Lucid Phase - Roots Reggae, Dub, Jam, Blues, World - Roots Enterprise

Lucid Phase members Cyrus Maleki, Jacob Flack and Garret Laver (center).

My guest for this episode is Garret Laver of the trio Lucid Phase. The band’s music style falls somewhere between roots, reggae, dub, jam, blues and world. He and his bandmates met at the Savannah College of Art & Design, Georgia, where they collectively studied film and sound design. They’ve put their studies to work for producing & marketing their music.

Garret and I spoke on the heels of their then new single release, Roots Enterprise. We talk about that, his bandmates, collaborators, recording, his writing process, and more.

Lucid Phase was well into a follow-up to their 2020 release, which is slated for release in 2021. These guys are somewhat new to the process of creating and publishing music, so the timing of our conversation is great, as I too am new to writing and publishing music. This is a great conversation with lots of takeaways.

Episode Highlights

Like Pink Floyd, ‘All you touch, and all you see is all your life will ever be.’ It’s pretty dark, but if you look at it in a more positive message, it’s going out and touching things, seeing life and going places. You’ll just experience things that you might have never thought you would have.
–Garet Laver

Mentioned in this Episode

Robonzo 0:02
This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I am your host Robonzo. This podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. It’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing, business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. Make music.

Robonzo 0:24
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Robonzo 0:42
Welcome to another episode. Thank you for being here with me. I’m so happy to have you here with me. My guest is Garrett Laver of the trio Lucid Phase. If I may genre phi them which you know I enjoy doing if you are a listener or regular. They are in into roots reggae, dub, jam, blues, and world music. So Garrett and his bandmates met at Savannah College of Art and Design or SCAD or S C A D. I don’t know why, but I thought that was very cool. We talk a bit about that. That is located, that college is located in Georgia. And it’s where they collectively studied film and sound design, which has come in handy for their music endeavors, obviously. They put all that vocational college stuff to work to produce and market what they’re doing. Garrett and I spoke on the heels of their then new single Roots Enterprise. We talked about that, his bandmates, collaborators, recording, writing and his writing process and more. They are actually about to release something new. When we spoke, they were well into the follow up to the 2020 release they did called The Crop which was their first full length release. And this new one coming out is scheduled to be out in 2021, which is just around the corner, as I record this introduction. These guys are new to the process of creating and publishing music. So the timing of our conversation is kind of interesting and kind of cool, because I too, am new to the process of creating and publishing music. I have a new song, a yet to be released song which I’ve been talking about, feels like for months now. If you would like a sneak preview, you can visit to check it out, and it will be released in January, if all goes according to my evil plan. This is a great conversation with lots of takeaways. Check out Garret’s band Lucid Phase at Lucid Phase And at Lucid Phase Music on the socials. Here is me and Garret Laver of Lucid Phase.

Robonzo 2:49
So you guys have a new song. Let’s talk let’s go ahead and dive into that.

Garret Laver 2:54

Robonzo 2:55
By the way, how long have you been in Los Angeles?

Garret Laver 2:58
I’ve been in Los Angeles for five years, almost six years. And I came from Georgia before that Savannah, Georgia where I went to art school. Savannah College of Art and Design. And I grew up grew up in Philadelphia going all the way back, you know, so I grew up in Philly and then I lived in Georgia for four years, and then came to LA around 2014, 2015.

Robonzo 3:26
Okay, well the Philly life explains why you don’t have a Georgia accent.

Garret Laver 3:32
Yeah, yes, sometimes it trickles in. A lot of my friends are Southern and sometimes it does trickle in, you know the y’alls come out. But uh, yeah, definitely pull in from the northeast as well.

Robonzo 3:47
Yeah, sure. So I was born and spent many many years of my life in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas and Yeah, mine creeps out too. And, and I have nothing against the southern accent but, it’s kind of [Yeah.], there’s definitely a really strong one in Georgia. We met some good friends here in Panama, probably the first year that we were here, and they were from Georgia, and they have a serious accent and it’s pretty fun to talk to them.

Garret Laver 4:18
You know the lingo it’s it’s kind of like poetic in a way if you get the right people. Um, you know so so that’s cool. Yeah, definitely, efinitely love my my years down in Georgia. It was a good time.

Robonzo 4:32
That’s cool. Okay, so Roots Enterprise that’s the name of the new song right?

Garret Laver 4:37
Yeah, the new song Roots Enterprise and it features our friends Sensi Trails, which is a really popular roots reggae group in San Diego.

Robonzo 4:48
Cool, so I took Sensi Trails as like the artist name of the singer, but it’s kind of a band right?

Garret Laver 4:57
Yep, their a trio and Kyle Rising is the lead singer. He’s the founder of the group. And, you know, great, great kid. He’s pretty young too, you know, I’m 28, and I feel like, you know, he came into the music scene pretty early on and moved out here in a interesting way, he, you know, he started out in, I think it was Virginia Beach, where he started, you know, his music career and started playing East Coast reggae music there. And you know, a lot of that reggae music trickled in, of course, from Jamaica and also from California. So both of those places had an influence on me personally, and probably a lot of fans of reggae music on the east coast. So, you know, it’s not the most popular genre, but you know, there is a lot of really good scenes that happens out there. And of course, here in California, it’s pretty big. So yes, he came from Virginia Beach and drove out here and met up with some musicians in San Diego and kind of started a new chapter of his life, and it’s really been working out for him. They’ve been, before Coronavirus, and everything, they were doing tons of great shows, and they have a really dedicated fan following, just because they’re honest. And you know, they’re really fun. And they’re a lot of fun to see lot as well.

Robonzo 6:28
Yeah, he Well, he’s a great singer, I was checking him out, and it took me a while to sort of connect the dots, and I’m sure I’m sure now in retrospect, it’s because I went through your press release and I just started thinking, wait this is two bands. Wait there’s three. Wait, who’s the band, but I got it. Your band is Lucid Phase, Roots Enterprises is the song, now I get Sensi Trails is a band, in which Kyle Rising, that lead singer that we’re talking about plays in, and so that’s cool. Very cool. Yeah. And I wanted to ask also about, so when did the when did the single come out, I’m sorry, I keep trying to skip over it.

Garret Laver 7:11
That’s, that’s fine. The single came out, um, I believe August 21. [Okay] The single came out, I think August 21. And we we’re really excited about it. We were trying to do a song that had a really fun like, like break down kind of going to halftime, in a way you know in these moments where it just breaks the the locomotive type the chopss on the guitar trying to propel like, you know, energy and motion and that’s where those things come in all those sounds you know, Jake is an awesome percussionist, he plays keyboard does all the backing vocals, harmonies, things like that, but really tried to like fine tune the instruments that he used for Roots Enterprise specifically for you know, those sounds that you might hear on the on, on a train, you know, like the train whistles, we got a couple of them and we tried out some different train whistles and and trying to do where we pan the sound left to right and, you know, do do like a nice fade on it. So it sounds like it’s receding, like the trains like receding into the distance. And then Cyrus played some slide guitar for it, and tried to mimic like a, you know, like a trumpet, chugga, chugga chugga on the train, you know, going down the tracks. So all those sounds on it, were really fun to kind of think, and as soon as we thought of like, one thing, we’re like, oh, wait, we got to do like this, and this and this. And then, you know, Kyle came in with the all aboards. And the lyrics the first thing that we did for it. I wrote the lyrics a few months prior. And I, you know, just thought it would be cool to think of some sort of, you know, like secret passage way for really great reggae music or a really good time, you know, like, sort of like a nine and three quarters platform nine and three quarters type of thing where, you know, like, you have to know somebody, and so that’s why I say you know, like “Heard through a friend of a friend of a friend there is something that we must see.” And you know, those things like it kind of just came together as like, well why don’t I just paint a picture of you know, this like fantastic train station that is like themed you know? Like, you know, tropical vibes, reggae vibes, and you know, just try to like paint that picture. And then, you know, talk about this like motor transportation, and just talking about like, wanting to go and bring in your friends along and, you know, that’s, that’s where it came together. So it was, it was a really fun song to do lyrically. And then also when we, when we mixed it and produced it together in the studio as well.

Robonzo 10:03
I like that. The story, I read you know about the interest in getting the locomotive vibe in it, but hearing you tell it makes me want to listen to it with a with totally different ears. Tell me what nine and three quarters is. I don’t know any.

Garret Laver 10:16
Oh, just from Harry Potter. I was mentioning Oh, when? The Secret train? Yeah,

Robonzo 10:22
Got it.

Garret Laver 10:23
So just referring to that I don’t say it in the song, but it was definitely in my head.

Robonzo 10:30
That’s funny. I one of these days, I’ll have to read that. My wife read them all. And I had a guest on here, a while back, female artist, who was just an insane unabashed Harry Harry Potter fan. I’ll have to figure out who, remind my, find which episode that was. But um, yeah, okay, cool. I get it. How did? You guys the band, you mentioned it when I don’t even know if we mentioned it yet, since I officially started recording, but you mentioned Savannah College of Art and Design where the band met. And I looked at what you guys were studying. And I was like, Wow, what a great mix of vocational learning for what you’re doing now for music. I was curious to know, and that’s the way it looked to me on paper or on you know, when I was reading some of the stuff about you guys, have you actually applied a lot of that and everything that you’re doing today?

Garret Laver 11:27
Absolutely. And I really couldn’t agree more. And it really does feel like a special special you know, alignment of the stars that we came together to work on this. I myself have a film background and that’s that’s what I went to school for. And you know, I got a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in film and television, which was great I loved the film department and and you know, working with gear and everything but my what I really loved at school was my cinema studies minor where you know, our classes were about like analyzing film and shot design and breaking films down like to find like symbolism, and metaphors and things like that. And I just love absolutely loves that class. But Jake, Jake did sound mix or sound design, and Cyrus did sound design as well. So both of those guys, you know, Lucid Phase I’d consider us were a trio, myself, Jacob Flack and Cyrus Maliki. And, you know, we we just played a private event a couple weeks ago, it was our first show ever. And, you know, socially distance, of course, but it sounded incredible. And we had my buddy Michael Caine from Denver, who’s in a group to Tatanka, excellent drummer, he came down and then Ro Perez from Bakersfield is a great bass player, and a really good dude. And they came in and we rehearsed for a few days, and had an awesome show a couple weeks ago. And, you know, it was our first time we had a live presence. So that was, that was awesome. But you know, those guys, I would love to play with them more. But for now, I would say as far as the studio goes, it will, you know, Lucid Phase is comprised of the three of us. And all three of us went to SCAD together. And Jake and Cyrus were both sound design majors and came out to Los Angeles around the same time as me, and where I was looking for music videos to shoot, and, you know, commercials to direct and you know, just kind of start getting my hands in like the independent film world out here. They were getting involved. You know, Jake is an Emmy nominated sound designer. Now he did the sound for a Wild Wild Country, which was a documentary that came out on Netflix a couple years ago, and works with some really, really great people here in Los Angeles, doing, you know, different short films and long, long feature films and shows and things like that. And Cyrus works for Showtime. He does their travel, travel booking and I think a few other things in production. But he’s an absolute whiz in the studio. Before he did Showtime, he was doing a lot of music engineering in Atlanta. And he just knows how to run the soundboard like no other and just really is the key to the sound that we can get out of the studio and the sound that we’re producing. And then you know, it comes full circle and we have Cyrus’s engineering, not only engineering skills, but he plays lead guitar, and also lays down baselines and keyboard for the songs. And then Jay comes in. I think he’s accrued about Jake’s accrued about 30, 35 instruments in the past year. He has got all these interesting sounds, you know, he loves loves international sounds Latin, Latin percussion things like that, and, you know really has just brought to the table so many unique sounds and interesting arrangements and melodies. And you know, I really couldn’t see the music comes together without all three of us on it.

Robonzo 15:21
And do you by chance borrow from your film, education and cinema studies for the video things that you’re doing? Or do you see opportunities for continuing to do that? Assuming you do?

Garret Laver 15:34
Yeah, I definitely do. I think, you know, anytime we, we have the opportunity to shoot, you know, music videos, you know, because I have all the gear already, because, you know, I’m doing a lot of music videos for people already. So you know, we can always, you know, just get out there and shoot a video, like the Roots Enterprise one was our first attempt at a music video. And we definitely want to do some more real soon. And a lot of the connections that we’ve made in the roots reggae community, you know, I’ve I’ve been able to work with, you know, Addis Pablo, who is the son of a Augustus Pablo a really prominent or was melodica player and kind of an innovator in Jamaica, with Bob Marley and among others, that he played with, and a lot of the connections that I’ve made personally shooting music videos, for Sensi Trails. And for the Late Ones, who we just got on a new song that we’re doing, you know, those connections are translated into our music, because they, they’ve all been artists that we’ve been able to work with, and have put us on the map for playing shows, and you know, just getting more in touch with, you know, those kinds of people. So the film has definitely benefited the music for sure.

Robonzo 16:57
Yeah. And, you know, the way I asked it, I think, Well, that was kind of a dumb question. But thank you for elaborating the way you did, it was the way and I say it’s a dumb question, the way I asked it, but great elaboration I, I kind of you know, I look at the process of creating videos, more and more. I don’t have a background like you. So you know, I look for people to work with. And I’ve talked to several artists, who’ve done them who come from different, different approaches. But generally, anyone who, you know, has a knack for doing a good video has some sort of artistic love embedded in them, if they didn’t have some formal education like yourself; that’s really nice, that you’re able to apply that. And so how’s balancing all those? Well, I heard at least a couple of full time, day job gigs. How how’s the band balancing those? Is it all working out right now? Or? Is it the challenge?

Garret Laver 17:54
Yeah. No, that’s a great question. I last year, we was, you know, I would say about a year and a half ago is when we started the whole thing. And we were getting in the studio once a week if that. And the first album we created called the crop which came out in April, which is 12 songs, a 12 song LP, you know, that came together, it took us about a year, a little over. And, you know, it was a it was a longer process, I’d say, you know, maybe, you know, an album a year is is pretty quick or on pace with whatever anybody else does. But, you know, we really wanted to just get in the studio more anyway, because we loved it, you know, once a week was great, but um, you know, I really think that quarantine had a lot to do with our music production in the last six months. When we started, you know, quarantine back in March, the studio owner that we’re connected with The Dub Room down in West West Hollywood, which has provided a lot of the really good energy and good vibes that we you know, I think it lends a lot to the music. It’s a really treasure find a little studio down in West Hollywood. And the studio owner was friendly with he was out of town for a while and you know, just with family and everything. So we had a lot of opportunity to make a lot of music. And we finished our first album and then we also put down the the tracks for our upcoming album, Orchid Thief, which is another 12 song LP that we’ll hope to put out by early 2021, and Roots Enterprises is a song that’ll be on there, and we’re definitely going to drop a few more singles up leading up to it.

Robonzo 19:44
That’s really cool. What a nice opportunity. And I think that the the quarantine, the pandemic has had this effect on a lot of people and converse to the effect it’s had on a lot of others with just sort of pulling the rug out from under their livelihood or their creativity. Whether it was mostly for creative gain or creative and financial gain, so it’s really nice that you guys had and seized, you know, the opportunity. I was gonna ask you. So you had the Crop album and earlier in the year you do this single? And then you may have answered my question by sharing the news on an Orchid Thief, that you’ll hopefully get up early next year. But do you guys look at doing singles versus albums? What, or versus EPs? What? Is there any discussion in the band of like, what makes sense to do right now for the market? What’s what is the attention span feel like right now? And if so, is that genre specific? And I asked, because I watch a lot of different artists release stuff. And I’m always kind of curious what approach they’re taking. And I just finished recording a song myself, or, like, in the last month, and, and someone has invited me to it’s very tentative at the moment, but invited me to do something for a label venture that they’re on. And if I do a full album, and so I’m thinking about it again, you know, what, how do people watch this?

Garret Laver 21:13
But yeah, that that is a great question. And we’re doing it to, you know, definitely are learning the ropes as we go, and seeing what works. And especially in the whole digital music world, where, you know, it’s not just getting on the Billboard Top 100 or on the radio now, you know, even though I wish it was like that, you know, that sounds so cool. You know, right now, it really is a, you know, like a consumption, I would say like a consumer, consumer, consumption type environment where you have these songs that are coming out these, you know, mini EPs or singles by tons of artists all the time. And, to me does seem sort of overwhelming, like an overwhelming market, Spotify and Apple Music and Amazon, you know, you have Deezer, and Tidal, you know, all these different platforms. So what we’re what we are trying to do, you know, I always loved looking at an artist’s discography and like, going into albums and saying, okay, like, you know, Johnny Cash, his first album came out in like, 1956, you know, or 57. And then what did he do next, and then, you know, just like listening through albums, and even those artists had singles, you know, that I just watched a documentary on the Beatles. And they had mentioned that they were making singles, every few months, which I thought was… And, you know, what I’d love to do personally, is make sure that we have albums coming out, you know, full albums, where you could really go in and listen, as opposed to, you know, like, a few tracks at a time here and there. But what I think we have, like, you know, blended with what we should be doing is putting out a few singles on each album, leading up to the album. So, you know, that way, it had it had, you know, we, again, we’re very new at it as well. But I do think that it’s, it’s nice for us, and it’s also nice for people that know our music and don’t know our music, to at least see something that we’re doing. So, you know, it’s, you know, if we get to put a song out every couple months, it keeps, it keeps the music flowing, and it keeps, you know, the energy going and showing that we’re up to things. And it’s also great, it’s also fun for us, because we can talk about it and posts about it and share our music, you know, because, you know, if we did just album by album, it’d be, you know, a year, year and a half at a time. So at least with singles, we could put out a few things, you know, and enjoy that, you know, on the way to the album release.

Robonzo 24:00
Sure, well, I don’t know squat, but that sounds like a good, it seems like a good strategy. To me, it can kind of help fulfill both approaches, while you’re fulfilling your desire as a band right now to do full length albums clearly, you know, with all the writing that you’re doing, and it strikes me that the key may be just to stay creative and stay productive and you give yourself choices as to how you’re going to release and how many things you’re going to release in a given period of time. So yeah, I think it’s a good strategy.

Garret Laver 24:34
Yeah, I wrote that down actually just a creative.

Robonzo 24:37
Good. It’s important, right

Garret Laver 24:39
It is that is Yeah, absolutely. You know, like we don’t know by the numbers if it’s helping, like, you know, analytically, like did putting out a song. You know, three songs in the album like did we see like major jumps like, even with Roots Enterprise, we haven’t really hit 1000 streams yet. And you know, even though it’s our biggest news, you know, song feature and everything, like maybe it’ll blow up next year or, you know, it’ll go viral eventually, or people will start to listen to it soon, but we, we, you know, personally, those are just don’t know if that is what it is, or if it’s, you know, being able to have, like, credibility, like, I’ve seen them live and they’re so much fun to see. Or is it you know, I’ve listened to all three of their albums, and they have a ton of music, and they’re, you know, like, so

Robonzo 25:31
It seems to me, my observation is that a lot of different things can happen. And some of them will just come from seemingly nowhere. But there’s the, like, with many things in life, there’s the the who luck facet of it, like you just happen to connect with the right people or person that changes things for you. Or, you know, maybe you guys I don’t know if you do this or not, but maybe you put something out for licensing, or placement, and it gets picked up. And suddenly everyone’s, you know, trying to find out who you are and listening to all this other stuff you do. Or maybe you like you said, you develop this amazing, or implying I’m not maybe put words in your mouth, but you know, you may develop this amazing following from from shows or something you just never know. Right? And I guess, you know, along with staying productive, just sort of staying open to the different possibilities and and talking to other artists and maybe doing these things as much as you can to to hear what happens for for different people. A lot of different things you can look at. And speaking of all of this, I was dying to ask you, did are you guys doing? Are you your own PR machine at the moment? Or do you have someone working with you? It goes on, on the surface, it looks like you guys are doing everything?

Garret Laver 26:51
Yeah, yeah, we are doing it all on our own right now. We’ll kind of hit it all, like, you know, three headed dragon sorta, you know, I’ll I’ll work with a lot of the posts, and putting together the pictures and, you know, put in we we definitely want to make some more videos like we were discussing. And, you know, that might even be an outlet that takes hold, you know, just putting out a cool video. And then, you know, Cyrus, we give a lot of credit to him for reaching out to, I believe he was he was the one that got in touch with, with you.

Robonzo 27:25
Maybe it was it was from a band, a band email, and I’m just curious. Go ahead.

Garret Laver 27:34
I was just gonna, yeah, cuz he, he was the one that put together the press release for us for the Roots Enterprise. And, you know, just is he so he’s really good at, you know, just doing things for us as far as the PR. And, you know, just, you know, we’re happy to be on your show and be a part of the of your Unstarving Musician podcast, and so definitely appreciate reaching back out to us, and definitely would give the credit to Cy as far as the Lucid Phase PR that we’ve been doing. And all Yeah, definitely, it’s been all all on our own for now.

Robonzo 28:10
Well that’s cool. Yeah, it was a really nice looking piece that he sent. And I’m only going to share this because I know a lot of people are may listen to this and think, Oh, you know, maybe I need to do that. And I got picked up, you know, a tip from a couple different places. And you’ll hear it all the time too. But it’s you know, it’s a it’s another layer of time, in the whole process. And I know that Cy and you guys are putting a ton of time into this doing it yourself. And you know, probably next time I talk to you, someone’s going to be doing this for you, which is awesome. But

Garret Laver 28:44
Oh maybe, I’m cautiously optimistic like that sounds.

Robonzo 28:50
But um, I’m reflecting on a conversation I had in the earlier days of the podcast with a guy named D Grant Smith. And he hosted a radio show for a long time, college radio show. And he wrote a lot of stuff about, you know, the right way to approach college radio stations. But really, it was a lot of writing about how to approach people for anything. So you could plug in, you know, anything in the college radio station. And he was really adamant that you know, and it makes total sense. So it feels like stating the obvious, but I think it gets overlooked pretty easily. And and it can get overlooked when somebody puts a great piece together like you guys did too. So, but in that is to do whatever little thing you can to make a connection for those of you listening who are putting out press releases or reaching out by email to podcasters or college radio stations or whomever and one of the easiest ways to do it, but you have to be genuine and truthful is you know, a little thing like Hey, I I listened to one this episode on your podcast or I was listening to you on your station the other day. And anything specific, you can say, or even if it’s just like I did with you guys, when I responded, which was the, the reality of it was I, I scan through the press release, I went to check out your music, I probably watched part of the video and then looked at your online presence. And I just respond is like, Hey, I was checking out your work, you know, good stuff. I think that really matters a lot. And it gets it gets overlooked. Now, you know, there’s so many things that that a PR rep will do for you that you just, you know, you don’t have the bandwidth, or maybe the experience to do that takes it to a completely different level. And, you know, I spoke with a PR rep recently, I’m going to share this with you too. But she was kind of trying to figure out what, what made her choose to work with the artists that she chose to work with. And that the one thing she said was that they, the artist are excited, genuinely excited about the work they’re doing because that, that totally, she picks up on that. And that’s how, that’s how she can go to bat for them. So I just thought I’d put that out there for everyone.

Garret Laver 31:10
No, that’s great.

Robonzo 31:12
Tell me. Go ahead, please.

Garret Laver 31:17
I just agreeing with you that I really, it’s got to be fun and enjoyable. And you know that that energy really does come out? You know, people want to see that.

Robonzo 31:27
For sure. There’s an artist mentioned, I think in your on your website, maybe in the press release, who goes by Nostradamus on Instagram?

Garret Laver 31:39

Robonzo 31:40
Tell me about this artist. I was checking out their work. And I was like, Oh, this is pretty, pretty cool. I like it. But yeah, tell me tell me about the relationship, who they are? How you know.

Garret Laver 31:51
Yeah, it’s a pretty brief relationship. We just, this is our first piece that we’ve worked with him on. I also want to give a shout out to Trisha DeMarco, who Tricia is an illustrator up in upstate New York, and she designed the album cover for The Crop, which is that that flower kind of with that exploding like color behind it. So she, we had you know, just and she’s another SCAD, SCAD person too, so definitely, that creative network kind of branched out in a way to, to the music in that in that respect, as well. So Tricia did a great job with the cover. And we wanted to put something together for the single art that kind of had like a, like a stamp appeal to it kind of like a logo or something like that. And we had been following Nosta for a while just on Instagram, you know, just another one of those social media, you know, networking connections, you know, that that we make now. And we just reached out and said, Hey, you know, like, we love we love what you’re up to, you know, especially with his, his tropical looks too, he’s got he’s got a ton of great stuff on there and definitely has his own dignified style in a way and, we were just hoping that you would work with us and then you know, we had seen so many pieces that he has and then we were like what is you know, we could envision in one of our songs with the work that he does and we had loved you know, like the for Roots Enterprise wanted to kind of capture that Grateful Dead look, you know, like Casey Jones with the locomotive and kind of that you know, Jumbo sized engine where it kind of you know, shrinks into the background with the tracks and, and everything and those were the references that we had sent to Nostro. And the the first piece that we got back was was good, it had more it looked like he was catering more towards what we we were sending him and it was more of like a portrait or like a landscape picture actually and Jake will be you’re actually camping in July when we got the first draft back from him and Jake on a sketchbook drew up this circle of the desert with the train tracks coming out of the desert circle so you know it broke that little circular wall with the train tracks coming out of it and kind of had that shrink look where the engine was real big and poppy up front and then it all kind of shrunk back and we showed him and when we got back is is what we have now which is you know Nostra sent us back this awesome piece where the band you know where the for the three of us are playing like skeletons in the desert in the background and you have this skeleton engineer that’s driving train in the foreground and You know, we just loved everything about it is you know the composition and you know how it all kind of just feels real nice and tight and it was just a perfect perfect piece to put out for the Roots Enterprise single and we’ll definitely work with him again.

Robonzo 35:14
Yeah he’s a great artist and is a nice piece now have to go back and look at it a little bit because I you know I definitely miss some details so and there’s a lot in there so that’s cool. Yeah talented person is is is Nostra close to you guys. Geographically or?

Garret Laver 35:31
Not at all I actually think he’s in Indonesia. Okay, just had his first child as well. So we’ve just been pen pals.

Robonzo 35:40
That’s cool. Yeah. The beauty of the internet, I tell you. Yep. And you mentioned SCAD for those listening, Savannah College of Art and Design where we were talking about the guys in the band met, and picked up so many of these awesome interests that have carried over into their music. So what? So you have an album in the pipeline? Or is everything written and recorded? Or are you still recording? Where is it? Where are you at?

Garret Laver 36:07
Right now, we are in the, you know, rough draft process. Everything is written, I wrote all the songs for it. Prior to us laying it down, I had probably eight of them. And then you know, finished up the last four, we were basically what we’d like to try to do in the studio is typically we’ll have a five hour recording session. But if we can, if there’s no artists coming in, after us that have booked the space will actually go maybe eight hours. And you know, each time, we don’t always we don’t always stick to this, if we’re trying to finish up a song, we’ll do it, we’ll go in and do it over and over. But we’d like to each time in the studio is is do something different, just to keep it fresh. So, you know, if we have Well, during quarantine, you know, we might have went in 12 times in a month. And so what we did is each time we put down the foundation for each other new 12 songs, which felt really good to do. And, you know, each time we would just do a pass. And so we did the first pass was the first 12 and then our next 12 studio sessions we went in and did you know the second pass on all 12 and just kind of worked like that, where we’re just kind of evenly just working its way towards a finished project product. And you know, some of them like Roots Enterprise, of course, we finished that one first. So that one had a little bit extra love and care so far, you know, it had maybe three or four sessions where the others have only had one or two. So everything is written and everything is down recorded and all and you know, what we do now is just kind of what as far as vocal vocals, what I like to do is is sing all the tracks, you know, as as a melody that might work for them. And then, you know, it’s usually never the best vocal recordings. So the first 12 is really just the sake to fit it in the song and see what how it arranged how its arranged and how it sounds. And then I like to go in and do a second pass on all of them. When, you know, a few weeks have gone by, and I’ve been able to listen to them. And it always, almost always sounds better. So that’s that’s usually our, our workflow. So for this next one, Orchid Thief, that one is, you know, definitely on its way. Well, we’ll have a few more singles that we’ll put out for it. And, you know, you know, like we’re saying hopefully by early 2021 I’ll say maybe sooner if we have more time, but I’m thinking around there will be will be one that can come out.

Robonzo 39:04
Cool. And I may have said Crop referring to your forthcoming album, it is Orchid Thief, and thanks for for saying that. And I just wanted to say it again. Because as soon as I as soon as you started responding, I’m like, Oh, did I say Crop? Um, so you guys played you said earlier you played your first show live show ever recently that I understand that right?

Garret Laver 39:28
Yep, that’s correct.

Robonzo 39:29
Tell me about the venue. What was it like? Where was it?

Garret Laver 39:33
So the venue was a private residence in San Diego. And it was sponsored by a company called Grizzly Peak. And they’re, they’re great. They’re actually a cannabis company down in San Diego, which I’m sure as you know, California and cannabis kind of go hand in hand. And when you bring reggae, when you bring reggae music into it, then it’s just you know, sort of especially in San Diego, I’d say they’re the they’re the pioneers right now as far as just a city that is, is so involved in reggae for for, like, you know, the United States there’s other places. The UK is is really booming with with reggae and dub music that they have come, they’ve done it in a way that is blended with drum and bass music, which I don’t know if you’ve heard of drum and bass but they’re a huge, huge thing out there now. And I do think it’s, it’s growing, you know, moving from Philadelphia to to Georgia at first, you know, I brought with me, I had started listening to reggae music, you know, Bob Marley, and then into a lot, you know, I got into more of the Jamaican roots from the 60s and 70s. Later on, I would say when I came out to Los Angeles, you know, the Gladiators, the Heptones, the Love Joys, you know, all these all these great older groups, Augustus Pablo, I really dug dove into it out here. And there’s so much to dive into. And I give a lot of credit to some of the early bands that I worked with, for showing me that music to like a Tatanka, t, a, t, a, n, k, a they’re, they’re a group that they they’ve taken a little bit of a break now. So I don’t know how many people would be familiar with them now. But they were so good. And they were, you know, a really great group of guys. And they still are, I’m still in touch with a few of them. But when I first moved to Los Angeles, I toured with them on three different music tours, and in the on the west coast. And, you know, they, they made some some great music and working with them. And, you know, just spending a lot of time with them. They showed me a lot, a lot of excellent old Jamaican roots. So that and, you know, just listening to a lot of the California reggae bands growing up as well. Um, you know, coming from Georgia to Los Angeles, I was excited to get closer to it, though. Yeah…

Robonzo 42:23
Very cool. I will have to check out to Tatanka. Is it Tanka with a T, A, T or P as in Peter.

Garret Laver 42:32
Yes, t, a, t, a, n, k, a. Yeah, they have all their music up. So if you it’s like that electronic dub. reggae? Yeah, very… It’s really good. And, you know, I think in 10 years, if you go back and listen to what might come then, you know, you would kind of pull from, from some of those guys that were doing it, you know, a couple years ago,

Robonzo 42:58
Very cool. Check it out. A friend that I played with, a long time ago, for for several years, it feels like an in my memory anyway, he stayed in touch, and he hasn’t written music in a really long time. And I don’t think he’s ever written it on his own or, or, without being part of a band. And he was he had said, Hey, I want to talk to him, because I, you know, told him I just finished a song and and actually, I, this is really going to be the first thing I’ve ever published on my own. And written on my own, but he he told me, he wanted to talk to me about process, you know, writing process, because he hadn’t done in a while, and he was going to talk to some other people. So I thought I’d ask you to share anything that you have that might give people ideas, and I know, it’s different for everyone, but any ideas or tips that you have on your writing process?

Garret Laver 43:55
Yeah, absolutely. Well, the thing is, it’s definitely the most important thing for me personally, to contribute to the music, you know, being a, having a huge passion for the music that we make is is a huge bonus, you know, it’s exactly the sound I’ve always wanted to put together, you know, it’s Lucid Phase, you know, we put together it’s, it’s reggae, but it’s also, you know, jam and blues. And Cyrus pulls a lot from that Southwestern, and, you know, just that Southwestern sound, you know, so there’s, there’s a lot of really cool sounds that we work with, and it’s just such a blessing to have that be the platform for the lyrics and and for writing the songs. And, you know, I brought to the table when we first started Lucid Phase. It was really I had a whole notebook of songs, you know, as far as like any writer probably has, you know, just just like, notes and this and that and a verse here and, you know, chorus there. And, you know, we, we went into the studio for the first time and, and Jake actually was a part of it a couple months later. We, we forced him into it and now he’s not, he can’t leave because, you know, he’s such a part of it now. And, you know, he’s not even looking back either, you know. It’s totally the three of us that have put together Lucid Phase. But just to start, it was Cyrus who was like, Hey, why don’t we get the songs up and recorded. And because he is an engineer and a multi instrumentalist, we were actually able to lay down the songs that I was writing, and he could put, you know, the guitar and the bass in and the keys. And a lot of the songs have come from past experiences, relationships, places that I’ve been memories, you know, all these things that were just good to get out. And now it’s becoming more and more organic and tied to life. You know, like writing a thank, you know, just the more you can experience, you know, being able to get out there and taking the steps. Like Pink Floyd, you know, they said, you know, all you touch, and all you see is all your life will ever be, and it’s pretty dark. But it really, you know, if you look at it in a more positive message, it’s really just, you know, going out and touching things and seeing life and, you know, going places, you’ll just experience things that you might have never thought you would have like taking your camping trip to Northern California, you might have like three or four things that happen on the way are you meet some weird, crazy guy to rest stop that tells you a story. And it’s like, there it is. And so, you know, I think especially with with the writing, now it’s just becoming, I’d like to just make it a point where, you know, I can I just go and do things and and, and experience life and whatever kind of hits me emotionally I’ll write it. And if it and if it works for a song, then that’s awesome. And you know, now I do think of it with our sound in mind, you know, I think Lucid Phase, and it’s like, Okay this is our cool, our sound and you know, like, this is what, you know, if you know, we like to dive into some country now, on Orchid Thief, there are a few more, I would say like grassrootsy, bluesy jam country songs, you know, acoustic, and that’s definitely something, I started writing our third album actually Homegrown. And so there’s a lot of songs on there from this summer. And, you know, just going up to Lake Tahoe, and meeting some really great people. And for you know, we’ve all been socially distant for so long. So being able to kind of get in touch with some humans that you really connect with, it was really special. So that, you know, all those things that like life experiences, definitely past relationships. You know, there’s quite a few love songs that I’ve written. And among, among other things that you know, I’ll just see on a day to day and just have felt the desire to write about it.

Robonzo 48:29
I love that. There’s a lot of really good stuff in there I think people can take away and maybe maybe even ask questions about. Hey man, thank you for spending time with me today. It was really a pleasure getting acquainted, learning about what you guys are doing and how you got there, and where you’re hoping to go. And I wish you all the best. I think you guys are great.

Garret Laver 48:52
Thank you Robonzo Thank you for having us on the show. I can’t wait to hear it. And we’ll definitely be looking through all the podcasts that you’ve done with other artists.

Robonzo 49:00
Cool man. I’ll talk to you soon.

Robonzo 49:02
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Robonzo 49:56
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Robonzo 50:42
Did you know you can help other independent artists find this podcast by subscribing on Apple podcast or wherever you are listening to your podcast these days. It really does help, so I hope you will consider it. And if you have feedback, please go to to get all my contact info, you can text me call me email me leave a voice message right there on that page, just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at UnstarvingMusician .com/Podcast. All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, fans. Peace, gratitude and a whole lot of love.

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