“I guess mostly I want people to be able to relate to my experiences and find a little of themselves in the songs,” said Orlando musician Abdias Ernesto Garcia in a recent email interview. “To me, music has been a healer and so I know it can move and heal others as well. At the end of the day, the songs are just stories, and we all have a story to tell.”
The Orlando based musician plays several instruments including drums, guitar, bass, charango (a Peruvian stringed instrument), cajon, melodica and his latest obsession, the piano. As a youngster, he started out banging on pots and pans as most children do and just absorbed everything musical he came across since then. “I played anything I could get my hands on - bongos, guitars, whatever,” said Garcia. “I’ve always been into music more than the instruments themselves. As a teenager I attended a performing arts school in Puerto Rico called La Escuela Libre De Musica where I studied percussion and guitar. If there was a group, band, or ensemble, I’d dive in, but the improv class was definitely my favorite.”
The list of Garcia’s musical influences is a long one, but at the top are Black Sabbath, Tito Puente and Jose Feliciano. “They all represent something special to me as artists as well as the music itself,” he said. “Growing up in Puerto Rico also inspired me tremendously; the level of musicianship on the island is top notch so it forces you to work harder.”
“Tito Puente is at the top of my list for his body of work and his commitment to excellence, Latin music and representing Puerto Rico worldwide. He was and will always be the King of Latin music. Jose Feliciano is another huge influence for similar reasons, but what made Jose so special was his versatility and rawness. He could sit in with Johnny Cash, play Segovia and then turn around and play some mountain music from Puerto Rico. He is the original Latin explosion. He sold more copies of ‘Light My Fire’ than The Doors did! [He was] an absolute musical genius and fervent ambassador of our culture. I’ve been very fortunate to have met both of them, a very humbling experience to say the least.
The Orlando based musician has a few other musical influences to name, “Lastly, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Prince, or as I like to call them, the genius trifecta. They owned their sound, played multiple instruments, and defended their artistic integrity at all costs. I think it worked out for them, so why not go that route?”
Garcia is making a name for himself as a musical composer and songwriter. “My inspiration has evolved over the years both thematically and stylistically, but the common thread has always been my experiences,” he said. “It’s hard for me to write about what I have not gone through. Being a husband and father has really fueled the writing in my albums without a doubt.”
He has his own record company, Tacatantan Records. It “is a labor of love that has been growing over the years, thanks to the relentless support of our team or as we call it, the Tacatantan family,” said Garcia. “I love them all and am constantly humbled by their selfless devotion. We are a collective that really believes that hard work, originality, and long term vision is the only way to succeed. Unlike most record labels, our focus is signing good songs and not necessarily artists. Our goal is to have a diverse catalog for licensing opportunities, so ultimately the artist is still in full control of their career. The catalog is growing at an exciting pace and we are looking forward to producing more iconic events like Dia De Los Muertos and Monster Factory Exhibit.”
For the past few years, Garcia has been focused on his record company and tours with other bands, but he hopes to change that this coming year and focus more on his music and performing. “There is a safety in the studio that keeps you isolated to a certain extent and I’ve turned down doing more live performances for some time now but every time I finish a show, I’m reminded of what really brings me to life and that’s the interaction with the audience. It’s intimate, personal, and creates memories that can never be erased.”
He said the local Orlando music scene has been good to him. He has a very long list of fellow Orlando based artists/performers and supporters that have been with him along the way including Bobby Koelble, Junkie Rush, Will Walker, Abe Otero, Danny Jordan, Alexandrah Sarton, Beth Mckee, the late Sam Rivers, Shak Nasti, Anthony Cole, Kevin Stever, Jeremy Hagen, Tony Venturini, Harrison Light, Ito Colon, Thobos Lubamba, Tommy Calton, Eddie Guagua, Giovanni Hidalgo and many more. “I’ve been in this town for 10 years and have developed very deep bonds with musicians, artists, and fans,” said Garcia. “I’ve seen it morph over the years and I’m glad to have been a part of it for so long. In my opinion, it’s one of the most diverse scenes in the US. We have top-notch players from around the globe who come here to work at the parks and end up contributing enormously to the cultural landscape.”
Garcia’s first self-produced solo CD “Experimento de la Vida” was released in 2009. His second, “Monte Frio,” came out in 2011. On January 1, 2013 he released a single “Yo Busco The Remix” which is a FREE download available on Bandcamp. He has been busy working on his third CD, “Mas Colores y Menos Horrores” and getting a tour set up for its release. Music fans can check out the local Orlando musician on his official site, Twitter, You Tube and Facebook page.