This week, Cacoteo.com gets the low down on
“Los Reyes Del Underground”
Maicol y Manuel
by Itzel Yagual
What brought the two of you together?
Maicol: Manuel and I go way back, we met through a friend named Blanco. Besides the fact that we were both into music, we both lived in the same neighborhood and hung around the same people. In our teens, we started performing in local events, talent shows and later, out of town shows.
Tell me about your childhood were they similar? What was difficult?
What do you miss about it?
Maicol: I miss the fact that we were all equal, no one was really trying to compete and that people were simply focused on sharing music. In the past, new acts, new talent were not in any means commercialized. Today, people work with the mentality of “every man for himself,” and there is no way around that mentality; sad as it may be, it is what it is. Nothing is given or received for free everyone in this business expects something in return.
Manuel: What I missed the most was that there were fewer rules, there was more partying and that there were no differences, like we have today. Getting together to make good music, a new style strictly for our youth was and continues to be our everyday goal.
Who played a vital role in your life?
Maicol: My mom has been remarkable throughout my everyday life. She use to sing, write poetry, write songs and because of that, she ignited the fire that was in me which drove me to my destiny. I later became hooked when I listened to Shabba ranks, Wiso G and the list goes on.
Manuel: I would have to say, my brother. Growing up, he was not only my idol but taught me many things that made me a better man.
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Maicol: I would have to say, my daughter, my cell phone and music.
Manuel: I can’t live without my kids, my lady and my fans.
What do you enjoy doing on the weekends?
Maicol: I like spending the weekends with my daughter. She’s an important part of my life.
Manuel: I like spending time at the beach to relax, to forget about the problems and to leave all the stressors behind. It feels good to lie on sand, be under the sun and listen to the ocean.
What kind of movies do you watch? What was the last movie you saw?
Maicol: I like to watch all kinds of movies and more so when there is a good plot or storyline that keeps me interested. The last movie I saw was Fast and the Furious 5, which was two thumbs up in my book.
Manuel: I like watching movies that have history, adventure, drama and action. The last movie I saw was Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which was pretty good.
Do you have any hobbies or engage in any extra curricular activities?
Maicol: Well I call that PlayStation sports. Right now, I am addicted to Call of Duty and I’m playing that quite often on my down time.
What motivates you to create this type of music and why?
Maicol: I write music because I live it and I want people to value life through my eyes and my music. Life without music would be not the same because music fills your soul, it calms you and it makes the feeling-less filled with emotions.
Manuel: I have always loved to sing, even from the time that I was little. I don’t recall a moment where I was functioning without music. Music to me is priceless and I do it not only because I love it, but also because music is my life.
What moment or event elevated your career? How do you stay grounded while achieving many successes?
Maicol: I can’t really pinpoint a moment but I know that our careers took new heights when we started touring all the cities in Puerto Rico. We worked hard, and it felt good putting our music out there. Soon enough people fell in love with what we brought to the table and started realizing that they couldn’t keep away from the contagious vibe of our music. In the midst of our travels, we have helped artists such as Don Chezina, Alberto Stylee and others.
Manuel: We make music everyday from our hearts, not about money or some fictional story. Our music is explicit, honest and you will find no taste of falsehood in it. Maicol and I are very happy with the success we have attained and proud of the awards that we have received but more importantly we are very thankful for the support from our fans because without them, we would not be here.
What does the word Cacoteo mean to you? Do you consider yourself a “Reguetonero” or “Caco”?
Maicol: I don’t see myself or identify myself as a Caco or Reguetonero. I see myself as a regular person, who tries to be the best in this genre and music industry by using my skills at full play. Putting a label on me would be like setting limits. I am about going beyond the limits and setting new records, that is who I am.
Manuel: I identify myself as neither. I see myself as a player in this music game and as a tropical urban artist who is remarkable at what he does.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you are performing?
Maicol: I think about making people have a good time and I ask God to instill strength in me to ensure that I transmit the message I’m trying to pass my audience. At that very moment, my main goal is for people to have fun and forget about their troubles at least for a while.
Is there a specific way or specific time that you are most compelled to write and create music? (in studio or home etc.)
Manuel: I think about music 24 hours a day, so no there is not a specific way or formula, the music just comes naturally. When it does, I take notes and hit the studio. From there, I start putting the music like pieces to a puzzle. Regardless of what I’m doing, I am always focused and paying attention to my surroundings because any little thing, such as a sound, comment or nature could potentially lead me to create the next hit.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned working in the music industry?
Maicol: I feel that believing is power. If you want to do something, just do it don’t second-guess yourself.
Manuel: The business can be shady at times. Understand that you cannot confide or trust in people you are not working with.
From the time you guys started out to today, do you think Reggaeton has changed? Why or why not?
Maicol: From the lyrical content to the beats, practically everything in the genre has changed. Before it was underground then Reggaeton, and now it’s often referred as urban music. I think a lot of the roots of the real underground have parted. In some ways it’s good and in some ways it’s bad. The reality is that the music is still much alive and that everybody wants a piece of it.
What do you think about conflicts between artists in the music industry, does it maintain the hype of the music or is it simply publicity?
Manuel: It think this is just part of the music culture and the generation. Often times, the beef may depend on the artist and whom the artist has a beef with. Most of the time the beef is not personal but on some occasions they turn it into a personal matter.
What do you think about Reggaeton artists that change the underground style to create music that feeds the need of the current trend? Do you think it’s right? Or do you feel that the product is no longer Reggaeton quality? Why or why not?
Maicol: I think some of these artists are creating music that lacks the underground ingredient to Reggaeton and bringing something that is very different and just too commercialized.
What are things that will help you to succeed in the music business?
Maicol: Staying level headed and being positive, will take you anywhere and you’ll go as far as you want to go.
Manuel: Always be real and stay true to yourself. Don’t be a copy or a follower. Stay passionate, stay on the grind and work hard.
As an artist do you think it’s important to maintain your image and why?
Maicol: Yes, in this day in age, it is very important to maintain your image. Before it was just your words, could sell or hurt you. Today an image can make you or break you and your career.
As one of the most if not the most predominant groups of all time in Reggaeton, you guys had split up for a while & are now finally back together, how does it feel to join forces once again & what do Maicol & Manuel have in store for us in 2011?
Maicol y Manuel: We are going to bring the roots with some of the present styles and we don’t plan on changing our strategy. This time around, it will be better and we will demonstrate to others that we are still here and always will be here.
In today’s music business a lot of groups are splitting up and pursuing solo careers. What makes this duo unique and what has kept you together for a long time?
Maicol: We are realists, a dynamic duo who plays no games when we perform, spit or write music. We are storytellers bringing the stories that should be told and heard.
What artists have you worked with in the past?
Manuel: We have worked with JKing y Maximan, Franco El Gorilla, Don Chezina and many others. We are currently featured in JKing y Maximan’s mix album, which is coming out soon. You can also get a taste of us on Nico Canado’s A Lo Under.
Do you think Reggaeton would not survive without Latino support and or the online support why or why not?
Maicol: I think it would have but it would not be as strong because Latinos love Reggaeton and it is something that is ingrained in Latino culture. On the other hand, no, people are getting the music without even buying it.
What advice do you have for artists struggling with consistency in their music? Is consistency even important?
Maicol: I would say that they should focus on bringing music that is straight from their hearts and souls and to avoid becoming beat biters or copycats.
How would you like to be remembered or known for in years to come?
Maicol y Manuel: We want to be remembered as the superstars that pack the stadiums and that bring down the house.
What can we expect from the duo this year and in 2012?
Maicol y Manuel: Currently, we have about 12 songs. Basically, we will be promoting them on the streets, then promote on the Internet and then plan for touring. In a few weeks, we will be visiting Colombia and Mexico. After that, we will be working and compiling our music for the new album.
Where can we learn more about you?
Maicol y Manuel:
Our fans can find us on Twitter.
Gracias Maicol y Manuel for the great interview de parte de tus fan aqui en Cacoteo.com!