More surprises soon from MYX
- by Eagle Mondela () - March 30, 2001 - 12:00am
"We’re not trying to be MTV!," insists MYX VJ Kaz Castillo. "I’m not a clone of a more famous VJ. What you see is what you get."

Yup, the nose ring and the Brit-American twang are not put-ons. They’re the real thing. As for that courageous comparison to the music video channel of all music video channels (across the globe even), it can’t be helped.

MYX quietly took over the slot of MTV on Studio 23 late last year with two-hour test broadcasts. Official telecast began the early hours of the new millennium. Now, they are on-air 14 hours a day.

"We’re not as hi-tech as people think. We’re so undermanned. You should see our writers. They don’t get any sleep. We don’t even have our own studio. But the ratings show great promise. There’s a chance that, if we do well, we can graduate to being an independent channel. For now, we’re doing this for the love of music," says the MYX music consultant who just happens to be the Toti Dalmacion.

This is Toti’s first time to venture into music television. But if his name sounds familiar, that’s because he has played drums for local bands; "deejayed" in the LA underground; worked as photographer for independent music mags in LA; owned and managed Groove Nation (a record store); hosted radio shows; reviewed albums for publications; organized house & techno parties (including inviting international DJs); set up his own music agency for local DJs and other music acts and produced records.

"I wasn’t around when they coined the name MYX. But I thought it makes perfect sense since MYX is about options. There’s something for everyone: Rock, hip hop, R & B, pop, jazz, world and even classical. Unlike other music channels which focus on the promotion of albums (or in, other words, centering on the business side of the music industry), we focus on the music. MYX is about putting music in the forefront where it belongs," he explains.

Channel 23’s music block aptly focuses on music genres: Morning MYX (high-energy songs from the likes of Smash Mouth, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Janet Jackson), MYX Sampler (a two-hour frenzy of every genre you can think of), MYXTREME (dedicated to headbangers or non-mainstream music lovers), MYX Recall (review the hits of the past), Pop MYX (current hits), Dance MYX (club music), Urban MYX (R&B, hip-hop and soul), World MYX (music videos from every part of the globe), My MYX (a unique request show that will air five of your favorite videos at one time) and Late Night MYX (adult contemporary hits).

"The Filipino musical taste has evolved," says Toti who chooses the videos aired on MYX. "It has improved. But, for the most part, pop is still dominant. I don’t think that will ever change. There’s nothing wrong with ballads and love songs. What’s good is that most Filipinos are open to other kinds of music. They’re more adventurous now. MYX offers the basic boy bands and girls groups plus extra. It’s only through exposure that you’ll really know what you want."

One major shift, according to Toti, is from our focus on the US as a musical trendsetter. Toti believes that the Pinoy now also looks at the UK as an important scene. "That’s good because now we understand that there is more to the world than just the States," Kaz explains.

MYX videos are not necessarily the most in-demand. Toti delights in airing "great finds" which are most often non-hit songs of known artists. These should surprise the regular music video viewer since such have never been shown in the Philippines. The fate of most non-Top 40s videos (well, until Toti decided to excavate the music libraries of record labels) is to gather dust.

"Sometimes, I’m asked why we play such unknown videos. I tell them that even if these videos may not be hi-tech or trendy, they should listen to the music because I can guarantee the quality of the music we play. I personally think such exposure has done a lot of good to our audience. It’s only when you listen to new music that you learn to like it. Sometimes, I get a request for Jennifer Lopez and Creed all from the same person. That’s a good indication that though the leaning is still towards pop, our audience listens to more than just that," Kaz reports.

Aside from the usual music video programs, MYX also boasts of foreign syndicated shows like Later with Jools (jam sessions with the most unlikely performers to be put together in one show), Beat UK (a weekly chart show that combines live and taped performances), MT-Movie Television (behind-the-scenes of movie making), SpeakEasy (intimate conversations with music artists,) The New Music (features new music technologies and emerging music scenes), Intimate & Interactive (live performances by leading artists where viewers are allowed to interact with them via phone, fax, email, or in person) and Planet Rock Profiles (the world’s leading music profiles series).

"You may be wondering why these are all from the UK. That’s because there’s a lot of variety in the kinds of shows they produce. Right now, we’re still scouting around for good American music shows," Toti promises.

Expect more MYX VJs as well. A few months into operations, Kaz, Clara Balaguer and Ed Feist have been getting attention – both positive and negative.

"People are saying that we like VJ with foreign accents because we’re trying to look and sound foreign. That’s not true. You should see the pile of audition tapes on our desks," he says. "It’s difficult to find the right kind of VJ. The accent was not a determining factor. What we wanted were VJs who not only love music but live music."

Looks can be deceiving. Kaz, the most Asian-looking of the trio, is in fact the most traveled. "Clara and Ed actually spent most of their lives in Manila. But since they look foreign, audiences think they’re from abroad. Clara lived in Spain for a few years but she grew up here. Ed spent time in Australia but he too has lived longer here than I have. Part of my childhood was spent in Manila. But I left for the States when I was 10. After that, I moved to the UK to study. It was there that I realized that there is more to music than Top 40s."

So no wonder Kaz got the nod of the powers that be at MYX. She’s "enlightened" enough but not quite over being a music fan. "Oh yeah, every now and then, I stand there talking to artists who I’ve idolized for so long and I have to try not to look starstruck. It’s a great job!"

Having lived in three continents in the first 24 years of her life has not stopped Kaz from appreciating local music. In fact, she enjoys being part of such an intimate music scene both as a VJ and as a fan.

The same goes for MYX which manages to appreciate foreign as well as local talent. What’s a music video channel without parties, right? So far, MYX has organized nearly a dozen events. On April 7, Urban MYX presents Triple Threat (Apollo, Shortkut and Vinroc) successful Pinoy DJs from LA who will perform at Limits Disco in Robinsons Galleria at 8 p.m. The show will be aired at a later date.

Meanwhile, MYX is becoming a force to reckon with. Stay tuned for more surprises.

BUT I CLARA AND ED CLARA BALAGUER AND ED FEIST KAZ MUSIC MYX TOTI
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