afroraizz hi-fi: colectivo futurecast 074

  • Marcel Marquez
  • Afroraizz Hi-Fi
  • São Paulo, BR via Caracas, VE
  • Mixcloud | Blog
We’re thrilled to share episode 74 of our futurecast from Marcel Marquez aka Afroraizz Hi-Fi with a 2-hour offering of Venezuelan jazz fusion from the 20th century, covering music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Aside from being one of Venezuela’s best selectors, Marcel is a hardcore music lover and a tireless exponent of music from this home country via his Fuerza Cósmica Cari Cari blog. Read on below and keep an eye out for another collaboration we’re working on with Marcel for the near future

CF: How and where was the mix recorded?

I recorded the mix in São Paulo, Brasil, where I currently live. For practical reasons it was recorded digitally using wav files from digital sources as well as rips from my own vinyl collection done in my studio in Caracas where I have my turntables. Once recorded, I generally do a bit of editing, set the right volume and EQ levels using Reaper.

CF: How did your interest in music begin?

I grew up in a house with an ample vinyl collection. My dad, aside from being a music lover is also a journalist. He had a couple of columns in the 80s on two of the main newspapers in Venezuela at the time; the Diario de Caracas and El Nacional. On them, he published a few interviews with musicians from the Fania label.

Later on, he was hired by some of the record distributors in the country to write press reviews for their new releases and as a consequence he would arrive home with 10 or 20 promo records each month.

Aside from that, I was always surrounded by musicians who were friends of the family and I would accompany my dad to gigs at the Afinque de Marín in the San Agustín neighborhood, the Museo del Teclado, any of the jazz or salsa festivals, or whenever he would go to interview other musicians.

CF: How did that interest evolve to where you are now?

In addition to the background I described, there’s a few radio shows I listened to as a teenager in the 90s: Rockadencia, Las Cosmobabies, and La Música que sacudió y sacude al mundo con Alfredo Escalante. They were all shows geared to a young listenership dedicated to playing rock and alternative music.

Later in high school I also started hanging out with musician friends and other music lovers. We began to attend tons of gigs around the city, buy CDs, and attend raves in the late 90s. It was through attending raves that I got my first encounter with DJs playing vinyl and there were two DJs specifically that really influenced me at that time thanks to their versatility in playing different genres. They were Julie Delorme from Canada and DJ Cat (R.I.P) from France. Both of them were mixing drum & bass with hip hop, neo punk, reggae, dancehall, dub and a slew of genres that I was really enjoying at the time.

Thanks to them I decided to become a DJ and the rest is history. I went on to inherit large vinyl collections and practice record digging as a ritual.

CF: Tell us about your blog: Fuerza Cósmica Cari Cari. When did you start it and what kind of content do you share on it?

The genesis of this project happened around 2014, soon after I returned to Venezuela from Buenos Aires where I’d been living for 4 years. I had this place in the mountains with a view of the Caribbean sea in the state of Vargas, near the town of Tarma, which is well known for its musical richness and afro-Venezuelan percussion. I had returned to the country with the idea of finding a place where I could live and go through a process of creative enrichment. So I picked this spot in the mountain to work on that and to serve as a meeting place for likeminded individuals.

After a period of trial and error, I was now living between Caracas and the place in the mountain. At the time I was reading a lot of poetry and linking it to music and that’s how Fuerza Cósmica Cari Cari was born; as a poetry soundsystem with poets doing their thing with me providing the soundtrack.

After a few events in Caracas, the series went on an extended pause, but I expanded the project by turning it into a blog, which organically grew into a space full of music and interviews.

CF: What do you normally listen to at home? What are 3 of your favourite albums past or present?

It’s hard to pin down what I listen to at home, because I’m constantly looking for music to listen to, investigating about music I don’t know about, or writing about music. Sometimes I listen to records I brought from Venezuela and other times I listen to the ones I’ve bought here in Brazil. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of music from the two countries, but I’m also digging the current wave of spiritual jazz that’s coming out: Kamasi Washington, The Comet Is Coming, Sons Of Kemet, Shabaka & The Ancestors. Neo-soul from the likes of Anderson Paak or Georgia Anne Muldrow with Dudley Perkins. I also always keep an eye out for what DJ Shadow, Madlib, Gilles Peterson and Gaslamp Killer are up to.

On the Venezuelan side, I’m always on the lookout for the latest on Olindo Records, Orestes Gómez, Alex Figueira, Candeleros, Locobeach. I also always end up going back to psych rock from the previous century and alternative rock from the 90s. Outsider salsa from the 60s not on Fania or Tico. Everything by Miles Davis, Archie Shepp, Camarón de la isla, Fela Kuti, indie hip hop from the West coast, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, Stereolab, Lee Perry, Air… as I said this was a difficult question to answer!

Three of my favorite records is also too difficult, but I’ll go with 3 that I could say define me, musically:

Eddie Palmieri – Recorded Live At Sing Sing I & II

Nico and The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

CF: What’s your favorite thing about living in Brazil

Without a doubt, its infinite musical universe. The vast amount of record shops, cultural initiatives, and how serious they seem to take their music industry with an emphasis on local productions.

CF: What differences can you perceive between the music industry in Brazil and Venezuela?

That’s a deep subject I find myself currently investigating and spending a lot of time with. It boils down to Brazil having a solid music industry and Venezuela currently having none. I’m learning a lot from daily experiences here, trying to identify what have been our failings, what happened in the last 3 decades of the 20th century when Venezuela had a boom in productions and recordings via multiple labels. At the same time, I’m trying to understand how organic scenes are born and sustained without money being their driving force. I’m probably spending about half of my days undergoing this research.

CF: Where can people hear your playing music in the near future? What other projects are you currently involved in?

I currently reside in São Carlos, a university city in the state of São Paulo. Here I’m usually DJing in bars, local parties and the monthly record fair. I’m doing a series of monthly events called Rico!, focused on Afro Latin music in partnership with someone from here. If I go to São Paulo, the city, I have played in an online radio station similar to Worldwide FM and Red Light Radio, called Veneno. I’m also constantly posting mixes on my mixcloud and interviews and articles on my blog.

My head is constantly working on new ideas to research. I’ll be either working on a mixtape, doing promotion for the latest Venezuelan music releases, and lately I’ve been conceptualizing a project for social media using a portable record player I bought recently, something totally DIY that will last maybe a minute. I also have a project with a few photographers, working on virtual exhibitions with music.

In the longer term, I’m working on strategies to get more involved in the business side of music. I’m studying a lot and doing networking with the possibility of getting into management, promotion, festival production, online labels, distribution. Just trying to find ways to fill the voids that exist currently in the Venezuelan music industry.