• About: Greg Rogove and Diana Garcia

    It's hard to come by a more inspiring duo than Greg Rogove and Diana Garcia. Between the two of their myriad skillets and natural talents, you've essentially got an entire liberal arts department: Greg is a musician with a long history of producing his own music and notably collaborating with Devendra Banhart to form the band Megapuss. Diana has backgrounds in both film and visual arts, and is a true creative jack of all trades. On top of it all, a couple years ago they worked together to open Another Kind of Sunrise, an organic cereal cafe, in Venice, CA. 

    While Greg and Diana's work is independently compelling, equally inspiring is the way they both collaborate and treat each other's work with the highest respect. As Diana explains, "We have a really good combination of passions that support each other," which lends itself to a partnership where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. To learn more about the inspiring duo (and be able to poke around their amazing Venice home!) we paid them a house call to talk about each of their current projects, exchange favorite granola recipes, and discuss a life inspired by travel. 
    Photos by Genevieve Dellinger

    How did the two of you meet?
    Greg: We met in Mexico City at my show with Megapuss. Diana tells the story really well.
    Diana: It was the closing night of FICCO film festival. I'd met Devendra [Banhart] a week before in Los Angeles, so we agreed to meet at the show. When I arrived, I saw Dev, and he introduced me to Greg´s brother, Jordan. We were hanging out when from far away I saw Greg walking toward us. At that moment, for the first time ever, I thought, "This is pretty strange, but I think I´m about to meet my husband." He came and talked for a bit and went backstage to get ready for the show. The show was amazing and Greg looked so cute. After it was over, Greg came out drunk! We talked for a second, while all the girls were flirting with him. I had to make sure he´d come to the after party, but he was leaving in the festival´s van, so to make sure I´d see him again, I took his manager with me so he could trace him. Finally we saw each other at the party, and after talking for five minutes, we started kissing. We´ve been together since then... 

    Can you speak a bit about the projects you work on together?
    Greg: We've worked on a number of projects together in a variety of circumstances. One of the first art projects was the "Jackyl" video for my solo piano record, PIANA. It was a stop motion animation project that took ages. We fought a lot but in the end it was a great experience. Diana is obviously a very talented visual artist. I'm not too good with a pen or a brush but I really like the stories and concepts of it. So in that way we are a good team. We also always encourage and criticize constructively each other's new murals, songs, projects, and ideas. I think we appreciate having each other to act as a sounding board. 
    Diana: I agree. We have a really good combination of passions that support each other. We've done two animated videos so far, PIANA, and a little promo for our cafe, Another Kind of Sunrise. We handmade some sleeves for PIANA also. We created the café from scratch. Putting our house together has also been a fun project. Greg usually comes up with a solid concept or idea and I help make it a reality.

    What are each of your strengths — Greg, can you speak to what Diana brings to the table in your collaborations and vice versa? 
    Greg: Diana is very open so it's always comfortable to share even the most rough and ridiculous ideas. Sometime speaking them aloud to a non-judgmental ear helps weed out the wheat from the chaff. She appreciates humor and has a beautiful imagination. 
    Diana: Greg I love you. What I admire most of how he handles life is that it never gets too complicated, he is a problem solver, and he actually gets excited about it all; he loves challenges and he always makes the best out of it. He´s is so present in his life, in his interactions with others, in his work. Listening to his music is the most honest way to take a glimpse into his heart. This makes our collaborations easy and fun.

    Can you share more about the cafe you started, Another Kind of Sunrise?
    Greg: Another Kind of Sunrise was quite a large project that we worked on together. I had started it alone and Diana hopped on for the Kickstarter and buildout phase. I had always loved cereal and wished there were more places where you could have a bowl with friends. So, we decided to make one. I took a little break from touring to work on a new musical project with ZAVALAZ (w/ ex Mars Volta singer Cedric Bixler, bassist Juan Alderete, and Broken Bells guitarist Dan Elkan) and figured that I could get this going while I was home. It was an incredible experience getting it up and running but once it was open we quickly realized that it was going to be very difficult to keep up with our artistic lives while running a cafe. It's an insane amount of work to run a food establishment. We have a newfound respect for our friends and people in general who do that. It would be fun to develop another spot in the future. We'd just need partners to make it more feasible. 

    Can you share a recipe with us from the AKOS menu? 
    Sure, here's the Paleo Granola (all ingredients organic):

    3 cups sprouted almonds
    3 cups pumpkin seeds
    1 1/2 cups pecans
    3/4 cup coconut oil
    1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
    2/3 cup honey
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    3 tbsp. cinnamon

    1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F. 
    2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. 
    3. Thinly spread out combined granola ingredients on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
    4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, making sure to stir every 10 minutes until browned.

    Can you tell us more about your amazing home — how long have you lived in LA? Where were you both before this? 
    Greg: I've been in LA for about seven years. We found our spot in Venice about five years ago, when Diana moved here from Mexico City. Previously I had lived in New York City for many years. I had a band called Priestbird with the incredible Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi, and I came to LA after a long stretch of touring with Devendra Banhart. We made the Megapuss record, I bought a '77 El Camino, and decided to stay. I lived with Devendra for a while then got a place in Topanga Canyon. Diana and I met in Mexico City, where we lived together for a few months and wrote the PIANA record. Then she toured with the Devendra band for about six months, selling T-shirts and CDs. We spent some time in Bogota, Colombia while she was filming a show called KDBRA. Then we came back to LA, stayed in Topanga for a bit, and finally landed in Venice.  
    Diana: I've been in LA for five years, after I met Greg and chased him to America! Before, I was doing independent films in Mexico City and I had a totally different life. But I also had representation here, so that was another motivation to give it a try. We wanted our home to be cozy and a reflection of ourselves, our lives, our trips, our passions, so we've been adding that little by little.

    Can you share more about your daily life in Venice: What's a typical day in the life? Do you have any sort of daily routines or rituals?
    Greg: A day in the life usually involves a couple hours of drum practice, a couple hours of songwriting/recording, hopefully a surf or a game of basketball, cooking almost every meal, and watch a surf contest or an episode of my latest TV show binge. Then there is all of the mundane life stuff that somehow takes up an inordinate amount of time. 
    Diana: I do yoga four or five times a week, sometimes I join Greg for a run or go with him to the ocean and try to surf. We usually cook together. I lately spend hours on the phone and my computer since I´m developing a social innovative festival in Oaxaca, Mexico called CATAPULTA. When drawing I usually play some music and drink a glass of wine. We love hanging out with our friends, our chosen family. We all go to the movies, get together at houses, go bowling, go to the beach, do potlucks, or take little trips.

    What are some of your favorite objects or possessions?
    Greg: I love all of my instruments: '78 Tequila Sunrise Ludwig Vistalites drum set, late 60s Slingerlands drum set and tabla, Indian drums, cuatro (Venezuelan four-stringed guitar-like instrument), and old white upright piano. I loved my '77 El Camino but recently sold it. I love my Uniwolfcheetah drawing. We also have a woodburned portrait we had made in Bogota. It looks more or less like us but Diana is chubby and I have no neck and an added goiter on my left cheek. 
    Diana: Haha, that wood burned portrait is good! I love my instant cameras, I make a photo diary with Polaroids. I love my sketchbooks, my pens, my tarot cards, my crystals, my plants, my jewelry (in particular, the engagement  ring Greg gave me, designed by himself and his brother´s wife). I had ferrets my whole life, but when I moved to LA, I couldn't bring my baby Fafurina with me since they´re illegal in the state, so she stayed with my friend who owned two. So for the ring, they designed a ferret around it with stars and a pyramid).

    Can you tell us more about the photo wall in your home?
    Greg: That's all Diana. I just gaze at it in admiration. 
    Diana: I believe that we are who we are, thanks to all of those interactions and stories shared with others. Having portraits of friends and family and photos of our experiences reminds me to be grateful and understand that all these people compliment me, so in a way they´re an extension of myself. This will become an art project soon.

    Diana, you have a background in film and art — can you share the current projects you’re working on?
    Diana: I've had put aside my acting career since the art had been flowing really nicely, but there´s a few film projects that hopefully I´ll do this year in Mexico that I´m really excited about. I have a few murals lined up, as well as some collaborations with brands and with my sister, the photographer Mariana Garcia for her magazine P MAGAZINE. My main focus in the past six months has been CATAPULTA, a festival and platform for social innovation to create new ways of doing good in the world that are more effective, collaborative, and long lasting by creating awareness, inspiring, embracing, and leading through films, talks, workshops, music, art, and more. We just launched a call for proposal for all the people that feel the call, so they can be part of the programming.

    Can you share some current ideas or themes you’re finding yourself returning to in your work?
    Diana: I have dinosaurs really present. I used to make sculptures when I was a kid and I've been returning to that. But in general, I´m returning to honesty, to being myself, and expressing that in the most beautiful ways I can through my crafts.

    Do you see a connection between your acting and your artwork? How do the two influence each other?
    Diana: Life is so exciting precisely for that connection between all the dots in our lives that we can see at the moment or in the future. Nothing should be taken for granted, everything has a reason or a reaction. At the end, acting and drawing are just activities translated from my passions, from what I need to share. We are in constant change, so we all have to evolve and flow with what we feel and embrace it every moment. They´re both ways to express myself, to tell stories, but more importantly, they´re a reflection of what I carry inside.

    Greg, what projects are you working on right now? 
    Greg: I'm currently working on a new project that is nameless at the moment. I've been writing a bunch of songs over the past few months and am currently recording them in Venice with Paul Butler producing. I'm very excited about getting this going. I'd like to put a band together and start playing shows soon. I plan to put out a song every month or so until I have a full record's worth of material. We did a ZAVALAZ record but that is on hold for a bit. I've been playing some shows with an incredible singer named Niia. Also, Devendra is back in town so we've been getting together to play music here and there, too.  
    You’ve done so many different projects and lived in so many places! How do you think travel influences your work output?  
    Greg: It's true, I have done many different projects. It's been nice to be able to explore some many different incarnations of creativity. Of course, travel influences my work in all sorts of ways from the accumulation of new instruments, sounds, and recordings to the intangible influence that each new experience imparts upon you.