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Music Is Activism
Everything That Exists strive to right the world's imbalances
When Garrett Hay named his “electroacoustic jazz rock” band Everything That Exists, he wasn’t trying to be cute.
How did Everything That Exists start?
There are two core members, me and the drummer, Chris Dominick. We started playing about two years ago. I met him in high school, but we didn’t come together until after high school was over. We started off calling ourselves Garrett’s Place, because I’m the songwriter and a lot of songwriters name the band after themselves. It seemed like what everyone else would do, but what we were getting at as a message is that everything is connected through energy—whether you’re talking spiritually or scientifically. The two other members in the band right now are Christian Wunderlich and Joseph Salcedo.
So rather than a band name that’s memorable or just hasn’t been taken, Everything That Exists is meant to convey a specific message?
That’s correct. Our influences are everything that exists. Imagine a world where you walked up to someone and they said, “I’m Everything That Exists. How are you?” Everyone has influence on each other’s energy. With the band name, it tries to rule out as many labels as possible. Atoms make up the universe. The fundamental parts of our bodies are all made up of the same thing. It means when you hit someone, you’re hitting yourself. When you speak badly about someone, you’re speaking badly about yourself, because we all form the same energy. We seem so different physically, but it’s totally an illusion. That’s what the whole thing’s about.
It sounds like you’ve got a message or philosophy you’re trying to express through your band.
It’s sort of what we’d call a philosophy. I try to stay away from –ologies or –isms. I feel that helps build a wall around your mind. Just seeing all the imbalance in the world, I feel we’ve got to sing about it. People say, “When did you get into all this stuff?” What stuff? What else is there to get into besides helping the human race become aware about their true potential, infinite love and all that stuff? That sums it up, but it doesn’t. The main message of the band is just to love everyone. Life is full of experiences. Whether they’re balanced or imbalanced, you can pull something from them. Mark Twain had a great quote: “If everyone told the truth, there would be nothing to remember,” meaning when truth comes right at you, you don’t have to investigate it. You know it’s truth. When you look at people like Martin Luther King and John Lennon, they were challenging lies. The way government treats its people is imbalanced. If it wasn’t, then we’d have a totally peaceful world. But I’m inspired by everything that exists. It comes back to that.
How do you find Orange County as a home for a band like yours with the message you sing about?
The energy here is a little tainted. Materialism . . . not that I’m immune to that. No one is. We live in the age of materialism. Mother Teresa came over here and said that Americans are materially sound, but they lack spirituality in a huge way. People know what the band is all about. It’s not a surprise that we’re not for war, because it’s killing people. It’s been a little rough. The energy here is so suppressed, but I can’t find a place in the world where it isn’t suppressed. But I meet new people all the time who are open-minded. And there’s every kind of music scene in Orange County. The stereotype is a reggae/ska kind of thing or hardcore and screamo. For us as a mellow type of band . . . you don’t see many bands like us in Orange County. And you can’t expect people just to roll over and open their minds. There’s been a lot of time spent indoctrinating the human race. It’s going to take one huge moment of clarity, or you’ve got to chip away at it. And that’s what we’re doing everyday with music. I feel that we all know everything there is to know infinitely, but we’re just unaware. And it’s about making people aware.
What do you want to achieve with your music?
I feel that music is activism. When music is affecting part of your life, that musician is being an activist. If it’s soothing, they’re activating your mind to being soothed. Every single song should be about how imbalanced the world is. And how beautiful it is.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/everythingthatexists.