By Nicole Fitzgerald
What: 2007 Enviro Fest
Who: Quest Poetics
When: Saturday, June 9, 11-4 p.m.
Where: Mountain Square
Living in the Southwest, on the boarder between El Paso, Texas and Mexico, Randy Ponzio of Quest Poetics never grew up with an environmental mindset. But after traveling the world, including co-establishing a birth clinic/feeding program in the Philippines and making his home in B.C., Ponzio started thinking green — especially as a new parent.
“I have three kids and once you start having kids, your whole perspective on what you are leaving behind for them changes,” he said.
While recycling is one way to help the planet, Ponzio tries to make the world a better place through his music, whether through lyrical content or performing in local Bands Against Hunger Society shows.
“I like to write about others; I am always trying to look outside of myself,” he said.
Quest Poetics will perform at the sixth annual Enviro Fest Celebration on Saturday, June 9 at 11:45 a.m. in Mountain Square in Whistler Village.
One of Ponzio’s songs shares the story of a Mexican hopping the U.S. border.
“I saw old men crossing the river to come and work in the U.S.,” he said. “Some people saw them as dirty Mexicans. I saw it as people coming up to feed their family.”
When writing the song, one of 14 being recorded for the Quest Poetics’ debut album, Ponzio was moved to tears. He isn’t shy to confess he is an emotional man — he recently let the waterworks go watching the cartoon film The Incredibles . This emotional vulnerability is one of many reasons Quest Poetics recently charmed music critics into voting the Vancouver talent one of the top five acts of 2007 by Left Hip Magazine .
“I am always on the quest for what is going to move me; that is what I want to do with my music,” he said. “I cried during the movie. All of those kids ashamed of who they were and then coming out and being who they were; it was so liberating. I am a Mexican dude. I used to be ashamed of that. I had no identity. In the last few years, I’ve become really proud of where I came from. I am always on a quest with what will move me.”
Considering himself a poet first and musician second, it is no wonder that Sting (Gordon Sumner) is one of his biggest influences.
“I saw the opening night (concert of The Police’s tour),” he said. “It was ridiculous. I am a huge fan of syncopation and the guy can write like no other.”
Some musicians cringe at the thought of trying to define their music or attributing different influences to their sound. Ponzio has no such reservations.
“We are our influences,” Ponzio said. “I love The Police and it absolutely influences my music 100 per cent. I don’t sound like The Police, but you are going to hear their influence.”
Sampling Quest Poetics at myspace.com/questpoetics, other influences were apparent: From the melodic flow of The Fugees to the songwriting mastery of Bob Marley, Ponzio shapeshifts influences as far reaching as jazz, hip hop and even Rage Against the Machine.
“I find in folk music, there are amazing stories, but its not into rhythms and lyrics,” he said. “Then other music is rhythmic, but is lacking in lyrics and arrangement. There is a third head to this monster. I am not claiming to reinvent the wheel, but just blend the three.”
Ponzio performs as Quest Poetics sometimes as a solo act. The guitarist has learned to rely on looping to accompany his voice. He also performs with a revolving door of guest musicians who come and go as naturally as life does.
Friends Kostaman and The Vibrations will join Quest Poetics on the Enviro Fest stage, starting at 2:45 p.m., with their signature world-beat, feel-the-love music.
Admission is free.