Tag Archives: Ringlight Sessions

art + music by Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: Marga Jayy

She’s been singing other people’s songs since childhood, but stay tuned as she’ll soon be releasing a few of her own

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Marga Jayy.

It’s possible that you’ve already heard Marga Jayy sing—you just don’t know it yet. She’s recorded several covers of popular tunes for acoustic compilation albums, the kind that are played at movie cinemas in between screenings or on endless loop at restaurants and cafés. Or maybe you’ve seen her as the front act for the likes of South Border or Sarah Geronimo, whom she started opening for when she was just 11 years old.

“I’ve always been fond of singing; I would volunteer at school and join singing contests,” she says. Marga first caught people’s ears at the age of five, when her parents enrolled her in voice lessons after noticing their daughter could seriously carry a tune. To this day she approaches her craft with an eternal student’s zeal, studying every kind of genre and artist that catches her interest. “My musical influences have grown with research. I listened to old records. I listened to James Brown, Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey. Now I’m listening to African music. Anything I don’t understand, that inspires me,” she says, explaining how she formed her rather eclectic sound. “I started asking myself, ‘Is this what I’m going to do with my life? Sing other people’s songs?’ Meron naman akong sariling songs, so why not ilabas ko sya?” Watch this for a preview of what she’s got up her sleeve:

 

 

 

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
Now that I’m recording my own songs, every track is different. One track is jazzy with a world music influence, one is R&B, there’s soul, neo-soul… so I really can’t categorize, ang hirap. Sometimes when I’m asked, I just say, “Pakinggan nyo nalang, tapos kayo nalang magsabi!” If I say I’m jazz, for example, there are so many purists who would say, “But that’s not jazz.” So I respect the term a lot. It’s up to you. I don’t want to make any promises and tell people I’m soul and then come out with a song that’s not soul. So I guess the only thing I can promise is that I will evolve.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“Poetry” by The RH Factor, “Fantasy” by Meshell Ndegeocello, and “Retrograde” by Darryl Reeves. 

One song you would recommend to anyone.
“Mister Chameleon” by King. It’s a good song, easy to grasp, and at the same time, it’s really well done.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
It’s thriving, definitely. There are so many bands everywhere, especially now that it’s very easy to make music. Everybody has a recording studio at home; it’s so easy to produce songs and organize gigs, so there are so many gigs everywhere. Everywhere you go, meron.

Dream collaboration?
Taasan na natin ’yung pangarap: D’Angelo. Buhay pa, baka may pag-asa pa… ha ha!

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Nicole Ceballos

MARGA JAYY PERFORMS WITH PROJECT 201 BIG BAND AND AT Z HOSTEL AND TAGO JAZZ CAFE. SHE’S ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND TWITTER.
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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.
art + music by Mags Ocampo

Ringlight Sessions: Runway Crimes

A product of the MTV generation, Runway Crimes talks about their musical beginnings, the best songs of all time, and the release of their first full-length album.

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Runway Crimes.

Almost half a decade after releasing their eponymous EP, the boys of Runway Crimes are working on something special. An 11-track album, Familiarity, has been keeping them busy with late night trips to Glasstone Studios, Campsite Recordings, and O Ga Ne (clearly more for sanity than productivity). Familiarity, a so-called “collection of human experiences,” features easily relatable songs and a slightly experimental sound.

“Our sound is generally reminiscent of the post-hardcore era of the early 2000s. Our audience can expect something heavier compared to the EP we released in 2014,” frontman Paolo Tabuena shares. “We have also added elements of New Wave and Soul/R&B. We don’t know what to call our sound, but it is what it is!”

While no official release date has been decided on, the band pretty much promised us that it would come out during the first quarter of this year. We’re keeping our fingers crossed but ‘til then, we’re thankful for this acoustic rendition of the band’s latest single, “2600.”


Paolo Tabuena (vocals)
Philip Versoza (synth)
Matthew Warren (guitar)
Not in picture: Martin Hocson (bass), Chaco Cruz (guitar), Paolo Owyong (drums)

 

How did you each get into music?
Paolo: I was a kid and then I just watched a lot of MTV—that’s it! I just watched and watched and told myself that I wanted to be “that guy.” So yeah, I started to sing. My first audience was the shower curtain—a tough crowd, if you ask me.

Philip: Same here, pretty much. But I also ended up taking music in CSB (College of Saint Benilde). I really pursued my passion.

Matt: My dad and my brother and my sister are all musicians also. I mean, I also watched a lot of MTV but what was cool was that I grew up learning a lot from my family.

And then, how did you all end up forming a band?
Matt: I think Pao and I met in school—in CSB—and we started jamming together. We formed the band there but it’s gone through a couple of lineup changes since then. We were fortunate enough to meet Phil and all of our other band mates a little further down the line but we started with me, Pao, and Marts.

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Paolo Tabuena

What are your top three songs on repeat right now?
Paolo: Ooh, let me check my recently played! What’s yours, Phil?

Philip: Number one would be “Figure,” by Anorak. Number two would be—it’s an old one—Blue Monday by New Order. Lastly… This one’s a new song, “Warm on a Cold Night,” by Honne.

Paolo: Okay, mine would definitely be the new Glassjaw release, “Shira.” And then, I don’t know… The whole album of Tommy Boys. And… Some… Hmm, this is hard. Eternity Forever, probably the song “Fantasy.”

Matt: I’ve been listening to “Give and Take,” by Gypsy and the Cat, “Pick Me Up,” by Mansionair, and “Overtime,” by Knower.

Okay, let’s make it a little bit harder: what’s the number one song you guys would recommend to anyone?
Philip: Wow. Like a recent song?

Of all time.
Matt: Of all time?!

Paolo: The greatest song in the world?! Holy crap.

Philip: Well, shit.

Matt: The theme song for Star Wars?

Paolo: WELL, YEAH!

For real? I mean—you’d recommend it to people? No doubt that it’s great scoring but…
Paolo: Oh, yeah. We have to recommend it to people.

Matt: Can it be an artist? Like all the songs of one artist?

No, that’d be cheating—like how Paolo listed a whole album under his top three songs.

Philip: “Maybe Sunset,” by The Midnight. That’s a good song.

Matt: AH!! One More Time by Daft Punk!

Paolo: OHH, CRAP! Ang ganda nun. Hold on!

Matt: That song always comes in the clutch. Man, that’s such a hard question, though. My hands are shaking right now.

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Philip Verzosa

Sorry if we’re traumatizing you guys. 

Matt: Yeah, I’m just gonna lie down tonight and think about my life choices. I’ll call you guys at midnight and just be like, “WAIT! I want to change the song!”

Paolo: What would be the theme song of my life? I guess that’s what it would be like, right? Okay, it would probably be an Incubus song because those guys were the guys on MTV that I wanted to become.

Matt: Si Lodi?

Paolo: Si Lodi. [laughs] Okay, here: I’d pick “Wish You Were Here.”

Alright. We finally made it through that question! Who are your dream collaborators? Local, foreign—it doesn’t matter. Go for your wildest dreams as long as the artist is still alive.

Paolo: Mine would be Daryl Palumbo [of Glassjaw].

Matt: ‘Yan! ‘Yan! ‘Yan! I agree wholeheartedly with that.

Philip: Ang hirap naman ulit. I would say Anthony Green [of Saosin]

Paolo: Patay na ‘yung mga ibang gusto ko eh—Michael Jackson, ganoon.

On that note: In your own opinion, is OPM dead or thriving?
Paolo: It’s not dead. Definitely not dead.

Philip: It never died.

Paolo: I think it’s at its peak right now, to be honest—well, for me at least.

What makes you say that?
Paolo: Well, I like that we’re seeing people really doing this for a living again—I mean, that’s not us [laughs] but our friends and other artists we know are making a living off of music. I just don’t think that’s really been done for the past few years. Also, the fans are pretty crazy.

Matt: Yeah, there’s a great gig-growing crowd right now. The crowd’s a little younger now but their tastes have definitely improved. There are a lot of really cool events now, too.

Philip: OPM is definitely evolving. I noticed that the music styles in the Philippines are a lot more diverse now. A lot of kids are into folk music now—that’s interesting. So yeah, it’s definitely not dead.

Paolo: Yeah, definitely not dead.

Matt: Again, it never died.

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Matthew Warren

Who are other local bands that you guys like watching or listening to?
Paolo: Lions and Acrobats, for sure!

Philip: Tom’s Story, Autotelic and Up Dharma Down.

Cool! Okay, one last thing: can you tell me a little bit about the song you guys performed earlier?

Philip: It’s called 2600. It’s about breaking up with someone and really just accepting the fact that you guys are no longer together.

Paolo: Yeah, it’s pretty basic. It’s pretty upfront. It’s about not being sad and bitter. Just… Acceptance.

Matt: It’s based on a personal event. I mean I’m not gonna name names [coughs] Marts [laughs]. It happened to him but Phil and Pao write the songs.

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Produced by Alyssa Castillo
Grooming by Bea Colet and Nix Ceballos

RUNWAY CRIMES IS ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.
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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.
art + music by Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: Nicole Tejedor

This saxophonist is out to break stereotypes and prove that yes, girls can play the sax—and play it well

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Nicole Tejedor.

Nicole Tejedor may not be a singer, but she’s got serious pipes. She picked up the clarinet when she was just 10 years old and was majoring in it at UP when her mentor, Michael Guevarra, came across her playing the saxophone. “He said, ‘Anong ginagawa mo dyan? You should come to my class.’” So she selected the instrument for her minor, even though she only got her hands on one for the very first time as a gift from her uncle on her 19th birthday. “It was a life changer,” she recalls.

Now she plays the alto sax and the tenor sax, although she’s still extremely proficient with the clarinet and flute. “My dad is a folk singer who plays the guitar. He was pushing my sister to get into music, but ayaw nya talaga,” she explains. “All of the instruments, I would be the one to pick them up and start playing.” Thanks to music, she managed to earn scholarships for both high school and college and currently makes a living as a musician full time. “I want to break stereotypes. There aren’t too many female saxophonists, and if you are, it shouldn’t be enough that you’re a saxophonist who happens to be female. Gusto ko, magaling dapat.” See her in action below. 

 

 


Describe yourself as an artist.
When I’m solo, I like playing jazz. I’m still at that stage where I’m looking for my own sound, but I like traditional jazz, modern, and funk. I want to blend them all and come up with my own genre, create my own identity. Right now though, people tend to associate me with jazz—smooth jazz.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“There Will Never Be Another You” by Sonny Stitt, “This I Promise You” by *NSYNC—this is such a classic for me!—and “She Is” by The Fray.

One song you would recommend to anyone.
“My One and Only Love” by John Coltrane.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
I think it’s thriving. I play with local artists and a lot of my friends are in the indie scene, so I can see all the hard work they put in. It’s not easy, lalo na if you’re freelance and there’s not a lot of money in indie, but they keep it up and continue creating original music. It’s really admirable. Not everyone does that, and we’re lucky that the younger generation is doing it. I’d also like to come up with original music, but I’m the family breadwinner so I have to focus on work first and saving up… maybe later on, though. That’s really among my plans.

Dream collaboration?
I’ve always dreamed of collaborating with Dave Koz, sobrang seryoso ’yon. He’s a smooth jazz artist and I really like the way he performs onstage. I also like Candy Dulfer, but it’s my dream to go on tour with Dave Koz since he still tours and plays on cruises.

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Bea Colet

NICOLE TEJEDOR PLAYS ONCE A MONTH AT ABV ON MONDAYS, STRUMM’S WITH GLASS ONION EVERY TUESDAY, WITH THE AMP BIG BAND AT SOLAIRE TWICE A MONTH ON WEDNESDAYS, AND TEA TIME AT SHANGRI-LA AT THE FORT EVERY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. SHE IS ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.
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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.
art + music by Alyssa Castillo

Ringlight Sessions: Lions & Acrobats

The six-man band shares how it is to make harmony out of cacophony

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Lions & Acrobats.

Being in a 6-piece ensemble must have its ups and downs. Take it from Lions & Acrobats who insist that even if they share the same creative wavelengths, they inevitably clash in terms of the direction they want their music to take. This happened prior to discovering the sound of their sophomore album Mundane. “Maganda na every time we clash, we grow,” says guitarist Jim Lopez, who plays the saxophone occasionally. The beauty which underlies every obstacle they encounter is their collective effort to resolve issues before calling it a day. “Hindi pwede umalis ng room hanggang hindi ayos,” he reiterates. Vocalist and songwriter Icoy Rapadas stresses the importance of unanimously seeking common ground: “Lahat kami kailangan mag-agree, or we just scrap the song entirely.”

Since its launch last October, Mundane has reached wide success locally. Drawing in both old fans and new listeners, they also made it to Rogue’s Top 5 Local Albums of 2017. Late last year, they also launched the music video of their biggest hit “Cloud” on local TV. If you haven’t caught a whiff of them yet, here are the acoustic renditions of their original tracks “Bed” and “Whiskey”.

Icoy Rapadas (vocals)
Jim Lopez (guitar)
Ling Lava (guitar)
Andrew Son (guitar)
Oteph Tumambing (bass)
Not In Picture: Pedro Tumibay (drums)

Describe yourself as individual artists.
Jim: For the longest time, gumagawa lang talaga ako ng music for me. Before I present it to the band, I make sure that I like it. If I don’t like it, I’m not going to play it. As an artist, I really write from the heart so whatever I feel or whatever I think is relevant for me, I write it through music. Lahat ng songs na nasulat ko, may meaning for me. It’s not that I’m a perfectionist because you can’t really say what’s perfect in music. But I know what I like.

Icoy: Music has become a really big part of my life. I’ve been doing this since I was in grade school. I’ve never not been in a band since. It’s not just about music and me as an artist, but it has affected me as a person. If music wasn’t around, I would be a very different person–probably a sad person. Music is not just a hobby. It’s also therapy. When you make music, it involves a lot of introspection so it’s a way for me to reflect. Whenever I write songs, it’s me trying to figure out what happened to me at a certain time. When I write it down, that means I’m over it. I can’t write about something that I’m currently feeling. I can only write about it once I’m done with it. So when I finish a song, it’s also me closing a chapter.

Ling: I guess I would describe myself as a growing artist. Personally, when I listen to one recording of LAA or any other musical journeys I’ve been on, I feel like there’s so much more to learn. Even when I think that I’ve matured from before. I feel like the story will never end as well. But the music will tell the story for me.

Andrew: Ever since I was young, I always liked listening to what or how things sound like. When I’m alone I would knock on the wood, I’d play with spoons, metal bars, anything. I kind of differentiate how they sound like. I grew addicted to tone. Being in this band allows me to channel lahat ng weirdness ko and that’s how I contribute to our music. The best part of being an artist is you’ll keep on growing.

Oteph: ‘Di ko alam kung paano ko i-classify sarili ko as an artist kasi iba yung approach ko sa music than most. Hindi ako ma-lyrics, nasa instrumentation ako. May ibang hobbies rin ako like drawing and clay modelling. Siguro, I’m an exploring artist.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
Jim: “Cinema Paradiso” by Ennio Moriconne. That’s my number 1 favorite. “Something About Us” by Balance and the Traveling Sounds. “Siempre Me Quedara” by Bebe.

Icoy: “Open Your Eyes” by Bobby Caldwell, “Lens” by Frank Ocean, and “America” by Ventura Highway.

Oteph: “Nightmare” by Polyphia, “Destiny” by Eternity Forever, and “Salty” by Andres.

Ling: Two songs from the musical Dear Evan Hansen: “Waving Through A Window,” and “For Forever.” One from Hamilton. I like the song there called “My Shot.”

Andrew: “A Live Nativity Scene” by Six Gallery, and two songs by Tangled Hair called “I’m Calmer Than You Are,” and “It Does Look Like a Spider.”

One song you would recommend to anyone.
Oteph: “Nightmare” by Polyphia pa rin.

Icoy: “Fat Lady” by Sure Sure.

Jim: Ngayon, I’d really recommend “Siempre Me Quedera” by Bebe dahil sobrang favorite ko talaga siya.

Ling: “Top of the World” by The Carpenters. The first time I heard that song made me really happy.

Andrew: “Japanese Denim” by Daniel Caesar. It’s a good song.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
Andrew: It’s alive.

Jim: Local music is thriving. It’s very much alive.

Icoy: OPM–the word–should be dead. Local music is thriving. There’s no point anymore in branding the entire local scene to one word.

Jim: It’s just music. It’s not healthy to brand the entire scene kasi inaalienate din natin yung sarili natin dun sa music. Sa mundo kasi I’m a musician, parang, di naman ako “Filipino musician.”

Ling: Parang personally when I make music, di ko iniisip, “Pinoy ako gumagawa ako ng rock music.” I’m just a musician making music.

Icoy: Race should not play a part in music.

Dream collaboration?
Jim: Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Icoy: As Icoy, I want to write a song with American Football. Or like write a trashy verse with a trashy song that Tyler, The Creator would write.

Andrew: Gusto ko mag-jam with Tangled Hair but for drums. I play a little and favorite drummer of all time ko yung drummer nila.

Ling: I would like to be able to jam with original lineup of Envy on the Coast. Not only is their drummer amazing but they also have creative guitar players.

Oteph: Gusto ko maka-jam yung Polyphia. Bagong discovery ko sila and gusto ko makuha yung style nung bassist nila.

 

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From top: Icoy Rapadas, Jim Lopez, Oteph Tumambing, Andrew Son, and Ling Lava.

 

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Grooming by Bea Colet and Nix Ceballos

LIONS & ACROBATS IS ON SPOTIFY. FOR MORE UPDATES, FOLLOW THEM ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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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 Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: Matthew Chang

This classically trained violinist and theater actor is ready to create his own unique sound

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Matthew Chang.

The sounds you hear when stuck in traffic, contemporary OPM, anime theme songs, classical tunes… all of it is fair game to Matthew Chang, a theater actor and singer who’s releasing an EP next year. “Before, I’d go out of the metro for inspiration because it’s too noisy, it’s too busy. But a friend of mine made me realize, why don’t you get inspiration from the things that people usually don’t get inspiration from? EDSA traffic is such a stressful environment, but if you listen to it nang matagal, you’ll get something out of it,” he says. Spoken like someone who has music in his blood—Matthew is, after all, a descendant of National Artist Antonio Molina, credited with over 500 compositions and often described as the Claude Debussy of the Philippines. “I come from a family of musicians and all of us are classically trained,” he says, including himself. His mom is a cellist, his sister plays the violin, while Matthew began taking violin lessons at St. Scholastica at nine and was a member of the DLSU Pops Orchestra. Now, he’s blending all of those diverse influences to create his own sound. Here’s a preview.

 

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
My music is intimate, but at the same time, it’s a mix of the old and the new. I was classically trained but I apply new elements to it, like looping, synth, and production. My EP has a world music influence to it, but I’m trying not to put it in a certain genre because it sounds so eclectic. It has violin and electronic elements as well, so it’s more of like fusion.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“Kathang Isip” by Ben&Ben, “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen, and “Red” by Sara Bareilles.

One song you would recommend to anyone.
“Ride Home” by Ben&Ben. I love them! I’m currently obsessed with Ben&Ben. Or “Rain Song” by Aia de Leon.

 Is OPM dead or thriving?
OPM is thriving. There are so many new artists coming out na sobrang galeng, they just lack the skills to promote their craft.

Dream collaboration?
This Australian artist named Fatai or Kimbra.

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Chyla of NYX Cosmetics

MATTHEW CHANG IS ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND TWITTER.
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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.
art + music by Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: Zsaris Mendioro

“Express, not impress” might as well be the motto of this live looper and beatboxer who redefines what a female musician should be

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Zsaris.

Zsaris’s circle, you’ve been warned. Asked who she takes inspiration from, and she offers that she looks toward her friends. In fact, her original single “Alangan” was inspired by another friend’s relationship, while her just-released song, “Kung Alam Mo Lang,” is the result of a heartache of her own. “I was lying in bed, and the melody suddenly came to me. I forgot about it the next day, but I had it saved on my phone. After a few weeks, I remembered it and said, ‘Okay. You should write about your feelings.’” You might be tempted to describe this as being rather Taylor Swift, but the winner of the 2015 Mossimo Music Summit will be the first to say she’s not your usual female artist. “As a woman, it’s not very ‘feminine’ to be looping,” she points out, wherein a musician will use a machine to record backing tracks on the spot, turning himself into a one-man band. (Ed Sheeran’s Grammys 2017 rendition of “The Shape of You” is a memorable example.) “To carry all of those equipment, and set it up, and operate it flawlessly, by yourself, every time—it’s not very typical. But at the same time, I’m proud that I’ve been able to do it, and in two, three years, I’ve grown as a musician,” she says. Even sans instruments, Zsaris rocks—take a look at her in action below.

 

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
I think I am very… singular. I play the guitar upside down and I beatbox, so I marry all of my skills—playing the guitar, beatboxing, harmonizing, and of course, performing my songs. There are a lot of loop artists in the scene, but among female artists, I’ve really turned this into a career. I try to break stereotypes also. Why not bring your own equipment, be less self-conscious about it, and just play? Be very open to expressing and not impressing.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“Watch Me Dance” by Tom Misch, “Radio Song” by Esperanza Spalding, and “Hey Barbara” by IV Of Spades.

One song you would recommend to anyone?
“Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika” by Mr. C [Ryan Cayabyab]. It’s a classic, and totoo sya!

Is OPM dead or thriving?
Thriving! Thanks to the kids—we owe a lot to the young bands who started all of these productions. They gathered and became friends with each other, no bad blood. Like Jensen and the Flips, Ben&Ben, Reese Lansangan—their managers just gathered everybody and started playing, whether or not people showed up, and now they’re big artists. We can also thank the internet, word of mouth… kids have started listening to original music again. They look up to Filipino musicians who are producing great music at their age; even older artists are getting inspired by them. There are all of these collaborations, and it’s a good thing.

Dream collaboration?
There’s this Norwegian artist called Bernhoft. He plays soul and R&B, pero looping, so isang tao lang sya. Ang galeng nya, super.

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Chyla of NYX Cosmetics

ZSARIS IS ON ZSARIS.COM, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND TWITTER.

 

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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.
art + music by Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: Markki Stroem

From ‘Hair’ to Bench, the theater veteran and consummate performer is experiencing a renaissance on different stages

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming or in-the-moment local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Markki Stroem.

Markki Stroem turned 30 this year, and by all accounts, it’s been every bit the milestone he hoped it would be. Last month, he made waves with his bare-it-all appearance at the hotly anticipated Bench Under the Stars Anniversary Show, plus he’s playing the lead role of Claude in the Repertory Philippines production, Hair. “My character represents a figurative Jesus in this haggle of hippies,” he says. “He represents what is pure and kind of sacrifices himself for the greater good.” Markki also thinks the theme song, “Aquarius,” is particularly relevant at this time, with the world in the midst of an awakening of sorts. “The ’60s was the hippie era, and now we have the hipsters or the millennials. Back then they were fighting against war, the unnecessary killing of people who were going off to Vietnam… and guess what? It’s happening again,” he observes. “But now, you don’t have to go out on the streets and protest; you can just go online and say what you need to say, which is an interesting turn of events. It’s a new Age of Aquarius, which is really cool.” Check out his rendition in the video below.

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
I’m the kind of person who just loves what I do. I like to experiment, that’s why I allot time to do my television soap, movie, play, modeling, working out—because I really, really want it to be perfect before I get onstage. I need to be the best person I can be because it is not me, it is the audience who will be participating in this beautiful story that I’d like to tell, so I don’t want to be half-baked in anything that I do. Not just for the audience, but also for my family members who are there to support and watch me.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“New Rules” by Dua Lipa, “Havana” by Camila Cabello, and “Unstable” by Zak Abel. These are modern-day songs that I’m listening to over and over again in the car at the moment. But overall, it would probably be “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill, “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone, and “Heaven” by John Legend.

One song you would recommend to anyone?
“Age of Aquarius.” I didn’t understand it before I started this play, and it became a cult classic because of this show. It’s a good song to listen to at the moment because we’re still in the Age of Aquarius, maybe the end part of it. It’s where culture and music and the entertainment world explode in passionate fervor.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
Musicians who perform nowadays, like sila Moira Dela Torre, KZ Tandingan, they’re doing really well in the billboard charts because they know how to market themselves. And it’s a beautiful thing because they’re trying to infuse modern-day music from abroad into their own Filipino OPM versions, which influences how they write their music. I think the industry in terms of CD sales is probably dead, but Spotify is here. You can choose what you’d like to listen to now. You can choose among the artists that appeal to the bigger diaspora, that’s why “Havana” and this Dua Lipa song is stuck in my head because they’re all over the charts, and there are a few Filipino artists who are on the charts. It’s great to see that they’re able to be current in the international scene. So OPM is not dead… it’s just beginning, I think.

Dream collaboration?
Locally, maybe Up Dharma Down. That’s like a dream, right? It’s everyone’s dream. Foreign, Lauryn Hill or John Legend.

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Grooming by Bea Colet

HAIR RUNS AT ONSTAGE, GREENBELT 1 UNTIL DECEMBER 17, 2017. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AT TICKETWORLD.COM.PH. FOLLOW @MARKKISTROEM ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM.
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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.
art + music by Alyssa Castillo

Ringlight Sessions: Miguel Escueta and Leanne Mamonong

These two artists represent OPM’s more recent growth through a collaboration

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. Next up: Miguel Escueta and Leanne Mamonong.

Miguel Escueta has been in the game for over a decade having been able to release albums as a former signed MCA solo act. He has since taken a break from the scene building a name in the local restaurant and bar industry with Pablo’s, Frank & Dean, and Ocean’s Telephone Company all found in The Fort. “But I never stopped writing music,” he says.

Miguel makes his comeback with musical group The Morning Episodes. The artist cites that apart from the changes in his personal life, “venturing into business that involves social interaction and gathering a community” is also something that inspires him.

Meanwhile, Leanne Mamonong, the other half of the duo Leanne & Naara, is fresh out of college. She intends to have career as a full-time singer and songwriter. as well as a theater performer. “Before, I wouldn’t go to gigs if we weren’t part of the lineup. But now I’ve learned to just go out there and see all these new artists,” she shares. “I draw inspiration from their sound and also meeting them and talking with them.” Leanne thinks songwriting is a tricky business. “What makes a hit song, a hit song? Nowadays, you can’t really predict that.”

Bridging a gap between generations of original Pinoy music, these two collaborate with Mito Fabie (Curtismith) for their single, “Devil,” which they perform below.

 

 

 


Describe yourself as an artist.
Miguel: Before, being a recording musician was my whole self. That was who I was. Now, music is just one of the big parts of my life but it’s not my whole life. But I still love it as much.
Leanne: Tough question. I guess I’m the kind of artist that doesn’t really overthink. Overanalyzing what it is that people want to listen to or what the market wants to hear, I don’t really do that. Being honest and truthful with what I write is what I try for.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
M: It depends on my mood. I really like the new Selena Gomez track “Wolves,” which she did with Marsmello. I’d also put “Best of You” by Foo Fighters here.
L: “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals. I love that song. It’s so uplifting. “Love Is a Losing Game” by Amy Winehouse. “Losing You” by Jamie Cullum. Oh, and a fourth one, a song that always makes me feel good is “Dancing in The Moonlight” by Toploader.

One song you would recommend to anyone?
M: I think one of the best songs ever written is “The Scientist” by Coldplay.
L: “If I Fell” by The Beatles.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
L: It’s thriving. You just need to go out there and see it for yourself.
M: Thriving. I released my first album a decade ago so I’ve seen the evolution and the change. I remember when I came in, OPM rock was vibrant and then it came to a point that there wasn’t anything new and exciting; everyone was starting to sound the same but now it’s amazing how these young acts are coming out all sounding different. Before you could box the OPM sound, but now there’s no OPM sound. It’s so diverse and it’s exciting. They’ve had the opportunity of being exposed to different music around the world because of the internet and social media. The bands are now, what, 19-24 years old? They’re part of that boom of media being available to you. That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited to be back working with Leanne and Mito because they’re young, talented, and successful up-and-coming acts.

Dream collaboration?
M: Kanye West. It’d be cool to have him rap something I write for him.
L: Amy Winehouse. She’s one of my biggest influences.

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Photography by Renzo Navarro
Makeup and grooming by Chyla of NYX Cosmetics

YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE FULL STUDIO VERSION OF DEVIL ON YOUTUBE. MIGUEL ESCUETA IS ON INSTAGRAM AS @tHEMORNINGEPISODES WHILE LEANNE MAMONONG IS @LEANNEMAMONONG.
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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 NBHD

Watch: Get in the holiday spirit with Jingle Bell Rock

Markki Stroem, Lions and Acrobats, and more try to get you into the holiday spirit

It’s the first of December, a month that we hope will be filled with substantially more good cheer and goodwill than stress and holiday traffic. We at the Neighborhood are all about adding to the former. So we asked a handful of artists to welcome us all to the last hurrah of 2017 with their take on a Christmas classic. ‘Tis the season!

Featuring…

Markki Stroem
Nicole Tejedor
KA Antonio
Marga Jayy
Miguel Escueta
Leanne Mamonong
Lions and Acrobats
Over October
Runway Crimes

All of these artists are part of our new series called Ringlight Sessions. Here, we put different performers and musicians in the spotlight to showcase original content. Check out our first two Ringlight artists KA Antonio and Chai Fonacier.

CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE SOLO VERSIONS OF “JINGLE BELL ROCK” OF SOME OF THE ARTISTS.
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NBHD
Your friendly Neighborhood team.
art + music by Nana Caragay

Ringlight Sessions: KA Antonio

The frontwoman of Ajka draws inspiration from many other talented female musicians who have come before

Ringlight Sessions: The Neighborhood puts up-and-coming local artists and musicians in the spotlight—or more accurately, ringlight—to show us what they’ve got. First up: KA Antonio of Ajka.

Asked what her biggest musical influences are, and KA Antonio cites female-led ’90s and early ’00s acts like The Cranberries, Swing Out Sister, and Imago, along with other female musicians who strike a nostalgic chord, such as Barbie Almalbis and Alanis Morrissette. Now she gets to follow in their footsteps as the frontwoman for Ajka, the winner of the Nescafé Soundskool contest held in 2010. After a brief hiatus (in which her bandmates pursued jobs in the corporate world while KA released an album as a solo artist), the band that first formed in their DLSU college days has reunited and is ready to jump back into a reinvigorated music scene. “We’re coming up with new songs,” she happily announces. “We’re also currently working on re-releasing some of the songs from our first EP, coming up with a music video… it kind of feels like we’re a new band all over again, but we wanted to hold on to the songs that we had before.”

These days, Ajka regularly performs at monthly gigs called called No Covers Allowed, which puts promising local talents in the spotlight. “It’s fun! It can be hard finding gigs where you will get paid to play original music unless you’re a well-known artist,” she says. And if you want to get a glimpse of KA in action, watch this:


RINGLIGHT SESSIONS: KA Antonio (@kriscaantonio) of the band Ajka sings ‘Ako Naman’. Read all about her on TheNeighborhood.PH 🎶 #TheWholeNBHDIsHere

A post shared by The NBHD | TheNeighborhood.PH (@theneighborhood.ph) on

Describe yourself as an artist.
I don’t care! Or probably it’s because of the years that have passed… I had a phase when I was really losing it, asking myself why I wanted to do this. I felt so pressured that I couldn’t write music anymore. That’s what I’ve worked on the past few months: getting the passion back and having fun. I just want to keep remembering that this is my passion and not something I feel forced to do.

Top 3 songs on repeat?
“Super Far” by Lany, “Style” by Taylor Swift, and “Gravity” by John Mayer.

One song you would recommend to anyone?
“#41” by Dave Matthews Band, but you have to look for the live version. Or Swing Out Sister’s “Breakout,” the Live at the Jazz Café version. Especially if people are into jazz music—super ganda the solos.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
Thriving! There are a lot of super awesome new artists that you didn’t even know existed. Well, you know they all exist, but every so often, a new one comes up. But at the same time, the old ones are still there. So it’s really very, very interesting.

Dream collaboration?
Coldplay… feeling! Ha ha. And John Mayer. Why not? Alessia Cara has a collab with John Mayer!

KA-1

Photographs by Renzo Navarro
Makeup and grooming by Chyla of NYX Cosmetics

AJKA IS ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. KA IS ON INSTAGRAM AT @KRISCAANTONIO.
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Nana Caragay
Nana Caragay is a magazine editor, writer, voice over talent, and former gymnast. When she's not stalking cute dogs on social media, she's most likely shopping, working out, watching E!, or drinking iced tea. She's on Instagram @nanacaragay.