Talking with Garcia Peoples
Interview with Maria Arroyo
Rock n’ roll psychedelic jam band, Garcia Peoples, is officially a 6-piece band but has played anywhere from 2 to 6 band members, with one of their guitarists being from the Chicago area. The Brooklyn-based band is just getting started.
The band consists of songwriters and guitarists Danny and Tom, Derek on bass, Cesar on drums, and other members Pat and Andy.
My Skype interview was with the singer and co-songwriter of Garcia Peoples, Tom Malach. We spent a lot of time talking about the writing process and how fast everything was able to fall in place in such a short amount of time.
“We wrote the music over a long stretch of time… a lot of these songs that we are working on now are actually quite old, and a lot of the songs that are on the first, second and third albums are even older,” Malach explained, then adds, “There was a point a few years ago when Danny and I were both unemployed and we would get together very often and just kind of plan out these albums… and now they are actually happening.”
So…you really just had a lot of time to sit around and write music? “Yeah… kinda,” he answers.
The band is already on their third album in just a year and a half and is currently recording their fourth album in Philadelphia with Jeff Zigler, who also helped them record their second album.
As we talked more and more about the explosion of released songs, he elaborated on the recording process and how much they have learned and adapted to being in a studio.
“It was a great experience because we’ve always recorded in our own bedrooms and whatnot and done things pretty simple… like friends pushing the buttons and stuff,” he explains. “But going to a studio and paying someone who knows what they’re doing where you can ask them for things and they give you suggestions… I love working with people that give input. We have all these songs, so we said let’s pay the money and record these songs for real, and it turned out even better than we expected!”
As a musician myself, I know how many tons of books of songs that I’ve written, so to be able to publish almost all of them back to back in less than 2 years is very impressive!
“So do you and your band do music full-time?” I asked.
“We all still work 9-5 jobs… but from the beginning, we knew that if we were going to do something, we need to commit to it,” Malach admits. “We had a pretty strong sense of what kind of sound we wanted so we really didn’t have to search too much.”
We talked some more about the band’s approach to writing music. Malach told me that their ultimate goal is to have every band member have a hand in songwriting.
“We write separately and then bring it to the practice space and flesh it out as a full band,” Malach stated.
“Does your music take inspiration from anything in particular?” I questioned.
Now I thought the answer would be some major bands, huge moments in life, girl problems, etc., but their answer was definitely so much more meaningful than any of the above.
“Well, my father is a musician and has always been a big inspiration and I’m always trying to learn from him,” Malach replied. “We are definitely inspired by a lot of different music but more so influenced by our peers and other bands we hear… we can see their whole process, how they think about things, and how they execute them.”
And that… THAT moment… made my heart so full.
“So you have all this music, what are some venues that you’ve tried out?” I wondered.
“Well, Union Pool in Brooklyn is like a second home for us,” He admitted. “We also did a residency at a fantastic club called New Blue in Manhattan that was really fun. There’s also a place in Portland, Oregon called Doug Fir that is very comfortable and has a great sound to it.”
Since having played a decent amount of venues, I was curious to find out what makes a venue “playable.” I mean sure, having a sound system and some sort of stage is a given, but I love knowing all the little nuances that musicians look for when playing at a venue. What makes them WANT to come back and play at that SPECIFIC venue?
Malach slightly pauses, trying not to give an answer that makes some venues look bad, so much respect for that!
“I mean, some performances have felt like an uphill battle because soundcheck wasn’t that great, but any number of things can happen,” He begins. “When I
think back to venues that I like, I think back to our performance there and that would be why I liked it. There’s also something to be said for the people at the venue putting you at ease and giving you a space to be to wind down before we perform because that really helps.”
As I started wrapping up the interview, we talked about some possible collaborations that the band would like to have which included artists like Sarah Louise, the Oh Sees, Gang Gang Dance, and other New York bands. The band also had huge plans of touring Europe at some point before 2021 so be sure to be on the lookout for that!
“This is probably my last question, but what’s your favorite part of being a musician and some roadblocks you’ve hit along the way?”
“My favorite part? You can always get better… there is no end in sight,” He begins. “There are always new ideas and things to access and new music to explore. It’s always ongoing and evolving to be a musician… but the biggest roadblock? Time… or I guess the lack of time when things are really going and the amount of time we have on our hands when things aren’t going.”
“Anything else that you want readers to know?”
“Thank you for coming to the shows and thank you for picking music… what we do isn’t possible in a vacuum… it takes a whole village.”
Thank you to Tom Malach from Garcia Peoples for taking time out of your day to talk with me, it was a blast and I look forward to all of the amazing things that you and your band will do in the future.