It happened. XTREME performed live in Australia for the first time, as the final act of they Sydney International Bachata Festival 2011. It was a full house! With attendees coming from all over Australia and the world!.
I was lucky to sit down with Danny “Chocolate” and Steve Styles for a quick interview after their concert, as I wanted to learn more about XTREME, their history, their music and what they think of Australia!
Juan Ruiz: Guys, welcome to Australia. Can you tell us how XTREME started? I’m sure it wasn’t just like “let’s get together and sing”
Steve: when XTREME started it was around 2003. Actually Danny started the group first, as I was on a different group “Underground”. At that time there were a lot of underground groups, but one time that we had to go to Canada, Danny called me and say “come sing with us”, as one of the other singers couldn’t make it. I was… yeah, I’ll back you up. We went over there, and after the showed ended, I was “I’m staying here!”. So after that, we started signing all the shows together from then on. That’s how I came into XTREME, as XTREME had already started.
Juan Ruiz: I like the short version of the story, I’m sure there is a lot more than this (laughs… 🙂 ). Now tell me, how are you guys able to create such a unique style of Bachata? Where do you get your influences?
Danny: we come from New York, and New York is crazy, because we were born with Bachata music on all house parties, from our parents in the Dominican Republic. So we wanted to put both cultures together, so we made it happen.
Steve: Also, the difference from our music is the music that we listen to: hip-hop, rnb, etc which is very different than the traditional Bachata. We just took a blend of all these styles and put it into one style, an urban style of Bachata.
Juan Ruiz: Urban style of Bachata, indeed! And how did you come up with the name of XTREME?
Danny: we needed something big, we needed something that would be different, and because we sing spanigh music, we didn’t want to use a Spanish name as it would be “cliché” (laughs… 🙂 ). We needed something extreme, and XTREME sounded big!
Steve: it was weird at the beginning, but now it is what it is… XTREME!
Juan Ruiz: from your direct exposure to the different Bachata fans all over the world, how do you see the growth of Bachata around the world? What are your predictions for Bachata in 5 years, 10 years?
Steve: for Bachata you know, we predicted that Bachata was going to be big, since it is music of love and love is the number one language in the world. We knew Bachata would get somewhere… everywhere, but never thought it would go so fast, grow so quickly and move so steady to different countries and different continents, Bachata even here in Australia!
Hard to imagine that from a small country in the Caribbean, were Bachata was a music of “cabaret”, underground music played at strippers joints and cantinas, where you had this old men falling in love for young women, and that’s how started the Bachata. Even though this day, in certain parts of the Dominican Republic they wouldn’t suggest to play Bachata music, however, it is the biggest music outside Dominican Republic right now.
Danny: YEAH! I can see it on they way they dance it, on the way the move. I can see they have a different style, since I got here, I’ve been looking at the way people dance and it is really great! Some moves are so interesting! I wish I could dance like that one day (laughs 🙂 ). It is great, man!
Juan Ruiz: so when you get back to New York, and you see all your Bachatero friends, how will you describe what you saw and lived here.
Steve: The first thing they are going to say “In Australia, are you for real?! WOW that’s crazy, I don’t believe you”. They are probably going to see YouTube looking for videos and they are going to see it, as they are not going to believe it at first. But they will get used to it. Our music is getting farther and farther.
Juan Ruiz: any final words to the people here in Australia?
Danny: yeah, that we love them. Hughs and kisses to everybody. We’ll be back
Steve: We love our fans, this is our first time in Australia, definitely, this was an experience not to be forgotten, this is crazy. Who knew that in this continent so by itself all they way down here, they listen to Bachata, they live it and love it, and they love XTREME, and we love them back. Just like Danny said, we’ll be back! YEAH!