Photo by Kat Wilson
In today’s music climate, three years is a staggering amount of time. Countless artists and bands come, enjoy their moment in the sun, and then fade back into obscurity. Collectively our tastes seem to be in constant flux, and we tend to look back on our listening choices with a sense or irony or even a degree of loathing—what’s popular today, we scorn tomorrow. So much music comes and goes so quickly, and it seems like we barely take the time to digest any if it. Instead we just swallow songs whole and spit them back out again, too often forgetting that the beauty and magic lies in allowing all the varying flavors to marinate and settle in. In the past, bland, disposable Top 40 pop and rock was almost uniquely singled out for derision, but these days bands across the musical spectrum spend more time chasing buzz and catering to fleeting market trends than they do writing memorable music that holds up over time.
For Randy Garcia, however, three years was how long it took to complete his most compelling and ambitious work to date, Resurgens, although not all of that time was as productive as he wanted it to be. Like many artist/producers, Garcia became enslaved to the pursuit of perfection, obsessing over every detail to the point of distraction. Steadily, the months ticked by without much progress to show for it. But in that time, he experienced the life highs of becoming a father and owning a home, and also the painful low of losing his chief creative outlet when his band Nerd Parade decided to call it quits. These experiences—both the life-affirming and the soul crushing—eventually became the vehicle for Garcia to organize his ideas around, and the impetus he needed to set aside his obsessiveness and finally move forward with the album. “I think with all of my records I set out with only one goal,” he explains, “and that is to capture the stories that happen in-between them. My initial goal with Resurgens was to further evolve the sound I was pursuing on my previous studio album, Everything Ever. Of course, that all changed when Nerd Parade dissolved and I found myself without a vehicle for expressing my personal relationship to the universe. I picked up a pen and pad and started writing lyrics to tracks I was developing, and out came the story. In the end, the Cliff’s Notes on Resurgens ended up being, ‘Three years in the life of a man in transition.’”
But while Garcia’s latest opus remains a highly personal work, it’s also a playful record that is unafraid to experiment with different sounds and musical approaches. Bits and pieces of rock, pop, electronica, ambient, IDM, punk and more turn up throughout an album that is almost ferociously positive and upbeat. It’s a record that’s delightfully catchy, but also one that defies easy categorization. For Garcia, this open embrace of music in many styles and forms was largely the point. “I’ve never enjoyed the notion of genre,” he confesses. “I feel like humans are already limited in their perception of sound. The 12-note western music system is another limitation. By the time we get to actually make a sound, we are limited by our creativity and/or dexterity, so it never made sense to me that we should impose further sanctions on music by creating genres.”
“The worst part about genre as a definitive is that it often serves to attract a certain clique of consumers. From that it becomes all to easy to create stereotypes of people and the music they listen to. Therefore, my goal with Resurgens was to throw all of that away and create an inclusive environment for rhythms, harmonies and melodies that might not otherwise have the opportunity to co-exist in the shamefully narrow sub-classifications of music.”
One means for Garcia to escape the traditional trappings of genre was to surround himself with a diverse group of artists and musicians with whom he could collaborate. Guests on Resurgens include local electropop singer NNXT, experimental beatsmith DiViNCi (Solillaquists of Sound, Lauryn Hill), Stephanie Clayton of Telenovela and singer/songwriter Crystal Dawn Baker, all of whom brought their unique voice and musical perspective to the final recording. In addition, he also secured the services of longtime friend Omar Torres (Skinny Puppy, Rabbit in the Moon, UNKLE) to mix the album, an obviously crucial task which Garcia usually reserves for himself. “One of the things I had to learn how to do this time around was to give the project away,” he reveals. “I simply offered a few pointers as to what I was going for and let him have final say. It was the first time I’ve ever had anyone else mix one of my recordings and I probably owe the existence of this record in finished form to him entirely. I should add that he played a bunch of really cool vintage synthesizers on this record, too!”
With his long journey behind him and his new album finally complete, you’d think Garcia would be ready to take a break and catch his breath. But as any working musician will tell you, recording is only the first step. Now Garcia is gearing up to promote the record, which means putting a band together to perform live. There’s still a long way for him to go, but he remains cautiously optimistic about the future. “I am hoping to debut the new band in the spring and tour extensively in the summer and fall,” he says. “As far as promoting the record, I’ve got a few cool ideas planned for the next 30 days that I don’t want to talk too much about, but there will definitely be some video involved. The record will soon make its way to iTunes and the CD’s are starting to ship now, so I guess I just need to hang on tight and see where this particular ride will take me.”
Garcia has been gracious enough to offer us 10 free downloads codes for Resurgens, which we’re giving away on a first come, first serve basis. Just click on the link below to redeem one of the codes. If the first one doesn’t work, try the next one until (hopefully) you get one to work.
FREE DOWNLOAD CODES