Singer Gabriel Garcia and his band, which mixes a pop funk, jazz and R&B infused sound, expects to drop it’s debut EP this winter. Garcia serves as the lead singer of the yet to be named band which also includes drummer Toussaint “Tulu” Lewis, lead guitarist Alvaro Marmolejo, Julian Cabrera on trumpet and Alan Monivaiz on trombone. The Reporter caught up with Garcia and Cabrera, who are both Kendall Campus students, to talk about the band, their influences and what their plans for the future are.
How and when was the band formed?
GG: I started off as a solo act. After playing a few shows on my own, I decided I wanted a couple of friends to accompany me. I’d just ask people to come play with me that night. I built a network of musicians I could call and play with then we kind of became set.
JC: It wasn’t really planned.
GG: For a while we were a band, but we weren’t saying we were a band. We were like, “nah it’s just me and a couple musicians.”
JC: It was really more of a solo act if you think about it.
GG: Where we are now, we’re going to brand it as a band. We’re going to change the name of the group. It’s not just going to be my name.
How would you describe your music?
GG: It depends on the song. It’s mainly alternative. We have a song with some funk influence. We have a couple slow songs that are Jack Johnson-y. The style we’re leaning more toward is R&B influence and pop punk. Definitely pop punk.
Can you name a few influences?
GG: Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Modern Baseball, Front Bottoms, and A Great Big Pile of Leaves.
What sets you apart from other local bands?
GG: Our rep in the local scene is we’re “the band with the horns” just because we have two horn players. A lot of people tell us our songwriting is different.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
GG: It’s definitely evolved over time. Sometimes I’ll think of a riff that’s kinda cool, or I’ll think of a melody, and I’ll start adding words to it. Or sometimes I’ll have a chord progression and it’s like, “oh, let’s write something on this.” I took songwriting this summer and that really gave me more of a process.
How long have you been playing guitar?
GG: Probably since 7th grade. I remember I walked into a music shop with my dad, and I saw this electric guitar and said, “oh my god, that’s so cool.” My dad said, “I’ll buy it if you learn it.” I bought it and started learning old Cuban songs with my grandpa.
How did you get started playing shows?
GG: My friend Lolo invited me to watch a house showdown in the Redlands. I didn’t know what it was, but it was really cool. The next time we went, I decided to perform, and then slowly started getting into the local scene.
How has studying jazz performance influenced your sound?
GG: Quite a bit. I mean, I don’t use too many jazz voicings, just every once in a while.
JC: I think it’s affected your technique and your phrasing.
GG: Yeah, the phrasings, the rhythms I use and definitely melody writing.
How is this EP different from your solo music?
GG: Actually it’s a funny thing, the EP is kind of what we did the first year as a solo project.
JC: It’s the same songs, but as a band now.
GG: The way we arranged the songs was that I would write the song and be like, “look, I have the song on acoustic.” The band would hop in and start adding parts, and slowly over time it started becoming a set arrangement. We picked the best five.
What was the recording process like?
GG: A lot of long nights working on stuff. A lot of stress, thinking, “oh man, we’re not going to have stuff ready on time.”
JC: A lot of hours here recording.
GG: We put in a lot of work, but our producer Sebastian Olaya is really what made the recording what it is.
What does this release mean to you?
GG: It’s basically a step in the right direction. Ever since I started writing songs, I always wanted to put out some sort of album or EP just as a first step of starting this.
Why should people listen to the album?
GG: It’s something a little different. It’s definitely a cool mixture of different styles.
JC: I think it has some relatable moments with people.
GG: The lyrics are very relatable. They were all written on emotional days. There’s definitely a lot of feeling put into it.
What are your hopes for the band’s future?
GG: We have a couple things planned. We want to release a couple more EPs, maybe an album. We want to play more shows and expand more, start playing shows in Broward. Maybe even upstate, out of state. And start making some money, maybe. That would be nice.