This is an amazing interview with independent artist Alejandro Velasquez, a guitarist in the band Artefacto. He talks about the struggles for independent artists in Medellin, Colombia, and also about how artists there are organizing in order to make the changes they need to be successful on their own.
I love this interview for a couple of reasons. One is Alejo’s response to my question “How do you promote yourself?” I’ve never had anyone give me his response, and I’ve long felt the same way. He said “make good music.” This should always be first and foremost.
Another reason is the movement going on there that he talks about, Revista Musica. They meet every 8 days to talk about what moves they can make to transform their environment into more of a level playing field, and they also talk about the progress that they continue to make every week. They are also a magazine that’s published monthly and circulated to keep everyone in the loop. It’s really cool what they’re accomplishing. We will definitely keep track of them as time goes by.
It’s interesting because after posting a blog article about this independent movement, The Independent Fight Below the Belt, I received a comment from a reader talking about a movement called Fair Trade, out of Oregon, that is fighting for fair wages for independent artists when it comes to shows. They want to set a standard that everyone can agree to because they feel that too often, artists are not taken seriously and are taken advantage of. Looking back at this interview, this was one of the exact things on Alejo’s list when he was talking about their objectives. It is definitely a serious issue that artists everywhere must attack head on, and it’s one that a little bit of organization can actually begin to solve. We just need to stick together.
Here is more info about this and what can be done: Re: Fair Trade Music – The Responsibility of Independent Artists to Act
Alejo is awesome, and his band is incredible. I want to thank him again for the opportunity to discuss these important issues, and to show people the perspective from another side of the world. We are all in this together, and we need to ALL organize together. Start your own groups locally, like Revista Musica and Fair Trade, and support global efforts like Beat-Play, who creates virtually, this level playing field we are all searching for. If you can’t change the environment, create your own. Beat-Play is the Independent movement. We need everyone involved! Sign up to beta test!
I also want to thank Alejandro and Sara Delgado for their connections with independents in the Medellin area so we could host an event to talk about all of these important issues, along with Revista Musica. It was a great event(Slideshow). I should have some video from that on here pretty soon too.
To learn more about Beat-Play, click the About section of this blog.
Check out this 2007 video from Artefacto..and they’re still amazing.