David Garza is no stranger to South By Southwest. For most of the 90s, Garza was a staple of the Texas college circuit–playing almost any gig he could get–and he gained a lot of devoted fans as a result. After a couple of albums on Lava/Atlantic, Garza went back to doing things on his own. Now back in Austin, he’s still making music, along with producing other people’s music, and spends his free time working on his paintings. His “greatest hits of the 2000s” collection makes its debut during SXSW 2010.
I recently asked Garza a few questions for Houston Calling, which he was kind enough to answer.
Houston Calling: You’ve been playing during South By Southwest for years now. What do you feel is the best thing that has come out of it for you over the years?
David Garza: The best thing to come out of SXSW is all the weird new music you did not know existed.
HC: What would you recommend for musicians that are first-timers at SXSW?
DG: I would recommend ear plugs, free CDs to give away to new friends, and a sense of humor.
HC: You’ve always been a pretty prolific musician, but you’ve also gotten into producing music for others (Juliana Hatfield, for instance). How did that come about and do it you view it as a natural progression for you?
DG: Production for me is very natural if it’s with people I know and love. If not, it is extremely no fun!
HC: You lived in Austin for years. Are you based in L.A. now? I know you did some residencies there a while back…
DG: I did my four years in LA–like rock’n’roll high school. Now I am back in Austin and love it.
HC: How do you view Austin and the Austin music scene when compared to other cities in which you’ve spent time?
DG: There really is no comparison. Austin is small enough to get around quickly in and jam-packed with killer music no matter your scene–tejano, punk, country, metal, dj, singer/songwriter–it’s like a big outlet mall for music.
HC: My favorite experience seeing you play live over the years has to be at The Continental Club in Houston back when you were doing a show a week in in Dallas, Houston, and Austin for a month straight. I was able to catch a few of those shows and remember after the gig how you’d hang out and play your guitar for the fans that stayed after the crowds had cleared. Obviously, some of the early shows I saw in Waco were special but I liked the intimacy of the CC gigs. You seem to have a pretty devoted fan base — it is important to you to cultivate that? Do you find it easier or more difficult to do with the glut of social media available today?
DG: Ahh Waco! I miss those Continental gigs–they were the best. To cultivate it is my life’s love. My music is food for some people and I just love making new dishes for people to pig-out on. All the social media stuff is a huge mega earthling fad that will burn out when people realize how empty it is compared to any real life experience. Ultimately all this computer stuff is just fancy couch potato living. Live music is so visceral it’s scary. Folks will always come back to it.
HC: Are you working on any new music? What can you tell me about it? You’ve also recently released a book of art, correct?
DG: I paint and sell my art on my website (davidgarza.com). But I am also releasing Shed Light, a 20-song best of 2000-2010 at SXSW this year. So it is a very exciting time for me right now.
HC: How has digital technology changed the way you create and record your music?
DG: The tech aspect of recording is a blessing and a curse. It’s a curse because I am a snob and am tired of weeding through a lot of unexciting music that anyone and everyone records. It’s a blessing because not so much plastic is used for people to hear music now.
HC: What do you hope to get out of this year’s SXSW?
DG: More free meals from dinners with A&R guys and music biz folks!
HC: Anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing play in Austin during SXSW?
DG: I am looking forward to all the new unknown surprises that await me more than anyone I know.
Here’s a video of David Garza performing his 1998 single, “Discoball World”:
David Garza plays his official SXSW showcase on Friday, 3.19.10, at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard (1106 E. 11th St.) at 9pm. He also plays a few day parties, which you can likely find more information about on Showlist Austin. Shed Light will be available at his showcase.