Tyler Garcia is a sound engineer, ACM@UCO professor, producer, and event promotion expert.
Basically he does a little bit of everything. We chatted with him about his work with 33rd Street Studioand Upstage Promotions and about his passion for Oklahoma music.
33rd Street Studio
While in college, Garcia was connected with someone else who had a studio in Edmond who wasn’t using it, so he freelanced in the studio for a while and eventually bought it from him in 2015. He’s been there ever since at 33rd Street Studio, recording with hundreds of different local artists.
Garcia said his recording process is unique in that he encourages collaboration like other bigger city studios.
“The culture in Oklahoma around music has never been great at encouraging bands and musicians to work with other people in their songwriting and in their production,” Garcia said. “There aren’t a lot of freelance producers and songwriters in Oklahoma, whereas if you go to a city like Nashville, it’s practically unheard of to write and record a song by yourself with no input.”
To Garcia, it’s more about a sense of teamwork than having the best or most expensive studio in the state.
“I think more people need to understand that the gear is like the fifth or sixth thing on the list that matters,” Garcia said. “What also matters is how the songs are written, who’s playing them, how they’re playing them, and musicians don’t need to go spend a fortune on recording for it to sound really the way they want it to.”
When Garcia was in college, he worked as a sound guy in local venues, and he even went on tour with bands to do sound engineering. After working closely with concert promoters, he decided he was really interested in doing something in that field in Oklahoma. So he and a friend made it a reality with Upstage Promotions.
“We noticed that every time one of our favorite bands would announce a tour, it would go to Dallas and Kansas City and St. Louis every time,” Garcia said. “We were getting skipped so much, and I got sick of driving six hours to see a band.”
He said he’s hoping Oklahoma can become more of a music city with more people coming out to shows, and he said there are several things going on in the city that make it an exciting place to be for live music, like Exchange Music, which Garcia said is making music promotion easier.
“There’s room in Oklahoma City for someone to do this differently and for someone to put the focus on getting in touch with artists and agencies who haven’t wanted to explore playing in Oklahoma City before and really showing why it matters,” he said.
Garcia was among the inaugural class of ACM@UCO in 2009, and he graduated with a degree in production. When he’s not busy with Upstage Promotions and 33rd Street Studio, Garcia now teaches two recording classes at ACM@UCO.
“It’s so cool to see how the school as grown and changed since I was a student, and teaching has always brought me joy,” he said.
He also hired his studio assistant, Gilson Machtolff, from one of his classes, and Garcia been really excited to work with him.
“I think that the environment they have created up there at ACM is so valuable for the city,” Garcia said. “Putting that many true industry professionals in the same building as hundreds of aspiring musicians, songwriters, and producers can only lead to great things.”