SPOTLIGHT ON: AJ Giaccio

Singer/songwriter sophomore Anthony “AJ” Giaccio spends his free time creating amusing and playful music. As a geography and English double major, Giaccio is both a college student and a musician whose love for music guides him through his daily life. Giaccio began his journey as a musician before he even owned a guitar. At first, he would just play around with his grandfather’s guitar, but he obtained his own in eighth grade. From there, “the rest is history,” according to Giaccio.

While Giaccio has taken music lessons before, he is a mainly self-taught artist. “At first I would just play guitar chords,” he said. “And then [I would] just sing about what I was having for dinner or some funny thing I saw in the news or on TV or something. Later on it would turn into me sitting down and being like, ‘Okay, I’m going to write a full song.’”

Giaccio is now a regular songwriter. “I’m always looking for new ways to write songs and each time I go into it, I try and write it differently,” he said. Giaccio added that he’s typically never fully satisfied with his work.

Giaccio explained that he tries to make his music goofy, yet relatable. His most recent songs have centered on college life; things like the stress from classes or the taste of campus food. “I like to write about a variety of things,” he said.  “And sometimes more oddball things—things that you wouldn’t usually hear [in] a song.”

His personal style ranges from many different genres, but Giaccio noted that he prefers folksy rock ‘n’ roll. He is also a fan of the “Do It Yourself music scene,” featuring local bands like Soft Cough and the Utica-based Comfy—Giaccio’s hometown. Indie rock bands like The Pixies and Pavement act as sources of inspiration for Giaccio’s solo music.

Not only does he play independently, but Giaccio is also part of Evil Wizardry, a band he and his hometown friends formed in summer 2015. Giaccio explained that the music of Evil Wizardry is a bit different than what he plays on his own, as the band models their sound after heavier shoegaze and psychedelic bands like Sonic Youth and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Originally, Giaccio started performing in high school talent shows. Now—besides house shows—he performs in cafes, bars and even some venues in Syracuse. One of his favorite places to play is at The Dev, a bar in Utica. “It’s fun to play in different places,” he said. “You get some variety and make it a party.”

After graduation, Giaccio intends to keep making music, even if just as a hobby. “It may not be all I do but … I definitely want to do it more,” he said.

Giaccio’s continued passion and dedication toward his craft should allow him the opportunity to continue impressing audiences with his quirky, distinct music.