Over the years, I've had the pleasure of meeting plenty of characters on the road. Today, for the first time in a year and a half, I finally have one of my favorite weirdos back for an interview. After following a handful of changes as a musician, Armando is back with a new project, a band entitled Black Garden. With one of the freshest and most ear-pleasing tones I've heard in a long time, I guarantee you'll fall in love with their music quickly.
LJ DeWitt: Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? I believe the last interview we did, over a year ago, you mentioned you'd work on becoming more like a corgi. How's that been going for you?
Armando: Yes, it’s definitely been awhile since our last interview. As far as becoming a corgi, I definitely failed at it, haha, if anything I’m more of a fat pug that sleeps a lot now.
LJ: In all seriousness, though, I'm happy to finally have you back for an interview, and with a new band no less! Can you tell me a little bit about the process that went into forming Black Garden?
Armando: I’m happy to be able to do another one, thank you for giving me an opportunity once again. Me and the guys have been best friends for years and we all love music so it only made sense to finally do something together. I don’t have many friends so it's nice being able to do this with the few ones that I trust and love.
LJ: I'm in love with your debut single, "Fall Apart". Do you have anything specific that goes into your writing process? For example, are there certain places or times of day that you have to write?
Armando: Most of the writing happens in my room by myself at 2 am in the morning. Usually after a couple of drinks and messing around with sounds for a couple of hours, I find that one sound that I’m feeling at that moment. After I write the first draft of the song, I show the other guys and they give me their input and add their unique flavors to the song. After the instrumental is done I jam it for a week or two so I can come up with melodies and lyrics for the songs. Once it’s all finished we go to the studio and our producers help us polish the songs. I would say it's a messy yet beautiful process seeing how much the song changes before we get to record it.
LJ: Whether it be with this band or a previous one, who've been your favorite fellow bands play with?
Armando: Definitely the guys from Darkness Divided, Divisions, and Versus. All of the members of those bands are the most genuine people I’ve ever met.
LJ: Any bands you haven't gotten to play with yet, but hope to?
Armando: There’s this Michigan band I’ve been obsessed with called The True Blue. They’re kind of poppy/R&B. I would love to share the stage with them for sure.
LJ: While we're on the topic of lineups, do you guys have any plans to tour yet?
Armando: Considering how much money it costs to tour, the bills we all gotta take care of and how small the band is I don’t see us touring as of now. We haven’t even gotten the chance to play live for the first time yet, haha. So I guess we gotta work on that before going to other states.
LJ: From your past experiences, what's been the worst thing that's ever happened to you on tour?
Armando: Being stranded in the middle of nowhere definitely sucks, or sleeping in the van when it's freezing. I like to think that all the bad experiences have made me grow more as a person so in a way they’re good?
LJ: To bring it back to something a little more positive, since we're doing this interview over the holiday season, what are your favorite Christmas movies and traditions?
Armando: All of my family lives in Colombia and Florida so I don’t really do much during the holidays. I tend to just enjoy the fact that I get a couple of extra days off from work.
LJ: What are your biggest hopes for Black Garden in the New Year?
Armando: I wanna be able to record the rest of our EP and hopefully have a music video for them all, maybe gain a couple more fans. For sure play our first show, haha.
LJ: Finally, are there any last words of wisdom, statements, or random facts you'd like to leave with your fans?
Armando: I want to thank anybody that took a second of their lives to listen to our first single and hopefully you do again once we release our next two music videos coming up very soon. Black Garden is my way of expressing my emotions, so it’s awesome seeing that some people enjoy it as much as we do.
e. Rachel Rosell