Modernage's Mario Garibaldi on His New Project, Private School

Courtesy of the artist
Mario Garibaldi has been a figurehead of Miami's music scene for more than a decade. His band, Modernage, is practically a local institution, so when director Isaac Mead-Long decided to make a documentary about the city's live-music scene, he chose Modernage as its subject. Then, about one year into filming, the band suddenly broke up.

“I felt terrible," Garibaldi says. "I was like, 'Oh, man, you picked the wrong band, dude.'” Surprisingly, the two continued their friendship. Garibaldi moved on to his next musical project, Hunters of the Alps, with whom he quickly booked a gig as opening act for Twin Shadow. Now Garibaldi and Mead-Long have teamed up once again, this time to create the music video for the song "Lunares," for Garibaldi's latest project, Private School. The video features Fusion's Miriti Murungi and Liddy Lackner.

What separates a Private School song from a Modernage or Hunters creation? "More ownership," Garibaldi says simply. He creates Private School's sound with collaborator Alvaro Janneau.

Garibaldi says Private School allows him to fulfill a different part of his artistic curiosity than the other groups. For starters, he writes and performs in Spanish for the first time. Garibaldi moved to the United States from Peru when he was 12, but "I guess I assimilated too well," he says, "to the point where... I think and dream in English.” He'd been wanting to write in Spanish for some time, but with "Lunares," the lyrics came to him organically. "It kickstarted a new desire to make a certain type of music that could be versatile, perhaps bilingual, and appeal to a group of listeners that maybe I never thought I’d be able to reach. I found that enticing — and also challenging.”

Garibaldi is open to expanding Private School beyond a two-piece band. Hunters of the Alps began as a duo in much the same fashion before adding a drummer. He hasn't totally soured on the band model, but he's enjoying the freedom and flexibility of a more condensed lineup. "I come from a five-piece band that was together for almost 12 years," he says, "a band that, at some point, probably should've left Miami in order to pursue its original dream... It’s so hard to keep everyone happy when you're a five-piece in a democratic type of scenario.

"To be honest, the fewer people you deal with, the more you get accomplished," he says. "That goes for anything, really. I'm extremely happy that my dynamic with [Janneau] is a very good one... For now, we’re going to try to do as much as we can ourselves."
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Celia Almeida is the digital editor of American Way and the former arts and music editor of Miami New Times. Her writing has been featured in Venice, Paper, and Billboard; and she co-hosts Too Much Love on Jolt Radio.
Contact: Celia Almeida

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