Antonio Ocasio grew up in the South Bronx where the neighborhoods were booming with a rich sound in music that included both, the African American and Puerto Rican culture. He was exposed to several forms of music especially; Latin, Latin Jazz, African rhythms (due to religion), Soul, Funk, Disco, Gospel and Rap. The combination and sometimes integration of both cultures made an excellent arena for Antonio to have a broad and wonderful musical experience.
At a very early age, Antonio was exposed to the music of Carlos SANTANA. He states: "I remember once my older brother was very excited as he ran into the house, woke everybody up and insisted that we listen to what was SANTANAís first album." "I was instantly hooked on his music." "Today I know that SANTANA among others (WAR, Earth, Wind & Fire, New Birth, Stevie Wonder, Joe Bataan, etc.) is one of the pioneers of cultural dance music." "He has been a major musical influence in my life."
Around the age of 12 or 13 Antonio met a neighborhood DJ by the name of Rookie. "He basically took me under his wing and not only was he teaching me the art of mixing but also allowing me to play with him at parties." We also played music at public parks. "This is a very important aspect of the underground music scene that is rarely mentioned, but it was an integral part of the movement." While growing up in the South Bronx Antonio was also exposed to funk and soul but he especially remembers getting into rap music as it was being developed right in our neighborhoods. "We would hang out in the project hallways and while we banged on the walls with our hands or whatever we had to make music the fellas would just make up rhymes."
As a teenager Antonio started to drift towards the disco/funk/jazzy sounds. "The first record I brought was Brazil - The Ritchie Family in 1974." I have not stopped buying records since. His extensive collection consist of: LATIN, LATIN JAZZ, ALL ERAS OF JAZZ *(traditional, classical, etc.), DISCO, SOUL, FUNK, DANCE & WORLD SOUNDS. "Today I am at a point musically whereas I am open and seeking all kinds of music." "The main thing that I focus on is how does the music make me FEEL." "I listen to the message in the music and the story the music presents, especially in instrumental songs." I donít believe that a song has to have words to tell a story!" About this same time (1974-75), although he recalls being under-age, he managed to get into many of the New York Clubs (Bonds Intíl, Latin Times, Starship Enterprise, etc.) but for the most part he religiously went to "The Loft," "The Garage" and Ď"The Funhouse" on a weekly basis, for years. I did not go to either one of those clubs to hang out with David Mancuso, Larry Levan or Jellybean Benitez. I went to listen to some dope music and........, DANCE! From an early age Iíve Learned how to Dance from Within.
"I would go to the Funhouse until about 4am and then either go to the Loft or the Garage until about 12 in the afternoon! - These were wild and fun times." "When I first went to "The Loft" it cost $3.99 (1974)." "I practically grew up in "The Loft" and much of my dance/music roots & experiences are based there." He loved the way that David Mancuso very simply played the music. "I really admired the fact that David Mancuso was playing the music which other DJís were not playing." If thereís anything that Antonio learned from David throughout the years, itís to "play the flip side" of records. "When I play music, I am very much into playing jams that other people, for whatever reasons, do not play." Antonio credits his courage to present different music, although not popular or mainstream, to his love for music. "Yeah, it takes courage to play from your heart and truly believe that the music lover will appreciate what youíre playing and not worry about clearing the floor.
In January of 1998, Antonio Ocasio developed his own label so as NOT to have to COMPROMISE producing the music that was in his heart Ė hence TRIBAL WINDS.