Photo By Mike Bogart
It always makes me super stoked when my homies create something rad. So I was extra mega stoked when two of my boos, Mariana Martin Capriles aka MPEACH and Crystal Moselle, teamed up and shipped out to Venezuela to collaborate on a video for Mariana’s new summer-time jam “Venamo”.
Caracas native Mariana, whose contagious rainbow-like energy pretty much brings the party to every party, used to be a member of the legendary Venezuelan electro-band Todosantos, the group that totally pioneered an innovative new sound called Tukky Bass. What the fuck. Who actually invents a brand new sound? Mariana does. So now she is all grown up and has gone solo, and her sound mixes multiple musical influences including electronic beats and Afro-Caribbean rhythms with traditional Venezuelan melodies. Oh and did I mention she’s also a visual artist, director and editor? Way to make me feel like Homer Simpson over here homie.
Crystal not only has the awesome-est personal style that I can only really describe as rastafarian Stevie Nicks (you’re welcome boo), but has also directed music videos for acts like The Rapture and The Virgins, and has collaborated with mega-director Spike Jonze to work on AsDSSka’s “Hold On” video. All this on top of directing videos for clients like Ralph Lauren, The New York Times, Levi’s, Lindsey Thornburg, Kate Spade, and Converse (just to name a few). No fucking bigs! Oh and her documentary on Warhol Superstar Taylor Mead was just part of a little thing called the Whitney Biennial and was an official selection for the Tribeca Film Festival. She MIGHT be the fanciest homie in our crew. And again, I feel like Homer.
Photo by Mike Bogart
These two are definitely bright shiny young things, but the biggest star of the “Venemo” video is the notoriously violent city of Caracas, which is captured beautifully by the ladies in a raw but positive light. This includes ghetto-dance style Changa Tuki dancers who kill the fucking game with not only their moves, but their whole steez. Fuck Beyonce, these kids are the truth! Changa is a name used to describe house / electronic music and is super popular in Venzuela. The term Tuki was originally used as a discriminatory slur against Changa dancers who came from the city’s favelas (ghettos), but was eventually embraced as the popular term for the scene. The video highlights these bad-ass lil’ dancers alongside the new-found acceptance their scene has generated.
So after checking out the video, I got super jealous that I wasn’t invited, obvs, so I sat down with the girls over some rose wine (Mariana) and kombucha (Crystal) to talk about the seemingly awesome experience. And just for shits and gigs I brought along the worst dude ever Mike Bogart to document the bro-down.
Photo by Mike Bogart
Heyyy guyyssss! Tell me 3 awesome things about each other:
Crystal Moselle: One awesome thing about Mariana is that she is the most loyal friend that I think I have ever had.
Mariana Martin Capriles: One awesome thing about Crystal, this is gonna get really corny, but she is seriously probably the person that has the most energy and drive to push you to achieve anything that you think you can achieve.
CM: Another awesome thing about Mariana is that she’s my only friend that I can call and say “Let’s go to the craziest ghetto in the world and like do a music video”. And she’s like “Yeah!” She’s my only friend that’s like super down to do the most insane shit in the entire world. Her and I together can take it all on perfectly.
MMC: I was like I actually might know some people there! Another awesome thing about Crystal is that she has a really amazing view on life and the world. I love letting her take me to places that even I have been to before just to see it through her eyes.
CM: Her love for black men
MMC: She really doesn’t give a fuck about anything and can make some really crazy weird shit be amazing. It could be quirky or weird or too out there, and she makes it into something amazing.
Our mutual friend Krissy said “This video is like living inside a Trapper-Keeper.” Thoughts?
CM: Yeah. I mean, a lot of bright colors and youth and weird textures.
MMC: Look at my dress, does that explain why the video looks like a Trapper-Keeper?
Yes, yes it does.
CM: Mariana is the late 80’s, early 90’s tropical version of a Trapper-Keeper
That’s like the greatest compliment ever. Where the hell did you find the awesome Changa Tuki dancer kids? And can I party with them?
MMC: First of all, they would love to party with you. Second, the label that released my EP, Abstractor, is also a collective and have a blog and throw parties in Caracas. Pocz and Pacheko from Abstractor would always bring a couple of the Changa Tuki dancers to their parties, so I was always like I want to make a video with them! When I went down (to Venezuela) to do the Abstractor showcase and release the EP, one of the djs for the party was DJ Yirvin, who is one of the originators of Changa Tuki movement. His style is called “Hard Fusion” and he has been doing this since the early 2000’s. He had invited a bunch of the kids and they were there doing the craziest dance moves, up in the club and in the streets. These kids are serious, this is what they do for life! I went there, did the show, met a bunch of them, partied with them and I was just like I need you to come and be a part of this video! I mean I had completely told Crystal that I already had the dancers, because I knew I just needed to go to this party and find them.
Some super cute behind-the-scenes shots the girls shared with us
I feel like Caracas is really the main character in this video. Did you guys get to chill with any bad-ass gangsters while there?
MMC: Caracas is basically the main character for this video. There’s a lot of social-political mayhem happening in Venezuela right now which has created a big division in the city. So part of making this video, in the sense of what I wanted to portray as an artist, was to show that being involved with art and music and cool amazing things that we all care about while also representing our culture, can bring us all together. We don’t need to be divided, we can actually all enjoy being in this city and being Venzuelan together. There’s a lot of favela hardcore rap and other types of really violent representation of the city in videos, which I love and needs to happen because people need to see that reality, but also I wanted to bring a different flavor and ingredient and show a different side of the city. You don’t want to just eat bread and rice and tortillas, you want to eat meat and tomatoes and stuff too. I know my examples are strange.
CM: They’re all about food always.
MMC: Crystal has this really amazing way of finding the beauty in everything, which I was talking about before, and she presented the city through this amazing positive filter.
It kind of reminds me of kids in South Central LA Crunking.
MMC: It definitely has that vibe. A funny amazing thing is that a lot of people are saying on Twitter that this video represents Caracas in such a truthful way. I think it’s really funny and amazing because the person that shot it is not Venezuelan. She’s very talented at capturing the true essence of things.
CM: I dated a Venezuelan once.
That TOTALLY counts dude. So now tell me about the gangsters that you guys chilled with.
MMC: While we were shooting, friends would come hang out or whatever. So there’s this kid Reke who’s actually one of Venezuela’s biggest rappers, and he was there the last night that we shot. He’s been doing his thing for a while, I remember going to his first battle in like ’99 because I had friends that were involved in that scene. He’s from one the hardest barrios in the city and he made it out through hip-hop.
Did you get to carry a fun gun at all while on set or have security guards?
CM: Oh yeah. We had the OG security. Like a bodyguard.
Like Kevin Costner?
CM: Pretty close actually. He was the Venezuelan Costner.
Dude. I need to meet him and marry him immediately.
MMC: He wanted to marry Crystal!
CM: He was like a ninja. We would have three cars and he would step outside the cars and like watch us and look around, he always knew everything that was happening at all times. It was actually really special having him on set.
Um slash HOT. Speaking of hotness, give me the on set gossip. Any hook-ups? Fights? Love triangles? Spill it:
CM: Mariana was definitely in love with one of the dancers.
MMC: He actually just posted on Facebook that I’m his impossible love.
No drunken makeout sessions?
CM: Let’s just say yes, there were some hookups.
MMC: There were actually funny fights. The funniest fight was Crystal being like “Hold it! If you want me to direct this video you need to speak in English right now. You cannot speak in Spanish.” We actually did speak English about 75% of the time, but when things start happening really fast we would just immediately switch to Spanish.
CM: And I would freak out. (shakes head angrily)
What was the deliciousness that you were you eating at the end of the video and will you make it for me?
MMC: That’s a hot dog, Venezuelan street-style, with mayonnaise, cheese, onion sauce, avocado, cabbage, fries, and hotsauce.
Do they cure hangovers?
MMC: They can cure everything that you have. I could make it for you but there’s a Venezuelan street style hot dog stand in Rockaway that’s the best, it’s called Santa Salsa.
Describe the “Venamo” video using only food terms:
CM: South American pop-rocks mixed with a Venezuelan street hot dog. And rum.
MMC: Actually, there’s a take in the video that they made me edit out where I was drinking a bottle of rum out of the bottle while driving the truck at like 10 or 11 in the morning.
Is that legal down there?
MMC: I mean it’s not legal, but….
CM: The cops do this thing called “Night Shopping” where they stop your car and take all your shit. So we don’t know what’s legal down there.
If you could spend a day drinking rum with one director, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
MMC: I would love to drink rum with Robert Rodriguez. That would be fun. I’m sure it would be an amazing adventure. I think his work is amazing and a lot of fun and my kind of hustle.
And cause he’s a stone cold fox. Have you ever seen him?
MMC: He was actually married to a Venezuelan woman for a long time. He’s hot, but his brain is hotter.
I see a future love connection. If you could spend a day doing shrooms with one director, who would it be and why?
CM: Francis Ford Coppola. Duh. ‘Cause I love him.
Now let’s talk about the real REAL star of the video. Where the hell did you find that awesome hat and can I borrow it?
CCM: I brought it for you! I got it outside the L train Morgan stop in Brooklyn, there are people with little stalls selling stuff outside the subway.
Check out the video here:
Love you bitches, can’t wait to see what crazy shit you come up with next!