Bone Gardens is the jazz-prog metal creation of Isaac Stolzer-Gary, a talented 19 year old from Wisconsin. “Vital Fragments” is the newest addition to a discography that will imminently expand. “Vital Fragments” is comprised of four tracks that equate to a half hour of heroic music, built from the ground up by the hands and mind of Isaac.
The first riff that kicks off “Geo” begins so attractively before casually shifting into dissonant progressive guitar lines and dark ambiance. An evil space vibe lurks behind the instruments the whole song, even during jazzy guitar solos. “Geo,” along with the rest of “Vital Fragments” have many shifts in pace and direction and do so without the slightest of turbulence. Bone Gardens achieves true progressions. The second track “Test Planet” may contain the most ‘moods’ I’ve ever heard in a song! I mean there is at least three different types of ‘relaxed’ alone! Melodic to menacing. Heavy to light. Deep space to deep ocean. It all happens so evidently in “Test Planet’s” seven minutes. “Vital Fragments’” back half is juicier than Serena’s….”Celestial Mechanics” is a track compacted with large helpings of riff stew and almost too much to digest before the luminously surreal journey that is “New Summer Universe.” An obvious masterpiece from first listen, “New Summer Universe” advertises Isaac’s musicianship and shows that he means business. I’d like so much to point out the potential that lies within Bone Gardens, but I would not be suggesting Bone Gardens is holding back or falling short of its ability. Currently, Bone Gardens is at the top of the game, so appreciate it, but Bone Gardens most certainly has not maxed out. I foresee tremendous tunes in Bone Gardens’ future.
To find out more about Isaac and Bone Gardens enjoy this brief Q and A. Then head over to Bone Garden’s Bandcamp and jam / download “Vital Fragments”!
ISG = Isaac Stolzer-Gary
TD = Tyler Dermitt
TD – You are currently 19. How old were you when you first started playing guitar?
ISG – My first run-in with a guitar was back in 2005 (I was 9 I believe). My dad got me this tiny, crappy guitar to fiddle (music humor anyone?) around on from a flea-market. At first I just messed around on it, and we figured out how to play the Star-Spangled Banner. After a year of not really playing it, I started having guitar lessons, and since then music has completely consumed my life.
TD – What bands/music did you grow up listening to?
ISG – My parents have always been big blues, folk, and jazz kinds of people, so I grew up listening to artists like Anders Osbourne, Norah Jones, Martin Sexton, and The Waifs. My first real band that I got into was Green Day. I worshiped the ground they spit on. So I was HUGE into punk. And then that progressed to a love of My Chemical Romance, and from there into heavier and heavier stuff (BTBAM, After The Burial, Periphery, etc).
TD – Do you play any instruments besides guitar/drums/synth?
ISG – I’d say that my main instrument is guitar. I’ve played drums and bass before, which has helped me get a good sense as to how to incorporate those instruments properly into my music (especially drumming for Superior Drummer 2.0), but other than that, I try to focus all of my efforts musically into guitar. I know many musicians who are really good at a lot of different instruments, but I kind of like having one instrument to focus all my attention into. As for the synths, I picked up the idea from Between The Buried and Me and The Contortionist’s use of them. Just like the depth they can add. Oh, I also sing.
TD – Was there a certain event or person that sparked you to start Bone Gardens? Or something that drove you to complete the projects you have?
ISG – Musically, I think my reason for wanting to play guitar was to be like Billy Joe Armstrong and Green Day and just rock out on stage. Most people want to be rock stars, and I was no different. But as my musical tastes changed and matured into some really weird, heavy stuff, I had a different self-image of playing on stage. I wanted to become more of a musician, than a performer, if that makes sense. Looking cool and showing off is awesome at first, but music has always been a cathartic process for me. I guess that’s pretty selfish-sounding, but the feeling of writing something that comes from YOU, blowing yourself away, and being able to then share that raw essence of yourself with other people is probably one of the best feelings I can imagine. So Bone Gardens started as an ‘official’ place for me to put my songs; having a title and cool pictures for people to look at I guess. I’ve also always recorded music with various friends, so doing that really got me into the area of recording.
TD – How does “Vital Fragments” differ from “Fusiforms” in your opinion?
ISG – I think musically, it’s a lot more of the music that I write. With ‘[Fusiforms]’, I kind of wanted to have a general sound or theme throughout it, so that was rather limiting in the sense that the more experimental style that I love to write couldn’t really fit into it. With Fragments, I also took way more time to record the songs. Like, holy shit, seven fucking months on four songs. Who does that? But really, it’s given me more time to figure out what I wanted to hear, what I could do, add other instruments, and actually produce it, whereas with Fusiforms, I just kind of sped through it with the intent of being done with it as quickly as possible. Fragments is more of the music that I like to write and listen to, and since then, I’ve written a TON of new material that I’m really excited to start recording soon.
TD – What type of gear/programs did you use when recording “Vital Fragments”? Any special recoding secrets/hints/tips of Bone Gardens that may be unique?
ISG – I use Reaper as my DAW. I’ve worked with Garageband, Protools, and Ableton, but Reaper just felt like a very natural program to work with. I also use SD 2.0 for drumming, and a M-Audio Keystation 88es for all my MIDI stuff. As for guitar gear, I use my Schecter Custom C-7 Blackjack with Seymour Duncan pickups. For the two EPs, I just ran my guitar into a simple Line 6 amp, and then into my interface, then to my computer, but since then I’ve gotten the Line 6 POD HD500 pedalboard, so you can expect lots and lots of tones on future songs. Tone for days. As for uniqueness when it comes to recording, I don’t think my general procedure is very different from most other recording artists. I do however, usually record drums and guitar simultaneously, so I can kind of match it as I go with some. Sometimes I’ll lay some drums down really quick to get an idea going, but doing both at once just feels pretty comfortable for me.
TD – What are your future plans for Bone Gardens or you as a musician?
ISG – Oh boy. Uhhhh, I’m honestly not sure. One day I want to play live shows, and that might be happening pretty soon. I’m thinking (if this project stays solo) that I’d do a Tosin Abasi-esc laptop setup, and play guitar along with the backing tracks for my songs. But who knows, maybe other musicians will get involved and this will become an actual band of hooligans. In the meantime, since I spent so long on Fragments, I’ve written a lot of new stuff, so like usual, I’ll be recording recording recording recording.
TD – What album has been a go to album recently for you and what album do you most anticipate?
ISG – Lately I’ve been jamming to this one dude, I think his name is like Boner Gardens? Something like that. He’s probably a dick. But in all seriousness, a lot of jazzy stuff recently. Ever Forthright, Allan Holdsworth, and Mestis currently. As for most anticipated album, I’d say “Migrant” by The Dear Hunter. It has already come out, so don’t judge, but I’ll be listening to it hopefully by tomorrow.
TD – If Bone Gardens could be featured in a movie during a fight scene what scene/song would it be?
ISG – Hmmm.. I’d have to say in the movie Fight Club, when Tyler is discussing the rules of the clue, and there are scenes of the guys fighting in the basement. I think that’d be a cool place for Celestial Mechanics to begin haha.