1. What have you been listening to lately?
The new Slauson Malone 1 and Sampha albums have really taken hold of me. Same with the new Loraine James. Oh and Eev Frances’ Chamber Music.
2. I told a girl that a I could dunk a basketball, but I have a 6 inch vertical jump. Can you train me to dunk a basketball?
I wish I could, but I never could dunk either. I’m gonna do leg workouts while responding to these questions.
3. When I die can you play “Superman” by Goldfinger as they lower my casket?
Play it? I’ll sing it.
4. You think you could pull off wearing a backwards Kangol hat?
As a bald man, I’m going to say yes and regret it.
5. What are you currently looking forward to?
Skating and riding my bike cause I’m inside too much.
6.What game show do you think you’d do well on?
Cutthroat Kitchen for sureeeeee.
7. If we were to start a musical duo, what would we be called?
8. Roast me.
Damn you look dumb af with that kangol hat on AND you can’t dunk!!
9. What is the worst piece of advice that you can give me?
Believe that you can make money in art.
10. Any local artists that you think everyone should check out?
SolventOS, ZekeUltra, MannyRoach, Kennedy Mann, Kassie Krut, Goyle, Eev Frances, and Jewelsea are some favs but I know I’m forgetting some people.
Introduce yourself, and talk to us a bit about your musical journey so far?
I’ve been making music since I was like 14 and made a lot of different sounding stuff. I took some years to focus on poetry in my early twenties and that was one of the most fruitful things I could’ve done for my work. It really challenged me to step up my songwriting, while also reminding me that being an artist is a lot of shapeshifting. Specifically, that it’s okay to change, to do other things, to live a life.
Is there anything in particular that made you want to pursue a career in music?
I think my pursuit was more in making the best work and the career part was just a way to maybe facilitate that. However, I don’t know if I would even say I have a career in music. I make it, and I perform, but I’ve never not worked a full-time job. If anything I wish I could quit making music, but I’m obsessed with this shit.
What has the Philly music scene been like so far?
That’s an interesting question. When I first moved to Philly in 2016, I became entrenched in the punk scene and that was definitely a force. Then I started really tapping into other scenes and was amazed at the range of genre coming out of Philly. I mean it’s a pretty historical city for a lot of music, so I think my amazement was more naivete than anything else. I’d say the scene has been small and big and loud and quiet. People come and go all the time, but there’s always really great music.
When I think of the Philly music scene I think of a specific sound, but your music completely blows that preconceived idea away. Was the scene pretty accepting of your sound, or is that a space you had to carve out within the scene?
Oh yeah for sure. Again, there’s a lot that comes out of this city so different pockets showed love.
How important is it to keep in touch with your Dominican roots through your music?
Definitely important. Especially in the beginning. The impetus for the project was to make something for my family. To show them that although I’m a little weirdo who got into a wide array of music, I was always listening to what they played. Pedazo is as much for me as it is paying homage to my family.
I also want to say that Pedazo is very much about first-generation American experience. I was born in the US and so I felt it was important to make music that reflected that. So many of my friends are either immigrants or from immigrant families and we always talk about this sort of volleying of culture. Like yeah, I love bachata, but I also love My Bloody Valentine, so how can I make something of those disparate influences.
Something that blows me away is your ear for finding samples. Is that something that comes to you naturally, or something that you developed over time?
I’d say a little bit of both, but I think my love of headphones is a major component. I always have them on and obsess over little ear candy moments in music. A sound can do much more for me than composition or lyrics.
Do you have a specific idea before recording of what you want a song to sound like? Do you go back and listen to a song and notice where you can add something. What is your thought process when recording/writing?
Nah, not really. I mean sometimes yeah, I have an idea and really try to explore, but most times I sit and listen to something I haven’t listened to or mess around on piano/guitar until something hits. Then I’m slowly developing the song over months. It’s a lot of spending hours on a phrase, walking away for a week, then coming back to add one more phrase haha.
Talk to us a bit about your upcoming remix version of you latest album release what was the recording process like?
It’s weird because my role was mostly administrative. It was a lot of emails and bouncing of stems instead of actually crafting songs. That being said, it was such an honor to see all who were willing, and of course, all who were actually able to finish. I’m eternally grateful for the work all of these amazing artists put in.
What is it like remixing some of your previously released songs?
I was checking out your older music and it seems like you’re starting to take a new step direction. Was there anything that inspired that change?
I love changing it up. In my life, I’ve made rock music, pop, electronic, noise, hip-hop, punk, fucking everything. I really love music and exploring that is what excites me, so I’d say that. I also think the political, economic, and enviromental landscape have had a profound impact on me (like everyone else?). It’s hard to make more upbeat music when you’re inundated with what feels like the demise of the planet lol.
I also definitely wanted to remind myself that I come from playing instruments, so I’ve sampled less and less in the last few years. Sampling isn’t going away, but when I listen to artists like Melo-Zed I just wanna do it all at the same time.
What do you do that helps you grow, evolve as an artist?
Make art when you don’t want to and don’t make art when you want to. I know that sounds strange, but I feel it’s important to learn balance and challenge in your practice. Also, always make sure to show up for the art in your community. The best feeling is going to a show and feeling like I’m not good enough so I hurry home to practice.
What can we expect to see/hear from Pedazo in the near future?
More live instrumentation for sure. I also really miss writing outside of music, so maybe more of that?
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
How’d I do?
Honestly, you did great. You gave well thought out responses. This was fun!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me!
Thank you!! I know things are strange and bleak for music writers, but whether artists like to admit it or not, we need y’all. So thank you for all you do.
Absolutely! I love getting to know artists that I