Ilovecarnivall catches up with Triniboi Joocie at London Southbank a couple of days before his ‘Unplugged Event’.
Must be at least three years since we last spoke. I remember last time we spoke, you said you did not want to focus too much on the soca, you were trying to develop the British, garage style. Yes different collaborations, yeah. So I think I went through that phase. So I have done a few collaborations within that time. I did grime and soca which was on SBTV which is a kinda UK platform and it’s never had soca on the channel so it was an accomplishment to get soca on there. I did an afro beat collaboration with a guy called Silverstone. What else? I did collaboration with a UK dancehall artist called Mr. Pattern. I’ve been able to collaborate with artists from different genres from here. And it has been a learning transition you know?
How is it a learning transition? Well to see when I first started to where I am now, how people accept soca music. Before it was ‘That carnival music, that happy music’. Whereas now.. Cause now the music we hear on the charts is mix cultured. People are a lot more open to it. So has that made you want to change your focus? Do you still consider yourself a soca artist? Well not just soca, I believe I am a musician, I am an artist. I am able to write in different genres. But I do believe that you have to have your niche. And my niche is soca.
And I seem to remember last time, you weren’t too keen on going to Trinidad to develop your music there. Is that still the case? [Laughter] You know what it is? It is not ‘Not being keen to go’. It is more of does it makes sense to do it? Is like is everybody is running down the same thing, there are lots of markets that have not been explored. I am in the mindset of ‘If I take the money I have and do what I usually do and go home for months to develop it, I might as well invest it in a different place such as Europe.’ The last time we spoke I wasn’t doing as much shows in Europe. Whereas now,… I have done Norway four times this year already. Last year, I did it three times. They are very receptive to soca. The same for Sweden. So I am kind of going to the markets where it is not so saturated. And where I can develop a fan base. The vibe is there and I can help them in their process of growing as well.
Are you happy with the way your career is going new? [Laughter] I think everything needs improving in regards to the support for the artists. There should be some sort of association or finance board to support the artists. Carnival is one of the biggest things that happens in this country but why are the artists not getting on then platforms. Not everything is finance. Could be marketing. But are you happy with the way things are going for YOU? Well yeah cause I am in control of my situation. I am happy about how I am getting things out and getting things done in time. So big up my team.
Is there time for anything else? Have you got time for family? Music is the focus. I mean I just had a son, I have a little boy. He is 14 months now. And that is a different focus. But it has made me a lot more focused as well as I know that I am doing my thing for value. It’s a whole different ball game.
I see you at the various band launches performing. You are very busy. How do you handle that? To be honest, I have kind of cut down a lot. Cause prior to that I was at every band launch. So I have taken a step back and reassess how I am presenting myself out there where I am not too regular.
Do you still think about releasing in time for carnival? Or you want to release all year round? For me it’s not so much about carnival but I believe you must have something present. So my main focus isn’t carnival but carnival is a focus. My main thing is to target the right places , target various places, the development of sound. And is there any particular sound that you are hoping to develop a bit more? Well I just have released a song on a real topic ‘Obeah’. To be honest , when was writing my part to the song, I thought it was a bit too… you know what I mean? We didn’t want anyone to catch feelings.. or to think that we are talking about them. And big up my producer Wetty Beatz. He was like ‘Nah man, it bad, and it bad. Seeing the response to it. Since I’ve release it, no exaggeration , I get at least two or three DM videos of people using it. So it is hitting. So real life topics and it is not just about party… and I was moving away from that anyway. Music with purpose.
Different British artists are doing their thing. Sunshine and Na Diva are in Vincy, Lutenants. Is this a good time for British Soca? You know what makes it so good as well? Before our first interview, I was one of the few front runners who was doing everything everywhere and people were seeing it as just Joocie. And in order to have a movement a greater impact, you need people to be doing things. So big up to sunshine and Nadiva. They had their 1Xtra, big up to Lutenants, I know they had something on complex. Again we are pushing stuff in different avenues. And big up the other artists too. Terrah Dan, Batcheco, Ms Desire.
Notting Hill Carnival has been going through structural changes. What do you make of it? Well the people who have just come in now, I’d say that they have started off good in that they want to incorporate the UK soca artists which is good cause when you think about carnival, what is the driving force behind carnival? It is the music. Who is doing the music? They are also trying to erase the negative stigma from carnival. The new people, their approach is different… but carnival is politics.
We’e spoken about the artists. What do you think about the DJs? I don’t know… I think some of them want to become artists. They up front and want to move the crowd. Don’t get me wrong. There are some people who have been doing that for years. Then there were some who were just DJs. Now everybody wants the spotlight. And that’s cool. But you coming against artists, it is a different thing. And somebody who has been it for a while? You need to have different respect. And to me I don’t demand, I don’t expect. I think my work reflects that. But I do feel there is a shift in the UK especially, they regard the DJ higher than the artist. You think so? The promoters or the audience? The promoters. I believe so. Because maybe they think the artists are not on that level. Maybe they think the DJs can make a bigger impact. So they will be more quick to hire a DJ than an artist? I think so and that devalues the soca artist. And if you have only one or two artist that are able e to… you don’t really have an industry, you have a scene. That’s the next thing. So it is industry vs the scene? For me when I come and I just analyse stuff and think ‘Wha, dah man is a DJ? I remember when that man was the right hand man to the actual guy! ‘I remember going different places and certain people were in the crowd, fans and now they DJs. And that me realise. Whoa this thing changed up. Even when I came to Chocolate Nation Launch, I’m used to seeing certain faces. And when I came to the launch, it was a whole different audience. Where did these people come from? And some of them don’t even like soca. But is that a bad thing or a good thing? Because they don’t like soca but they are there. Doesn’t that mean you are bringing new energy to the scene? I mean it is like ying and yang. I mean having new fans is always a development. It means that something is developing. But at the same time you couldn’t not be an afro beat person and go into an afro beat scene.
Within the soca scene, some people come in for the wrong reasons. Soca is the one kind of music where you and a person can get close in 5-10 seconds without any conversation. You close, you gyrating your waist with that individual. No other music you can do that. None. You think of any other music unless it is kizomba but that is co-ordination that is learning skills. Where as in a soca party, you have foreplay. I not saying everything is dirty but in a sense some see it that way. Is like ‘ I can get gyal, lemmie go’ And from time you have that, that’s when you know the energy isn’t right and it goes the wrong direction where people might response for certain tunes hat in a soca party originally you wouldn’t get that kinda response. For instance Split in the middle. Some people will associate that with skin out. And some DJs will play that just for the reaction. Rather than playing for the masses, they will play for those. And they will keep laying that cause they want the forwards. Rather than what are you doing? What are you trying to say with your music? Are you taking people on a journey are you trying to teach people about music? Or you just looking for the forwards? And again that’s why I say, you can’t be bigger than the artist. The artist is the one that is giving you the songs, who performing the songs. Everyone is important but what is your role?
So you saying that they are not staying in their section? They cyah steal my section [laughter] They cannot steal. They may try yes. But they cannot steal my section cause you know what? Once you know your value and you know your worth? That’s it. That’s all that matters. You just have to continue to push.
Let’s talk about your live event on the 12th July. Why now? Because as they say the iron is hot right now. Everybody is pumping with the obeah. My business partner gave me four weeks and said ‘Joocie’ the venue is booked. But it is an opportunity to show the fans, the supporters, the people who have been there throughout or have just come on board that it is more than just a jump and wave
So what can we expect at your event? We are celebrating three aspects in this. We are celebrating the journey, the visuals (art) and we are celebrating he music. Well some people don’t see that side of me but I am very much hands on with everything that I do. From the video concepts to writing to co-producing, I’m hands on. Live events, that the time to show and I have a degree in performing arts so I know how to stage plan. I know what I want things to sound and look. To show the people the different elements. There are international and local artists performing. We have either collaborated on a song or we have worked in some way together. That’s why they will be there. We have an afro beat artist, a dancehall artist, a soca artist writer producer who came from Sierra Leon today. I want people who come to come with an open mind to enjoy themselves. Don’t expect it to be a fete. I don’t want it to be like. It is for people to come and experience the celebration of the art form.
Triniboi Joocie has been one of the forerunners for British Soca, pushing and promoting the British Sound. Catch his ‘Unplugged’ Event in Brixton London, UK today!