VisceralView: How did you get your name? (Birthname or alias)
Carlos Contreras: My birth name was given to me like a heartfelt but broken Christmas present; it was my father’s, father’s name… Carlos – My dad’s dad was an alcholic abusive parent… but for some reason, my dad found the strength within himself… to name me after my grandfather (that I never met). It used to bother me, actually I’ve written about it – now, I just own it and try and make it “new.”
My alias actually came from setting up my email account, adn then it turned into a DJ name – I used to DJ spin records, and blend, for fun – my poet friends asked me to start DJ’ing at the local slam events – rather than using my real name – Don McIver started calling me DJ SoothSayer, it just kind of stuck. I dont go by SoothSayer much, it’s a cool name, just always have felt a little weird going by a nickname…
VisceralView: What all do you do artistically? When did you start?
Carlos: Artistically, my focus is spoken word poetry. I started writing 11 and a half years ago, as part of a high school class. Now, I run my own business, Immastar Productions, which focuses on the implementation, and logistical planning of workshops, events, and competitions that revolve around poetry. Immastar also has an off shoot Apparel line, Immastar Apparel. I do visual art on skateboards to hang on walls, and dabble in collage art. You can find my work in coffee shops, dance studios, tattoo shops, and bars around Burque – I love visual art, it’s my release, my hobby, something I dont have to feel like I have to be a master at, rather a release to have fun, and feel like I am still learning and growing, and that is an ok place to be with it. I recently bought a camera and am now venturing into the world of photography and film… we’ll see where that goes.
VisceralView: What have been or are some of your main inspirations?
Carlos: I would say the hustle of my fellow artists inspires me. When I look through a paper, or listen to the radio, or watch stuff online and see my fellow local talents in the spot light, it drives me to join them. I am a competitive person; I always want to be hustling as hard as the next, and or the last guy – or even harder. I dont do it for recognition, or event money, I just was raised to work, work, and then work some more. It’s all I know. With that said, I would say, my Dad is a huge part of my driving force. He isn’t artistic at all really, but he is the hardest working man I have ever met in my life! I just look at it like, he is 63 years old, and still grinding, there is no reason why I can’t get my hustle up! Some of my favorite artists for means of inspiration are: Hakim Bellamy, Diles, Damien Flores, Kenn Rodriguez, Esme Vandrager, Aaron Cuffee, James Altamirano, Brother Ali, Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Santan, Everlast, and Eminem just to name a few – oh yeah, Bob Marley, can’t forget him!
VisceralView: How and when did you first link with Visceral View?
Carlos: Wow, I think it has been about 9years at this point… crazy. I was in a sociology class at the University of New Mexico. I was put on the spot by a professor that had watched me read at a UNM slam in the sub, the week before. I got up and kicked a poem, afterward, Diles approached me. I was psyched, I wanted to record, so later that week we laid down like 14 poems to music in 2 hours… it was the beginning of so much more! At this point, Visceral View can be credited with so much in respect to what i have been able to do, and become with this poetry thing. Its now fun and business, family, and a hustle.
VisceralView: What projects have you been involved in or completed at Visceral View?
Carlos: I have I think 3 solo projects with Visceral View, the most recent and noteable being “Lost and Found: Journaling an Open Mouth” that project was fun, and is something I am really proud of! As a group, and part of Urban Verbs, I have worked on a 90 minute spoken word theatre show that has toured different venues in the country. I have been featured on some of VV’s compliations and projects with folks like Molina – those are always fun. VV keeps it funky and fresh, and where I fit in, I always try and lend a line or two….
VisceralView: What projects are you currently working on?
Carlos: Right now, Urban Verbs is looking for places to book our show – and we are in the very beginning processes of thinking of writing a new show – I am anxious to get back into the studio and bang something out – we like to keep creating, all three of us (Hakim Be, Diles, and myself) are prolific creators, we get tired of the same old thang, so we often shoot for something new, or at least a re-mix.
VisceralView: What upcoming shows,events, engagements do you have coming up?
Carlos: I host a Brewery Touring Series: I’ll Drink To That: that has shows coming up:
August 12th @ Tractor Brewery 4-6pm
September 30th @ Marble Brewery 4-6pm
October 14th @ IL Vicino Brewery 4-6pm
August 9th I host my monthly Smokin Slam at Smokehouse BBQ in Rio Rancho 6-8pm
August 11th I am part of the Heroin Awareness Commitee’s fundraising event – check August Abq Arts for time and location
September 8th from 2pm-8pm I am at the Coronado State Monument hosting a family day of writing workshops and performance – FREE come out!
Sept 8th 10am-4pm at the NHCC for TedxAbq!
September 13th is the Smokin Slam Again… 6-8pm Rio Rancho Smoke House BBQ
*Aside from that I am co-coordinating and have partnered with Diahndra Grill to create a larger and much more professional looking and structured version of a program called JustWrite – a poetry exchange and dialogue project between incarcerated adults, university students, and writers in the “free world”.