Welcome to the September 2012 Cool Cause at Urb’l Remedy! It’s brought to you by way of GOBI, who are one of the many acts across the globe playing the second annual Playing For Change Day on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Playing For Change Day is organized by the Playing For Change Foundation.
GOBI are an electro/dance/hip hop duo, J Dillon and Chuco Phil, who share that El Paso-Austin, Texas connection with me. That is, they are from El Paso aka Chuco Town and live in Austin, like myself. They are currently working on their debut, Gold On Black Ice, to be released Spring 2013. They are heading up the Austin Playing For Change Day at the Blackheart at 86 Rainey Street 78701. If you’re in the ATX, go to their show. If not, check to see if there are acts Playing For Change in your area. Find out more about GOBI and this upcoming show at their official site.
Chuco Phil will be representing GOBI for the purposes of this interview. Thanks to Chuco Phil for turning me on to the Playing For Change Foundation and their Playing For Change Day and for talking about GOBI’s participation in it. It’s right in line with Urb’l Remedy. Now, on to the interview!
Urb’l Remedy: Tell us about the Playing For Change Foundation and Playing For Change Day.
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: The Playing For Change Foundation is a group of people who came together united by the idea and passion to help fund and endorse music programs and musicians in impoverished areas around the world. The foundation is all about making music accessible to everyone and serves as a thriving platform for musicians whose talents may have gone untapped or unnoticed, simply due to their social economics.
Playing For Change Day is a day of awareness to raise money for the foundation by having concerts all over the world and to ask patrons for donations. The money raised on Playing For Change Day will make an impact on artists living in poverty and will help bring their voices to the ears of their communities.
It means a lot to us to be able to work directly with some of the great minds and passionate hearts that first conceptualized the idea of showcasing street artists around the world, and then, through the inspiration of their travels, creating the Playing For Change Foundation.
Urb’l Remedy: How did you find out about the Playing For Change Foundation and Playing For Change Day? How did you hook up with them?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: It seems like rarely anything in life is a coincidence. Certain events which seem random or inconsequential can come together all at once. In this case, I was working at a school running a program to help kids with autism and one of my buddies, Chuck, who taught a world culture class brought me a DVD one day. He was insistent that I play it, immediately. Chuck is one of those guys who is so laid-back and cool. You love to see him in the middle of a long week when you desperately need a break. So, I was pumped by his enthusiasm. We put that DVD on the projector and cranked up the volume and what happened next was [hearing] the best cover of “Stand by Me” I had ever heard.
I believe in the Duende, a power to cultivate and be possessed by an artist. Perhaps, the talent is not superior in technique or classic dogma, but the artist exhibits a sense and presence that stops time. Some call this the “it factor.” Fedrico García Lorca called this “Duende” and the DVD that Chuck played me that afternoon showcased artists with pure Duende.
To be a successful musician many factors must unite at the perfect time, in the perfect equation, at the perfect place, and many times people that have a lot to express, fall through the cracks or are only left playing on a street corner to preserve their sense of duty as a musician.
Here was a DVD, which was giving these people, who misfortune had let fall through the cracks, a stage so large it took up the entire world, yet so obtainable it fit in everyone’s living room.
A couple of days after Chuck came and showed me the DVD, our manager, Milton, forwarded me an e-mail asking if GOBI wanted to play in a fundraiser event called Playing For Change Day. The universe has a unique way of communicating.
Urb’l Remedy: Tell us the details of your Playing For Change Day show.
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: The details are still being finalized and day-by-day more bands are being booked for the event. I know it will take place at the Blackheart, on Rainey Street, and I know GOBI will play once the sun sets, so we can put on a proper show! The event will be free and will have a suggested donation at the door.
Urb’l Remedy: What can fans expect from your set that day?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: J Dillon and I are currently recording our debut LP [Gold On Black Ice]. We are constantly writing new songs, so I know we will be playing some brand new music that night. I can tell you this, there will be a lot of lights, a lot of dancing, and a good friend of ours who has been missing for the last few months may be reuniting with us on this night.
Urb’l Remedy: Why is this an important cause for GOBI?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: Music is an expensive art. Sometimes it’s hard for musicians to just maintain the maintenance on their instruments; much less have to replace prized possessions when they either run their course or the bills are due. I say it’s hard, but we’re the fortunate ones: If a piece of my gear gets destroyed or I need a new synth, we just book more shows and save some cash for a couple of months. For some people in parts of the world, music is a luxury meant only for the wealthy and social elite. The Playing For Change Foundation not only helps musicians in need by supplying them with instruments, they also stimulate local economies and help the local merchants who create and masterfully make the instruments.
Urb’l Remedy: How do you think music makes the world better?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: Music ignites an essence that makes the world better. It is the candle that lights the torch giving us all warmth when our lives seem cold.
Urb’l Remedy: How does GOBI try to make the world better?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: GOBI provides people a place and a time to forget about life and to live. We strive to make our shows as entertaining and uplifting as possible. Dancing can work wonders and when people are dancing they’re happy. You never see people sad and dancing. It’s the joke we can all laugh to and the love we can all possess.
Urb’l Remedy: What can musicians and people in the industry do to support this cause?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: Musicians can donate their time and sign up to play a Playing For Change Day event in their hometowns to raise awareness and funds. [They need to] Simply go to their [the Playing For Change Foundation's Playing For Change Day] website and follow the script.
Urb’l Remedy: What can regular music fans do?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: People who want to help out can always go to playingforchange.org and make a charitable donation to the organization. Of course, we need everyone to come out to the Blackheart for the show on Playing For Change Day, September 22nd. Come out and do some day drinking as you listen to a day full of great music, make a donation at the door, and make sure you stretch before GOBI. If you wanna’ be a philanthropist, but don’t have that Bruce Wayne flow, you can donate something as small as one dollar. It all helps and it is all going to a great cause.
Urb’l Remedy: What does the combination of music and charitable giving mean to you? Why so passionate about it?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: Music is my favorite form of artistic expression and giving back to your community and others may be the best form of human expression. When the two hold hands, the possibilities are endless.
Urb’l Remedy: Any last words regarding the Playing For Change Foundation, Playing For Change Day, or your upcoming Playing For Change Day show?
Chuco Phil [of GOBI]: Follow us on Twitter @GOBIrocks or ‘like’ us on Facebook. We will be posting news about additions to the Playing For Change Day lineup and the latest info about everything GOBI.
GOBI=Chuco Phil+J Dillon