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.
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.
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.
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