Tag Archives: Original Music

Feature: Taylor Mann

We are proud to continue the LIFESTYLE’s Feature series with Taylor Mann. Taylor has been an active creator- producing and writing music throughout Washington State and Madrid Spain. In Madrid he continues to perform throughout the city in various neighborhoods at venues such as Triskel Tavern, El Hombre Moderno, and more. As Fala Gringo, he released a self produced EP of original tunes this summer. Check the interview below for his unique perspective on Reflection and Response and links to his tracks Hole and The Bad Seed.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

TM: I’m from Seattle by way of Camano Island, Washington, a little rural island about an hour to the north of the city. It’s beautiful and quiet and everyone knows each other. It is a pretty typical American small-town sort of place in that guns, country music, church and high school football rule the day, but I enjoy roughly 50% of those things so it’s not so bad. I moved to Seattle at 18 to attend UW and have become depressingly urban, with soft hands and tendencies toward snobbery. Instead of going to law school, I moved to Madrid where I spent the last year working as an English teaching assistant. I like Madrid and I don’t know when I’ll leave (although I wrote this as I was visiting my home island, sitting in my parents’ house and realizing that my natural habitat is being surrounded by water and pine trees).

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TM: It’s often hard to really absorb many of our experiences while they’re happening beyond that which is visceral and immediate. You could define reflection as a post-game breakdown of sorts, or like that part at the end of a political speech where men and women in suits argue about what it all means. I think the things that have happened to me that were the worst in the moment have provided the most interesting fodder for reflection. Response would probably be what your reflection leads you to do.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

TM: I suppose my songs are usually me trying to work through something, so they let me sort of look at what I’ve been thinking when I’m not in the moment. I don’t really know whether that’s reflecting or responding.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

TM: This summer I self-recorded an EP called The Swoon EP with the help of my friend Alex Madden who played most of the drums and percussion and the bass on Strange Physics. I’m calling myself Fala Gringo because it sounds more interesting than my name. The album is made up of 5 of the songs I wrote over the last year I spent in Madrid and you can download it for free at http://falagringo.bandcamp.com/ if you want. I’ve been recording myself since high school, but this is the first cohesive group of songs I’ve ever put out as a complete work. I’m back in Madrid and writing songs again, but I’m also beginning the planning for a second EP with at least 5 more of last year’s songs. I hauled over all the relevant gear in my suitcase so I can set up a recording room in my piso here. I’m also going to be helping my friend Sam with some electronic based songs he’s made which is something I’m really excited about.

Who or what inspires you?

TM: Hard-core drugs, mostly.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

TM: I don’t actually do hard-core drugs.

Shout out to…?

TM: The Soup House. RIP.


The Bad Seed:


Reflection and Response.

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Feature: El Patio de tu Casa

We are honored to bring some new voices into the LIFESTYLE dialogue! El Patio de tu Casa was formed in 2010 when Ana and Mario Viñuela formed a band that had the goal of creating music that inspires emotion in its listeners. After adding Edu on guitar, the band filmed its first video for “Supositiones,” which was nominated for an Asturian Music Award (AMAS).  In 2011, the band released it’s first album “Punto de Partida,” on Espora. After finishing recording, the band started a nationwide tour of Spain and recorded a pair of new singles called “1,” and a new video for the track “El Camino de Vuelta.” After rounding out the lineup adding Jesús Colino on bass and Kiki Dee on drums, the band continues on it’s goal to keep creating and sharing music with those who want to listen. They are working on a new album that is set to be released in early 2013. Check the interview below, links, and the video for “El Camino de Vuelta”!

We always think about our songs as open works that may be rearticulated…This is a process of reflection that helps us to grow as a group and to find a personal language.

– El Patio de tu Casa

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

EPDTC: El patio de tu casa is a pop band from Gijón, a city in the North of Spain. We are three components (Ana, Mario and Eduardo), all of us had already some experience in music playing with other bands, and we had very clear the kind of music we wanted to do when we set up El patio de tu casa. We started in 2010, creating our basic repertorie and playing our first concerts. The project was constantly growing since the very beginning, and in 2011 we published our first album (“Punto de partida”), recorded several music videos and joined a tour for the main cities of Spain.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

EPDTC: It may be something related to the time you need to mature a song or an album. We guess the response is just the consequence of that process.

How does “El Patio de tu Casa” fit in with that definition?

EPDTC: We always think about our songs as open works that may be rearticulated, that may experience an evolution after several rehearsals, and even after playing them in concerts. This is a process of reflection that helps us to grow as a group and to find a personal language.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

EPDTC: These days we are in the studio recording our first long play, which we hope to present early next year. It is being a fascinating moment, because we have been working a lot on demos and we are always looking for different solutions to find the appropriate sound, instrument, etc. It is a very demanding work, but at the same time it great to have the time to develop this project.

Who or what inspires you all?

EPDTC: Well… it depends on many things. It is difficult to tell what or who may inspire you at a particular moment. It can be a place, a person, a conversation with somebody or a picture you find in a magazine or newspaper. Our songs speak of everyday life, of the kind of things that are common to human being, and they are always enough open to let the listeners participate in them, so they can make them part of their own lives.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

EPDTC: We would like to thank the LIFESTYLE and Peter for this interview that gives us the opportunity to get closer to other audiences. We invite you to listen to our music (www.elpatiodetucasa.com) and make it yours in order for you to take it to “el patio de tu casa”.

Shout out to…

EPDTC: Everybody who is reading this interview and listening to our songs 😉

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Los Platillos Volantes

To kick off a three-part “Voices From León” miniseries within our ongoing Feature series, we are proud and excited to present Los Platillos Volantes. Los Platillos represent a leading rock group in the Leon music scene and have participated in festivals and concerts throughout Spain, such as Purple Weekend. Los Platillos is a powerful combo that features Sam on drums, Miguel on bass, Dani on lead guitar, and J on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Channeling the energy and aesthetic of rock music from the 1960’s, the band’s original hybrid of blues, rock, garage, and psychedelic make them a favorite in the current modern Spanish classic rock scene. In our interview with J we learn about the experience of playing current music informed by the past in León, España. Check the dialogue and footage of the group performing at the 2012 La Mar de Ruido festival in Avilés, Spain.
Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
J: Venimos de León ( España ) y estamos en León. Tenemos el local de ensayo y estudio en un pequeño pueblo a unos 20 kilómetros de la ciudad. Solemos tocar cerca de aquí: León y provincia, Asturias, Cantabria, aunque a veces vamos un poco mas lejos como Bilbao, Madrid. Siempre intentamos ir un poco más lejos, ir abriendo fronteras, ya me entiendes.
J: We are from León, Spain and we are still in this city. Our practice space and recording studio is in a small town 20 km from the center. Most of our shows are nearby: León and it;s surrounding area, Asturias, Cantabria, though sometime we travel further to Bilbao or Madrid. We always aim to go further and cross new frontiers, if you know what I mean.

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para vosotros?
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

J: Reflexión es lo que piensas que vas a hacer y respuesta es lo que realmente haces, es decir: tienes una idea y la maduras en tu cabeza (reflexión), luego la pones en práctica (respuesta), si todo va bien la respuesta es igual a la reflexión, aunque hay veces que entre la reflexión y la respuesta se te quedan cosas por el camino.
J: Reflection is what one considers doing and response is what one does: an idea grows and matures in the head (reflection), which is then put into practice (response), and if all goes well the the response is the same as the reflection, though sometimes things get lost between reflection and response.
Cómo se mete Los Platillos Volantes en esta definición?
How does Los Platillos Volantes fit in with that definition?
J: Los platillos volantes vamos pensando cosas y haciéndolas, eso si poco a poco, sin prisa pero sin pausa. Una canción, una versión, una grabación, tocar aquí o allá…
J: In The Platillos Volantes we are constantly considering ideas and carrying them out, slowly and without rushing but also without pause. An original song, a cover, recording, performing here and there…

Que más están haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

J: Nuestro proyecto constante es hacer conciertos, tocar en vivo, para eso tenemos un grupo ¿ no? Aparte hemos terminado de grabar un EP de 4 canciones en vinilo que estamos mezclando con dos temas propios y dos versiones que próximamente saldrá a la luz, también tenemos un proyecto ” aunque ahora está un poco parado ” de tocar con Gabi, cantante de ” Los Salvajes ” grupo por excelencia del rock español de la década de los 60.
J: The Platillos main project is performing and playing live and for that reason we have a band, right? We are in the process of mixing an EP of 4 songs on vinyl that consists of two original songs and two covers. We also have been working with Gabi, singer of “Los Salvajes,” a leading Spanish rock group from the 1960’s.

Quien o que les inspira?
Who or what inspires you all?

J: En general nos inspiran las bandas americanas, británicas… de los 60 de blues, rhythm and blues, psicodelia, garaje…pero mas en concreto las bandas españolas de esa década.
J: American and British bands are a big inspiration. Especially those that play blues, rhythm and blues, psychedelic, garage…Additionally Spanish bands from the same time period.

Hay algo más que quieren que sepa el Collectivo? 
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

J: Si, queremos que todo el mundo escuche nuestra música y ya sabes que el mejor medio es la red de redes, por lo tanto aquí te dejo un par de webs.
J: Yes, we would like everybody to listen to our music, and the best way to do that is to visit our various sites, found below:

Saludos a….?
Shout outs to?
J: A ti por supuesto y a tu compañero que está contigo en todo esto, también a toda la gente que viene a nuestros conciertos y disfruta de ellos. Un saludo y suerte con el blog.
J: Shout out to you and your partner that works with you on all this and all the people that come to enjoy our shows. Un saludo and good luck with the blog.
Reflection and Response.
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Radio Leon #1

Radio Leon is a summer project. For the months of July and August I will be working a bilingual summer camp in the small Spanish town of Robledo de Fenar. I’ve brought some of my equipment from Madrid including my laptop, Akai MPK Mini, Novation Launchpad, Mics, Apogee One Interface, and acoustic guitar. On my days off I’ll be putting together a Broadcast of various projects I’ve been working on and release an episode every two weeks. Some of the pieces I’ll be putting up include Looping, Acoustic Guitar pieces, Shake This Maze Live From the Studio, and some special surprises. Along with the audio, I’ll release Tools of the Trade pictures and various Snapshots documenting the process and places that make up Radio Leon. I also hope to have some interviews with local DJ’s and people from the area. Tune in and check the RR coming straight out of Robledo de Fenar, España.

“I’m currently sitting on an overturned bulldozer head…”

-Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Steve Laciak

Steve Laciak is a multifaceted and multitalented musician. Upon graduating from Shenandoah Conservatory with a major in Jazz Studies, Steve has been writing, recording, teaching, and performing throughout the United States and abroad. His last few years have been spent in the Northern California town of Alameda, across the bay from San Fransisco. There he has been developing his own music in addition to playing with Motown legend Martha Reeves and the group A Gozar featuring cajon player Rene Escovido. Check the Reflection and Response Interview below and Steve’s Soundcloud to listen in on a True Artist.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

SL: I’m from back East, born in St. Paul but raised in upstate NY. After studying Jazz in VA I toured Europe and the Caribbean before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being fortunate enough to travel and be exposed to many different cultures, deeper than surface levels of tourist traps, I have recognized the importance of music to people around the world. It is a universal expression, but also helps shape a culture’s identity. It transcends every distinction that has evolved throughout human history, and yet it continues to keep us connected despite our limited understanding of language, sound or music. We do not need to “understand” the music to enjoy it or for it to affect us.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? How does your music fit in with that definition?

SL:  As an artist, I’m often consciously addressing issues of the day on a trans-personal or a personal level. We voice concerns that are shared by our friends, families, community or cultures, as a loud speaker. Throughout history, movements either political or social, have been accompanied by musical movements. Music has wide ranging affects from calming to exciting, consoling to galvanizing, it can be therapeutic and it can bring tears. I feel it my responsibility to share music that blesses me with everyone I can. There is so much wonderful music already in the world, that it’s difficult to be familiar with it all. With so much new music or music yet to be written, it’s important to remember our musical heritage and traditions while we embrace the new. I love sharing the gift of music, continuing the tradition that has always existed, and if this is not the responsibility of artist then who’s is it?

When I reflect on the divine nature of music it becomes obvious how powerful it is. The more music we can appreciate, or begin to appreciate, the more ways we open ourselves to to the wonderful joy and blessings that music gives. We can benefit in ways we may not fully understand, but our lives become enriched from it regardless.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

SL: I’ve been working on a new EP; it should be out this summer. It’s along the indie folk acoustic tip. We were in studio this week working on “Big Shot”, the most country sounding song on the EP, and we recorded the guitar solo as a conversation between myself and the engineer, Jim Hawthorne. He’s an amazing guitarist so we traded phrases back and forth and finished with a harmonized line ala Chet Atkins! I’m hoping to get some airplay with this new CD and garner some national attention.

 Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

SL: I’m moving from my home 12 years in the bay area to Tennessee, next month. It’s a very exciting time in my life! I’m looking forward to what the immediate future has in store.

Tennessee Lullaby by Steve Laciak

Check out Steve’s Facebook profile and Soundcloud for updates and recordings!

Reflection and Response.

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Peter Muller and Vivian Garcia


Recently I’ve been working on music with Vivian Garcia, a talented performer who has extensive experience in the Chicago music scene. We met here in Madrid at the Thursday night open mic at Triskel Tavern. Soon after contacting her in December we began working together. Over the last few months we’ve done concerts around Madrid. V has provided some dope flyers and images for shows we’ve done:

I’ve also been recording some versions of some tracks we’ve been working on on my home studio here in Madrid using Ableton Live as my DAW.

Chan Chan is a track composed by Cuban composer and pianist Compay Segundo. Vivian is on vocals and plays rhythm guitar while I play leads.

Fool Me Once is a Vivain Garcia original. Again she is on vocals and rhythm guitar and I am playing leads.


Stay tuned for news about Peter and Vivian as we move into the future.


Reflection and Response.


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Two Cities

Interpretations differ.

I wrote a song called “The City,” sometime in 2007. I then recorded it with my band at the time, Tuition Well Spent (see below for more info). I rerecorded a version in 2009 with my duo in Argentina, Harold and the Gauchos.

Even though the instrumentation is almost identical on each track, the two versions have different vocalists and display different takes on the song. I think it’s dope to see how each version contrasts.

The Tuition version is more polished. Recorded over two days using Pro Tools in the Digital Audio Workstation at Odegaard Library at the University of Washington, Mike and I took our time with takes and mixing.

The Harold version was done on the fly. Only having practiced the song a few times before pressing record, Claudia and I hadn’t necessarily perfected our arrangement. The “dale,” that I blurt out at the start of the track lends itself to the jam session vibe. However the looser more improvised feel lends itself to a different understanding of the song.

Does anyone else have experience with how changing one part of a piece can lead to new feeling, new reflection?

The City: Tuition Well Spent

The City: Harold and the Gauchos

The City

I was swimming in the River when the river but the river said he don’t mind

Said go on now got my own place to find

So I went on down to the shining deep blue sea

But none of them fishes want to swim with me

And I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothin much to do

Ladies ain’t never had too much luck with them

I see an opportunity and all they see is a friend

And 18 odd years that’s how it’s been

I finally met Shirly but shea’s already with Ken

And I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothing left to do

Bored in the city in the city it looks so drab

Wanna find a way to get away this strange land

It seems like the sky scrapers they all laugh

In a one man room playing the blues getting pennies in a straw hat

Oh I feel lonely, I feel blue

Get up slowly I got nothing left to do

Bored in the city in the city it looks so drab

Wanna find a way to get away this strange land

It seems like the sky scrapers they all laugh

In a one man room playing the blues getting pennies in a straw hat||

Reflection and Response. In whatever City.


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Argentina Thursdays: Dreams

While in Argentina I continued to write acoustic guitar-based tracks. This one uses a drum set I created from samples from various Led Zeppelin songs that I later used with my melody. The horns come from a sample of Argentine music that somehow came out as the blues.

Reflection and Response


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