DFW’s newest band is on the rise
Everyone has a passion. Something that drives them and makes them who they are. There is something that binds us together and gives us meaning and a purpose. Here at NuView, it’s fashion. For the guys in OG Garden, it’s music. I met up with three of the band members to talk about what music means to them and their upcoming EP.
How did OG Garden come to be?
Curtis: Well, I was jamming with my friend Byron (Band member not present), he plays bass, and I got the idea of starting a band. We just got together and started playing and brought people on overtime, and we eventually grew into what we have now.
Troy: I met Curtis at orientation, and we just hung out and exchanged numbers. We were acquaintances for a while. I did a lot of solo music, where I was just recording and putting it on the internet like us kids do. As he was hanging and jamming with his jazz friends, he said I should come jam with them, one thing led to another, and now I’m here.
Micah: I knew the bass player and the guitar player really well, and after some interesting things happened, I got asked to jam, and now here I am.
So, what is the creative process like?
Troy: I think we match really well. We have a niche of where each of our own musical tastes come from. The writing process is super involved. Everyone is involved entirely. If someone doesn’t like the way something is going they voice it. We all try to make sure every song is to every person’s liking. We usually just start with plain jamming, and then sometimes I freestyle lyrics over things. If we like the way that feels, then we take those feelings and the color of the song. We really take that in and enhance the structure of the song.
Who/what inspires you?
Troy: So many places. I feel like it is so different because of what we all naturally grew up listening to. We take pieces of what we like and that aspect, musically is taken because each of us has so many things that we like that it just comes together in one. I’m very into Frank Ocean and Miguel, but [that sound] comes throughout. There’s no one band we can point to and say this is who we sound like, there are just influencers in the years of us growing and then looking at other people we like based on personality and performance.
Micah: We all have different groups that we like and it all kind of gets thrown together. The artists we’re all into contribute to our style. Our guitar player is really into Daft Punk, so you’ll hear stuff that they play, and the bass player is really into jazz. I’m really into alternative rock along the lines of Tame Impala or Mute Math.
Curtis: I think we’re more so inspired by the decisions that other groups and artists make, how they present themselves, and how they perform. I’m less so inspired by a specific genre and more so inspired by a rock band or metal band that does something on stage that really moves me that I want to incorporate into the group. It really comes from anywhere. We really want to keep our eyes open.
How much does your stage presentation contribute to your quality of music?
Troy: Stage presentation wise, we really just let it all out. When we’re writing, it can get pretty intense because it can get pretty passionate since we’re all writing from the heart. Since the six of us all write together, it’s hard trying to get what you’re saying across to the other five members, but it’s so beautiful. And like magic that I don’t know if there was ever a time where I haven’t felt that in the crowd. I think our goal when we’re performing is that if six guys with completely different music tastes can come together and make this one brand of music. Honestly, I think that it’s less of performing, and more letting it all out on stage. Whether it is dancing, standing completely still or delivering that powerful lyric, it’s just a feeling we’re evoking rather than putting on a show for people. So, in that it turns into a show because of this.
As far as fashion goes, how do you think fashion contributes to your own music, and your band’s image?
Troy: Just how we evoke our feelings with music, I feel like we do the same with our everyday presentation in what we wear. We all collect things like music from both older and newer times. I think we do the same with clothes. We mix a lot of older fashions that inspired us when we were younger to what’s new.
Micah: It also has to do with how we’re all from different places across the country. So, where we come from really contributes to style, music, everything.
Can you describe the feeling of what it’s like on stage to those of us who have never performed?
Curtis: First, it’s interesting because every show is different. So far, we’ve had very different crowds. It’s always interesting to see how the crowd reacts. As our songs progress and everything gets warmer and warmer, the vibe just opens up and inevitably we’re just enjoying ourselves a lot, and I feel like people are enjoying our music. Every show ends up being a blast, honestly.
Micah: See, we played a show at a really awkward wine bar which was super weird, but we’re still able to let our passion show through to the audience where they start to feel the music and where we’re both vibing. Then, there’s shows where we walk in, we play one note, and we’re already together with the audience.
Troy: I think it’s kind of funny to watch because if it’s a show that starts off awkward, there will be just two or three people at the beginning that are really into it, and then over time, other people are seeing that they are having a blast, and next thing you know, you look up and it’s 25 people that are letting loose and dancing. It’s really fun, it’s indescribable.
What’s on the horizon for you guys?
Micah: EP’s next, an album later on from the EP, and then we’re hoping to book a tour for the Summer and do that from our album, but right now we’re just working on getting the EP done.
Troy: We’ve got the recording process done now. Music is being worked on, and we’re double checking, listening, having it sent to mixers and engineers because this EP is super important to us. Booking season is coming up, which is when all the festivals are looking for acts.. We want other people to hear what we have, and we’re putting every fine detail into our EP because that will carry us to each next step. That’s going to be the thing that gets us to slightly bigger shows, audiences, and a bigger fan base. The name of the EP is called “Revive Me.” Revive me is that one all encompassing song off of the EP. The EP has a lot of different songs with many different genre influences, and that one really seems to meet the criteria that brings all of us into one. Look out for that one, and everyone we’ve talked to has a different favorite that is going to be on the EP, so listen to it and find your song.
What is the feeling behind “Revive Me?
Troy: A lot of bands hate to say pop, but it’s pop music. It’s a genre that breaks genre barriers, and so do we. It talks about love. When it talks about love, it’s not just that general form of it. You hear it in the music, there’s rock, R&B, there’s hip hop and swing at very different points of it. We want to present that as the whole EP, as a representation of so many different genre variations.
What’s it like being in the music scene here?
Curtis: Micah’s from the Portland area, I’m from the San Diego area, we’re both West Coast babies, so it’s definitely different, but I think it’s very cool to see. Denton is a place where a lot of people are making an effort to be who they are. I think that this is a great place for the band to prosper. There isn’t a clear identity on us, so it’s just a great place to do what we do because it’s so diverse.
Troy: I think it’s a great representation of who we are as a band. We each come from different parts of the US, and are currently at a place where we can be transparent and vulnerable. We kind of just found each other. We’re kind of like brothers. We play our own music, and it’s a place where musicians and performers are inspired and encouraged. It’s diverse, just like we are.
What brought each of you to music, and why is it important to you?
Troy: I was born in a really small town in Alabama, and there were a lot of people putting labels onto on everyone, saying you can’t do this. I grew up watching performers that did whatever they wanted on stage and people loved them for it. I started singing in my church, and when I started singing no one cared how I looked or what I wore. They just cared about what I was delivering artistically, and I guess I was thinking this subconsciously, “man, when I’m performing, it doesn’t matter how I look, or act.” People buy into my art and passion, and that grew into wanting it to be a career. I never want to work a day in my life. I just want to deliver art, and other people take it in. I think art just breaks so many barriers politically, mentally, and even geographically. It can reach so many people. So, if that’s what I’m meant to do, then everything will work out in my favor, and hopefully the stars will align.
Micah: I was born into a musical family. Both of my parents played the piano. I also grew up playing in the church, and it was a really encouraging environment to play music in. I just got to a point where I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else. This is what I love doing, and I might as well pursue it. Here I am, just pursuing music, trying to get better, and I like that it’s a tool to reach people. That’s also why I’m a huge fan of pop. I love an idea of how one pop song can reach millions of people across the entire world no matter your gender, sexual orientation, where you are financially, language, it just breaks all that. So, that inspires me to keep pioneering and keep making music that reaches people.
Curtis: I was actually thinking about this recently, what made me go towards music, why people get into music, and why they do what they do, and I think I realized that when I first started playing saxophone. I was in 4th grade and I was a complete dork. There was an assembly, and they were showcasing all these classic band instruments: trumpet, flute, clarinet, saxophone. At that age I had no idea how much of a sanctuary music could be, or how powerful it really was. It was the coolest thing to me, and that’s how I got started. It really inspires me because I feel like I’m doing this for the right reasons. That’s what it is about. Music is just like a sanctuary. People go to it for different reasons, but it is just a safe space everybody loves to go to. Yeah, music is dope.
I don’t think anyone said it better than Curtis, music is pretty dope. Music is one of those out of body forces that allows us to feel a certain way or take us to another place. May it be jazz, rock, pop or synth, music can touch and reach anyone in complex and personal ways. I think that in this day and age, as so many times before, there are so many things in this world that can bring us down. The arts and music specifically are there for us to escape that for a short time. Going onto your Spotify, turning on the radio, or even hearing a tune while in line at Starbucks can make our days go from bad to good in a span of two and a half minutes. Music was able to bring six vastly different people together to form OG Garden, and I think that UNT has the same effect on so many of us. UNT has been able to bring thousands of different people together to makeup the place we call home. Music, like UNT doesn’t care where you come from what you believe, or what you do. It draws people in and helps them find themselves. Next time you listen to a song, may it be by the Chainsmokers, Beyoncé, or even OG Garden, allow for it to transport you, make you think about the world in a different way.
More from the OG Garden shoot:
Find OG Garden on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/wavegardenband and follow them on Instagram @oggarden
Words by Miles Cantrell
Photos by Huy Tran
Edit by Taylar Gomez, Carolina Gonzalez, and Maia Wilson