Friday, January 8, 2010

Two Years Hard!

Nope, it's not that I took an extreme overdose of Viagra, it's The Hard Data's second anniversary! Two years ago I finally decided to start a music blog in English. The idea had been going around my head for years before that, but I was busy hosting another now-defunct blog where I used to write about lots of different stuff, among them music, but in Spanish. The switch to English writing was something I knew it would come eventually and honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to it, I was scared that I would lose my Spanish writing skills and I was even more scared of embarrassing myself with my limited English language.
But I knew there was a whole lotta people that I wanted to reach with my music writing that didn't understand Spanish. Through my DJ'ing experience I realized that many English speakers were genuinely interested in innovative cool Latin music, while most of the Spanish-speaking community around me were stuck in time listening to old corny nostalgic garbage and top-40 radio crap.
I remember one occasion, about five years ago, I was at a bar party playing an amazing new track by Spanish rapper Tremendo, produced by Griffi (best hip-hop producer in the Spanish speaking world) and two gringos came to the DJ booth to ask me who was that I was playing, they didn't understand the lyrics but they could recognize a dope beat when they hear it. Then, before the song ended, a Latino approached me and asked: "Are you gonna play salsa?"
That pretty much synthesizes all my feelings about music in this crazy bilingual world. That's why I came up with the tongue-in-cheek title of Latin But Cool for the URL. Because every time I introduced myself to someone new as a DJ they would ask the obvious question: "And what type of music you play?" And I'd say "Latin..." but right away I'd start imagining what would go inside their heads at the time I pronounce that world and that would freak me out, "Oh god no! he's gonna think that I play Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin..." so I'd add the tag-line "... but cool."
Because unfortunately, for the people living in the US, the word Latin, when it comes to music (and culture in general), is intrinsically full of cheesy, tacky and corny connotations. And sadly most Latin immigrants here do very little to try to reverse these misconceptions. For many years I wrote in Spanish music magazines to those Latin immigrants trying to wake them up and introduce them to cool new Latin music that they were completely ignoring (because it wasn't played on the radios or it didn't have any nostalgic value). Two years ago today I gave up. Fuck them, if they don't wanna learn, let them stay where they are, listening to "La Vida Es Un Carnaval" for the zillionth time.
And that's how this blog was conceived. (The title The Hard Data was actually suggested by a friend of mine, because of the obvious pun of me being a harsh critic and a reformed sex-industry worker).
Thanks to all of you who had been following my blog and helping it grow and get hard, and harder!

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