When David Ventura Garcia and Jeremy Fowler co-founded their nonprofit organization, Transient Mic, they knew that they had to do two things: build a studio and record an album. With the help of Mosaic Sound Collective’s generosity, the studio began to coalesce around Garcia and Fowler’s backgrounds in sound and music. Fowler, a budding sound engineer, was already looking to expand his recording catalog by adding a full length album to his body of work, and Garcia was no stranger to sound having spent years in the film industry (MFA UT Austin Film) in addition to being a seasoned podcaster.
Selecting a suitable match for their first album presented a more nuanced challenge. They sought an artist who not only possessed great talent and a desire to record, but also one whose values and commitment to community aligned with Transient Mic. The duo found this perfect match of talent and temperament in Austin musician Anthony Garcia.
“He has such an interesting story. The more we got to know about Anthony Garcia, the more we realized that he was the right artist to lead with our first recorded album.” -David Garcia
The recording of Acres of Diamonds began after a chance introduction following a Craig Marshall show in North Austin. Before the opening guitar chimes of “Santa Rosa,” before the preliminary sound checks of the first studio session, it was a casual conversation between Anthony Garcia and David Garcia (no relation) that led to ideas of a collaboration. Armed with a selection of some of his favorite songs, Anthony Garcia was hoping to reinvigorate the tracks through new recordings. Hearing an approach and appreciation of music similar to his own, David Garcia saw an opportunity to invite Anthony to record as part of Transient Mic’s Four Track Series.
“The closer you are to people the more open you are to them, and the more you are willing to admit that they’re right...so I went back and spent some time on it and out of it came the perfect line.” -Anthony Garcia
Ironically, the budding relationship between the two Garcias was strengthened when David told Anthony that he felt a line in one of his verses was really weak. At first taken aback by the unprompted critique, after a couple days of reflection, Anthony eventually agreed and crafted words that he felt were far better. Enjoying Anthony’s vibes in addition to his prodigious talent, David saw an opportunity to expand Transient Mic beyond podcasting and offered to record Anthony’s album.
“Anthony really holds a special place in our heart, because he’s always been very generous. He’s given time, he’s given money, he even did some free session work for us.” -David Garcia
While the pairing of musician and studio seamlessly fell into place, recording and releasing an album during a pandemic presented its own set of challenges. Matching schedules proved tricky, but album engineer Fowler found ways to work around obstacles. The violinists never shared the same room during the recordings. Instead they were recorded separately with Megan Berson handling the majority of the playing and the overdubs in later session work. When a song required a baby grand piano, Fowler gathered up the necessary equipment and recorded on location.
Although technically a first-run for Fowler, the lifelong Beatles aficionado deftly applied his engineering ingenuity to capture and mix the album to meet Garcia’s expectations. Beyond recording and engineering, Fowler also played bass on the album, becoming closer with not only the music, but with Anthony Garcia as the two of them brought to life Garcia’s musical vision of the project over the course of a year and a half. The result speaks for itself.
“It took equal parts passion, equal parts patience on all of our parts...I’m glad that it happened that way. I’m happy with the end result. Nothing suffered.” -Anthony Garcia