Tag Archives: Ringlight Sessions

art + music by Alyssa Castillo

Ringlight Sessions: Niki Colet

Inspiration comes in many forms for the young independent artist

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: Niki Colet.

When asked about the defining moment that got her into music, Niki Colet takes a long pause and stared into space. The question brought back old memories, and got the young musician’s bubbliness to simmer down for a moment. “I’ve always loved it,” she begins. “My parents still laugh about how when I was a baby, I would cry every time they put their Brian McKnight CD on, and then stop when they paused it. And in my preschool yearbook, my write up was about how much I loved singing and had all the Disney songs memorized.” Today, at 23, Niki Colet has been making music for 13 years. She wrote her first song at 10 years old and has since been growing lyrically and musically. When it comes to her music, she likes to mix magic and fantasy with a tinge of nostalgia. Hear one of her original tracks below.

 

What have you been up to these days?
I’m working on my music full-time, and working on a lot songs for an EP. Originally, I had planned to do a full-length album. But, at this point, I’m in the middle of making some big decisions as far as the direction of my next project goes. It’s likely that it’ll be two separate EPs rather than a full album. I’m getting ready for the release of my next single—my first proper one—along with other plans for 2018.

Cool. Didn’t you just graduate college?
Yeah! Isn’t it crazy? We met each other back in high school and now we’re both adulting!

Back then, were you signed with a label? Or were you always independent?
I’ve always been an independent artist. Actually, I don’t have plans of getting signed again. I like to have control over my time and, most especially, the creativity that goes into my craft.

I never got to ask you this before. Where do you get inspiration to write songs and create music?
Gosh, it’s been a while since I really thought about that. Well, I’ve always been immersed in movies and literature, which are the two things I take inspiration from.

Would you say that the pop culture you consume influences your music? How about life experiences?
It’s a lot of things. On the one hand, I love movies and literature. I find a lot of inspiration from other stories, and I’ve always had this fascination with the past. When I was a kid, when we first got internet, one of the things that I first searched was fashion in the 1920s. I’m really fascinated with how each decade in the 20th century had its own kind of universe. There’s a distinct look and sound. Even the films are different, the books, the politics of each decade is different. Because I’ve always had this love for old things, I guess my music is tinged with a little nostalgia, inadvertently.

I completely get that. You know, it’s funny how sometimes you feel nostalgic for things that you didn’t know existed at that time.
I know! It’s like that feeling of nostalgia for a time that you didn’t even live in.

You feel like you connect more with another era, or a certain moment. Like, when you look at an old photograph and think, “I wish I was there.”
Exactly! Woodstock, for example. It’s clichéd and overused, but for good reason. When I look at photos or listen to the recordings, I feel like I should have been there. Whenever I see photographs of young people in in the 1940s getting together at night to dance, I wonder how it would have been like if I had joined them.

You wish you could have experienced it.
Yeah, it’s easy to romanticize the past, of course. There are a lot of things that are better in the present. But, to answer your question, another thing is also whether I experience something in real life. Or a line from a book takes my breath away, or if I see or hear something. There’s usually a moment that I want to crystallize.

It’s kind of like your reaction toward that.
Kind of. I find that writing music for me helps me to sort of bottle up a moment, memory, or observation into something that’s almost tangible.

Where can we find you?
Well, I don’t have a usual spot, but I do gigs for various prods like Liga Sessions and Kaleidoscope Eyes. I sometimes open for Leanne & Naara when they perform at Pablo’s at BGC, or Frank & Dean. Hopefully, I could do more prod gigs in the near future, like you know, at Route 196. I miss Route.

Can you describe yourself as an artist?
I’m a singer-songwriter. I would say that in a nutshell, my music is raw folk-inspired acoustic indie pop. It’s a mix of all these different sounds. At its core, it’s earnest, emotionally intense, sometimes humorous, but always honest.

Give me your top 3 songs on repeat.
Oh my gosh, that’s so hard. I have this new favorite band, Sjowgren. I don’t know how to pronounce their name. The song is “Stubborn Forces.” Another one is “Okay Okay I’m Wrong I’m Sorry” by Ourselves the Elves. I love that song, so much. Ang sakit, super. It’s so raw. And another one I like and I sing to a lot is “Dance Yourself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem.

How about one song that you would recommend to anyone?
My all-time favorite song, since I was a little kid is “I’m Still Here,” by John Rzeznik. It’s from a movie that’s very near and dear to my heart, Treasure Planet. Both the movie and the song are underrated, in my opinion. You should watch it.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
I think that the local music scene is definitely thriving. But I do have my personal qualms with using the term “OPM” as a genre just because I really love local music and I’m super passionate about supporting our artists. I feel like when OPM is used as a term for a genre, it kind of tends to bunch together wildly different artists,]. Each have something unique to contribute to the local scene and they play different music. With that said, I think local music is definitely thriving. I’m always in awe at how the talent that’s coming out now from Filipinos who are making great art are able to spread it to a wider audience.

Dream artist to collaborate with?
Off the top of my head, Lana Del Ray. She is my idol. But, what can you do when you’re performing? Honestly, if I were to perform alongside, I would just stop singing and let her do everything. So, maybe an alternative would be Jake Bugg. There’s also this local artist that goes by the moniker Mellow Fellow. When I first heard him on Soundcloud, I got chills because his music is something else.

Interesting. Do you know him personally?
No. But, I hope he finds this article. That would be cool.

ring-light-niki-colet-1

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Debbie Santos of Center for Aesthetic Studies
Hair by Lour Jenna Mendoza of Center for Aesthetic Studies

NIKI COLET IS ON SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC, AND SOUNDCLOUD. YOU CAN ALSO CATCH HER NEWEST SINGLE “YOU STILL SHOW UP IN MY DREAMS” ON THESE PLATFORMS.
Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
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

Ringlight Sessions: She’s Only Sixteen

The boys perform stripped down sets of “Conversational Liar,” “Sheep,” and “Monologue”

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: She’s Only Sixteen.

Anyone who’s ever interacted with She’s Only Sixteen—whether it be online or in real life—knows there’s only one thing you need to survive a conversation with the band: a sense of humor. After all, sarcasm and wit are integral to the quartet’s brand. To keep up with Roberto Seña, King Puentespina, Andrew Panopio, and Anjo Silvoza, you’ve got to be able to think on your toes. You also have to be down for anything—from impromptu freestyle rap battles to on-the-spot wrestling introductions to insightful conversations that come out of nowhere.

That being said, interviewing these guys was a doozy. In between jokes and playful banter, She’s Only Sixteen talks about life post-Whatever That Was—their debut album released half a decade after their eponymous EP—and pre-what-is-yet-to-come.

 

What have you guys been busy with since you dropped Whatever That Was? How has it been
Seña: We’ve been playing a lot of shows. We plan on having a bigger set this year by adding more elements to our line-up.

Andrew: Yeah, we’ve had thoughts of adding other people to the band as well as other elements through computers—keyboards, samplers, etcetera.

King: We’re trying to integrate more atmospheric sounds.

What influenced that decision?
Seña: Basically, how we recorded the album. If you listen to it, you’ll notice that it isn’t just four instruments playing at the same time. There are maybe eight or nine at any given time?

King: There are lots of layers—

Seña: Layers, man. Layers.

King: –like onions.

Seña: Or like a cake… Like a human, even.

Yeah, it’s a lot richer than your live sets—which are great by the way. How’s the reception of the album been?
Andrew: What I hear from people is that it touches them in a way. [Those kinds of comments] feel pretty sincere and intimate—like they really took the time to listen to the album. As a musician, I think that’s the goal naman talaga. You make something meaningful instead of just a bop. You get me?

Seña: I, for one, think it’s the best album of 2017. [laughs]

[laughs] Ilalagay ko ‘yan.
Seña: No, but here: I’m just really happy with it. I do hope more people listen to it but I’m definitely more excited about what we’re coming up with next.

Speaking of what’s coming up next, what inspires you guys?
King: Experiences, I think—growing up, coming of age, looking for your place. We try to bring that to the table and put it all on record.

So you like expounding on very specific experiences?
King: It’s either very specific or very broad and relatable. You know… What is life here? What is existing in Manila like?

Wow, existential.
King: Very, very.

After writing and creating your debut album, did you find the answers to those kinds of questions?
Andrew: You never really find answers in the music you make.

Seña: Going back to your earlier question, though, I think I draw inspiration from processing my own thoughts. That’s pretty much it for me.

Andrew: Also, I feel like we can approach how we feel much better with sound now. We used to be stuck with one sound but we started experimenting a lot and now I think we’re able to explore more in terms of topics, too. That’s pretty exciting.  The songwriting is pretty much inspired by the music itself.

How did each of you get into music?
King: Growing up, I played the guitar. Listening to my mom’s records and watching movies about music—yeah.

So there wasn’t one particular instance that stuck with you as, “ahhh this is the start?”
King: I always say this but I think it was School of Rock.

Andrew: YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!

King: But it was the bees knees!

Seña: Can King answer for me as though I were dead? [laughs]

King: Seña’s household was always full of music. He would always tell me how his parents used to sing in the shower and he’d sing along from outside the door. One day, he just picked up a guitar and sat in his room—he had a window—and he just played. Rest in peace, bro… [laughs]

Seña: [Laughs] No, okay! I got into music because… I don’t know. It’s just something innate in me. I’m a very emotionally exhausted human being and I just need to put that into music.

Andrew: My brother and sister were always playing the guitar. My first instrument was the drums. When I first got it, I took my first few lessons and I found that I just couldn’t stop playing. I developed this sense of rhythm. Eventually, I started jamming with my siblings, my classmates. Then, there. I just knew that I wanted to keep making music—it didn’t matter if I was getting better at it, I just knew that I was happy playing. The way I see it now is that I’m just thankful that I still get to do something that makes me happy, something that I love.

Have you guys ever thought of pursuing music full-time?
Seña: I used to… But then I got a job. [laughs]

Andrew: Personally, I always thought I’d have a separate career. My end goal has always been that I want to be a designer.

King: I think I’ve always wanted my career to be related to music but not necessarily to do the band thing full-time. That’s why I got into production.

Seña: You’re Kerwin [CRWN] ‘di ba?

King: I’m… I’m just King. [frowns]

On that note, how are your side projects going? Seña, you have a new one, right?
Seña: Yeah, it’s on hold a bit until I get my life together. [Laughs]I would love to pursue my DJ-ing more and producing music for other people… but for now, check out Lazy Maguire.

King: Well, CRWN is going pretty well.

Do you think these side projects help with the growth of the band also?
Seña: Yeah, we draw influences from these side projects—

King: —and then, we pour them into the sauce.

Seña: Get it? It’s a play on words. SOS, the acronym and sauce—the combination of ingredients.

King: Acronym pala yung sauce?

Everyone: Yeah… SOS… She’s Only Sixteen?

King: … Ahhhhh

Seña: A DOUBLE ENTRENDE, SIR. [laughs]

Ringlight-SOS-1

From top: Roberto Seña, King Puentespina

 

How would you guys describe your sound at the moment?
Seña: Lazy pop!

Andrew: I think there’s definitely a pop side. I’m proud to say that I love our songs because they’re catchy. We have a knack for finding things that are catchy. It helps that we individually like to have a taste in music… I uh… I didn’t really describe it huh?

Seña: Way to digress, bro. Our sound is lazy pop.

King: It’s also very raw—especially when we play live. It’s in your face.

Where can people catch your sets for that in-your-face experience?
Seña: Route, Saguijo, the usual joints!

Where’s your favorite place to play?
Andrew: Sometimes Route… Sometimes not Route…

Seña: Route. There aren’t a lot of places to play in Metro Manila, to be honest.

King: I think mine’s MOA Arena. Suki na ‘ko doon eh.

Seña: WE PLAYED THERE ONE TIME. THREE TIMES IF YOU COUNT THE TIMES WE PLAYED OUTSIDE. [laughs]

Alright, on to the harder stuff! What are your top three songs on repeat right now?
King: “Something Foreign,” by Sir featuring School Boy Q, Raveena If Only, Sza Broken Clocks.

Seña: “See You Again,” Tyler the Creator, “666,” Sugar Candy Mountain, and “Dare,” Gorillaz.

Andrew: “Smuckers,” by Tyler the Creator—wow, very cool—

Seña: “Mr. Right,” by Kim Chiu, also. No, really, pinapakinggan ko yun.

Andrew: “Reflections After Jane,” by The Clientele and “Bleached,” by Brockhampton.

What is the one song you’d recommend to anyone? One song for all time.
Seña: “Mr. Right” of Kim Chiu. I would recommend it because you have to understand kajologan to be cool.

Andrew: “Zephyr Song,” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

King: Man… Mild High Club’s “Skip Tracing.”

Seña: Oh, oh! Though Mr. Right is still a good song, I think I’d also recommend Cold Fame by Band of Skulls.

Who is your dream collaborator? The artist has to be alive, that’s the only condition.
King: The Vaccines!

Seña: Hmm, Alive? Flying Lotus. PANIS!

Andrew: Radiohead.

Okay, last question and I think this is something you’re all used to talking about—
Andrew: Why are we called She’s Only Sixteen? [laughs]

Seña: Babasagin ko ‘tong lamesa.

King: What, is she still sixteen? [laughs]

Ringlight-SOS-2

From top: Anjo Silvoza; Andrew Panopio

 

No, no. Is OPM dead?
[collective groans and laughter]

Andrew: Can we just talk about why we’re called She’s Only Sixteen?

Seña: No, okay. I don’t like the term, that’s why I think it’s dead. Local music is very much alive but please stop using the damn term. It boxes the audience and the artists. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.

King: I think OPM is very much alive and running. [laughs] No, but really. I feel the same way as Seña

Andrew: For me, for me lang ah, I think Original Pinoy Music is alive… But obviously people associate OPM with a specific sound. I think OPM has evolved.

How so?
Andrew: It’s changed into something with no real basis of a sound. You got people from their bedrooms making music—

King: From their bathrooms, from their sofa… [laughs]

Andrew: Everyday you just hear different kinds of music from all over the country and it’s difficult to just put that all under one term.

Photographs by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Grooming by Debbie Santos of Center for Aesthetic Studies and Jinx Aggabao of Make Up For Ever

SHE’S ONLY SIXTEEN IS ON INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK.
author-box-mags
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: Coeli

Inspired by the likes of Esperanza Spalding, this singer-songwriter-cellist is aiming to make a name for herself as the first and only one of her kind

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: Coeli.

Need help pronouncing Coeli’s intimidating-looking name? Just remember the instrument she plays: the cello. (Coeli and her cello—get it? Okay.) Of course, that’s not the reason why she pursued it; it’s not even the very first instrument she picked up. She started with the piano before moving on to violin and then guitar, and even sang with a competitive children’s choir at one point.

By the time she was 15, she was writing her own songs… yet maybe she was destined for the cello all along. “I took up Music Education at UST and that was the instrument I chose,” she says, but here’s the catch: she had never even played it before. “I was always very curious about it, so I prepared and studied for six months. My lola was a cellist when she was younger and we had this baby cello, like a half-sized cello, and I was just playing with it. But then eventually, I got my own.” She’s now carved an incredibly unique niche as a singer-songwriter-cellist. “I’m kind of the only one who does it here in the Philippines so far,” she says, and cites Esperenza Spalding (known to perform while playing the contrabass) and UK-based Ayanna Witter-Johnson as inspirations. “When I saw that, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to do this thing!’” Poised to release her first EP, it looks like Coeli and her cello are going all in.

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
My music is raw… I actually don’t know what genre to call it. At first I was listening to indie folk stuff because they’re singer-songwriters with a guitar, but then I incorporated the cello and it just evolved so much. On my page I put “experimental folk,” but I felt there’s more to it than that. Maybe it’s baroque folk, baroque pop, because there’s a cello? I don’t know what to call it… it’s very contemplative, innovative, introspective… yeah, introspective. I think that’s it.

Top 3 songs on repeat.
“Emptyhanded” by Cynthia Alexander, “Citywide Rodeo” by The Weepies, and “Wildwood” by Reese Lansangan. I love her, and I love that song.

 One song you would recommend to anyone.
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.

Is OPM dead or thriving?
Thriving, of course! I mean, I feel like I wouldn’t drop everything if it wasn’t thriving. I left my life! Ha ha! I think it’s very contagious, it’s a growing scene. What motivated me to do this was when I joined the Elements Music Camp. I was batchmates with sila Reese Lansangan, Clara Benin, Paolo Guico of Ben&Ben. The friendships kind of started there. When I met all these people, I felt like we’re a huge community of singer-songwriters. I feel like slowly, habang tumatagal, mawawala na nga  ’yung term na “indie.” It’s just music, and the boundary is blurring. People think na walang pera sa music, but now I truly believe that music and the arts play a huge role in society—especially now. As a musician, I’m nothing but a vessel to convey messages of morality, these very basic concepts of being human. Sometimes we get so busy that we’re functioning like machines. What music and art do, they make us feel more human. People crave for that, even if they don’t know it.

Dream collaboration?
Cynthia Alexander and Regina Spektor. And Lorde. Love her.

ringlight-coeli-1

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Debbie Santos of Center for Aesthetic Studies
Hair by Lour Jenna Mendoza of Center for Aesthetic Studies

COELI PERFORMS REGULARLY AT ROUTE 196 AND SAGUIJO. LOOK FOR HER ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND TWITTER.
profile photo
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: Jam Pascual

“A spoken word poem is a poem that is mindful of itself as a performance piece,” says Jam Pascual. He talks about his debut appearance and the one poem he thinks everybody should read

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: Jam Pascual.

 

Jam Pascual can’t help but laugh when I begin our interview with a disclaimer: my only encounter with spoken word poetry, thus far, is Jonah Hill’s impassioned rendition in the movie 22 Jump Street. (“Yelling! Angry! Waving my hands a… lot!”)

“That was a good scene,” he says, as if to try and make me feel better, but my lack of awareness doesn’t surprise him. He first dabbled in the art form when he was a freshman at Ateneo, making his debut at a college talent show. “I remember being at the table where you register and the person was like, ‘What’s spoken word poetry?’ Which is a question that you don’t hear anymore,” he recalls. “My legs were shaking and I stuttered a bit.” But he’s come a long way since, and is now spreading the gospel of this growing art from by conducting workshops and classes with those who are interested. “It was easy for me to get into it, one, because there was already a lot of that kind of content going around on the internet, and two, because the ‘scene’—even though I don’t like using the word ‘scene’—that came out of it was one that was very accessible. It didn’t judge… I don’t think any formal education prerequisites have to be met,” he says. Think it could be for you? Watch Jam in action here.

 

 

Describe yourself as an artist.
Whenever I try to write a poem for the stage, I always try to keep in mind that my pieces have a sense of musicality to them. Also, I try not to sound like other spoken word poets. That scene from 22 Jump Street, with the yelling? That’s real! A lot of poets do that—they assume that catharsis automatically means depth, which is not true. Just because you’re loud and you are throwing your feelings into the high heavens, that doesn’t automatically make it a poem. I try to make sure I don’t fall into that trap of misconstruing spectacle as substance. I just try to stay away from cliché as much as possible—which is not to say that I don’t fall into it every now and then because sometimes I do… and sometimes, that’s not a bad thing. To put it simply: being lame is something I try to avoid.

Top 3 spoken word performances you’ve seen?
“I Do” by Andrea Gibson, one of the first spoken word poems I ever loved—so great. “For Those Who Can Still Ride in Airplanes for the First Time” by Anis Mojgani. He was one of the writers who influenced me to try to make myself sound different from other people. This last poem which I really love, it’s called “Dig Those Sunsets, Pony” by Hanif Willis Abdurraqib. I’ve been kind of obsessed with him lately ’cause he’s a poet and a music critic. He says a lot of things about pop culture which I think are super interesting

One spoken word performance or poem that you would recommend to anyone.
This is one poem that I try to show to as many people as I can—it’s called “Spaces” by Arkaye Kierulf.

Is the local spoken word scene dead or thriving?
I am confident in saying that it’s not dead. I don’t think any subculture can be proclaimed reasonably dead; it’s alive. When I was still very active two or three years ago, I was getting tired of people sounding the same, which I realize is very arrogant because I’m just one person. But there is this widespread tendency to believe spoken word poetry has to sound a certain way, like in 22 Jump Street: that—particular—cadence. I’m hoping that at this point, those poets have outgrown that shit, you know what I mean? I’m not as active anymore, but the last gig I was at, it was hit and miss. I guess it’s like that in every subculture. It’s super alive, but you’re also bound to find acts that are super alike. It doesn’t mean that the scene is in a bad place… long story short: it’s not dead. It’s alive. 

Dream collaboration?
I don’t have one because I don’t think collaboration is for me—it’s easier for me to imagine for music, but for poetry, I don’t know… it’s hard for me to figure myself out and what I want from a poem, so it’s just going to be more of a burden if I have to contend with someone else’s vision.

Really? But what if Andrea Gibson were to say, “C’mon Jam, let’s do something…”
Hmmm… ha ha! That would be cool though, if she asked me! But still, the answer is no.

ringlight-jam-1

Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Makeup by Jinx Aggabao of Make Up For Ever

JAM IS ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, AND HIS HIS WORK CAN BE FOUND HERE. HE ALSO PERFORMS WITH HIS BAND IMELDA. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SPOKEN WORD, HE SUGGESTS CHECKING OUT WORDS ANONYMOUS AND WHITE WALL POETRY AS WELL AS THE BUTTON POETRY CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE.
profile photo
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: 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!

marga-jay-ring-light-1

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.
profile photo
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.

runway-crimes-1

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.

runway-crimes-2

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.

runway-crimes-3

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.
author-box-mags
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.

nicole-1

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.
profile photo
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.

 

LAA-1 LAA-2 LAA-3
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
Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
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.

ringlight-mathew-1

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

MATTHEW CHANG IS ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, AND TWITTER.
profile photo
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.

ringlight-zsaris-1

 

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

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

 

profile photo
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.

markki-1

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.
profile photo
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.

miguel-1 leanne-1

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.
Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
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.