I shared part one of this two part segment, on a previous post. Yesterday afternoon, hours after I posted the first part of the interview, many of us got the sad news that one of my favorite musicians @dracorosa had been diagnosed with cancer. I wrote some of my thoughts on why we need to make sure to send positive vibes his way.
Once again 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.
@PuertoRicoIndie Interview (Part 2)
@rj_c: We see you support non-for profit causes? Is there a specific cause or organization that you would like to support?
@redod: I recently finished a short documentary on Iniciativa Comunitaria’s nocturnal routes, where they load two vans with supplies and a few volunteers and spend every Friday night – all the way into the early morning – providing the homeless with basic medical care, food, clothing, and human warmth. I’ve written a bit about the production process on the blog and I’ve yet to published the last couple of entries I wrote about the experience. The entire production team was profoundly affected and inspired by the work these people do. I stand in awe of Dr. José A. Vargas Vidot (founder of Iniciativa Comunitaria) – you see him speak on tv, on the papers… his life seems like one big act of kindness towards those in need. I hope to continue working with Iniciativa Comunitaria in the future, and with groups inspired by them, like Medicina Urbana from the Universidad Central del Caribe. They are doing some really amazing work – and if you live in Puerto Rico, you know there is a lot of work to be done here.
@rj_c: How do you guys pay it back forward to your online community and readers?
@redod: I think that by being passionate and honest about the work we do and what we write about. Those are two things that I find missing in most of the writing we get from traditional news sources in Puerto Rico – passion and honesty – especially when it comes to art, music, film, etc. Of course there are exceptions, but not a whole lot. So we offer something different and infinitely better that what you’ll generally get from the local papers and their websites on those subjects. We are not trying to sell you anything. Just writing about things we like and hope you’ll like too.
Bands appreciate the way we write about their work, because we are as serious about music as they are – its just that they make it and we write about it. And I think readers get that too; at least I hope that my writing comes through as honest and heartfelt.
At the end of the day I want readers to trust our blog. Same with all the other writers and contributors. I also believe strongly in giving talented people opportunities, supporting good causes, and letting people know you admire their work. We are interested in building lasting bonds with the rest of the online community – in Puerto Rico and beyond.
@rj_c: Which artist or musical group have you interviewed or had the opportunity to meet that you where very impressed?
@redod: Most, if not all of them, have been great. I enjoy doing interviews for the blog – it’s one of my favorite things to do – and I think we have gotten some good ones from local bands like Campo-Formio, Balún, El Medio, and Los Niños Estelares. Also groups like Viernes, Algodón Egipcio, and Vivian Girls which are better known outside of Puerto Rico and have been supportive of our blog and answered our questions.
But probably the one I cherish most to this date came about as a collaborative effort between PuertoRicoIndie.com and Frecuencias Alternas. After reminiscing about our childhoods, Ezequiel from Frecuencias and I ended up interviewing Memo Aguirre (also known as Capitán Memo), a famous Chilean musician responsible for a great number of classic cartoon theme songs.
@rj_c: Why where you guys impressed by that Artist?
@redod: With Memo Aguirre… Well, his story is definitely an odd one, but very inspiring, and he seemed like a humble and genuine person. You should check it out on the blog :-). If you remember watching animated shows like He-Man, Little Lulu, King Arthur, and Ulysses 31 in Spanish, you won’t regret it.
But I have found a lot of inspiration in the music of groups like Campo-Formio, Superaquello, and Los Niños Estelares. I admire their work ethic and dedication to the craft.
@rj_c: What qualifies you to be on the Puerto RIco Indie Free Music List? Requirements? How do you select?
@redod: I began compiling links for the Música Gratis directory out of a concern that people new to the blog didn’t have a place where they could catch up and listen to the bands we like and write about often. It’s kept on growing and I hope people find it useful in that sense. It’s also another way I can help musicians out by having a convenient space where people can access some of their releases – I can imagine it being really helpful for people around the world who are curious about our scene.
But to answer your question – I like making my own rules, but I also enjoy breaking them. So… there are really no requirements. I link to stuff I think people might enjoy whenever I find some time or a new release reminds me to update the list. Some people have requested for me to add their music to the list, and I think I have obliged – most of the times. It’s not meant to be comprehensive; it’s meant to be interesting and convenient.
@rj_c: What reasons generally inspire a Post?
@redod: Sometimes its a sense of duty, like when the Arcade Fire won the biggest award of the night during the Grammy’s and I felt like some people might not really know their music that well, so I wrote a post about them using their music videos for a section we call “la dosis”. Same thing happened with the lineup for last year’s Indie Rock Fest in Aguadilla. People are going to be asking “who are these people and where can I find their music” and I am very much willing to provide those answers in PuertoRicoIndie.com.
But most of the time I’m just inspired by what I have read, or listened, or seen. When I got a copy of tach.dé’s debut album, for example, I was really inspired by their music and worked on a review that reflected my state of mind as I listened to the record. I can only imagine the amount of work these artists put into their music – and most of them are at a level where it HAS to be given away for free. The least I can do, as a fan, is write something that might turn others unto their record, or get them to a concert. I know there is need for this type of support – and it is important to stress here the need for honest and passionate writing – because I’ve experienced that need as an entrepreneur with my projects.
@rj_c: What recommendations do you have to other bloggers?
@redod: Write what you know. The only writing that is hard – both to write and read – is when you try to second guess yourself or have no serious clue as to what to say. If you stick to topics you are comfortable with, you’ll see that with practice it will just flow as in a conversation with your best friend.
Also, lose the academia. Not even your college professors liked reading monotone academic dissertations. Reading – especially in blogs such as PuertoRicoIndie.com – should be interesting but also fun. Try to engage with others, not keep them away by demonstrating your academic prowess. That doesn’t mean to dumb down your ideas – just try to keep it lighter that an term paper on Blanchot’s The Infinite Conversation.
Read. Your writing will probably be of little use to anyone if you don’t spend twice as much time reading.
And finally – try to make a habit of checking your blogs (and others). You’ll begin to see it as less of a chore and more of an extension of your personality. If you have an interesting personality, chances are that people will develop an interest in your blog.
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