This student spotlight features Thomas Garcia, an ICON graduate making big moves in the house music scene. Check out his latest tracks and our exclusive interview.
Introducing Thomas Garcia
An ICON graduate, Thomas Garcia has a career in music that comes from an unwavering dedication to the craft. However, the onset of this dedication was delayed.
There was always an interest in music and not just in electronic music. But it was after pursuing a college degree in business management did Thomas realize music was his way forward.
Enter ICON Collective. As he attended and surrounded himself with people who shared his resolute passion for music, his dedication grew more fervent.
Thomas now has a considerable network of professionals who are as invested in his success as they are in their own. Moreover, the knowledge and understanding he accrued in the years ingesting different styles now serve a new purpose as ICON helped define his artistic profile.
But for Thomas, house music was it. After seeing the robotic masters Daft Punk on tour in 2007, he was hooked. Ever since he’s been making his mark in house music on the same level.
Since graduating ICON, Thomas played EDC Vegas three times, Nocturnal Wonderland, and Space Yacht. He also established himself in his home region of Orange County via their longest-running dance music affair: Focus.
Thomas also released music on numerous impressive labels, including Elrow, Insomniac Records, and Understated Recordings. He has also released music on his label Vibrascura, which recently took off the ground.
Listen to Thomas’s latest releases on SoundCloud:
Thomas Garcia Interview
We spoke to Thomas about his journey before ICON, how ICON altered his course, and everything he’s been up to after graduating.
1. You connected to different genres of music before you pursued dance music fully. What made you dedicate yourself to music, and why did you choose dance music with your eclectic background?
It was a process of meandering about different sounds and styles for many years. I would say it was the excitement of the live aspect of dance music that turned me into a “lifer.”
The first clear moment that blew my mind was seeing Daft Punk in 2007. Without a doubt, this fueled my initial obsession with dance music in terms of digging for music and studying its history. The next moment I remember sealing the deal was EDC 2008 in Las Vegas. Seeing Moby, PVD, and Benny Benassi at the Coliseum was incredible. The mass LimeWire music downloading sprees immediately followed!
2. Once you pursued music, how did attending ICON help you carve your path?
ICON Collective helped me the most in two distinct ways. First and most important, I was finally around people fanatical about music like myself.
Growing up, I always played music and played in bands, etc. Once I hit college and beyond, everyone around me more or less lost interest. The network I developed from ICON Collective alone has been THE most rewarding part of the whole experience. I have to admit that nearly every contact in music I have today (and my girlfriend even) all stemmed from my decision to attend Icon.
Secondly, I learned the fundamentals of music production. Once mastered, they will provide a creative and rewarding experience for any producer or songwriter. I believe once you grasp the fundamentals, you can be creative and make music for “You.”
For most producers, it’s music theory, songwriting, sound design, and synthesis that, once grasped, release the artist to do interesting stuff.
3. You’ve recently started your label, Vibrascura. What is the purpose of this label? What sort of music are you looking to sign?
The label is slated to be a platform for myself to release music I feel is most “me” and wouldn’t fit on other labels. Also, I plan to sign artists producing house music that is more stripped back, loose, and organic sounding.
There are also plans to set up a co-branded event series with Understated LA. They will focus on this “new” sort of sound bubbling up. We want to bring out artists like SAM, Dimmish, Lazare Hoche, Ben Rau, etc.
4. You’re currently employed at Create Music Group, working in distribution. How has having an inside understanding of distribution helped you spread your music? When do you recommend artists begin working with distributors?
My experience working with Create has allowed me to look “under the hood” and see what goes into making a record successful once it leaves the studio.
I have also learned about the importance of playlisting, promotion, and what editorial teams look for when considering featuring a record. I also see what artists and labels are doing wrong. For my music, it has made me pickier than ever on both how often I release music and where I release it.
For other artists, I’d say it’s still a good idea to selectively release on labels for the sake of building credibility and an audience. At least at the beginning of their career. Once you gain a measure of traction, look at teaming up with a distributor and releasing music on your own.
There is still something to be said about owning your masters! If you have a song blow up and your whole catalog is signed to labels, they’ll benefit from it more than you will!