By TYLER FINDLAY
ATLANTA — A city the size of Atlanta can often become lost within itself, burying fragmented artistic movements and musical scenes within a labyrinth of creative output.
Guillermo Castro aims to centralize and unite the din of competing voices and provide thoughtful commentary on Atlanta’s evolution as an artistic hub.
Immersive Atlanta, a local music blog Castro founded in 2015, has been met with enthusiasm and engagement by both the artists featured and a grateful audience stretching beyond the perimeter of Interstate 285.
With Castro’s guiding hand, Immersive Atlanta has grown rapidly to become a collection of writers, videographers and various volunteers working feverishly to keep up with the overflow of creativity flooding the city streets.
Castro, who goes by “Moe,” was born and raised in Miami.
He went to college in Boston, where he played in a slew of bands and became heavily involved in local music. Needing a change, he moved to Atlanta in 2003 and decided to plant his roots.
“I visited a few times and really liked it,” Castro said. ” So on a whim, [my wife and I] said, ‘let’s go to Atlanta,’ and that’s how we ended up here,” Castro said.
Immersive Atlanta’s beginnings
Once in Atlanta, Castro went to graduate school at Georgia State and began his first music blog, Latest Disgrace.
He covered bands from around the country, but he eventually found the local pool of talent deserving of his exclusive attention.
“I never feel comfortable,” he said. “I never feel like I know what’s going on. I never feel like I’m in touch with everything [in Atlanta]. I always feel like there’s so much more to discover, and that’s what keeps me motivated and coming back.”
Very quickly, Castro found the sheer volume of local music to be more than he could possibly cover alone. He found a collaborative partner in Luciano Giarrano, who owns and operates The Cottage Recording Co., a studio and record label in Atlanta.
“We developed a relationship online for a few years, but we actually had never met,” Giarrano said. “We decided to meet up for lunch to meet in person for the first time. We ended up having a four-hour discussion on all aspects of our city and how we could help bring some light to issues we cared about as well as develop a community.
“Moe had an idea of expanding his blog, Latest Disgrace, and it just seemed like a perfect fit for us to join forces,” Giarrano said.”Somehow, I lucked out and found a perfect business partner.”
Thus, Immersive Atlanta was born. The pair have plans to expand the blog to cover local food, art and issues facing the city as well as a shift to mostly video content.
Immersive Atlanta’s future
“[Over] the next five years, we’d like to be 70 percent video,” Castro said. “For us, that means looking for a space. That means investing in equipment, which we’ve been doing. That means finding not just writers, but videographers, producers and editors. There’s a lot of challenges to following that model, but we just feel that [it is] obviously the future.”
Immersive Atlanta is continuing to grow with near daily album reviews and releases from local bands.
Castro also appears frequently as a guest on 90.1 WABE to get the word out on the latest musical happenings, and his feature pieces on Immersive Atlanta have generated loads of conversation about the city’s search for an identity.
Atlanta is going through some growing pains as iconic venues and artistic spaces are being shuffled amidst a new development boom.