As a research paper for a writing class, I covered El Paso's rock scene. For this, I interviewed Mike Garcia (guitarist) from the band Abnik . For those of you who don't know, Abnik is one of the bigger El Paso bands and has opened up for Flyleaf in '07 (and some other well known bands that I just can't think of off the top of my head). I personally love these guys and I do shameless promotion for their shows. Since I promised quite a number of people that I would be posting up my interview, here it is.
Bohemain in Paradise: Because Abnik performs original music, has the band ever had problems getting booked for shows?
Mike Garcia: I think we were the only original Band around El Paso at the time that really wanted to break the mold (so to speak) in terms of performing in places that normally would not allow Original music to be heard. I remember going to clubs and bars trying to schedule a show and the owners would ask me if we played cover songs and I would tell them Not a single one! They would always turn us down. And that would always piss me off because here they are turning us down when they’ve never even heard a single Musical Note coming out of us! It was hard and I would NOT take no for an answer, and eventually we started performing at place like Crawdaddy’s and Hiney’s.
BIP: If you had to describe the El Paso rock scene in one word, what would it be?
BIP: In a previous interview, you and Jeremy (Abnik's lead singer) mentioned something about El Paso bands that leave forgetting their roots and claiming that they are from larger cities. Why do you think those bands do that?
MG: I really don’t understand why a lot of bands do that, honestly. But it’s not only here in El Paso that this happens. I guess it all depends where all these bands end up moving to just to be closer to their Record Labels. I think that they eventually end up calling these places where they reside their home.
BIP: What advice would you give local garage rock bands that want to make it big in El Paso?
MG: My advice would be to Stick to your Guns. You have to stick it out for the long run. Success does not happen over night but you also have to be passionate about what you do. Do what you feel is right. Music is all about expression and not everyone will be happy with what you do, but as long as you get one person’s attention, you’re on the right track.
BIP:What's one part of the El Paso rock scene that most people don't know about or is the most misunderstood?
MG: The thing that is most misunderstood is the fact that El Paso really does have a lot of talent. You have all kinds of music that will suit anyone. But there are a lot of bands that are not quite ready to perform Live, and do shows. And that right there is what is hurting our music scene as well. People end up not going to shows because they automatically think that all bands here in town are not good at all.
BIP:How do you think the El Paso rock scene will be in the future?
MG: I really can’t tell how the scene will be in 5 years from now, but as long as ABNIK’s around, you can expect the Music Scene to be full of energy and thriving because we will not let the scene die out in any way. Just like other bands that gave us a chance to perform with them, that’s what I want to be doing in the future, and that is to pave the way for other up and coming bands and give them a chance to be heard.
BIP:Do you ever see Abnik becoming a large Grammy winning band that sells out stadiums?
MG: Of coarse just like any other band, we all dream of making it to the top! It would be great to have our music played on all the Radio Stations and winning awards. It symbolizes our hard work and talent. “And the Award for Breathrough Artist of the Year goes to……”
BIP:On average, how many people come to an Abnik show?
MG:On an average, we get about 30 to 40 people at our shows, but there have been times where we have performed infront of 5,000 people as well. But funny enough, we’ve also done shows where we played infront of 2 people. Ah, the good ol’ days.
BIP: Personally, why you think cover bands are so big in El Paso?
MG: I think one of the main reasons Cover bands are big in El Paso is because a lot of people go to bars where there are cover band already performing. It’s the venues in town who are hiring a lot of cover bands instead of Original bands. For every 1 bar in town that has an Original band performing, there are 10 bars with cover bands. So that is the main reason why. Also, a lot of people want to be in cover bands because it’s fun to play music, but there is NO comparison when it comes to writing your own music and getting appreciated for it.
BIP: Describe the typical Abnik fan.
MG:The typical El Pasoan going to one of our shows would be energetic, loyal, and extremely loud!!!!!
I will be posting up my final reserch paper in the coming days. It ended up being about 9 pages so I'll do it in series of parts.