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Interview: Ozomatli
Saturday, July 7, 2007

T: What's it like playing with ten people and how do you handle eachother?
Mario (drummer): Playing-wise, I play the drums, so there's a lot going on, I try to stay out of the way a lil' bit. Try to lay it down mostly pretty simple. Getting along, almost the same thing, you got to give eachother space. It's about kinda respecting everybody's space musically and physically, and it works...amazingly.

T: Yall had something to do with the South Central Farm right?
Raul: Yeah, yeah, we played an event there. The South Central Farm was an empty lot, essentially, in this industrial corridor in LA. In that part of town people live kinda right next door to some manufacturing warehouses and a lot of things like that. There's this whole kinda of industrial belt of LA but there are communties there. There's no parks there, so people just started using it to farm. It was a big plot of land, there was a lot of immigrants and people just started doing what they did at home and places they come from. They started growing vegetables and would eat 'em, and kinda have lil' markets. It seemed like a really cool thing but the guy who owned it, he was trying to sell it. He essentially told them they had to get out of there. The city tried to get involved, a whole bunch of people tried to get involved to stop it. So, it became more and more of this thing where people were trying to reclaim that land space. It was a long battle, a lot of people got involved. We supported by playing but also just mentioning it when we could, and putting it on our website and things like that. It lost but I think it was totally worth the battle. There's a whole community that rallies around things like that, and you win some and you lose some. But I think there was something even bigger, a lot of people had never got together, all these different camps kinda doing stuff, working on projects. So, there's a lot of positives that came out of there in terms of relationships with people. There will be something else that comes up I'm sure, and this is a network of people you can rely on.

T: What's it like filling in for Charli 2na and is there any problems getting over him being in the group first?
Jabu (emcee): It's like cake because I'm not filling in for him, there was actually a dude after him. I'm just filling the spot. I'm not going after Chuck. Charli is dope but it's the Jabu era right now.

T: Uli, you play a few instruments, give us the run down.
Uli (saxophonist): I play saxophone, clarinet, keys and requinto jarocho...and sometimes melodica.

T: What's behind the name Ozomatli?
Uli: Ozomatli, the name comes from Aztec origins and it represents a lil' monkey on the Aztec calendar. And the monkey represents fire, passion, the new harvest and dance. Which was a big thing for us, we were like, oh, it's the god of dance. So, we kinda put it to the band that way.

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