“It’s funny,” David Tardy tells me. “When you asked a moment ago if it was challenging to insert my music into the local scene, I thought to myself, ‘What scene?’”
Woah. Let me go back a little bit.
I’ve been working over at Warehouse 21 lately, and I met Tardy when he came to run the non-profit’s weekly recording studio workshop. Having attended and taught at New York City’s Institute of Audio Research, composed commercial music and written/performed as alternative rock “band” Sees The Day, Tardy is a mastermind of audio engineering and one hell of a talented/prolific guy. His Reverbnation page features over 200 songs that run the gamut from 90s-esque rock and carefully crafted Radiohead covers to orchestral beauty and hard-hitting rock. It sounds like it might be all over the place, but it works. With his penchant for hitting crazy high notes and playing multiple instruments without the ability to read or write music, there are common threads that weave throughout Tardy’s songs.
“People always think I have a full band, but it’s actually just me doing everything from the writing to the recording to mixing and mastering,” he says. “It’s not about [a] niche or claiming one specific genre for me, it’s about making the music I want rather than sticking to one style.”
As such, Tardy has amassed a small but loyal international following as well as a portfolio that is, to turn a phrase, bonkers.
So why haven’t you heard of this guy? Where’s he been hiding? Well, for the better part of the last year—Tardy moved to Santa Fe in January—he’s been writing constantly and assembling his super-band with locals like Robert McCormick, Andy Diekmanm and Daniel Jaramillo. Tardy has also been insanely busy as a producer and board operator for Hutton Broadcasting, working on shows like The Hardgroove and offering up his expertise in the recording department to local youth who are interested in releasing songs and albums through Warehouse 21. In other words, Tardy is an asset to the local scene and a well-kept secret but, if we are all lucky, that’s going to change.
Which brings us back to the original point.
“Without a doubt all-ages shows are important to me, and I’ve noticed how Santa Fe music is segregated by age and genre,” Tardy says. “We have this dynamic that seems to support older people doing the folk/country/Americana thing, but [that] leaves out the youth, so I want to bring something to the table that nobody here is used to and that taps into a younger crowd.”
Tardy looks to his former home of Virginia Beach as a viable model for the future of music in Santa Fe and points out that, other than the boardwalks, the two towns aren’t so different in terms of size and population.
“There was more of a collaborative thing going on between bands and venues and even the recording studios,” Tardy says. “We had this venue called Jewish Mother that was this perfect mid-sized thing and could host big name acts alongside locals, but when Santa Fe has a convention center that was absolutely not built for music, so-called venues that don’t have a stage or even house PA systems, the separation of musicians and little to no collaboration between anyone—well, no wonder the scene is struggling.”
Look, Santa Fe, I have this terrifying picture in my head of everyone freaking out and shouting about how David Tardy has only lived here a year, how dare he, and blah blah blah. Yes, he’s only been here a short time, but his music is killer and he brings up valid points. Promoters should seek this guy out for shows (Tardy will reportedly be performing at Duel Brewing very soon) and infuse some much-needed rock and/or roll to this city once again. Seriously, keep an eye out for Sees the Day.
“I’ve got that itch to get out and play and create a musical experience,” he says. “I’m so ready to bring the fucking noise.”
by alex de vore