A celebration of Independent Expression @PuertoRicoIndie 1 of 2
Puerto Rico Indie is a blog written and managed from Puerto Rico. I have enjoyed reading this blog from time to time. This blog is an example to follow when compared with many local blogs since there content is refreshing and they put the spotlight on other local and global talent.
I have found a common interest in @PuertoRicoIndie and that is why I want to share with you a a few questions I asked @redod , the editor of @PuertoRicoIndie team.
I appreciate the time @redod took in answering my questions with a great amount of detail which allowed me to divide his interview in two posts. For those music lovers read along and don’t forget to visit PuertoRicoIndie.com , Follow @redod and @PuertoRicoIndie on twitter.
“A celebration of Independent Expression” Puerto Rico Indie Part 1
@rj_c: Tells us a bit about your background related to establishing Puerto Rico Indie and what is your main function?
@redod: Well, first and foremost, I am very much so a music lover. My high school years were spent listening to the alt-rock classics – Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Weezer… Those types of big fuzzy guitar records I gravitated to.
I didn’t know many people then who shared my taste for this music but I was fortunate enough to be in a band with some classmates who did. These were people I could talk about the intricacies of The Cure’s melodies and the influence of 80’s british groups on Soda Stereo’s music. Having these conversations helped expand my sonic palette and music collection and sent me off in different paths of discovery that were much easier to traverse during my college years abroad thanks to the Internet, the digitizing of music, a large variety of concerts, and good old record shops in the States.
I came back to Puerto Rico missing some of that access to music. I wanted to connect with music on other levels besides listening to it and my career was taking me away towards the video production and web development end of the creative spectrum, leaving me with little time to join a band – let alone take a stab at writing and composing songs. But a friend of mine had joined a group called Recordando En Febrero and they requested my help designing their logos, t-shirts, and website. That was my way into the local independent music scene. After that band called it quits I had to find another way in, so when I heard that Startup Weekend (www.startupweekend.org) was coming to Puerto Rico back in summer 2009, I got a few friends together and decided to start this blog.
We wanted to make a splash, so I designed an iPhone app developed through Vaya Broqui (another one of my ventures) and released exclusively through the App Store a compilation of seventeen bands related to Puerto Rico’s “indie” or DIY scene. It didn’t sell well, at all – in retrospect, it was a crazy move – but it established PuertoRicoIndie.com as a serious project and gave us some credibility. We were new to the scene, but we wanted everyone to know we had good intentions and would strive for quality work.
All of this to say that starting PuertoRicoIndie.com just came naturally. I try to write about stuff that doesn’t get the coverage I think it deserves. The blog is “a celebration of independent expression” and that includes music, as well as the other arts and technology. And we love to share our opinions, ask questions, contribute, and collaborate with other creative people online.
@rj_c: Who else forms the Puerto Rico Indie Team?
@redod: As editor and head writer, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people through PuertoRicoIndie.com – and many of these new acquaintances have become collaborators and writers for the site. Damián Torres, Mercedes Carrillo, and Limari Colón are currently active as members of our writing team, and we’ve collaborated with over a dozen other contributors from other blogs and web projects. I am currently editing a post by a new collaborator to the site, and hopefully people will keep sending in their suggestions, essays, etc. Puerto Rico Indie’s extended family consists of fellow Puerto Rican projects Frecuencias Alternas, #EnProfundo, Esoez, Vórtice, UndoDigital, LaserEater, El Cassette Grabao, .Crudo, and others. There is mutual respect in the work being done to entertain, inform, and expose people to other things besides what they get from the traditional – and poorly lacking – local media channels.
@rj_c : What is the main function and main reason Puerto Rico Indie was created?
@redod: Its purpose was three-fold: I wanted to have a place for me to write about subjects I am passionate about and collaborate with others; I wanted to learn more about and get involved with Puerto Rico’s independent arts scene (otherwise I would have left the country from boredom); and I wanted to help spread the word about local art and entrepreneurial efforts. With that said, Puerto Rico Indie is less about reposting press releases and news found on other sites (we can easily do that through Twitter, no need to rewrite things), and more about creating original quality and in-depth content.
@rj_c : Which area of Puerto Rico Indie Do you recommend us to visit? Which one is a reader favorite?
@redod: Calle 13 (@calle13oficial) have given us plenty to say over these past two years (as well as most Puerto Ricans). Posts commenting on the group’s work and the media’s perception of their music tend to be the most widely read on the site. This in part because the group has shared some of these posts with fans through official Twitter and Facebook channels.
Interviews with other Puerto Rican bloggers and content creators also tend to be really popular on the site. Some reader favorites include our interview with LCC (La Cabeza de Christian), a Youtube vlogger/talking-head that comments on the weekly news; the comedy duo known as Esoez and loved for the wicked and very NSFW humor; and anything with the popular underground band Los Niños Estelares.
I would also recommend opinion pieces such as “Nosotros somos el sector privado” by Alfonso Gómez-Arzola y “La violencia, el género y la doble vara” which I wrote after news broke out of someone having been gunned down at a bachata concert this past February.
@rj_c : Is there a specific post that is key for your guys?
@redod: I think the coverage we gave to last year’s Coors Light Indie Rock Fest is the perfect example of what Puerto Rico Indie is capable off as an online medium. We wrote posts before the event, informing our readers about each artist and directing them to their music online; we commented in the organizer’s odd choice for a headliner and wrote about the word “indie”. We posted two photo essays on the event, as well as two reviews – one being our “official” reviews, the other written by one of our Twitter followers who wanted to share a point of view of someone who knows little about the “indie” scene. And all of this led us to collaborating in other efforts surrounding the event, such as Frecuencias Alternas’s radio program dedicated to discussing the festival, and art collective Dos Trigresas y Un Caballito de Mar’s video interview series with artists who participated in it.
La Mesa Redonda – a series of posts that grouped music and film recommendations by our various collaborators – also captures well the spirit of our blog, one of collaboration, communication, and sharing.
Part 2 will be published tommorow. You can always come back or receive it directly by Subscribing to Raúl Colón’s Blog via Email.