Mike Monts De Oca’s Music is Cash to Gaga and Beyond

[box type=”shadow”]Lakeland musician Mike Monts De Oca has started a Kickstarter campaign. We asked him a few questions about his music and the campaign.[/box]

2009 Nov 7 #6 edit

Mike Monts De Oca, November 2009

Q: Under what Amazon category would you file your music? A: I don’t know if this is an Amazon genre or not, but I would categorize my music as Acoustic Rock/Pop. It’s so hard to put a title to your own sound. I guess you could say that bands like Sister Hazel, Ray LaMontagne and Mumford & Sons, musically, have inspired this album.

Q: What would you point to as the start of your career in music? A: I’ve always played music, as early as I can remember. I dabbled in being a hobby guitar player and turned songwriter only a few years ago. I started playing at Molly McHugh’s in Downtown Lakeland, which would be the point in which music became more than a hobby.

Q: Who your influences? Check your mp3 player. What are the last 5 songs recently played? A: My musical interests and influences are all over the map. As someone who has left the life of playing lead guitar and ventured into an acoustic singer/songwriter role, I’m inspired most by artists who keep it simple and let their talents come through unhindered by heavy effects and studio tricks. Mumford & Sons album Sigh No More really affected me on a musical level. It’s what transitioned me to this style of music. Now, I’m getting into artists like Greg Laswell, Of Monsters and Men, Ray LaMontagne and Imogen Heap. My five songs recently played: 1. “My Fight” Greg Laswell 2. “Gave You All” Mumford & Sons 3. “Narrow Escape” Ray LaMontagne 4. “Trouble” Coldplay 5. “My Body” Young the Giant

Q: Who would you like to open for on a national tour? A: I guess in the genre of music I’m currently playing I’d like to open up for Jason Mraz. He has such a pure voice and talent. He also has a great way about how he interacts with the audience. He would be a great person to travel with and learn from.

Q: Who locally do you go see play? A: I love to support local music when I can. I like to go to Open Music night at DC’s Sports Bar on Tuesday nights and for something a little more structured check out Magnificent Applesauce. My good friend Matt McGowan, is also working on his own solo project called Autumn’s Song, I even recorded on a couple of songs on his debut CD. First and foremost, you have to support what your friends are doing.

Q: Something about your history in the area. A: I’m a local guy. Born and raised in Lakeland, I stuck around for college and life thereafter. I really like this town and am now starting and raising my own family here as well.

Q: You played with Juniper Red. What did you like about playing in a band? Will we hear anymore from JR, or has everyone moved onto new
projects? A: Playing with the band really allowed me to grow as a musician. That band was completely different than what I’m doing today. It was definitely a lot of fun. I loved playing lead guitar and getting to experiment with different sounds and new toys. For the most part, everyone has sort of gone their own direction. I still regularly hang out with Matt McGowan (keyboards), who is now recording Autumn’s Song, and even collaborate on musical ideas. As for a future for JR, we do have some things in the works for the mid-to-distant future but only time will tell.

Q: For fans who knew your work with the band, how has your sound changed since leaving JR? A: Saying that my sound has changed from JR is like saying that ocean is wet — does that even make sense as an analogy??? JR was a band that wrote in-your-face southern-rock/blues inspired “bar” music. Now, I’m doing acoustic music, written about the experiences I’ve had in life. It’s all the music I never got the chance to write while playing with a band.

Q: You play a lot of solo shows around town. What kind of sound? A: I play solo and acoustic. I keep things really simple and try to put my own spin on music you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear sitting at a bar or bistro. If someone stops and thinks, “That’s a cool way to play that song” then I’ve met my goal. I play everything from Johnny Cash to Lady Gaga. You never know what you’ll get!

Q: Where can readers go to hear your sound? A: Website – www.mikemontsmusic.com, ReverbNation – www.reverbnation.com/mikemontsmusic, Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Monts-Music/269614963056647?ref=ts

Q: Have you written the songs you plan for the studio? Are they all new? Will there be any old favorites recorded? A: I’ve written just about everything new for the studio and this album. There should be a total of 9 or 10 songs. There will be an old favorite from the juniperRED days on here. I wrote a song called “Use Me” and it was a big success with the band. I’ve recorded a stripped down version and it will be on the CD.

Q: What led you to try the Kickstarter route? A: I’ve seen a couple of friends post projects on Kickstarter and succeed with it. It seemed like a really cool way to help fund a project that may, otherwise, never happen. Recording and manufacturing a CD is an expensive thing to do, so I thought I’d give it a try and see what I could make come of it.

Q: How will it work? Does it cover all the funds you need or just a piece? A: Basically, as a “backer” you pick a reward level that you’re comfortable with making a donation within, and for that you get the reward as laid out. The project is set to last for 30 days. If at the end you have met or exceeded your goal then the backers are charged for their donation level and the project is paid out. If by the end you have not met your goal then the backers are not charged and no money is exchanged. No harm, no foul.

My goal was set to fund the recording process, mixing and mastering, CD pressing and manufacturing, online marketing and distribution, copywriting and other ancillary expenses.

Further information about becoming a supporter of my Kickstarter project can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mikemontsmusic/mike-monts-music?ref=live

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tom Hagerty for Lakeland Local