This Christmas in Chicago might not have been as snowy and white as we would have expected. However, to keep with the warm wishes, we hope you slip into your best dance shoes and get your Latin groove on with New York’s renown WEPA party hitting Chicago with special guest DJ Antonio Ocasio. Gozamos got some questions in with the man of honor before gets us shaking Dec. 28th at Sub T, 10pm-2am. Don’t miss it.

Thanks for your time Antonio. If you don’t mind I’d like to start off by getting to know you. Where you from? How old are you? and what’s one of your first memories of music?
I’m Puerto Rican. Born in “El Barrio”, NYC and raised in the South Bronx.

First memories of music were in my home and from neighbors and the community as a whole.  There was always music playing in my home.  My mother played records while she cooked, cleaned and even when we were just lounging.  She mostly played traditional Puerto Rican music, Classic Salsa, Boleros (Daniel Santo, Los Angeles Negro, etc)  and what I call ‘Jibaro’ music which is played by a guitar called a Cuatro (4 string guitar – I love the sound of it).  In Puerto Rico, back in the day, they’d used these songs to tell stories of events that were happening in other villages.  My brother used to also play all of the cool stuff like Osibisa, War, etc and some Rock including Santana when he first came out.

What sounds (musical and other) did you grow up hearing around you?
I spoke about what was playing at home but in school and at House Parties – we were listening to Disco, Soul, RnB, Funk, Rap (as it was being created), and of course the slow jams.

What communities, artistic or other, would you say have defined your life and work?
The Latin community played a Major role in my development with music.  That’s why when I create music it just sounds weird without having percussive instruments.  That’s what our music, Afro-Latin music, culture is about – Percussion, Feelings and Depth in every aspect.  I love Percussion!  Going to the LOFT all those years also had a major influence.  It was truly underground.  The LOFT community was all about the music, all about the love.  Really! It changed my entire outlook on music.  That’s why some of my music has what I call that Lofty sound; that deep, jazzy, and deep smoothness.  I’ll never forget those experiences, those Musical and LIFE lessons.

How much time do you spend listening to music a day?
Not including the time I spend creating music, I’d say I spend on average about three hours a day listening to music.

http://soundcloud.com/wepanyc/wepa-ft-antonio-ocasio-afro

What other interests and hobbies do you undertake?
My main interest is my daughters.  They are my LIFE!  I enjoy spending time with people who are important to me like Joann Jimenez and my close friends.  I’m a Social Worker –  I love helping people.  Nothing is more important than helping another human being – I truly believe that.

I enjoy and look forward to getting turned on to World Music.  I’m constantly doing research related to music. Doing so is a part of my daily life.  I’ll read a musician’s bio and simply get tickets and check them out.  That’s how I recently found Aurelio Martinez.  He’s a gifted and amazing musician from a small village in Honduras.  I also recently stumbled across the music of Emeline Michel from Haiti.  She’s an amazing vocalist and performer.

I love watching sports (don’t play them much anymore), mainly boxing and basketball.  I always go for the Puerto Rican boxers even if I know they’re going to lose.  That’s the Puerto Rican pride we’re born with.  Basketball was and still is big in the neighborhood I grew up in.  Good ball players came out of our neighborhood (Tiny Archibald, Angel Munchito Cruz, etc.).  I really enjoy working out. 

What’s the full story? How did you get into this business?
I started collecting music at a very young age (vinyl).  But, I mean how much music is one person going to collect.  I still collect vinyl but I’m not out there digging like I did in the past (only from time to time).  I remember once flying to Miami, Florida just to buy records from a brother who was selling his collection.  So yeah, I’m very serious but became content with my collection.  I just kept growing with the music.  When you love something you grow with it.  That’s what happened.  I have so many ideas for creating music and one day I just took the plunge.  I never looked back since.  I’m still learning and growing with it.  When I started creating music, I believed a lot of people wouldn’t want to sign my music because they’d want more main stream House Music.  Deep down, I knew they’d simply wouldn’t get it. That’s what made me start TRIBAL WINDS.  My sound was and still is raw.   It isn’t polished, by choice.

How do you keep yourself inspired and motivated?
Man, you know – I always remind myself of how much I love music.  That’s what keeps me going.  I love creating music and I love playing and watching people dance to the jams I present.  It’s a spiritual thing – it really is.

What makes your work stand out?
Hmmm., this might be a good question for someone else to answer.  Someone who has followed my work and/or has been inspired by it.  I personally believe it is the quality of the musicianship, the depth of the sound which provokes one to feel and the rawness that can sometimes take you to the street.

Who are some artists and/or musicians contemporary and/or vintage that keep you going?
With no reservation I have to say that one of the people who touched me is Joaquin Claussell.  I love his productions – some of which have really moved me from deep inside.  I love the work of; Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Stevie Wonder, Pat Metheney, Michael Jackson etc.  These are REAL Musicians who’ve been consistent in delivering quality for decades.   The list goes on and on.  I’ve been into music since I was a young boy – I’d be here til the end of time writing them all down – lol!

I’m looking to get turned out to ANYTHING that’s good.  It’s a natural progression that I believe should happen when you truly love something.

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