Happy 2021 to all of you! Hopefully this year brings you new opportunities and restores balance in your lives. Music is always there to help us, so we wanted to start the year off right with some of that feel good. "Sun Shining" was curated by a close friend of ours who has been surrounded by music his entire life. Mike Garcia aka Miguel Rockwell is a Seattle native who is instilling that which he knows of music and art into his family and surroundings. We hope his curated playlist brings you joy, and reminds of you all the brighter days. Conversation follows.
Cover art for MILESTONES designed by Daniel Lint
A: Thank you for being here for our MILESTONES series. Would you mind giving the readers a little background on the amazing human that is Mike Garcia aka Miguel Rockwell?
M: I’m a Hip-Hop head to the core. From way back in kindergarten I can remember being influenced by the different parts of the culture. In the earlier years, I’d be break-dancing or recording YO MTV RAPS on VHS daily just to keep up with the new videos that were being released. Towards the end of High School, I’d be soaking up sounds from all over the nation refining my rhymes. A big part of that influence was coming from East and West Coast, but we were also excited about the burgeoning sounds of Dungeon Family, Outkast, and Goodie Mob. Once we discovered our sound, me and two other homies founded Clockwork in early 2000, and ultimately built up a nice following in the PNW and across parts of the West Coast.
A: Clockwork! Bringing back so many memories of seeing you 3 live in different venues across Seattle. So where does DJing come into play? Because this is also how a lot of people know you as well, right?
M: Back in 92 when Juice came out, everybody wanted to be a DJ. One of my best friends got a crappy belt drive turntable and a long skinny horizontal 4 channel Gemini mixer so we would practice scratching as best we could. Flash forward to 03’, I went to a bar on Cap Hill called Desamis to get a drink with some friends. I ended up getting to know the owner David and he told me they had DJs there on the weekend but that they were looking for someone on Thursdays. I told him my best friend Chad was a DJ, which was a stretch. He had turntables and a few records, but never DJ’d anywhere, lol. We booked the gig, and ran a successful night for a year before moving on. 18 years later, I’ve had the opportunity to play some of Seattle's biggest venues.
A: Love that story, made your own lane and got something nice going for the city! Your playlist is titled SUN SHINING - how do the songs you chose fit into your family life at home?
M: I love to put on background music when I’m doing things with the fam. Whether the kids are playing, we’re riding in the car, or even doing some yard work outside, I feel like the right music can set the tone and some feel good vibes can enhance almost any activity. I also try and make it a point to introduce an array of throwback and old school music to my kids. Whether they’re paying attention or not, I just want em to soak up the funk, soul and love that a lot of older music is steeped with.
A: That’s fresh, I'm on board with getting kids introduced to the various sounds from a young age. Do you notice your kids taking an interest into the arts, whether it’s music or any other mediums?
M: Definitely! I think it’s only natural that they’re interested in it since that’s what I’m most into, so I’m probably exposing them more to it but yes 100% they’re very into all different types of art. Performing and music especially but even drawing and painting which is really not my forte. Lol.
A: You never know, pretty soon you might be learning some new skills from them! Are there a few personal favorites on "Sun Shining" that stand out over the rest? Your selection of “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Seu Jorge (Roy Ayers cover) is a quintessential choice I gotta say.
M: That song has such a dope feel to it right? The original Roy Ayers version feels like cleaning the house on a sunny Saturday afternoon but the Seu George version, somehow is like way more dark and brooding. Partly just because his baritone voice is so crazy, but it still feels like rollin in an old school on Alki during our ever so brief Seattle summers.
A: We've been on a Brazilian Funk kick lately too, so I'm happy to see that vibe on here as well. You’re expanding my view of artists a bit more, thank you. I wanted to switch to something a little more personal. A couple years ago, your youngest boy Maceo was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare blood disease.* How important was the community and family in helping you, your wife, and daughters get through the challenging times?
M: Our family was so lucky to have a community of friends and family around us that really stepped up right away to make sure we had the support we needed. It honestly would have been a whole different experience without them so, we’re really grateful that we had the whole #ATribeCalledMaceo fam to lean on.
A: That’s major! It takes a village no doubt. And we’re glad to hear he’s doing very well now, and in great spirits! Your whole family is amazing, and we got big love for you, your wife and all the kids. Before we end this, what is something you’d like to leave the people with when they’re listening to your “Sun Shining” playlist?
M: I feel like different moods call for different musical vibes. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell which vibe a particular song fits in. Sometimes it’s in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes, the answer can change from day to day. But one thing I know, is when a song has that specific feel good vibe, it can always make you feel like the sun is shining. That sounds corny, I know, but I think that if you to listen to this playlist and really feel the soul, you’ll come out the other side in a better mood.
A: Couldn't agree with that sentiment more. Hearing the Sun Shining vibes can definitely brighten a dark day. Mike, thank you again for making time and contributing your playlist to MILESTONES. We know everyone will definitely find joy in it!
*Maceo is in a phase similar to remission, although this is not the term they use for children who experience A.L.L. His Chemo treatments ended in October 2020, and he's living his best life!
If you would like to support what Miguel Rockwell is up to, we encourage you to give his Twitch
a follow. He will be hosting a wide range of segments alongside DJing via these platforms.xx