Did you know that there are websites on the internet where serious Haitian music fans and enthusiasts go to—not just to get news on the latest releases of their favorite artists and bands, but to also get industry scoops? Haitian Beatz is one such site. Based in New York and co-founded by Moses St. Louis, the site is part informational portal and part forum. And in case you’re not too ardent of a Haitian music fan, there are plenty of articles on other aspects of Haitian culture, from travel to historical trivia and interviews. So, what goes into running Haitian Beatz? And who are the minds behind the digital media company? Read on to find out!
Moses St. Louis and Haitian Beatz co-founder Jean-Price “Jacobin” Vixama.
Kreyolicious: How did Haitianbeatz come about?
First of all, let me say “thank you” for the opportunity. I’ve been involved in the Haitian media circle for a long time now…starting back in the 1990s with Konpadirek.com, Kompa Magazine, and finally joined forces with Opamizik.com. I spent few years with the site, until 2008 when I decided to start something fresh and new. I called my good friend, my partner Jean-Price Vixama (Jacobinnoir), and asked him to join me on this adventure, and here we are eight years later.
Kreyolicious: Why that name?
I wanted something broad, because at the time, most websites had the word “konpa” in them…kompamazine.com, konpadirek.com, compascentral.com, konpaevents.com, which came later…I wanted to have something broader that would include all aspects of the Haitian music industry, not just konpa. Also the word “beat” “ can be utilized in different context…not just music…like keeping our culture “on the beat”. As you can see the word “beats” on Haitian Beatz ends with a “z”, which was one addition that my partner Jacobin came up with, that I thought was cool.
Kreyolicious: There are ideas that get thought of, but that never come to fruition. What steps did you take to get Haitianbeatz from idea to actual product?
When I spoke to Jacobin, and told him about the project, he was 100% for it. We would talk from time to time on the phone exchanging ideas. We went back and forth picking a template. Once that was done, I had my cousin working on building the site. Therefore, I was getting more the up-to-date information. Jacobin is usually the technical person, and I’m more the person who work on contents. We compliment each other in that sense. One we had agreed on the template, I started working on the contents. I remember, sending an off-line link for him to review and he was shocked, on how much contents I already had for the website, including interviews, surveys, news on different subjects.
Kreyolicious: When did you realize that you were pulling an audience and that your site was catching on?
Once I started getting, angry phone calls from our artists [Laughter] about articles I have written that were not to their liking. However, I would get praises from the readers, because they like the fact that I tell it as it is, especially [with] the trademark series NBNB (No Bias, No Bull)…[Laughter] and my motto “I report, you decide”.
Kreyolicious: What goes into a standard day of managing Haitian Beatz?
One thing people don’t realize, maintaining a website is very difficult and a lot of hard work and dedication, because the readers expect you to keep them informed on a daily basis. Especially with the reputation I have built. Once there are some rumors out there, they expect me to dig and bring them the true story…like when a few of the TVices’ musicians abruptly left the band, I wrote the most detailed story about that breakup, the band leaders were not happy, but the readers loved it. Like when RichIe [currently of the band Klass] and Gazzman [leader of Disip] decided not to put together a band, after many thought it was a done deal. I reported exactly what happened, including details of secret meetings that they were held in New York. So, to answer the question, you have to always be on top of your game. Now, it’s a little easier, because people would call me with tips for stories, without me having to dig deep for the information.
This concludes PART ONE of the interview with Haitian Beatz co-founder Moses St. Louis. Be sure to watch out for PART II.