International Tuki Love: An Interview with Pocz and Pacheko (Part Two)- 11 December, 2012
Pocz and Pacheko are part of a long line of deejays in the global bass scene trying to get barrio culture the recognition it deserves, starting with American producer Diplo and Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema with the popularisation of Angolan kuduro. Citing the latter as one of their major inspirations for incorporating the sounds in their backyard, Pocz and Pacheko also contend that their ties to the tuki sound have never been about appropriation. On the contrary, for the deejays it was more of a realisation that they were sitting on an untapped reserve of new and exciting sounds that others were dismissing as garbage. That is why – in a similar way to hip hop culture – Pocz and Pacheko sought out the blessing of the originators and incorporated them in their productions and sampling.
“There was obviously an intention to have that blessing and that direct contact with the creators so that nobody feels like we’re trying to falsify something that we didn’t do,” Pacheko explained. Right now, the deejays have been welcomed into the tuki family by Baba, Yirvin and the dancers. “I think we have shown some sort of union and that is also a message for Venezuela because people are very violent and with a lot of hate. I’m not trying to get too hippie, but a lot of people have seen it with the documentary. When we talk about this outside, we’re not talking about something that happens “over there”, we’re talking about something we have a direct relationship with and that we’re part of. For us that was essential. We would’ve never said we were making changa tuki or try to promote the style if we didn’t have those ties with the scene.”
For their new EP, Changa Letal, Pocz and Pacheko maintained that connection by inviting Yirvin, Cardopusher and a host of others to collaborate with them. The record was made long distance with Pocz in Caracas and Pacheko in Barcelona. According to Pacheko, they produced ten to fourteen tracks sending materials back and forth until deciding on the final six featured on the record, which they consider the best music they’ve produced so far. With the help of Buraka Som Sistema’s Joao Barbosa, the producers set out to craft the sound of the new school of changa tuki.
“We wanted a sound that sounded like nothing we’ve ever heard before. [...] To get those results takes time; you have to think about the beats, the synthesisers, the structures, the mixes, our influences and our style. Without a doubt, it’s the best thing we’ve done as Pocz and Pacheko, but we feel that we need to show more the new school influenced by tuki, funky, kuduro…” Pocz said.
They found a home in Buraka’s Enchufada label, who have not only been supportive of the producers’s work, but have also connected on a musical level with tuki. According to Pacheko, their time with Enchufada has also functioned as learning experience about working as professionals inside the music industry and making lasting connections with other deejays and producers. “What Enchufada has done for us has been incredible and I want to keep working with them and have that success be mutual. I think it’s more valuable to me to have a label that connects with me as a person, with my tastes, than to have a label like Warp sign us and them be ‘just release the record and we’ll pay you and that’s it’. Here, it’s a real exchange and that’s irreplaceable.”
Currently, Pocz and Pacheko are working on the production of their live show. Always the ambitious duo, they plan on touring the European festival circuit next year, hopefully with a brand new set up. Pocz explained that they want to incorporate a changa tuki style MC and hopefully bring Elber to dance during their sets. They’re also preparing new visuals with the same Caracas collective Design or Die, the same people that made the graphics for the Quien Quiere Tuki? documentary. They also want to someday quit their day jobs as music producers for advertisements.
Ambitions aside, you can hear in their voice and in their expressions that, more than riding the tuki wave, the producers have not only strengthened the bond with each other through the music, but have also formed a priceless bond with a community and a part of their country that they wouldn’t have been able to know otherwise. And they’re mighty proud of that.
“A year and a half ago, nobody knew us. Like 100 to 150 people came to our parties,” Pacheko said. “Nowadays, it’s not like we’re playing in front of thousands of people, because nobody in Venezuela is. But a lot of people respect us and you feel a good vibe, not just with us but with Baba and Yirvin. They’re in newspapers, pictures, etc. We talk on Facebook; when I go over there we see each other. There’s a family. What’s more valuable than that? Now I can go to Petare, which is the biggest barrio, hang out with Elber and know a part of my country where two million people live and if you don’t know someone, you can’t go. Nobody in our middle class circle has friends in Petare because of all that prejudice and social division. Having friends in the barrio is the best because the best music comes from there: blues, salsa, rock, reggaeton, house, techno. Everything comes from the ghetto. We also want people to understand that the ghetto is valuable and is an important part of our culture.”
For the first part of this interview with Pocz and Pacheko just click here.
Pocz and Pacheko released Changa Letal, available on Enchufada Records. You can also listen to their mixes every Thursday at midnight on Caracas’s La Mega or www.abstractor.net.