Celluloid Winter is a two-man project that began nearly 3 years ago around early 2011. Inspired by a multitude of artists such as Pink Floyd, Blackfield and NIN, Celluloid Winter’s Nate Hammer and John Garcia dabble in melodic, progressive and art rock.
Both Nate and John took part in our Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read their answers below.
How did you come to do what you do?
We met in college and hit it off while we were hosting a campus radio show together. After graduation, we started a small studio with a group of friends at a lockout where we also rehearsed with our metal band. In between shows and practice, we would mess around with song ideas. We both clicked immediately with our song ideas and music influences, and before we knew it we had enough material for our first EP.
What is your first musical memory?
Nate: Personally, I remember hearing AC/DC’s Hells Bells for the first time and I was just amazed by the guitar playing. I knew I had to buy a guitar and learn how to play it.
John: When I was really young my mom would play classical music to help me fall asleep. I remember not being able to sleep one night because the song playing made me uneasy. I was finally able to relax and fall asleep when the next song came on. Later in life I learned it was Vivaldi’s “Spring” that made me uneasy and Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” that relaxed me.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Nate: I’ve tried diving into a lot of different musical pools, but for the last few years I have really been drawn to songs that might be considered sad. I feel music that drives the senses, and sends those shivers up your spine when you hear an awesome solo or majestic symphony, is the most amazing kind. The same can be applied to art, or if there’s someone who cries at a movie. They connected to the situation or scenes in some way, and it must have been good to have that attachment. That’s the kind of music I want to share with the world. I want to get those senses moving and keep you coming back for more!!
John: I draw inspiration from a lot of different mediums. Music, art, dreams, films etc. Lately, I get truly inspired from documentaries/ films that show how amazing the human spirit is. Films such as Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Mile…Mile and a Half, The Story of Anvil, Searching for Sugar Man etc.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
Every song we have written so far is based off of long conversations we have had together about personal experiences, stories, nightmares, dreams etc. The song “Kodachrome” is an audible resemblance to a story we created that expresses the fear of losing one’s mind and struggling to hold on to the last remaining memories.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
We don’t really have a creative pattern down that we use to make songs. Sometimes things just click and sometimes things need to be tossed. We are both very very critical on our own work and so far we have been great at giving each other constructive feedback. The best part about the creative process for us is that we function well as a team and we are always open-minded when it comes to our music.
What is your method of songwriting?
For songwriting, one of us usually comes up with a riff, a melody, or sometimes 80% of a song and then shares it with the other. Who plays what instrument/ part is really decided by inspiration. We used to meet up weekly to go over new material or record new parts but our methods have had to change to accommodate for our new situation. We are currently living on opposite coasts and separated by 2500 miles. Even with the amount of technology available it has become more difficult to work together. The discipline to work and complete something needs to be there otherwise we are left with a lot of unfinished material. Regardless, we work together to build the song up part by part, and it seems to have worked well so far.
How do you see your music evolving?
Nate: Both John and I are very open minded when it comes to our music, and I honestly think the music will be a little different with every album. Maybe we’ll be in the mood for something heavy and harder then we’ve done in the past, maybe keep it mellow, or maybe make it more complex. We want to make it interesting and keep that Celluloid feel.
John: Most importantly, no matter which direction our music takes, we want to make certain that we are completely satisfied with our work. As long as we know we have put every drop of effort into each song released, everything else is icing on the cake.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
Nate: I would say to just make music for the love of making music. If it isn’t fun, it might not get done. That’s how you have to look at every song, album, etc. There’s a lot of work, time, and effort involved in starting a band and keeping it running full speed, but enjoy what you do. The feeling of listening back to a track you’ve heard a hundred times and still saying, “Wow, I helped make this…this is really cool,” is one of the best feelings. John and I both love the work we do, and that motivates us to raise the bar and make even better songs. Love what you do!!
John: There are two quotes that have stuck with me since I first heard them. Both were revealed to me by Director Kevin Smith. The first is, “Don’t surround yourself with WHY people. Surround yourself with WHY NOT people.” (Kevin Smith) And that is exactly what I do. Rid the negativity around you and move forward. And the second, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” (Wayne Gretzky) or the Geeky version, “Do or do not. There is no try.” (Master Yoda) Life is too short not to make an attempt for something that makes you happy.
What are you looking forward to?
Nate: I’m looking forward to the next song we make, and the one after that, and after that. I also would like to put more visuals along with our music for people to enjoy. Music videos, cool artwork, and anything we can come up with to spice up our tunes. We want to give people the full experience when they click on one of our songs. I’m looking forward to everything we do in the future.
John: We have some pretty big plans for the near future that I can’t wait to see come to fruition. It will combine two separate mediums of art and creativity to give the viewer a more vivid experience of our music and the inspirations behind it.
Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to firstname.lastname@example.org