CF: Tell us about the mix you’ve prepared for us
This mixtape includes some of my favorite Afro-Venezuelan tracks including from the Grupo Cumbé record you recently shared with me. Some of them I have on vinyl and others as digital files. Not all of them are uploaded to streaming platforms. I included different rhythms such as gaitas de tambora, sangueos, parrandas and others showcasing the rich diversity of Afro-Venezuelan music.
CF: Tell us about Venezonix. What is the project about and how was it born?
Venezonix is a musical project that aims to reinterpret Afro Venezuelan rhythms using a combination of traditional instruments, electronic beats and synth textures creating music that feels both ancient and modern. The project is the result of a personal journey in search of identity and roots after years of being an immigrant and experimenting with different musical ingredients and listening and studying these rhythms as much as possible, mostly based on recordings and my limited personal experience.
CF: How did you first get involved with music? What are some of the other projects you have been part of?
I have been working as a professional musician and producer for 15 years, mainly with our band “Elastic Bond” here in the USA. I have been exposed to music all my life starting with listening to records my parents would play, and in the school I studied in while living in Venezuela. Later, when I was a teenager we formed a band that mostly played rock, and I was a drummer, but also got interested in recording and producing and ended up studying sound engineering and music production both in Venezuela, and here in the US. I have also been collecting music from many different genres like rock but also salsa, reggae, electronica, and others since I was a teenager.
CF: Who or what are some of the main artists and albums that influence Venezonix?
I would say originally when I started it was artists like Novalima, Pernett, Konono #1, Mali Music (Damon Albarn’s project), and Nortec Collective, because they had that mix of electronic and folkloric music from a very specific region or country. As far as Afro-Venezuelan artists you can hear some of my favorites on the mix I recorded.
CF: Tell us about your collaboration with Betsayda Machado y La Parranda. How did that come about?
I met Betsayda backstage at a Los Amigos Invisibles show, bought a CD of their album that night, and became an instant fan. After listening to their music I had an epiphany that motivated me to continue working on the Venezonix project. A year after that initial meeting they returned to Miami to present their musical “Viva La Parranda”, we reconnected and happily they accepted my invitation to collaborate in the studio on the track that became “La Que Es”. Around this same time their manager, Juan Souki, contacted me with the idea of working on a remix for “La Situacion”.
CF: Are there any plans to take the project live? If so, what would that set up look like?
There are no concrete plans to play live for now. I think the most practical thing is to keep it as an electronic performance mostly, though I’d love to add more organic elements like drums and vocals which I have had in past shows. I also would like to have visuals accompanying the show.
CF: You’ve been living outside of Venezuela for some time now, how do you manage to stay connected with what’s going on musically in the country?
Through my friends via social media, and also keeping an eye online for new music. I still have some friends in Venezuela who are DJs and musicians.
CF: What’s your favorite thing about living in Miami? What would you recommend to someone visiting for 24h?
This time of the year would be to go to the beach, get in that ocean. Giving a food recommendation would be hard since there are so many good options but I could recommend some great Peruvian or Nicaraguan food as a proper meal, and Cuban coffee. Depending on the day there can be cool live music happening too. The Wynwood graffiti and murals are always cool to check out, as well as the local record stores.
CF: Now that your debut EP is out, do you have more Venezonix music in the works?
I recently finished a remix for Raúl Monsalve and Los Forajidos’ track “Pulga”, from their latest album which should be coming out soon. I think it came out awesome and I love that album and project. I am also starting new Venezonix recordings. I also look forward to receiving some culo e’ puya and quitiplas drums I got made in Barlovento by Ote from Parranda El Clavo; they should be arriving soon and I plan to study playing and hopefully use them in future productions.
01 Un Solo Pueblo – Francisca, El Tigre
02 Raíces de Chuspa – Vente conmigo
03 Ismael Querales y Francisco Pacheco – Pajarillo de siete colores
04 Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo – Pueblo de fiesta
05 Agrupación Convenezuela – Quichimba
06 Francisco Pacheco y su Pueblo – Tacarigua y Mamporal / Loro, Loro
07 Raíces de Chuspa – Pajaro lindo
08 Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo – Gaviota
09 Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo – La situación (Venezonix Remix)
10 Cumbe – Cumaco
11 Raíces de Chuspa – Ole, Ole, Leo, Leo La
12 Huracan de Fuego – Tumba la caña
13 Raíces de Chuspa – Golpe Aragüeño
14 Raúl Monsalve y los Forajidos – Bocón (Feat. Luzmira Zerpa)