Back to the #FUTURE
Mariah Reodica (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Electronic dance music is steadily rising in prominence, especially since the tools and programs to make music are easily available, allowing almost anyone to produce and record from the comfort of one’s own bedroom. Take it from 23-year-old Rez Toledo, famously known as Somedaydream, the synthpop act that dominated OPM charts with the radio hit Hey Daydreamer in 2011. Along with the fame, Rez learned the ropes of the commercial side of the music industry, and gained extensive knowledge of what it’s like to be a musician in the Philippines.

He took a break from Somedaydream and formed the Logiclub collective, along with a studio which he named #FUTURESTUDIO. It has state-of-the-art recording technology, but it’s also casual. There, you can see someone rapping and reading rhymes from a laptop screen, in time to a new beat he just made. Up on the balcony, other musicians are having a drink and relaxing, while waiting for inspiration to come along and spark another song. “It’s a space where we can create together, feed off each other’s vibe, and have the freedom to record music,” Rez says.

However, Logiclub isn’t limited to a single genre. There are catchy pop acts gunning for radio airplay, while there are esoteric side projects from members of some of the hottest young bands today. The unifying factor isn’t the genre, but the use of electronic elements in what they do. Rez points out, “Mastering electronics and programs is important in what we do because the technology is so closely tied to creative expression.” In #FUTURESTUDIO, these people get to have one-on-one workshops with each other, so that they can share ideas and grow.

Aside from establishing rapport amongst the members of Logiclub, Rez pushes to promote them as artists to make them visible in the Philippine music scene. Logiclub recently held an invite-only listening party called Fresh Meat, which featured regulars in the studio. It gained a lot of buzz on social media, and there are more Fresh Meat gigs planned for the year ahead. Here’s the inside scoop about the names to watch out for:

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Roberto Seña, 21, more popularly known as the vocalist of indie pop band She’s Only Sixteen, made music sporadically until he got a laptop to produce music. Since then, he has dabbled in everything from ‘80s pop to abstract rap. His influences include Jorge of SimilarObjects, Breakbot, Giraffage, James Blake and Radiohead.

A song up on SoundCloud, Still Awake at Sunrise, floats in an ethereal haze of glitch, with a simple guitar line present like a lone life jacket in the middle of a vast sea. There, his voice gently drifts in and out, repeating the line “Floating, floating all alone” as if it were a mantra. Clearly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is drastically different from the jangly pop hit Dying To Meet You, and this project is his way of experimenting beyond She’s Only Sixteen.

As for the intriguing name, while scrolling through a list of countries online, the name caught his eye. To his surprise, the islands of the Caribbean had interesting names, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He took it, aware of potentially being mistaken for an experimental American artist with the same moniker. “I’m aware that there’s another musician under the name St. Vincent, but whatever,” he says with a laugh. However, his music is darker, broodier, and haunting than what we’ve seen from him, and through St. Vincent, he reveals another facet of his musical abilities to willing listeners.

BP Valenzuela

The only girl in Logiclub so far, BP Valenzuela, 18, is an all-around musician. Her voice, soft and wispy, is also featured in a lot of tracks of other members of Logiclub, like John Pope and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She began as a classical guitarist, but branched out upon hearing Frank Ocean, William Fitzsimmons, and Burial, among other acts.

Even when she’s sometimes on the same bill as rowdier, louder bands, even if she performs on her own, sonic depth isn’t a problem for BP. She weaves loops of her voice and her guitar, even tapping on the body of the guitar itself for added percussion. It’s mesmerizing to the crowd, to her delight. Despite the extensive use of technology in her music, the root of her music is acoustic. She forgoes a laptop and uses an 11-year-old Yamaha electronic drum kit and a loop pedal instead. The melodic sensibilities of ‘90s bands such as Veruca Salt and Third Eye Blind permeate her songs.

She has her literary tendencies as well, with songs like Building and All That You Are, which are based on e.e. cummings poems. Those songs have an underlying pulse that imbues them with warmth. It’s markedly organic different compared to the rest of Logiclub’s blueprint, which makes her stand out.

Ninno

Ninno Rodriguez’s first attempts at rap began during the summer of his first year of high school, after Francis Magalona passed away. The slew of tributes and retrospectives in the Master Rapper’s wake took Ninno, 20, by storm. “I speak good English. I like writing. I always wanted to get into music,” he says. “So why not try rapping?” Fortunately enough, he was neighbors with well-versed rappers such as Elite who taught him to record, and Datu, who taught him to rhyme. He also pays tribute to old-school hip-hop like Wu-Tang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G., along with big names taking the stage today like Kendrick Lamar and Hopsin, all wordsmiths of hip-hop.

He tackles real-life issues like domestic abuse, the Reproductive Health Bill, and what really matters to him. On the other hand, he also has lyrical exercises meant to hone his craft.  “More than bopping their head while listening to my music, I want people to understand what I’m trying to say,” he explains. The drive to express what he wants to say shows in every successful rapper, and it shows in him.

John Pope

JP Del Mundo, 22, has a sharp sense of humor, with a knack for being able to find a sly joke or a witty retort in the blink of an eye. Nothing is too safe when it comes to him. “My parents named me after the Pope para lumaki ako ng mabait,” he says with a smirk, “But John Paul was too bland, so I used John Pope instead.” He’s also known as a member of Never the Strangers, but he began producing music in 2010, and has flirted with many styles. He began with synth-heavy electronica like Justice, then tried going into dubstep and EDM. Eventually, he found his niche in experimental music in the vein of Flying Lotus and Lapalux. He calls it an outlet for more eccentric material.

Mundane, common sounds in everyday life show up in his tracks unexpectedly. Sometimes he samples the sound of people walking, or conversations in a crowd. He places these in a musical context, which can be disorienting at first, but that’s his point: To baffle and convince people that it’s possible to make anything musical. The elements are recognizable on their own. Dissonant strings being plucked, spliced voices, and dialogue, although modulated to a far lower register. However, when backed up by JP’s synths and bass, they attain a new identity. It’s definitely serious music, but when bafflement upon listening to his music gives way to an intent sense of intrigue, you realize he’s gotten the last word with a punchline.

CRWN

CRWN (pronounced “crown”) is the solo project of King Puentespina, 21. He’s another member of She’s Only Sixteen in Logiclub, and his perspective as a drummer shows in his music. He bears a striking resemblance to Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi, who was a prominent influence in his early mixes, along with Neon Indian. His work eventually leaned towards Motown and Soul and jazz, with samples of Smokey Robinson, and he pays homage to great hip-hop producers like Rick Rubin. Hip-hop influences from the artists of Def Jam made their way into his music as well. The result is a smooth fusion of the above genres, which is compelling ear candy.

Aside from performing DJ sets for steady Friday nights, C R W N is a personal outlet for whatever his mood is, or how things are going for him at that moment he hits record. The songs are different from his material with She’s Only Sixteen as well, and the more groove-oriented side of his sense of rhythm shines. Some of his tracks are perfect for popping a bottle of champagne before going out, while some are fit for a laid-back night at home. There’s a certain intimacy that can be felt in his tracks, since he works on them from the comfort of his own room. It’s a glimpse into King’s personal side. After all, being called royalty is a reason to raise your glasses, and C R W N is the sound of celebration.

DancePlayCreate

Eric Trono, Bryan Moya, and Matthew Azada — all 22-year-olds — think of the name DancePlayCreate as a mantra of what they do as a group. The members are inspired by punk bands like Urbandub, Incubus and Saosin, and that foundation makes their songs loud dance floor anthems. However, their sound is also very dynamic, since each of them are producers with their own projects and different styles like hip-hop, go hard beats, and indie rock. The genres mesh together in their tracks, creating something different as a sum of its parts, with aggressive rhythmic beats and melodic hooks.

DancePlayCreate’s live performances are an essential part of who they are as a group. They have their own roles live. Matthew is the main DJ, Bryan handles the live effects, while Eric does vocals and additional synths. Aside from their original songs, as DJs, they play hits, especially since they’re accustomed to sets that last over an hour.

As for dancing, when they were asked about their original dance, they laughed and pretended to shoot up in the air while moving their arms. “We didn’t plan it out,” Eric says, “We were in the studio and it just happened. We were laughing at ourselves.” They have a sense of humor and enthusiasm in the way they talk and act, which is just the kind of energy that makes DancePlayCreate potential contenders for the airwaves.

 

 

C R W N FRESH MEAT JOHN POPE LOGICLUB MUSIC ONLY SIXTEEN REZ ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
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