By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
What do you get when you combine eight guys with a passion for creating sazón? Bachaco.
Named after the leafcutter ant, an insect that's used to make salsa picante, this Afro-Caribbean reggae band recently released its debut album. And already, the crew is working on a new record.
The Bachaco guys are also planning another U.S./Canada tour, with hopes of crossing the border into Mexico and Puerto Rico. So we sat down and spoke with them about the Miami music scene, local trends, and making it in the industry. And obviously, no reggae interview would be complete without some weed talk.
New Times: What do you think about the local music scene?
Edilberto "Eddy" Morillo, lead singer: It's a little harder out there, to be honest with you, because we've gotten into some places and we've had tough times as far as money, and that's the truth for any band starting off without any capital behind it.
J.P. Guinam, sax player: Local musicians sell out short and quit many times.
So do you think it's hard to make it in Miami as a musician?
Farid Cure, lead guitarist: It definitely takes dedication. It takes effort. I just think it's about waiting. Like, the hard part is working time after time, not getting paid, and being broke and just keep going.
Cristian "Mumbles" Rocha, bass guitarist: I think it all depends on what making it means to you. You can make a living here. But if you wanna make a living out of your own music, then it's different. Anybody can make a living off everyone else's music. Make a cover band, make a tribute band — you can make a lot of money. But you won't be as happy as when you play your own music.
Eddy: Everybody has different visions of what making it really is. In our particular case, the truth is that money is secondary. The first thing is to do what we love, to do the best we can, and for as long as we can.
Do you guys see any ongoing trends in the local scene?
Mumbles: There are more live bands. The thing is that Miami always has a period of time when live music is coming up. And then it just dies down.
Why do you think that happens?
Mumbles: Local musicians get lazy. They don't wanna work anymore.
Bruce McKinnon, trumpet player: I also think there's less of an appreciation for the music — actual music, not just singing. A lot of the time in Miami, people won't listen to an instrumental song that doesn't have a vocalist. There's less of an appreciation for the art of music here, I believe, and that's why DJing is so popular. Talking about actual music — say, with the violins, the guitars, the trumpets, jazz — it's unheard of.
Farid: That appreciation for the musician performing, it's missing here. But I think our music has done well because it's club-friendly. It's a good replacement for a DJ and it's actually live music. So I think that's what we're trying to do. We got tired of complaining, and we are trying to do it.
A lot of people, when they think of reggae music, they think of weed. Why do you think there's that connection?
Bruce: Because, Bob Marley.
Alex Cruz, trombone player: The Rastafarian religion.
Mumbles: Reggae is more than just a style of music. It's a lifestyle. Even professional musicians who study reggae, they say it's more than knowing the theory; it's about knowing how to live.
Farid: Weed is a sacred thing. Reggae artists respect it. It's not a party drug for them. It's something special.
Should it be legalized?
Bachaco: [in almost perfect unison] Yeah. Hell yeah. I say yes.