Header Photo by Estevan Cruz
What’s up everyone, my name is Kyle Garcia, I’m 29 I am Creative Director based out of Chicago and one of the Co-founders of FDC Studios.
Back in March, you stepped away from working at Haight and decided to put all of your focus into FDC. Why did you feel like now was the time to put 100% into FDC?
I think it was more about timing and obviously acquiring more skills that I thought I needed to run the company the way I envisioned it. FDC was a loose idea that we started 5-6 years ago, but we were able to maintain it by throwing events and stuff like that. However, we never really had a set direction on what exactly we were going to do. We didn’t want to just do events, parties, and shows, we wanted to do more dynamic things. I guess it really just came down to me being ready to take this full on and not have it be a side project anymore. You know, working for Haight Brand was amazing, Pat and Erik are two incredible people who welcomed me in and taught me so much, but Haight Brand is Pat and Erik and Mike’s brainchild. I always wanted to do my own thing and work closely with my friends and brothers I grew up with. Even though I made the announcement in March, last fall is when Haight and I parted ways. And then the months leading up to March it was all about just getting things organized and being willing to take it head-on.
While FDC has been around since 2013, how have you seen your team’s vision change in the five years?
The biggest part was individual growth. I wanted everyone to grow individually into their own and what they wanted to do without being conformed to this idea of what FDC was previously. Because as you know, everything and everyone is always changing. I wanted everyone to get to a point where they were set on what they wanted to do so that everyone can come together and apply that. Once everyone found what they’re passionate about and what they really wanted to do, the team began to work a lot easier and everything became more cohesive.
While people may know FDC as just an event space and party throwing company, what else does FDC provide?
FDC really wants to give artists an opportunity to have a platform and a place to exhibit their work. Artists can come to us with ideas and we will help bring it together. Being in this industry I always saw that it was a ‘Boys Club’. It’s very cliquey and people weren’t really given a chance. I wanted to stray away from that. Anybody that walks through our doors with respect and kindness I’m down to give them opportunities.
Also in March, you set up shop in Logan Square, how much has having a space helped FDC grow?
Man, a lot. Haha, it’s kept us organized. Before we were just meeting wherever and now this space is our home. We can set meetings up, we can brainstorm/ideate and do all of the things that were difficult to do before. It’s also our fun-house. If we want to stay up late and paint or draw, or Smoko wants to come through and make beats, we can do that. Our reason for getting a space was to better further ourselves and get organized so that we can be the best at what we do.
As Chicago has grown over the years, as has FDC. Looking back on these past six years, how have you seen the scene change?
When I first got into the art/music scene, it was 2009. I was in college for film and I did a documentary on Hollywood HXLT. At that time he dropped a tape called, “HXLT Goes To Hollywood”. I reached out to him because I had to shoot a project on a music artist in Chicago. That was my insertion into this whole thing. Then the first person I ended up interning for was Brandon Breaux when he had his Ends/Wealth clothing line. At that time, those guys were the rising artists out of Chicago. Mic Terror, Floss, The Cool Kids, HXLT, etc, all these guys had hit songs coming out around that time. I have crazy footage from concerts, afterparties and shows one. I was able to be apart of the scene during those years and I saw how it changed. Times were beginning to shift into the digital era. I was able to watch from the sidelines during those early years and got to be very studious and observing of how things worked and what didn’t work. For a couple of years there then was it was a little dry, nothing was really going on. Then you had Vic Mensa, which I would say who was the first young artist to really gain national attention with his ‘Straight Up’ tape. And after Vic, I saw the resurgence, there was more of an influx of music starting to happen. At the time you had to look to blogs for music. Andrew Barber (FakeShoreDrive) and RTC (Ruby Hornet/Closed Sessions) were the two guys that maintained pushing the culture at all times and those guys are the ones who gave us our first chance, I couldn’t be more thankful for Andrew Barber and RTC in helping get our voice out there.
Now, years later, the scene is amazing. I’d say the difference now is the mentality. The mentality is a lot more collaborative, I mean there’s still ego’s involved with everything, but like outside of that, people are way more down to work together and help each other. That allowed the city to move as a unit. Everybody working with everybody allowed us to broaden the spectrum. Everyone had a chance to start creating their own lane.
Do you ever see the city slowing down anytime soon?
I don’t think so. Every time you think it’s going to chill for a bit, another band or another artist comes out. It just keeps coming. I haven’t seen such a continuous stream of really talented individuals come out of the city like this in a long time.
While you’ve been able to throw many events, you’ve spoken on how your Drink & Draw events have risen to the top of your favorites.
The partying is fun, but I’m getting older now and that stuff is kind of to the side. What I like about Drink & Draw is the fact that we get all different kinds of people in here. I think that’s so awesome. This is an event where so many people are just getting to meet each other and get to know each other in a social way that’s not your typical party environment. A lot of relationships have grown in these Drink & Draw events. I’m also blessed to have incredible artists as friends who volunteer their time to run through a class and interact with people and it’s a completely free event. We are planning on doing more things like that, where it’s all about getting the community and the people together, all while getting the artists involved and interacting on a personal level. After every session, we collect all of the drawings from the night and by the end of the year, we plan to put them all together for a show.
Why is FDC important to the city of Chicago?
I don’t think we’re important. I mean we’re here because we wanted to do things in a different way. We just wanted to help propel the culture and tell our story. I think the most important thing that people take away from what we do and what we’ve done is just the ability to bring people together. I would say everyone in Chicago who is doing something right now is important, we are just trying to do our part.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to fall. But you need to learn to fall and not be discouraged. I’ve had multiple setbacks and mishandled things that affected relationships. It could’ve easily made me quit, but I learned that the most important thing was to never hold grudges, make amends and keep pushing. Life is to short for petty shit. Aside from that, your mental health is everything, you need to take care of your mind. At a point last year, I was so overwhelmed with things going on I wasn’t myself. I had to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. I thankfully have an incredible family, my brothers and an extraordinary group of friends, If it wasn’t for Jarred, Darian, Arman, Stephen, Umar, Cameron, Andrew, Chris, Dario, and others I wouldn’t have been able to continue to do what I am doing today.
Your favorite show you’ve been to…
I’d say the most memorable one was Coloring Day. That was my first time getting to see Lil Wayne. I’ll never forget when I was in high-school and Wayne would drop his mixtapes, my friends and I would always cut class to listen. Not even just Lil Wayne, but that entire concert was amazing. Seeing what Chance was able to do to bring all of these amazing people in our hometown was amazing.
A favorite memory over the years…
I have so many, from being at the Grammy’s witnessing history having a conversation with Quincy Jones, to smoking a blunt with Snoop Dogg. But one memory that stands out the most to me was when Darian called me and told me that Kanye was rapping on ‘U Mad’. That shit was crazy to me you know because that was his first placement and it was with the biggest artist in the world. It was very surreal. I remember I picked him up and we got a bottle of Hennessy and got so wrecked celebrating that night. That was a super proud ass older brother moment. You know, because this is what we set out to do. We decided to take this path in life together as brothers, Jarred, Darian and myself and being able to work with them is truly the one thing in my life that makes me the happiest.
Your favorite party you’ve thrown over the years…
All of the parties since I’ve thrown have been a favorite. Each and every event has been a different experience. We gave a lot of musicians, artists and regular music enthusiasts their first shows, parties etc. I’m so happy we were able to do that.
We always strived to take things to the next level, and since then we’ve got new kids on the block carrying the torch like Cold Chillen and Open4mat.
What would you like FDC to be remembered for?
We never set out to have a definitive idea of what FDC is because our main foundation is Love. We want to give love to the world, tell our story through multiple artistic mediums and be a pillar and resource in our community.
Written by: Nico Rud