Eddie Gancos, who adopted the moniker "Alomar" in 2012, will debut his solo album, “Soul Case,” through local label Small Mammal Records July 5. Gancos performed as the lead vocalist of CityCop, a screamo-acoustic band highly active in the local DIY music community. As Alomar, the singer has picked up his own acoustic guitar and written stripped-down songs that serve as his own personal creative outlet.
Becoming a staple of the local do-it-yourself community
Gancos is the founding member of the prolific Facebook group, Akron DIY Shows, which he created to connect music fans, venue owners and bands together.
Although it started small, there are more than 2,500 group members. Several regularly promote upcoming shows or seek out events to play at, particularly those in Akron-area houses.
“Now [the Facebook group] has become something that’s completely out of my hands, and I’m barely involved with because there’s like thousands of members now,” Gancos said. “I’m just sitting back and watching now, and it’s extremely rewarding to be able to see that.”
Gancos started his own house venue, Fool Mansion, when he moved from Ashtabula to Akron to become more involved in the latter’s thriving music scene.
Moving the band to Akron
Gancos was instrumental in introducing the local scene to his bandmates in CityCop, who previously resided in Ashtabula alongside Gancos. The singer has an intense voice and animalistic, primitive stage presence when performing with the band.
His solo project, Alomar, captures a similar intensity but with a more intimate, emotional fervor that is expressed solely through the songwriter and his instrument.
“When I joined CityCop, I didn’t even really know how to play guitar,” Gancos said. “I knew how to play power chords because I was in some punk bands in high school, but CityCop was my first full band.”
Gancos said he didn’t delve into seriously learning an instrument because he felt comfortable belting out lyrics while Max Adams, guitarist; Cody Mikesell, drummer; and Shane Sehmer, bass, fleshed out his band’s heavy sound.
“I was a vocalist, so I never really gave playing an instrument a serious try,” Gancos said.
Going solo with Alomar
He was living in his parents’ basement when he taught himself how to play guitar over the course of two days. He learned four basic guitar chords and began writing songs off of that foundation.
His solo project features higher-pitched vocals with minimalistic strumming. The deliberate, heavy focus of the project is on Gancos’ lyrics content. He said because it’s just him working on songs and performing them for local crowds, he wants Alomar to serve as his own outlet to work through difficult times.
Working through personal matters while writing his new album
Gancos previously released a solo album, titled “Midwestern,” through Small Mammal Records in 2016. The seven-track release includes nods to Akron venues like Thursday’s Lounge with a cynical tone that is also embodied on his newest LP.
“I think I had to write those songs to be able to get past whatever I was going through and be able to be a more positive person [and] be able to feel proud of myself,” Gancos said.
He said his downward spiral is evident in the lyrical content and raw emotion contained in the new Alomar release.
“The album is very cynical and talks a lot about anxiety and depression, which during the winter of last year, I just stayed inside a lot, kept to myself, and didn’t want to be around anybody,” Gancos said. “And that’s how I wrote the entire album.”
Gancos said he hopes the album helps others who have gone through similar experiences.
Drawing inspiration from the lack of social interaction in the modern age
As Alomar, Gancos has been performing live songs from “Soul Case” at local DIY venues, like Oakdale House, in between gigs with CityCop.
The album’s first single, “Hey Alexa,” captures themes of not wanting to leave one’s apartment and the desire to sleep without knowing what day of the week it is. Gancos said the song was inspired by his observation of a commercial for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant speaker. He said he felt as though these types of devices make it easier for people to avoid interacting with one another.
“I was in a downward spiral, and I just didn’t want to be around anybody. And I was thinking about how I was feeling at the time,” Gancos said. “I feel like a lot of people, especially in this generation, are afraid to talk about how they’re feeling, and they want to hide behind social media and things like Amazon Alexa.”
Just as the device is triggered by uttering the phrase “Hey Alexa” before any command or question, Gancos' song cleverly uses the phrase before a verse filled with vulnerable lyrics that embody that period in the songwriter’s life.
Gancos sings, “Hey Alexa, will you take away the pain I’ve been feeling/I’m a mess/I don’t feel blessed like the radio says to me.”
Remembering where you came from
Gancos said the album’s second single, titled “Sticky Situation,” is one of his favorite songs.
"I wrote it last minute while I was recording the album,” he said.
The track’s lyrics are about musicians he grew up with who “made it” and forgot where they came from.
He said these people became a “shell of themselves” after evolving in that way, as he expresses in lyrics like, “have you seen my agility/it blends right into your ability/shake shake shake it, shake it up/mix it all together and pour it in a cup/shake shake shake it, shake it up/mixing up our egos and pour it in a cup/just using the platform/abusing what’s good for me”.
From founding an online group to building connections in the real world
Gancos, who is 26 years old, said his goal is to try to help younger bands and point them in the right direction, just as other bands have done for him. Of the local DIY music scene, which consists of an interwoven network of songwriters, performers, record labels, small venues, and other artists, Gancos said he plans to stick around.
“It’s really like incredible to see how much it’s grown and the community that’s come together and the friendships that have been made,” Gancos said. “I wouldn’t want to be part of any other music scene than Akron.”