I had a chance to meet up with Carlo Gimenez, 29 years old, known for being the lead guitar player for Dia Frampton (Meg and Dia). A common friend introduced us and luckily he got time for an interview before he goes on tour. Here goes.
What instruments do you play?
I play guitar and drums. I used to play saxophone but my main instrument is the guitar. I wasn’t really influenced at all, but it was kind of chance because I woke up one morning, and I was 11 that time, and there was a guitar in the kitchen and so I was like “OK”, so I decided to learn and this was after I have first heard Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”. So I guess my mom saw my interest in the music and surprised me a guitar when I woke up and that’s what happened and there aren’t any person like really influenced me… it was all chance.
What do you think about the music scene in Los Angeles?
It depends on what kind of genre you’re in. Let’s say you’re an indie band, it is a good place to be an indie band because there’s a lot of indie bands following. If you have this sound like the indie sound you’ll make it far, uhm, in the scene in LA but let’s say you’ll like a pop band not really gonna get far cause LA is very… LA and New York is kind of similar with the indie scene… uhm… its because people are trying to stay away from the pop stuff… you know vinyls are making a come back and everything, if i have one word for the music scene in LA that would be unique… very unique.
How is it different from the music scene in New York, Canada or Europe?
I really don’t know. I’ve never seen any music scenes besides New York. The scene here is diverse. Music nowadays is being influenced by others, singer or whatever and it is a good thing to have these artists in Canada or UK because it is beneficial to the music anywhere.
Now you’re known as the guitar player for Dia Frampton, what is the story behind that? How did you met them?
I had a friend, her name is Jemimah, and Meg & Dia’s first guitar player Kenjie left the band and then Jemimah my friend goes, “oh, you should audition for this band” I was like ok… uhm… so I sent them my Youtube links playing a couple of their songs and then… yeah… Nick the drummer, emailed me and from then on I was their guitar player.
Where are you as a musician right now?
That’s a funny question cause I have never thought of a level or like where I was as a musician because being an artist or being a musician or being in the arts, you’re always learning, so you can never reach a certain level. But if I had to say, I’ll probably be like 60 out of a hundred. I am still learning, I learn new things everyday.
Are you working now?
Yeah, Full-time musician, but before I was a travel agent.
What made you decide to quit working?
Well, like I said music has been part of my life. It’s always been my passion ever since I first held that guitar at the age of 11. I’ve been a bus boy at a restaurant, I’ve been a travel agent and I was going to pursuit business. But there’s this thing at the back of my head, saying, I’m a musician. And I can’t stop being who I am. And then when that opportunity came up (for being a guitar player for Meg & Dia) I just grabbed it because it is something I really wanted to do ever since. And not just like play music at a bar or whatever, but actually tour the country or tour the world. That’s just like a dream come true.
What was the lowest point in your life that you do what you wanna do which is playing the guitar but nothing is working the way you want it to be?
I think that was the month before I auditioned for Meg & Dia. Just like I was gonna give up, I was gonna say, I’m just gonna stop playing guitar, just be a travel agent forever ’cause I was in a band while I was working and it wasn’t really going anywhere, I wasn’t happy so I guess that was pretty low for me. I was ready to give up, ready to hang the guitar up and put the suit on everyday and be an office guy. So when that opportunity came I just grabbed it.
Do you think luck played a role in that situation?
Oh yeah, definitely but I also believe in fate that it was meant to happen that way.
How do you “Perpetually Push Forward?”
What drives me the most is art. Art in making music, loving what you do. If you love what you do no matter what you go through like for example money, or let’s say family, or a break up. If you truly love what you do, nothing is gonna stop you from pursuing it like no matter what it is. It could be like, uh, you wanna be a barista at Starbucks or a painter… no matter what brings you down you’ll always going to get back up because that is what you love. So what I was trying to say is, I love what I do and no matter what happens I’m going to continue doing it I’m going to push forward… you know its like nothing is going to stop me because this is what I truly love.
What do you think about DOZE?
I think its great dude! People especially teenagers whose let us say parents aren’t supportive or they don’t have any friends at school like they’re down and all. And I guess having a website like this, they can click on links of people that are featured and it shows that they can make it. There’s always a life out of a place you’re in and it is a place where kids can go and say “if they can do it, I can do it too.”
His Top Albums from 2011:
1. The Drive Soundtrack
2. “Wasting Light” by Foo Fighters
3. “21” by Adele
4. “Nothing is Wrong” by Dawes
5. “If Not Now, When?” by Incubus
His Top Songs that he listens to right now:
1. “Someone Like You” by Adele. Now I asked him why? and he answered, “You know every pop song out there is either auto-tuned or heavy drums you know, all this things like whip-cream-cherry-on-top, and this was the only pop song I’ve heard in a long time that is just a piano and a voice.
2. “Rope” by Foo Fighters
He also listens to Jazz:
1. “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck Band
2. David Sanborn
3. Hiram Bullock. Probably one of my influence because of his style. It is very jazzy, rocky like clean classical at the same time.
Watch out for Carlo Gimenez, he will be on tour with Dia Frampton for 3 months starting January 9, 2012. 72 Days, 68 shows across America. Plus, a possibility that he will be part of DOZE Collective as well. Stay tuned!
Follow Carlo Gimenez on twitter @carlogimenez
by Don Fester