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Meet David Ventura Garcia of Transient Mic

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Ventura Garcia.

Hi David, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I went to grad school to study film production at the University of Texas but the industry is so difficult to break into without a real inside connection. So over time, the idea of reaching any success as a filmmaker felt too far out of reach, but I didn’t want to give up on creativity or the idea that I could make an impact. That’s when I met Jeremy Fowler, a local singer and musician, and we hit it off creatively. Initially, we wanted to create a for-profit venture and tried to shop around the idea of a mobile studio for hire with another associate whose father could potentially fund the operation. But for whatever reason, that idea didn’t seem to gain any traction when we pitched it. And the feeling I had was that familiar sort of dread when you know that you have such a fantastic idea but it’s just far enough out there that it’s difficult for potential investors to really get the true spirit of it or to see it as a profit-making machine. And so one night, the idea popped into my head to flip the script and turn the structure into a nonprofit organization which just sounded like the perfect idea from the moment it entered the ether. This idea immediately transformed from being a vehicle that could generate revenue into something deeper- into one that embraced the spirit of preservation and collaboration. Up until that point, Jeremy and I were already jaded by the entertainment industry, and so we thought “Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of a corporation that wasn’t driven by the bottom line but instead by the creativity of music and sound and the belief that we all deserve the chance to heard?” And the answer to that question developed into Transient Mic.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The actual formation of our nonprofit went smoothly thanks to the organization Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA) who connected us with Pete Osornio and his the law firm. They guided us through the discussion that helped us form our mission and bylaws. We went back and forth and ultimately narrowed it down to the preservation of music and sound through the art of recording by creating a library of audio much like an art museum preserves and curates the work of many artists over time. And under that mission, we set out to discover new voices- giving them access to a professional recording session that, in the end, provides them with the masters to their work which they can use to establish their own unique voice and place in our universal soundscape.

A 501(c)3 organization is always a struggle to operate in that there are only so many ways a donor or a philanthropist or a grant foundation can divvy up the dollar. And every one of these NPO’s is trying to do good work for the betterment of our community. So how do we earn that donation? What makes us unique enough to be able to sway the donation dollar our way when there are so many other great nonprofits doing fantastic work? In the end, we realize that our organization is a niche that serves a small sliver of the arts as a whole but that wants to do big things for the preservation of music and sound. We hope to attract the donor who feels the sacredness of audio in much the same way that other patrons might feel about film, or dance, or the theatre or any of the other incredible performance arts available to us.

We’ve been impressed with Transient Mic, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Transient Mic is a nonprofit mobile studio dedicated to the preservation of music and sound. We are actively seeking people who love audio as much as we do- who want to be behind the microphone or a part of a production as a volunteer or as a recording professional who understands the importance and the power of recorded audio as a medium that continues to shape the world. A perfect example of that is Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech which was actually first delivered at a North Carolina high school months before the speech he made in Washington. They recently found this speech on a reel-to-reel tape in an unmarked box on a shelf in a Rocky Mount library. And now, this undiscovered work has been restored and preserved for future generations. But who actually had the foresight to push the record button that November day in 1962 thereby preserving one of the most iconic speeches in our American history? It’s a selfless act motivated by the purest spirit of preservation. The person who pushed “record” knew that history was being made. And the list of seminal recordings throughout the world is too many to count. When you stop and think of the first demos done by the Beatles, or Dizzy Gillespie, or Lead Belly, on down to the gritty tape sessions of the early punk and rap eras, these songs weren’t recorded by big studio labels looking to reap enormous profits. They were recorded by someone who felt that the material was too strong to go unnoticed and motivated by the need to be heard regardless of fidelity. It was music and sound for the sake of history.

The advantage that Transient Mic has today is that recording technology is so compact that we can fit all this high fidelity equipment into a van and drive it across the nation recording the discoveries we make along the way. The spirit of discovery happens when you set out to find that which is hidden in plain view but overlooked because sometimes our lives are just too busy to pay attention. Of course, there are those obscure finds in the remote areas of a city or rural community and we hope to discover those as well. The soundscape that surrounds us is full of audio waiting to be recorded.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
We have a real love for the analog methods of creativity and recording. Over time we’ve acquired several reel-to-reel tape machines, portable multi-track cassette recorders, used mics, mixing decks, turntables, over 1500 LPs, hundreds of reels, old synths, 35mm and polaroid cameras, 16mm film cameras, and so on. If it’s vintage, we want to give it new life. The fantastic thing about technology is that all the old analog signals can easily be transferred over to digital. At the same time, It’s great to be able to filter the signals through the analog components first. It’s like we give it a vintage wash before we start to manipulate it in the digital world. We also just acquired a van that we are in the process of renovating to be able to take it across the country and record. The van life is really finding its place again in the counterculture movement like it did in the 60’s and 70’s. People are looking to be more nomadic. They don’t want to be tied down to any one location. This itinerant spirit is in our name: Transient Mic. We believe that life and all the places we go and see are temporal like a transient sound wave that jumps the signal. And so the key concept is to be able to capture these audio moments before they disappear.

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