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INTERVIEW: Shannon Garcia

Hi Shannon, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been really well. It’s all a bit surreal right now…. it’s quite an enjoyable feeling.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Spooky Action At A Distance”?

A bit… yes.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

This song contains memories from a past life when a single phone call changed the trajectory of my existence. I allowed myself to live in those shadows for a few moments, in an attempt, to really capture a melodic expression of this particular chapter of my life experience thus far.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes, I am so very excited to share it soon. I teamed up with Edmund Osterman to create the video. I met Edmund while taking Improv Classes through Improv Cincinnati.  I shared with him that I was learning how to play instruments and writing music for the purpose of healing and releasing past wounds. Turns out he is a filmmaker and had never worked on a music video before. He was so very patient with my awkwardness and lack of experience as I am not used to being in front of a camera. We hope to have transferred the essence of the song into a visual representation.

The single comes off your new album fnExists – what’s the story behind the title?

fnExists is a function used to check for the existence of different items within code. When learning this function, my mind went to a syntax for the human heart and mind.  I wrote this mock expression out the day I decided on the name of the EP.

<Steps>

<If value= “fn:exists (Heartbreak , Self Actualization of Worth)”>

<Step value=fnCreate (Art) “/>

</If>

</Steps>

How was the recording and writing process?

Lovely, I really enjoy everything about this particular process. It took just about a year to record fnExists from start to finish. I kept a strict routine of practicing, writing and recording in some capacity each week. Most evenings I would spend up to 4 hours practicing the parts before my weekly recording session. I began to crave and miss creating when I wasn’t doing it at least one of the three every day. Once I identified this feeling, I made it a priority for my soul’s well-being.

In the studio, Josiah Wolf was kind enough to allow me the space to create and evolve with minimal interjections until I was comfortable with my output and solicited his input. And of course, his suggestions were usually right on point and flowed with my styling. The day I walked in with a box of random objects to record percussive sounds for “Seventeen”, he was welcoming of my wayward perception of sounds.

What role does Cincinnati play in your music?

Cincinnati has played a majorly important role in my music. I spent many of nights and days walking around Cincinnati practicing my guitar or bass clarinet. The city is so inspiring to me as I know it is to others. There is an embracing creative vibe that permeates the air.

I can not express enough how deeply grateful I am for the local music scene in Cincinnati. I know without a doubt this project would not have happened if it was not for the love that Cincinnati musicians show towards one another. It is truly breathtaking to see all the support in the community towards each other but also how they embrace touring musicians with so much hospitality.  I am so thankful to now be a part of such a wonderful group of talented and passionate individuals.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than on your own?

As a healing project, fnExists had to be all me. It was very important to stay in the mindset of feel and release. Every instrument, inflection, sound, word and field recording captured has a meaning behind it.

On fnExists, I am the sole entity creating sound except for a very faint count in by Mr. Josiah Wolf on “Spooky Action at a Distance.”  Oh, I did ask 17 friends and family members to provide their heart rate, I averaged it and used that value for the ending rhythm of “Seventeen”. Admittedly, it was difficult to decline help from talented friends that offered their assistance along the way.  I hope to collaborate with them soon.

How much has physics influenced your writing?

Well technically, it influences just about everything I do.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

From life, rather than be looking backward, forwards or in the current moment. Inspiration finds me in the most random of moments. I am very thankful for that.

I was riding the 17 bus from College Hill to Downtown Cincinnati, an older man approached me as I sat writing in my journal and he said “I’ve got my eye on you” then sat back down with a smile. I smiled back and jotted those words down. At the time, I was listening to an audiobook: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, very interesting listen.

Gladwell addresses factors that could/did contribute to the success of individuals such as Bill Gates and The Beatles. He has a reoccurring mention of the 10,000 hours theory inferring that greatness requires a lot of time. I have to agree with that. For instance, Bill Gates had access to a computer in 1968 at the age of 13 spending well over 10,000 hours of computer programming. That was unheard of back then for an adult let alone a child. Same goes with The Beatles, they played over 1,200 times in a four year period giving them more than 10,000 hours of playing.

Where the book really hit home with me was a section that spoke to children from higher socio-economic groups had a 30some% advantage at the start of the school year of information retained due to the factors that are common within those communities such as more opportunities for summer learning, families in this group frequent culture establishments, travel and exposure to a broader scope of life. Children from lower socio-economic communities started the year at a disadvantage as they most often lacked opportunities for continued learning during summer break and not being in an environment that valued education as a priority.

I myself grew up poor and I personally understand the struggle to learn within an environment that does not prioritize education because surviving is “more important”. A message the book delivers is that a person is not solely successful because of their own effort. Yes, there are many variables but as a community, society, and family we can impact a persons success and what we do for others matters just as much as what we do for ourselves.  As I looked around the bus, on that day, I couldn’t help but think “We’re not cut too far off pattern.”

Any plans to hit the road?

In June, more specifically, June 19-28th.  I’m pairing up with Andy Holmes, he just released Limping through Paradise. I completely adore that album. We will transverse North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.  I am very much looking forward to the adventure!

What is happening next in Shannon Garcia’s world?

On my little exoplanet, there is so much happening. I’m currently forming the Taken for the ep release party on May 31st with Heavy Hinges at Motr in OTR. I’m really excited to have Yemi Oyediren confirmed on percussion. I’ve been handcrafting merchandise for the show and tour. I’m back in the studio recording new material. I’m also attending another improv class, joined a community garden and planning on some hiking and small adventures with my little furry friend, Don Diego de la Vega.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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