ponders the contours of dissolution beyond breaking with his former indie-rock outfit in making his debut as a solo artist. The
singer-songwriter has gifted us in his new album, Laura, a
pensive nine-track meditation on love that begins where it has all come
to an end. The collection, thematically centered on the woman who is now his wife, is a departure musically from Garcia's
previous work as acoustic strums, poignant stringed arrangements, and
Latin-tinged melodious solos come to define its mellow sonic landscapes.
the choruses flourish with poetic resonance on a number of
songs. “You will always live inside my heart / In memories long after
we're apart,” Garcia sings on Laura's first offering. The album
traverses through numerous emotions before ending on an upbeat note
with “All Eyes on You” musing, “To everything / There's a beginning and
an end / But in between / A reason we can all pretend.” The album's official first single “You Were Never There” was featured as Starbucks' 'Pick Of The Week' with three-quarters of a million download cards distributed nationwide.
Before the Detroit-born musician brings his solo songs to Costa Mesa's Detroit Bar tomorrow night, the Weekly asked Garcia about the new musical direction in his life crystallized by the release of Laura.
OC Weekly (Gabriel San Roman): Was pursuing a solo project something you had in mind prior to Elefant disbanding?
I didn't exactly plan it. After Elefant broke up, it became clear that
this was the true sound that I was destined to be making. It was a new
chapter in my life leading to this sound and finally reaching that point
made it feel “right.” I started writing these songs before Elefant,
songs that were “more me.” It was very important to create something
uniquely me, because I didn't believe in making a side project.
The sound of your debut album 'Laura' is far removed from the style of your former band. What do you like most about the places you're are able to go musically on your own?
Some bands are defined by certain limitations and/or personalities, and
the good ones will not fit those limitations, like The Ramones and The
Stooges. So this album is more conceptual and is about experimenting,
exploring, hitting that undeniable sound, one-hundred percent honest, pure, as an
extension of who you are, not only to be able to get things off your
chest, but music that chronicles the journey of this Latin kid in NYC.
'Laura' begins with the lead track 'Inside My Heart' which is a song about a love already departed. Was it intentional to start off the album with that song and theme?
Basically, every story has a beginning, middle, and end, but not
necessarily in that specific order. This song describes the idea of
closure; to love someone unconditionally, regardless of where they might
have gone, or maybe with the hope of getting back together, or falling
love again. Sonically, that's what I wanted people to hear, because I
feel it epitomizes that sound
The entire album is quite introspective lyrically. What was the song writing process like? Did it bring a measure of catharsis?
The process was cathartic, but it was also what kept me alive. The
motivation behind writing these songs was not to make an album or
become famous, but to address how I was feeling at the moment. It was a
meditation on the malady of love. I never intended to record these songs and
share them. What's the point of doing something if you have nothing to
“Anguished” and “Painful” is what some have written about the emotional landscapes of 'Laura.' Do you see the collection of songs in such a context, or is there more of a sense of maturely coming to terms with such experiences?
The record aside from heartbreak also describes a boy growing into a
man. I couldn't have written these songs when I was 22. As I like to say
in Spanish, “calle.” I needed to experience these things to learn and
then write about them, so it makes sense that it's happening now.
How have fans been receiving the new material at your live performances?
You'll have to ask them. I'm 200% selfless on stage and I hope that's
what they experience. Also, it's been very interesting how the album has
been tapping a cultural nerve, causing a very appealing reaction. It's
like Latin music already translated.
Diego Garcia performs at the Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa; www.detroitbar.com. Tue., Jun. 7, 9 p.m. $12. 21+.