EXCLUSIVE Q&A's: UTOPIA MAS


1. Well now that name has officially been dropped, I guess now I could ask, what made you and the rest of the team decide to come up with Utopia and what makes THIS band different from all the other newbie band out there?  What can we expect from Utopia Mas?
I'd been working on the project for about four months, since November last year, without a name for the band when during a brainstorming session a friend actually came up with Euphoria, then i thought how about Utopia and it just seemed so right.

There's a lot which will make us different, some of those things I obviously cant divulge in public, I'm certain some bands in the years to come will copy things we do but for this year at least I'd like to be the first and only band to do them.

What I can share with you though is that we are taking a different direction to what has become the normal thing in 21st century mas, not just in terms of costumes but all manner of things, distribution, food, road management everything has been looked at in detail and overhauled in such a way to make the entire experience of playing mas a pleasurable one.

2. Will this band be all inclusive?
Absolutely. We already have agreed contracts for trucks, we have drinks trucks with premium brands and we'll be serving high quality food. I have brought in a very experienced catering manager and we are currently running through a variety of potential menus, testing things to see how they work for lunch etc, given the special circumstances of feeding a mas band. We've come up with some very good solutions and having worked as a chef I'm especially keen to have good quality tasty nutritious and of course filling food. But i want to add, all inclusive to me is not just about food and drink. mas has become somewhat pretentious, you need a clique or link to get in a band, or have to be deemed good looking enough to wear a costume. To me that is not what mas is about, it's supposed to be about freeing up yuhself and having fun, whoever you are. I've expressed absolutely that our photo shoot and launch models will reflect the true women who pay money to play mas, all races, all sizes, all colours. Trinidad is the rainbow nation, together we aspire together we achieve and in that sense we are an all inclusive band, black, white, red, Indian, Spanish, Chinee, Dougla, short, tall, thick, thin, man, woman, straight, gay or lesbian we are an All Inclusive band.

3. What are the price ranges of the costumes?
That still has to be confirmed, we are currently in prototype stage, several costumes are completed already but not until we have finished all prototyping will we be able to confirm our unit cost. However we have a good idea what that will be and we are looking to make mas affordable.

4. How many sections can we look for?
Eleven. Darkness, Light, Sunset, Cherry Blossom, Lemons & Limes, Butterfly, Ocean, Emerald Forest, Chocolate, African Violets and Rainbow

5. Will the registration process be? The process of other bands has proven to be noneffective.
Once people are looking to come play mas with a good spirit then they are welcome, there will be no clique or link, it's about playing mas and having fun. Committee members will be taking pre-registrations before the launch but after the launch we are open to everyone.

6. I know that it have mas bands that have started giving their masqueraders a little something to wear on Monday and has become the norm, or even expected of the all inclusive bands now. Will this band have Monday wear and if so would it be included or additional?
We'll have something nice for Monday, it will be related to the theme and it will be included.

7. How soon will your website be up?
The website is now up today, www.utopiamas.com the facebook page should be up this weekend too and hopefully by Tuesday we'll have a teaser video posted on the website and facebook page.

8. Will there be an online registration? Will the registration be public or private?
Yes we'll have online registration for international masqueraders, local will need to register at the mas camp. And it's public. I'm really not into the whole clique thing and I don't think there is any place for it in mas.

9. What can we expect as far as music on the road? Do you already have DJ's in mind or booked (seeing as many of the popular DJ's are already taken). Some bands give a variety of soca, kaiso and upbeat dance hall or reggae music on the road, will this all be an option or will be the masqueraders be subjected to only whats 'in'?
We have some well known DJ's we are currently in talks with and that should be finalised by the end of the week. Also two of our committee are DJs. I'm a SOCA man and for me carnival is about SOCA. For the entire year Trinidad culture is overwhelmed by music genres from outside, which is fine in it's place, but carnival is about SOCA. It's just two days out of 365 and personally i dont wish to hear Vybz Kartel or Pitbull or Jah Cure during carnival.  That said, as well as SOCA DJ's we'll have something surprising and interesting on the road.

10.What age group are you targeting? *if any
We're open to all ages, we wont exclude. Are costumes are sensual and sexy, but we're not just bikini and beads, we have a variety of designs so i think we'll appeal to a wide demographic in that sense. I guess if anything we're aiming at the 20 to 40 age group but that's not to say over 40 and under 21 can't play mas with us. Mas on the road is all about the vibe, if you feel what we are doing, feel the theme, the costumes, feel it and bring the vibe then you're welcome.

11.Do you plan on crossing the savanna stage?
Most definitely. I want to win band of the year, I'm serious about that and people looking to come and play mas with us need to know from the beginning that we intend to compete.

12.Do you plan on crossing all check points?
The only stage we will not be crossing, unless it's moved is Piccadilly greens purely for the safety and comfort of the masqueraders, if it's relocated then we would consider crossing depending on where it's moved to.

13.With all the 'designer sharing', who's designing for your band?
I am band leader and designer. This is a traditional aspect of mas which has been missing for almost a decade. The band leader was always the designer, it's something i think needs to be brought back into mas, which is why i have every respect for K2K and what they did last year. In terms of Utopia Mas i have conceptualised the theme, designed all the costumes, frontline and backline, sourced all the materials, and been completely involved in the prototype process from patterns to stonework. I have a wonderful production team with a vast amount of experience but ultimately this is my vision and if I'm not happy with something I'm changing it, so far, what we have produced looks beautiful.

14.Who's forbidden to design from your band? *hey, I've gotta ask. Cause it have some designers that blight bands as they come design for them..........
No one is forbidden,  I've had several designers approach me to sell designs or bring out sections in the band but paying designers for designs simply does not work with our philosophy. We are a modern 21st century mas band with all the comforts and treats the modern masquerader expects, our costumes are very sexy and sensual but we are not afraid to bring back some traditional elements of carnival and one of them is the band leader being the designer.

15.Where will your mascamp be located?
Woodbrook.

16.Are there any private sections?
No. That doesn't work with our philosophy. As i said earlier.

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