Interview by Michael Beas
Artwork by Sherlan Abesamis (http://www.sherlanabesamis.com/)
Much had changed since Mark Redito’s last full length “Desire”. The unexpected success of his debut album, the life on the road, and the launch of his own concert series, Likido, had him landing in a place that was worlds apart from “Desire” days when he started working on his latest release Neutropical.
“Back then, I was literally a bedroom musician, I was staying at my sister’s place not quite sure of where my life was headed,” recollects Redito. “I always imagined that if I became a full time musician and started touring and collaborating with talented musicians, the whole process would just get easier. I thought that with experience there would be this sense of confidence.”
“I was wrong,” Redito admits. His admission of insecurity and limitation paradoxically freed him to find his new path. “I found that you can’t do everything you want to; and sometimes you don’t become who you think you’ll be. You have to forgive yourself in order to move forward. You have to allow yourself the grace and humility to acknowledge who you are. And that’s ok.”
Redito’s revelation ultimately led him to reassess his writing process and led him to the discovery of Tropical Futurism, a cultural aesthetic inspired by Afro-Futurism. Redito pays respect to the island culture he grew up with and finds hope in the culture’s resilience despite its past oppressions and hardships. Neutropical is a hopeful vision of the future that puts the island culture and values front and center. All the while journaling the personal journey of where he was, where he is, and where he is headed. (Written by Ryo Baum)
What was it like being filmed for the mini-doc any pressure when the cameras turned on?
I typically have to mentally prepare whenever I go on camera as it really not my natural state but I’ve learned to become comfortable with it over the years. I tell myself: “this is an opportunity to tell your story in your own words, why not make the most out of it?”
What is the one thing you want your fans and followers to take away from your music?
I hope for my audience to take away a lot of things from my music, but if I have to pick one thing it would be this: it’s ok to have respite from life’s worries. That you can make time to celebrate, be joyful, dance… even for just a moment. I want my music to be the vessel for people to find themselves, feel refreshed and feel liberated.
Every track has a story, every album has history behind it. Its been 6 years sense you released a full-length album, why the wait?
Life happens and I had to adapt and take care of things in my personal life. I went through transformations and transitions emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
I did release a few single and remixes in between the break and I think all those things: consistent creative practice, honing my craft, getting to know my audience and also exploring artistic concepts outside of music, helped me re-discover myself and my artistic voice.
In this day and age of music releases happening almost everyday, the pressure has become really crazy for producers and artists to churn out tracks and its easy to drain and lose yourself in the process. In my humble opinion, it’s important to really ask yourself: Is this work truly authentic to you? Would this speak to people? Is the timing right? Does it feel right?
What does Neutropical mean to you?
Neutropical is my personal exploration of “Tropical Futurism” – a cultural aesthetic heavily inspired by Afro-futurism (Sun-ra, Octavia Butler, Parliament-Funkadelic, Janelle Monae, Beyonce etc). With Tropical Futurism, I explored centering sounds, visual aesthetics and cultures that come from tropical areas of the world through futuristic/high technology lens. With Neutropical (the album), I asked myself: what would future tropical music sound like? What would future tropical people dance to? I had to look at the past and the present to explore the future. I took inspiration from a lot of Jamaican Music (Reggae, Dancehall), Afrobeats, South American Dance Music (Cumbia, Reggaeton, Baile Funk). These are all established genres with their own scenes and I tried my best to respectfully absorb and assimilate the spirit of these genres and imagine future iterations/interpretations through my own lens.
The Visual for “Break Silence” is empowering and for lack of a better word… Different. How did the concept for the video come about and how big of a role did you play in the directing of the video?
Thank you. I take that as a compliment ?
The video was directed by my friend Wes who goes by “a bluer Don Juan”. I presented to him the song and shared with him the lyrics as well as the ideas and visuals concepts I was exploring. He came back with the narrative and a shot list and we moved forward from there. It also happened that he was visiting Vietnam during that time, so he proposed the idea of shooting the video entirely in Vietnam which I’m so down for. With Vietnam being a tropical country, it added to the whole Neutropical vibe quite nicely.
Your upcoming tour is going to take you cross country, whats your favorite food that your looking forward to pig out on and in what city?
5/9/2019 Shenzhen, China OIL
5/10/2019 Shanghai, China LOFAS
5/11/2019 Nanjing, China The BVSSMENT
5/12/2019 Hong Kong, China TTN_
5/16/2019 Tokyo, Japan Circus
5/18/2019 Kyoto, Japan STAR FESTIVAL
5/24/2019 Manila, Philippines XX XX
7/11/2019 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop
7/12/2019 Denver , CO Larimer Lounge
7/13/2019 Seattle , WA Chop Suey
7/24/2019 Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
7/25/2019 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s
7/26/2019 Brooklyn, NY Elsewhere Zone One
7/27/2019 Boston, MA Mid East Upstairs