This week we have Nick Garcia returning to our show after recently releasing his latest EP ‘Stepmode’ with PUZL Records. Nick has been pouring out a steady stream of quality music since we first were introduced to him and this year he continues to venture into the unknown taking exciting risks with his music production. Check out this latest mix that he’s cooked up for us and see below for the full tracklist and his latest interview with MR PUZL.
MR PUZL: Welcome back to our guest mix series. What have you crafted for our audience this week?
Nick Garcia: Thanks for having me back! I recorded a mix that includes a lot of my favorite records at the moment, including selections from Afriqua, DJ Seinfeld, Dense & Pika, and a host of other artists that I feel are really pushing limits in electronic music at the moment. I tried to select records that sound unique and a little bit challenging.
MP: Congrats on your latest EP ‘Stepmode’. We were very excited to be apart of promoting the release! Would you say there was any specific theme or concept that tied all these tracks together?
NG: I see this EP as kind of an extension of an EP I released on Lifted Contingency last year called Aalto, which was basically inspired by the things I use to actually make music. That EP took its name from the Aalto software synthesizer from Madrona Labs. It’s a really beautifully designed instrument that also makes appearances all over Stepmode. The titles on this release again reflect processes or tools that informed the music’s creation.
MP: As always we are enamored by your sound design. What were some new tools you introduced into your workflow for this? The artwork was also fantastic. Tell us a bit about how that came together, and the artist you worked with.
NG: Well, Aalto was a big player. There’s quite a bit of Mother 32 and the kicks all came from my Jomox Mbase which I picked up last year and absolutely adore. A lot of the sounds on the EP, including the main riff in Stepmode, the little 303-type sounds in Division Sequence, and the chords in the B section of Kromachord, were the result of using note velocity to control filter cutoff. So I manually drew in velocity values to affect the filter’s frequency. I love the effect it creates.
The artwork is indeed fantastic – it was designed by my friend Lydia, an artist living and working in Berlin. After seeing her artwork for the Alter agency and its artists I really wanted to see what she would do for this. You can check out all of her work at www.lydiaoc.com.
MP: Every moment in the studio is a learning experience. Since we spoke to you last year what about your output and style have evolved? What about the process of working on this EP specifically surprised you?
NG: I’ve been playing a lot more DJ gigs in the last year, and I think it’s given me a new perspective on how to craft tunes. As I get more experience as a DJ I realize that often times the most fun tracks to play aren’t the ones with perfect, long intro’s and outro’s that make mixing really easy. So I think I’m less concerned now with the functionality of my tracks and more concerned with how they make me feel. I want to just make music without feeling confined by the limitations of what a track’s structure should be.
MP: You’ve been involved in the DC scene for several years now. What do you find so appealing about the city? What unique characteristics separate it from other cities you’ve traveled to?
NG: DC is an amazing place with a lot of musical history, from jazz up through go-go and punk through to the dance scene we have today. It’s super multi-cultural and that’s probably the thing I like most about it. It fosters a scene that’s generally very inclusive and diverse, which I don’t see everywhere. You have people who are into techno and people who are into hip hop and people who are into more mainstream stuff all going to the same shows and becoming friends. I feel like people are pretty open-minded when it comes to music here.
MP: You’ve been working on a cool event series called Werk Ethic. Can you tell us a bit about the concept and the partnerships involved?
NG: Werk Ethic is a quarterly night that I do at U Street Music Hall with Ken Lazee, the manager there and a seriously good DJ. The idea is to play only tracks from the 80’s and 90’s and pay tribute to the early days of house and techno. We try to cover a lot of ground, making it educational as well as fun, and maybe turn on some younger ears to a few records they haven’t heard before. Our last one was on Cinco de Mayo and the place was packed!
MP: Let’s switch it up a bit. You’ve got a camera with a single roll of 35mm film in it and a one way ticket to anywhere in the world. Where would you go and what would you photograph?
NG: I would definitely go to Cuba. I am in love with Cuban music and I would want to take pictures of musicians and food. However I’m pretty bad at photography, so I’d bring my girlfriend and put her on camera duty. She has a much better eye than me.
MP: One more. You’re stranded on a island and a keg of beer washes up on shore and it’s magically ice cold. You tap it and your pour a crisp pint of…?
NG: Man, that’s a tough one. I think I’d have to go local and pick Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch. It’s pure coincidence that one of my favorite IPA’s is brewed just half an hour north of DC, and it’s a pretty strong one at that so maybe it would help me forget that I’m stranded on an island!
Nick Garcia – Division Sequence [PUZL]
Harrison BDP – Fade Back From Reality [Lost Palms]
Vincent – How I Feel [Klockworks]
Locklead – Roa Tek [BORG LTD]
Afriqua – Odette [Souvenir Music]
Ruff Stuff – A Home With No Air [Ruff Stuff]
DJ Seinfeld – Club Stuff Innit [Self-released]
Posthuman – Exit Drums [Dixon Avenue Basement Jams]
Citizenn, Jhelisa – Friendly Pressure (DJ Boring B Weak Remix) [&Friends]
Private Press – Untitled I [Technosoul]
Trance Wax – Trance 11 [Trance Wax]
Dense & Pika – Hard Light [Hypercolour]