Joaquin Portocarero
by Ana Lourdes Alvarenga
BRCZ: What does a son of diplomat become? Are you attached at all to your Belgium roots?
Joaquin at best a son of a diplomat becomes a citizen of the world. And on my good days that's what I feel I've become. I can't really relate to Belgium that much.... I have always felt like a foreigner there, you know, the long lost cousin.
BRCZ: How much of Cuba remains in you? Tell me about your hip-hop years down there? Can Castro battle still? Give me a rhyme.
Joaquin Castro will be battling till his dying day. Cuba is still very much in my heart though I am not as Cuban as I used to be I could definitely still slip into that character. A rhyme ' y vengo tan puro y poderosos como aquel tabaco habano cubano, vengo ponerle pausa a esto, sin protesto, y despues contigo si que soy atrevido'. My hip hop time in Cuba began with a group called SK, founded with my friend Gabriel Ika when we were both 16 wich was composed of all foreigners living in Havana. Then I went on to join a group called Xtilo Unico, four real ghettos Cuban Mc's and myself. Both groups did some big things in Habana, from TV appearances to radio play, performing for 10,000 people, even a concert opening for Compay Segundo of the Buena Vista Social Club. I was convinced that I was going to be an MC forever. Then I went to New York.
BRCZ: Are you 100% electronic beats musician or you are the type that can't see a conga sitting around?
Joaquin A No. I love real instruments.... I want to collaborate with more musicians, get that ''real'' music feel... I'm just a computer guy, nothing beats real instruments.
BRCZ: When did you start doing Trance music? Is there such a thing like ''hip trance hop'' yet? How the Jamaican people are dancing to your tunes?
Joaquin I started to DJ about seven years ago in my dorm room when I in New York and then started making tracks two years later. Hip Hop trance, yeah man, its been done.. Think ''British breaks'' or the Garage scene, its similar. Its combine's elements from both. The uptown Jamaicans like to hear me DJ at a place called Red Bones café but real Jamaica doesn't like trance, they want Dancehall, so I started trying out some dancehall beats... I'll send them to you when I'm done.
BRCZ: Does every country have its Li'l Kim?
Joaquin yeah other countries have some but Jamaica is full Li'l Kim's. Also Li'l Suzie's and Pinkies.
BRCZ: Who rules in Jamaica?
Joaquin I think there might be some confusion about that right now. Beenie Man.
BRCZ: You are also a big time animation dude. What happened to the ''Life Gallery'', your short animation movie acclaimed at SVA couple years ago? How does your music influence your design? Have you done visuals specifically to your music?
Joaquin ''Framed at the Life Gallery'' has played in a couple more festivals including the Flashpoint film festival, Negril Jamaica and should be airing soon on Canvas, a Belgian arts channel. I have yet to combine my own music with my animation, but I have done two animated music videos for a local Jamaican star Cesar Cunningham.
BRCZ: Should drugs be legalized? Why they will not?
Joaquin Certain drugs yes. Others no. If governments legalized certain drugs they could control them and get rid of the criminal elements that surround it all. It starts a long discussion. It's not Black or white.
BRCZ: The best and the worst of the three worlds – Cuba – NY- Jamaica
Joaquin Cuba was a great place to be as a foreigner, I got there when I was 13 Havana was a playground for me. But it's safe to say that it's not exactly easy to be a Cuban in Cuba. You're not really free. New York is a dream of a city for a world citizen, there's everything there... I truly feel like a real New Yorker and its always home for me if there ever was one.... But it drains you, and the standard of living sucks unless you are a millionaire. Jamaica is beautiful but it's an untamed raw island not for the soft at heart. It's really a pirate island man, dangerous and attractive.
BRCZ: Every year the International Animation Film Festival happens in Rio attracting hordes of people from all ages. Everybody is invited to learn basic animation tools and to start to create their home made animation. Do you think it will be possible that one day children will be able to stop receiving commercial creativity and start from early age to be stimulated to produce their own, instead?
Joaquin its all about giving a kid a paintbrush, a pencil, some clay when they are really young... so they start to flex their imaginations.... then teach them that it is beautiful to be an individual. The problem lies in the education; we tend to educate children to conform.
BRCZ: Do you know anything about Brazilian art or music?
Joaquin I saw in some book these paintings on a wall by The Twins and it blew my mind. To this day I have this image in my head. Music yeah, I've spent a whole lot of nights dancing to the early morning in Brooklyn to Brazilian music. I once worked at a Bebel Gilberto show in the days I worked as a promoter for Giant Step show, she performed in the afternoon and again at night so I got to see her twice.
BRCZ: If you were to tag a monument what would that monument be? Why?
Joaquin There is a gigantic stone sculpture of Lenin's head in El Parke Lenin in Cuba; I would love to paint on that. Or the Statue of Liberty! It would be great to be remembered for having pulled something like that off.
BRCZ: Animation Essentials - five must see.
Joaquin Alice in Wonderland, Triplets of Bellville, Courage the Cowardly dog because the creator John Dilworth is a truly animated character, there's this segment in the new Fantasia with a goddess of some sort flying over a field and making plants grow that drove me crazy, that and Ralph Baksi films.
BRCZ: The best of Trance – five must dance.
Joaquin Union Jack, Infected Mushroom, Deedrah, X-dream and Citrus Alchemy!!
BRCZ: What is the next ''Giant Step''? When NYC or Europe will have the pleasure of listen to you sound and watch your art again?
Joaquin I'm just back from NY and planning to get to Europe sometime in 2006. Then watch out, once I get situated you will hear a lot more about me. I have partnered up with Gabriel Ika again from the Cuban Hip Hop days and formed a psychedelic trance project called Citrus Alchemy; well keep you posted on the album release.

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