In order to make it, a lot of musicians either go commercial or step over people to get ahead. Basically, give up their originality or turn into an asshole. Both of which pretty much suck.
That's the antithesis to West Palm Beach-based DJ German Garcia's
approach. The Uruguayan-naitve recently started up his own label, Xima records with good friend and colleague Patrick M, resident DJ at Space. Their main goal: highlight local artists with an underground sound. As part of Vibe
Music Week -- a set of EDM-centered events running in conjunction with Winter Music Conference -- Garcia will be featuring some of his artists and some of his own new tracks.
specializes in deep techno and tribal house. "We're pretty much going for a somewhat underground sound," said Garcia, "Not commercial sound. Not the radio sound on Power 96 or other stations. I'm not knocking what they do, but we're going to make music for DJs to play. That's how you build an artist: through recognition of other artists."
Garcia and Patrick M first held a showcase for the label Saturday, March 2, at Space. While they plan to hold another release sometime in the next month (the exact date is still uncertain), Garcia will be presenting the label and some of the artists at Vibe on Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22, at the Mondrian, South Beach for WMC. Garcia, who really likes the intimate space and sound of the club, spoke to Vibe entertainment director Adam Foster about holding the Xima showcase before WMC, but the two felt better about holding it during Vibe Music Week. "During the conference people might not come up to the DJ booth asking for Rihanna," said Garcia, "Vibe is known for being a bit more commercial. I bring a lot of a capellas to make people happy. But the guys I'm bringing are house dudes and they're not going to have commercial stuff."
Garcia has always been somewhat adverse to mainstream musical tastes. At around fourteen years old he started DJing with tape players and a mixer in his bedroom. He had a group of about fifteen to twenty friends who were into electronic music, but it was far from the norm. At the time, most of his schoolmates were listening to metal. "Everyone was listening to Megadeath and Metallica," he said, "If you listened to electronic music you were a dumbass, so we kind of kept to ourselves."
When Garcia moved to South Florida in 2001, he went back to listening to rock for a while. Eventually he met some people in the EDM scene and starting going down to shows in Miami. A short while later he made his way to Ultra and found his scene. That's when he met Patrick M, who, at the time, owned a record store, the Miami outpost of the Buenos Aries Chopin Hagen. Getting tired of trekking down from West Palm Beach to Miami, Garcia began looking for a scene in West Palm Beach.
He started going to Hotel Biba
frequently. When the regular DJ left, Garcia started playing. He quickly moved up throwing the "French Kiss" Party at Monarchy
, then playing Space. So far, Garcia is rather pleased with his success, but he admits he's put in a combination of many hours of work, networking, and good luck to get there. He now intends to work on building the label and making a name for himself internationally. He currently has trips to Greece and Spain planned for the summer and Sydney, Australia, for the New Year.
While Garcia is working toward growing his career, he is highly skeptical of the whole celebrity thing. He thinks the superstar image defeats the purpose of EDM by separating the DJ from the crowd. Even as a DJ himself, he thinks that they are frequently overpaid and encouraged to sound the same. Garcia does see the positive aspects of opening EDM to the world, but he thinks the "circus" around some of the big names -- guys like Avicii and David Guetta -- encourages the same huge, commercial sound.
"I think it's great that electronic music has been opened up to the world," said Garcia, "When I was younger people, thought I was a weirdo, but idolizing or making someone a god, because of what's behind them, I don't agree with that. I want to be an inspiration right then [when playing]. Not like an Avicii, because he's surrounded by girls and Ferraris. If it comes to that, it comes to that, but that shouldn't be the goal."
Right now, Garcia is focusing on building the Xima label. So far, he's signed Donnie Lowe (resident DJ of Gryphon), Elio Riso, Festa Bros, Le Brion, Hillary Warner, and others. He wants to use his name to help bring other artists to the spotlight. To him, it's all about paying it forward. According to Garcia, "At the end of the day, try to do as much good as you can for other people. I believe it's an energy thing. If you give out good energy, it attracts positive energy."