Music is multidimensional and contains many layers with very specific stories to tell. The Haitian Music Industry's “Invasion" trio, CaRiMi, is guiding their followers on a promising journey through their music's evolution. Haitianbeatz presents, “The Invasion of CaRiMi” interview.
Music is a universal language that differs depending on the culture. No matter what country you go to, the sound of music will be vary to a certain extent. However, one thing that is certain is, regardless of whether the lyrics are understood, the melody will always connect the listener to the subject matter of the song and the emotions that it evokes.
CaRiMi, a band started by three friends, Carlo Vieux, Richard Cave and Mickael Guirand, was able to accomplish this feat, since their inception in the Haitian Music Industry in 2001. Their music has connected with people and cultures from around the world.
To really know CaRiMi, is to know where they come from and where they plan on going. CaRiMi's music has been defined by creativity and individuality in taking their fans on an everlasting journey. This journey has kept them relevant in the Haitian culture, its music industry and in music overall for the last 12 years.
Their new album, Invasion, is an album for musicians and music lovers worldwide. "When it comes to creativity, we have a sound that we want to share with our listeners. Our melodies, lyrics and arrangements were all molded into something that was not out there," explained Richard. "We've listened to and still listen to all types of music from all genres. We do not limit ourselves, and we let this knowledge of other cultures and music flow through our creative and growing process until we get something that is musically different then what is out there."
Carlo continued, "We always knew that in a garden of red roses anyone will notice a white rose. We tried hard to be different from what was out there and we created it."
Carlo recalls never wanting to start a band: "I offered Mickael, after our last tour with Kdans —back in 1998 — to release an album with me just for the sake of releasing some songs that we had. Richard came to New York around that same time. Mickael spoke to him about the project and agreed to embark on it. We produced the Bang Bang album, while we were still in college, and that cleared our path to success in the HMI."
Haitianbeatz: If the band could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
CaRiMi: It would be Gospel music. You find everything in gospel music (hip hop, R&B soul, jazz, easy listening). Gospel is truly a great genre.
Haitianbeatz: In your most honest opinion, what do you feel is the band's greatest strength or weakness?
CaRiMi: Our strength is we put the band first. We set common goals for the band and we make sure we reach these goals. Ultimately what is good for the whole team will be good for the individuals that worked together to achieve that goal. We also show appreciation to our musicians because if it were not for them, there wouldn’t be a band. Most importantly: our amazing fans! Our love for them goes beyond what words can sometimes express. They are ultimately our customers. We have to always cater to them and make sure they are satisfied in every shape or form.
Our weakness stems from the fact that we are caring individuals in a business that does not care about the individual. We try to be nice to other bands or other artists who will not necessarily be the same way so we’ve ended up learning the hard way sometimes. However, through gaining a better understanding of the business, our weakness has become a strength.
Haitianbeatz: Which creative medium would the band love to pursue but hasn’t yet?
CaRiMi: We think we are pursuing it on this album, Invasion. We're very creative on this one and our fans will enjoy it.
Haitianbeatz: Does the band try to create music to give messages or reflect on important matters/subject(s)? If so, what are they? Should we expect to hear any messages on the new album?
CaRiMi: Yes. We encourage people to go on iTunes to download our past works. Bang Bang describes Haiti’s perpetual chaotic state, Wanraje, Domestic violence, En Si Peu De Temps, DUI. The fans will discover that on our new album when it comes out on November 1st, however, we delve into some interesting topics. There's a song on our beloved country, Haiti.
Haitianbeatz: Tell the HB readers the most important factors you all took into consideration from the beginning stage of the album’s creation to the end.
CaRiMi: Our sound is the first and most important thing. We wanted to make sure we came up with an album that was better than our previous one on all aspects of sound, lyrics, and melodies.
Everything had to be on point. A song is as good as the singer’s performance and also the background vocals performance so vocals and the chorus are very important to us. On this new album, we made sure they were very good. In any market, the vocals are very important; which is why nowadays with compression, all vocals are said to be in your face and louder than the music. It is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Catchy choruses are also the key to any successful album.
Haitianbeatz: What else can we expect from CaRiMi in the future?
CaRiMi: More creative and innovative music. We always try to surpass our last work. Once this album hits the market on November 1st, we'll start laying the groundwork for our 6th album. Innovation does not happen overnight. It takes years. Justin Timberlake took seven years before releasing his last album. It takes time, discipline, and hard work to come up with innovative work.
Haitianbeatz: If a non-Haitian reader of this interview were curious about the band, in one sentence, how would you convince him or her that CaRiMi is the best band to follow in the industry?
CaRiMi: We would encourage anyone who is not of Haitian descent to explore our culture more after reading this interview. To us the whole is better than the part. The band, CaRiMi, is a part of a larger entity. That is our country, Haiti. We’d also encourage the reader to listen to Compas music as a whole, not just CaRiMi. All of the other bands, in some way shape or form, have just as much to offer. Through the process of wanting to know about Compas music they will eventually stumble upon CaRiMi, not because we think we are better than others, but because we are part of the Haitian Music Industry.
Haitianbeatz: Do you have any stories about how the title of an album or a song came to be? Perhaps an inside joke between the members, or a phrase you came across?
CaRiMi: Fe’m Kado’W written by Richard Cave was a phrase that our friend Sergo always says when he spots a beautiful Haitian sister. So one day while talking to Richard at a CaRiMi show in Boston, this lovely Haitian sister walked by and Sergo said “Cherie fe’m kado’w non.” Richard loved it and morphed that one sentence into a great song. That is talent at its best. Kudos to Richard Cave.
Haitianbeatz: Do you have a particular theme for each album or is it mixed and matched?
CaRiMi: We develop themes at the end, after we produce the songs. We start with ideas that we turn into music. After a few songs we start seeing where it's taking us. We do not ever know from jump where we are going with an album. We may have an idea but sometimes it changes as the project starts to take shape.
Haitianbeatz: While performing live, do you like to do crazy or unexpected things that other bands don't normally do?
CaRiMi: Well, it depends on what your definition of crazy is (laughter). We still have an image to uphold and a crowd that follows us, therefore, we try to be reasonable. But to answer your question, yes, we do try to push the envelope a little further than most.
Haitianbeatz: Wherever CaRiMi goes, others will eventually follow. Agree or disagree and why?
CaRiMi: We always try to be the trendsetters. Again, it's all about presenting the same product differently. Others do follow so we are proud to know that our work is appreciated.
Haitianbeatz: Did you ever think the band was going to be this popular?
CaRiMi: Not for a second did any of us ever think that we would be the first Haitian band to perform at Olympia in Paris, sell out in Zenith; or receive awards for best bands, best album, best video, best single more than once. We are blessed and grateful to have such great and loyal fans, who believe in what we do. For that we say thank you.
Haitianbeatz: Describe your first feeling of the band's live concert?
CaRiMi: Indescribable. It just cannot be explained. It’s stressful but exciting at the same time. Imagine the fear of not wanting to make mistakes but also of wanting to do jumping jacks on stage. Each member has many mixed and different emotions. It was just a weird feeling.
Haitianbeatz: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
CaRiMi: Life happens, so we keep it moving and make sure that no one in the audience notices any shortcomings. We have to keep it moving. We are human so it is bound to happen. However, we try hard to be consistent. But after the show we crack jokes on the hiccups from whomever. It could be Carlo, Richard, Mickael, or anyone in the band. By cracking jokes we not only show that it is human to make mistakes, but we also make it a point to try not to repeat it during our next performance.
Haitianbeatz: Do any of you still get nervous before a performance?
CaRiMi: At this point in our career, not really. It petered out after 12 years in the game.
Haitianbeatz: How often and for how long does the band practice?
CaRiMi: As often as our schedule permits, for about 3-4 hours each time.
Haitianbeatz: What is CaRiMi, as a band for someone trying to communicate with his or her music?
CaRiMi: We represent a talented, innovative, and artistic nation. On Friday, November 1st, 2013, we will once again prove that our music is amongst the best out there.
Haitianbeatz: How has CaRiMi's music evolved since the band was first introduced to the Haitian Music Industry?
CaRiMi: We prefer to let our work do the talking so we encourage everyone to go on iTunes and download, not copy, the following albums: Bang Bang, Nasty Business, Are You Ready, Buzz, and Invasion to get a feel for how we have evolved. Support the CaRiMi brand.
Haitianbeatz: CaRiMi is a group of three college-educated men. Do you ever emphasize and encourage the younger members of the band to pursue their education?
CaRiMi: We do encourage it, but we do not shove it down people’s throats, as if it is the only way to be. Carlo is educated in Economics. Richard is educated in Finance. Mickael in Accounting and Fito, the band's manager, in business. It has worked for the band. While we do encourage it, we also think people should do what works for them as long as it makes our society better.
"Let me also say that education does not necessarily mean sitting in a classroom. We chose that route and it has worked for us. However, many great people in our society, whom have gone on to do great things, did not necessarily have a college education. Thus an education is not the sole ingredient for success, although it may be a factor. Education has what economist call “positive externalities” in a functioning society. We know this term because I was an economics major in college. I will benefit from having an educated neighbor and vice versa, however we should not discriminate if one is not traditionally educated because he can be more successful financially and smarter than a lot who are." Carlo Vieux
Haitianbeatz: Richard, in the song, "Pitit Sa", you sing about and describe how a child is not yours. Let's say it was discovered that your wonderful 1-year old child whom you love dearly, was accidentally switched at the hospital and not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?
CaRiMi: Tough question. That is a whole other debate. I do not have the answers to this tough question, although I can debate it. It would sidetrack us from this interview.
“Tough question wow!” Richard Ca
Haiitanbeatz: What's your favorite track(s) on the new album? Name a few guest artists we should expect to hear.
CaRiMi: We have Wanito, Izolan, Mika Ben, and I will leave the rest for November 1st. A far as a favorite track is concerned we cannot pick one. We invite everyone, to come have the CaRiMi experience at B.B. King in New York City on Friday, November 1st, Saturday, November 2nd at Moca Café and Lounge in North Miami, Florida and Friday, November 8th at Karibe Hotel in the Petion-Ville section of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
Haitianbeatz: Describe Fito’s, the band's manager, growth process with the band. How has his influence changed from then and now?
CaRiMi: Fito is one of the best, if not the best manager in the industry, hands down! No one can dispute this fact. He knows how to manage on a micro level in terms of the individuals in the band, and on a macro level in terms of managing the whole band, in this cutthroat industry. We are very impressed with his abilities, day in and day out, to make key decisions that are critical to the success of CaRiMi.
His influence has been unchallenged from day one. We listen to him and we look up to him with the utmost respect. As a band we are lucky to have such a great manager who knows the ins and outs of this industry and business.
Haitianbeatz: When the manager and band members disagree, how do you come to a mutual understanding that everyone will eventually agree on?
CaRiMi: Our agreement comes by putting the band first, not individual egotistical needs. Bottom line, if it will benefit the band we all agree even if we have differences in opinions. The brand comes first.
Haitianbeatz: What 3 inspirational words would you use to explain the band's existing solid foundation?
CaRiMi: Discipline, Team and Dedication.
Haitianbeatz: What legacy do you want to leave behind?
CaRiMi: Well we want to go as high as we possibly can on the success ladder in our music career. We want to be able to set a blueprint on how to run a successful music business, making it easier for the other artist coming after us. It is a business like any other. Our success is critical in order to defeat the negative opinions that have been expressed about the music industry and/or musicians.
"We are businessmen in the music business point blank. We are not musicians doing drugs, having a lot of girls left and right, many babies left and right etc. We will prevail above these stereotypes." Mickael Guirand
Haitianbeatz: When the show is over and the lights go off, what about CaRiMi makes you look forward to another moment on stage?
CaRiMi: Our fans. Every single time they start singing our songs it makes us want to continue even more. It's just incredible to see the crowd’s reaction to our work and that is something any artist would look forward to. Our fellow musicians as well. The fact that we love performing on stage, and we have fun whenever we're performing, makes us look forward to our next performance.
Haitianbeatz: For a child whose wings are broken, who might be reading this interview how would you use your influence as a band to help him/her soar again?
CaRiMi: If success were easy, hard work would not exist. Every single time there is a NO, he/she is closer to a YES. So the key is to continue with persistence and keep on keeping on. Use any type of failure as motivation to be successful. We do that all the time. As a team, we do not accept failure. We turn it to our advantage by letting it motivate us. And any child, whatever their dreams, should use any bumps on the road as motivation because eventually it will happen.
Haitianbeatz: How many more album(s) should we anticipate from the band?
CaRiMi: As long as God gives us health, inspiration, and love of the fans we will not stop. (Laughter)
Haitianbeatz: Any final words for the fans?
CaRiMi: We would like to first thank Haitianbeatz for providing us with this platform. Keep up the great work. Fannie, we thank you very much for a great interview. This gave us a chance to talk to our fans, we appreciate it.
The "Invasion" will start on November 1st, at B.B. King. Our album will be available on iTunes that same day, and our video will be coming out shortly.
Carimi: Thank you to all CaRiMi fans out there for blessing us with their support and we look forward to seeing them at our upcoming shows. Support your band, support the brand CaRiMi, and don't buy any bootlegs! Buy our work on iTunes or go to a store and buy the album.