Tag Archives: Karpos Multimedia

art + music by Alyssa Castillo

A Quick Chat with LAUV

The artist talks about being on MySpace, curating Spotify playlists, and his upcoming release.


Before he was LAUV, Ari Staprans Leff was just some 13-year-old who had the knack for making music. “It was this gradual process where I just kept writing songs and playing in bands or touring before I thought, ‘this is the only thing I ever want to do,”’ he says. Ten years later, the artist is now 23, with his rapid rise to fame bolstered by hit singles “I Like Me Better” and “The Other.”

How did you first get into music?
I started playing piano when I was 5 years old. And then I picked up the viola because my sisters were playing violin, cello. But I really started writing songs when I learned guitar. I think I wrote my first song when I was like 13. Since then, it was writing, producing, and kind of just learning how to do the whole thing. At that point I was just exploring. I was too young to know exactly what I wanted my career to be.

What was the first song that you actually produced and released?
As Lauv it was “The Other” but way back when I was 13 I actually released a song on MySpace. I had such a big MySpace phase then and I used to just release random songs online.

Did you write about anything specific?
The first thing I wrote was like a breakup song even though I’ve never been in a relationship. I genuinely don’t know how it makes sense but I’ve sort of have always been writing love and breakup songs.


Looking back at the first song that you ever produced and released to the artist that you are now, what similarities or differences do you see? It’s been 10 years.
Hopefully, the songs got way better. But the way I see my songwriting existence was sort of like I was writing like this and then there’s a few years where I stopped thinking about being an artist. I thought, “maybe I can’t be an artist.” I moved to New York when I was 18, and thought of finding a more practical route. And I was like working at studios. I thought of maybe writing and producing for other artists or be a recording engineer or something. When I was in that mindset for a few years, I wasn’t writing about how I really felt. I was just writing what I thought people wanted to hear.

So by then you already knew who your audience would be?
My thought process then was, “oh I should write a song that I think that Katy Perry would want to record” or something like that. So I was trying to write hit songs because I needed to make this a business for my life. That’s sort of where I was at and I was forgetting to be an artist. When I wrote and produced my song, “The Other,” I was like, “Oh I should just write about how I feel and just be honest about my own experiences.”

What’s your songwriting process?
I like to, at this point, just be in the moment and sit down and not even really know what I want to write that day. When I wrote “I Like Me Better” I had no idea I was going to write that song. I just sat down with a new synth when I was playing some chords and like most of the song just came to me really quickly. It was sort of like magic honestly. Everything just comes out and you’re not trying and it’s not forced.

Let’s talk about your Spotify playlist. What’s “I Met You When I Was 18” all about?
I wrote that about when I moved to New York when I was 18. That was the time I was trying to figure out how I was going to be an artist. I fell in love for the first time out of nowhere and it was a long relationship. This whole playlist is about that time of my life, about everything I went through in that relationship and how I was figuring out myself.

Will the story continue? I feel like there’s more we haven’t heard.
Yeah, it’s an in-progress kind of thing. I have a new song coming out November 17 and I’m finishing a bunch of other songs that will come out soon.

How did you curate this playlist?
I don’t like to plan things too much. I’m finishing up a lot more songs which are all about that time in my life. This is where I could put them in order. I write songs out of order and I release them out of order. You just never know.

So, what’s the next step?
I’ve been thinking a lot about my identity. I moved around a lot growing up so I never had a hometown. And I’ve always moved to towns where people were all from there so I couldn’t really fit in. So, I’ve been very existential and trying to write about the human experience which is really important to me. I’m still figuring it out as I’m living life. Also, I’ll be doing dates with Ed Sheeran, which is really crazy. I’ve never played in an arena and soon I’ll be able to. And aside from joining a bunch of music festivals, I’m going on my first world tour next year so I’m really excited to announce that.

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Special thanks to Karpos Multimedia


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Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
art + music by Mags Ocampo

A Quick Chat with Phoenix

The band’s bassist and keyboardist Deck D’Arcy talks about their latest album ‘Ti Amo’

Six months into 2017, Phoenix released its sixth studio album. A collection of songs dripping in the band’s signature synth-pop and tinged with a slight sense of nostalgia, Ti Amo carried a subtle disco vibe with an in-your-face attitude of carefree delight. The Neighborhood discusses the long-awaited release (almost half a decade in the making) with the band’s bassist, keyboardist, and back-up vocalist Deck D’Arcy.

Hi, Deck! It’s nice to meet you. Ti Amo contains a lot of different sounds and a lot of different waves to ride. Did you guys plan for the album to come out this experimental-sounding?
Nice to meet you, too. No, we did not really plan things. We did not really know what we were going to end up with. But yeah, we worked more through improvisation for a while. The only idea we really had was to do something different but we didn’t have anything precise in mind.

I see. But what kind of sounds were you going for with this album?
When we record an album, we don’t really refer to anything particular. Those are all the memories of what we had before. So, in the past year we listened to probably a lot of French and Italian music so you see us going after an Italian flavor of love. It’s sometimes totally random, you know? We actually just bought a couple of keyboards and a new guitar and we just try stuff with what we have. We try out new instruments and new setups each time we do a new album. A new studio as well; we change locations every time.

Oh hey, that’s cool!
Yeah, so it’s all about doing some kind of new stuff with new tools, new palettes.

How does the band like to bond or hang out outside of the recording studio or outside of your tours?
It’s a bit ridiculous but touring and being at the studio takes up 95 percent of our time. When we take some time off, we hang out together pretty often but I don’t know, really. We are pretty close friends. We grew up together. We met at primary school so we’ve been around all together for a while.

I was wondering, what are the perks and downfalls of being able to think, write, and create music in different languages? I mean, you guys used four different languages in this album.
Yeah we have a little bit of edge. But again, it’s totally random there was no idea behind that. I wanted to include this Italian reference, fior de latte, and we all loved it. I guess that encouraged them to go on and to go with multiple languages. There were no preconceived plans for that. You know when something feels good, feels right, we just go out and do it.

But what’s the hardest part of being multilingual artists?
We don’t find any problem with it at all. There are many problems when you make music but that isn’t one. That’s more of an asset. Actually, the thing is we tried to make all of it French in the past and it did not work. We counted so many songs  where we tried to insert French that felt a little bit odd and then yeah so this album is the first time we’ve managed to put a little bit of French in a song.

That’s interesting. I also noticed your lyrics are very specific when you describe settings and scenes. Do you think mentioning very physical and tangible scenarios helps bring across abstract thoughts and feelings in a song?
Yeah. We try to be specific so it can be less specific. It’s a bit contradictory, no? Once we like the lyrics, we’re going to keep them. We will try to be specific so that people can try to find the meaning, the what, the why, you know? It’s all about how you are listening to music. There are kids coming from anywhere who grow up listening to a great song thinking it’s about them. I know some friends from a different time and the same thing goes. We all feel that the lyrics were written for us. We noticed that when people try to explain what we write, it’s always different. But a lot of times it’s much better actually.

Mags Ocampo
Mags Ocampo is a twenty-two-year-old writer, graphic designer, and life guru (or so her friends claim). She currently works as Rogue Media Inc.'s Digital Art Director and takes freelance jobs on the side. She likes diving into whitecaps, reading sad books, and trying to tear down the patriarchy during her spare time. She's taken on adulthood by changing her screen names to her actual name, and thus, can be found as @magsocampo on Twitter and Instagram.
culture by Alyssa Castillo

Into the Wild at Wanderland 2017

A brief round-up of what went down in the jungle of Wanderland 2017, just to give you some #FOMO realness.

“Manila, mahal kita,” is the phrase that you hear at every concert after our favorite artists finish their set. And yes, we love them too—just as much if not more.

Music has a way of giving you the kind of high that’s difficult to shake off. It’s an experience made even more profound when you get to witness these performances live. Wanderland, on its 5th year this 2017, has been the premiere music festival in country; reeling in music lovers from not just all over the metro, but all over the world.wanderland 1True to this year’s jungle theme, different creative hubs were built around the festival grounds specifically for Wanderers’ entertainment. Adinkra Lumads installed their own gazebo to share tambol jamming sessions with the public. Wanderartists Jappy Agoncillo, KFK Collective, Hapimeel, and Isabella Lalu were given their own unique spaces for live art and roaring gallery set-ups. Meanwhile, a high-intensity wall climbing activity by Tiger Beer unleashed the daredevils in the crowd. When the sun went down and neon lights engulfed the festival, the fire dancers from Project Dance Guild lit up the Filinvest Event Grounds with their daring acrobatic moves.IMG_0115The festival kicked off with local acts such as Lola Amour, Mickey Sulit, Fools & Foes, and Banna Harbera. For a full-360, different stages surrounded the festival goers as each artist came onstage and greeted the crowd with set-lists of their most well-loved songs.

By the time the clock hit 4:30 PM, it was the afternoon’s peak, and UDD (Up Dharma Down) caught the festival by the heart with “Oo” as fans screamed and danced through the song. Gab & John of Urbandub then set a more chilled-out vibe with soulful acoustic renditions of “Evidence” and “The Fight is Over,” setting a similar mood to jamming with your old pals, beer in hand. Solo artist, singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan, was simply a breath of fresh air that punctuated the afternoon’s cool, relaxed vibe.IMG_9966_LANY, the most sought-after act of the night, got cheers and clamors for “Walk Away” and “ILYSB” as fans sang to every lyric and swayed through the tune. The enigmatic genre of instrumental rock blessed Wanderers with Tom’s Story’s set as the band proved to be well on their way to making their mark on the Philippine music scene. Woodlock, on the other hand, played their raw folk music that settled down the mood before the night officially began.IMG_0071Nightfall came when the soulful Yuna (in all her glory) blessed Wanderers with “Lullabies”—the track that more or less paved her way to superstardom; and one that you won’t find on Spotify. It all got even better when HONNE hit the stage with the mellow “The Night” before quickly transitioning to a livelier mood with “Good Together,” all without losing a single head in the crowd. One of the real OGs of mute music, Explosions in The Sky, was nothing but amazing. The phrase “music to my ears” can’t encompass that full hour of non-stop performance that kept concert goers locked in awe.IMG_0138The duos Purity Ring and The Ting Tings held the most eccentric performances in the lineup. Both brought the energy up while the latter played two of their most famous hits, “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up and Let Me Go.” And finally, for the final act of the night, The Temper Trap made a comeback to Wanderland in the best manner possible: They didn’t let up without playing “Sweet Disposition.” It was the perfect way to cap off the night.IMG_0170Despite delayed schedules, unavoidable traffic, and even a few technical problems—Wanderland stills holds the title for the Philippine music festival that you wouldn’t dare miss out on. And if you did, well, there’s always next year.

In the meantime, who else is counting down til Karpos Multimedia‘s just announced Phoenix gig in August?

 Photography by Shanne Lauron

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Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.