FARMINGTON — While the members of the Farmington instrumental rock group Cinematica never lacked for ambition, it wasn't until they became willing to collaborate with other people — and cede some creative control — that they saw their prospects start to blossom.
"We had only thought of our brand and our project in the little box we can see it from," said Eddie Jacquez, the trio's drummer, describing his bandmates' mindset during the group's first couple of years of existence. That perspective hadn't exactly led to failure, but Cinematica was stalled at the same level as many other bands — a hard-working, talented and earnest group that had no idea how to get to the next level.
The situation has changed considerably since then. On Friday night, Cinematica will debut the video for its new single "Galaga," which was directed by local independent filmmaker Brent Garcia. Garcia is featuring the group's music in his new film "Aurora's Law," and Friday's event — which includes performances by Cinematica and opening act Sub Horizon — will include a showing of the trailer for the film.
Garcia became aware of the band's music only after Cinematica went into the studio last year with highly regarded Albuquerque producer Kenny Riley and created a disc of original material. The resulting "Ultraviolet Waterfall," which was released in March, has brought Cinematica the kind of attention it failed to attract previously, leading several high-profile opportunities to come the band's way.
"Somebody outside of the box looking in, they can see it from an angle you can't," Jacquez said of the group's experiences with Riley and Garcia. "Working with these guys definitely challenged us to rise to a level (of creativity) we wouldn't otherwise have been able to reach."
But to get to that level, the members of Cinematica had to be willing to trust the artistic vision of both Riley and Garcia instead of retaining total control over their music and brand. Jacquez acknowledged that required a leap of faith.
"It was very liberating, but it can be very terrifying … ," he said, noting that he and his bandmates were asked by both Riley and Garcia to change some things they had become very comfortable with over time. For a group of musicians unused to answering to anyone but themselves, that wasn't an easy thing to do, Jacquez said.
But the band wound up being very pleased with the results in both cases. Jacquez is particularly excited about the video, which was shot at locations at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and Chokecherry Canyon, as well as at Riley's Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque.
He described the outdoors sequences as striking, with Jacquez and his bandmates — guitarist Brandon Mike and bassist OJ Kaminky — each being filmed wandering separately through the badlands and confronting their private fears. He laughed when he recounted the physical discomfort of having his hands bound and his vision obscured by a black cloth for the video. But he couldn't have been happier about the finished product.
"This is one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of," he said.
Jacquez hopes the video opens even more doors for Cinematica, though the band already has a busy agenda in the months ahead. The group will perform at a VIP party for the nationally touring punk act Beartooth on Oct. 26 at the Moonlight Lounge at the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque, a show that Jacquez described as the most high-profile gig Cinematica has ever secured.
The band also has developed a relationship with the Tokyo rock outfit Minami Nine,
The trio will head back to Riley's studio in Albuquerque early next year to record the follow-up to "Ultraviolet Waterfall," a new disc called "The Jaguar Priest" for which it has been writing material for several months. Plans call for the release of that disc in the spring.recently signed to Universal Music's Japan group. The group shot a video near Shiprock this summer and used Jacquez as a production assistant. Jacquez said Cinematica has been in talks with the group's management, and though he was unable to offer any details, he said Cinematica could be doing something special with Minami Nine next year.
"I couldn't be happier with everything we're achieving," Jacquez said. "Everything we're doing is do it yourself, because we don't have any money behind us. We don't have a record label behind us. … But it's special, having these guys reach out to us and want to work with us and attach their name and brand to us."
Friday's video premiere party will take place at 7 p.m. at the No Worries Sports Bar at 1298 W. Navajo St. in Farmington. Garcia also will be showing a trailer for a new documentary he is working on for Houses with Hope, a nonprofit organization that builds houses for children and families in need in Kenya. Cover is $7, with half the proceeds benefitting Houses with Hope.
Visit cinematicamusic.com for more information.
Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.