that’s my message in my songs love and respect to people all over the world, white, black, yellow, red, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Methodist, Protestant, Communist, Republican, Democrats, nationalists, etc, ... Love is the word hidden in my lyrics. this is my message,… you know what I mean?… Music is love.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I’m the chief man and I can tell you that my guys ever agree with me and each other. I'm there so that everything goes smoothly, ‘cause them we go play on stage for the people. Is like soccer, what happens in the field in the field stays.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
There are concerts in big jazz festivals but for 2022, Lisbon, Madeira, Azores, Madrid, Barcelona, Vitoria, San Sebastian, etc ... I'm in talks with two record companies and also in getting an international manager for we’ll have to enter in USA, UK, and all international markets...Here in Spain, we have three presentations in three important cities but in this situation of the pandemic is complicate to think in long term, is better to think day by day…. Is a pleasure for me to talk with you. Thanks.