The Trini Rock Scene through the eyes of NYC
Trinidad has a huge, underground rock scene. Isn’t that the biggest oxymoron you ever read? There are many bands such as Orange Sky, jointpop and Krash that most people have heard about in passing, but there are also many other bands, new and long-standing that people haven’t yet discovered. Not many have supported these musicians by taking the time out to check out their music pages or seen them perform live.
In passing, the Trini rock kids who have been partaking in this spanned music genre (including death metal ranging to indie/fusion rock) have told me that the scene has been huge since the early 1980s.A New York-bred rock-lover, born to Caribbean parents, I have never set foot in Trinidad. But, thanks to the Internet, I’ve been able to maintain some solid links with local rockers. The rock scene is filled with many talented musicians who are doing positive things. A few of my faves happen to be Krucifix, Krash, Anti-Everything and Necropollis.
Being a kid in the scene in NY for pretty much all my life, I’ve come to realise that the rock scene anywhere in the world is the same. It seems “scary” to most people because of our style of clothing or because people only remember the death metal screams from a song. We all have similar struggles and are misunderstood. We just take our negative energies that are trying to suppress us and turn them into gut wrenching lyrics and instrumentals. For rock kids, the music speaks for us.
What I think is pretty amazing is that through many various social network sites, I’ve become family and good friends with the rock kids in the West Indies. It warms every part of my essence to know there are other kids who are doing the same in their communities. Through sites like Facebook and MySpace and being linked to Trini sites such as IslandNoise.com and trinidadandtobagoisfucked.blogspot.com – people overseas have been able to keep up with the West Indian scene, and for this I’m uber grateful. Art is a part of life, and even though the society or culture you live in doesn’t recognize its genius at first, keep strong – they’ll figure it out eventually.
For me, the independent rock scene has been a positive experience. Growing up listening to this amazing music, I consider these people as my family. The mosh pits were where we showed love for each other, and enjoyed the entire moment with each other. Like any experience in this scene, it is done with respect and love shown to each other and not for drunken nonsense. What examples are we setting for the upcoming kids in the scene? For me, it was always about the love. I have made many good friends that I consider family – and we constantly reminisce about shows and continue to support each other – even if it is a sub genre of this underground music (terms I use real lightly to describe different genres of rock ranging from all sorts of metal and punk).
“How are you going to flourish as a musician by only doing covers?”
You might think that because the Trini rock circle is so small, everything is peachy. Think not! On a few occasions as well, some bands even told me that venue promoters place bands on their flyers without even consulting the band! And when the band agrees to perform at the show, the venue only wants the band to do covers! Firstly, how are you going to flourish as a musician by only doing covers? Performing your own work is a rite of passage for all bands. We, as West Indian rock kids need to stand up to these manipulators of the scene, who are in for the quick dollar, and refuse to do shows that only promote other people’s music.
Our scene is not as big as we think, although it’s definitely growing, and the reason why our culture degrades it is because sometimes the inner circle itself doesn’t always support each other. How are we supposed to be a force to be reckoned with and be taken seriously? Loads of West Indian bands contact me and want to invade and infect the rest of the world with their music; why not do the same in the West Indies, which will nurture our scene in such a positive way? It doesn’t matter what band you’re promoting, just remember to support everyone. If I haven’t reiterated it enough – our culture is filled with talented, beautiful people. Showcase our talent! Support each other and watch the ripple effect of how strong the scene will grow.
Don’t get me wrong though. There is a strong bond between the individuals involved in the Trini rock music. There are many Facebook groups that have ongoing discussions about other bands. Frequent messages are also broadcasted informing people about the upcoming shows, band equipment, and people searching for other musicians to join their band. I find it reassuring that even though we are all of Caribbean descent, and we may be miles apart from each other, we still have this tight knit bond we share through music and art. It is always said that music is a universal language. How many of us have gone through ordeals where we couldn’t find the words to explain how we were feeling, but there is a special song that can sum up every detail.
With tools like Skype, we can all keep in touch and have in-depth conversations about our favourite bands, and influences, and even share stories of what we have endured in circle pits. In learning more and more about each other, we all realize that we are no different; we just happen to be born in different hemispheres. The Trini rock scene definitely has loads of talent waiting to be discovered, and with bands like Orange Sky and Joint Pop, leading the way and making inroads on the international circuit, the motivation is definitely there for up and coming bands to spread their wings.
Image credit: Photo of Orange Sky from Metal Rules.