I know. I heard. We all remember what we were doing, at the exact moment we heard the disturbing rumor—that Calle 13 would be no más. I personally was attempting to cook arroz con habichuelas when my comadre called. I blacked out. I don’t remember a thing except the smell of beans burning.
Breath easily—it’s just a pause for the band. All of us have dreams we’d love to pursue. And one of those dreams coming true is called El Psychodeli from my dear compadre, Mark “Bayanga” Rivera. The Calle 13 lead guitar, visual artist and entrepreneur has founded and built a new formidable business in true guerrilla spirit. As a self-proclaimed Latino Rebelde himself, I had to chat with him for a few minutes and find out what is it all about, and more importantly, how can we all join his movement.
MF: Knowing you for a long time now, I should ask…..
MR: Let’s talk about a movement. If this is really “Latino Rebelde” then I’m going to say what I want as a Latino Rebelde vs. talking about stuff anyone can Google and find elsewhere.
MF: YES! That’s the Bayanga I know! That’s what Latino Rebels do.
MR: Exactly. I may disappoint or motivate someone with what I’m going to say, but you can relate to where I came from and how I ended up here telling this story about me. I’m just like everyone else just pursuing a dream!
MF: Of course I can relate, Latino Rebelde is a movement in itself. Funny how you technically answered my last question. I could ask things I may find elsewhere, but you’re right, that’s not what Latino Rebels do. We want your uncensored truth. Now, how can our #RebeldeNation relate to you?
MR: I’ve always worked for a living. I’m a fucking obrero and always will be until I die—just like my parents and grandparents. It’s how I grew up: WORKING! My passion for music got me into playing guitar and long story short, ended up playing for Calle 13, but between gigs and traveling I kept working.
MF: We are characterized for being hard workers, that’s for sure. Now, Calle 13 sounds like an enormous undertaking. What were you working on during your “time off?”
MR: I own a woodworking shop and have been building and constructing all sorts of stuff for businesses, offices, movie sets, commercials, music videos, recording studios etc. The list is long mainly in art and design is what I’m into.
MF: Your new project is called El Psychodeli. How did that idea come around?
MR: Goofing around on a tour bus with Ismael Cancel, Calle 13’s drummer and Kacho López from Zapatero. Kacho came up with the name. I thought it was perfect, for it’s a good description of what this new concept is about. You got to be crazy or a psycho to get involved in a business like this in what everyone calls “the Crisis” for me its the perfect time for Puerto Ricans to rethink how we do work against the system that got us into this “crisis.” I have learned a lot 10 years touring so I’m just putting all these new ideas into this one place.
MF: You call the Psychodeli a movement. Calle 13 was constantly referred to as a “proposal.” Both terms are associated with groundbreaking change and encouraging society to be productive and practice critical analysis before ‘marrying’ into empty rhetoric. What is the movement you’re organizing with El Psychodeli?
MR: I’m all about being a part of a productive society or a movement. In Calle 13 it happened working against a shitty, senseless music industry. Getting a message across is now exactly what I want to do now with this new project.
MF: So, what exactly is El Psychodeli? A sandwich place where you can also get mental health therapy or protection from crazy exes?
MR: [Loud Laughter] No. El Psychodeli is an old school style deli restaurant and cultural exchange hub. It’s a corner building at Calle Cerra Santurce, Puerto Rico. It’s going to be half Deli, half shop: a mix of everything in one unique spot in a rundown neighborhood. It’s all changing thanks to a good friend that started a huge art movement in this area a couple of years ago called Santurce es Ley. I’m not doing this to profit from an opportunity. I live here and this is my home. I’m doing it to also be part of this movement and change the system on how we need to pull together a community and have a better quality of life by working together. I’m gathering everyone I know that can be part of this project, absorbing their knowledge, and passing it over to others through free workshops for everyone. It could be brewing coffee, painting, planting, building, playing an instrument or anything that can motivate someone to start their own thing and overcome this crisis. Let’s educate those that come and can’t afford or just don’t know how to get started. I want the lady next door to learn how to make a badass meal or come up with something new; open her own place across the street before some big corporate vulture company does. I’ll be the first one with a hammer in hand helping her build her own thing! Believe it or not I’m doing all this with no budget!
MF: First of all, I have to say, you’re not only a Latino Rebel, but a Puerto Rican hero. We need everyone to build community. We all should support businesses like El Psychodeli. Now, what amazes me is, you’re doing this with no budget! Wow! How can we help?
MR: I’ve been receiving help from neighbors and friends. Some donated equipment for the kitchen. Others donated building materials. Others are helping me actually build the deli. All of this started from zero. It’s been going on for a couple of months, but hopefully we’ll open before the year ends! I have organized a crowd-funding campaign because there’s obviously many expenses. If you would like to help with a donation and be part of this new project enter here…
…or contact me personally at [email protected].
René “Residente” chipped in and the word is getting out. It’s actually just starting to happen! In the end it ill be a fun place to hangout and the doors will always be open for everyone and if there’s anything you want to know about Calle 13 I’ve got tons of stories I can tell if you when you come and hang out at El Psychodeli with me!
MF: We’ll take that as an invitation and I’m sure the world will happily accept. We are proud of you and your work. And to everyone reading, please visit the crowd funding site and chip into this fantastic new movement El Psychodeli! You bet I’m having a cheese sandwich y café puya!
Marlena Fitzpatrick is the CEO of Editorial Trance and the Music and Arts Contributor for Latino Rebels.