Abby Clutario: The progressive princess


Joseph R. Atilano, an authority on popular music, conducts the following interview.

Each genre has its representatives — musicians who we can easily associate with a specific style upon hearing their names. While other more prominent genres can boast of a huge range of available musicians, not all genres are that lucky. In some cases, there are just a select few who are accessible and already established in the local scene. When I think of all the genres that have become popular and have produced their own respective musicians, one of those bands that has intrigued me the most and grown on me is the most recognized local progressive act — Fuseboxx. I did make a contribution about the progressive scene citing Fuseboxx last year. But this time I am able to interview the band’s lead vocalist. Just like any music aficionado, there are certain things I would want to know and learn more about the band that has represented its genre so well since its inception in 2011. I decided the only way to achieve this is to conduct a proper interview, in fact, the first local interview ever with Abby Clutario, the lead vocalist of Fuseboxx. Here it is: Raw and uncut.

Q. How many years have you been involved with Fuseboxx?

A. I’ve been with them from the beginning (2001), so 10 years.

Q. How many songs in Fuseboxx have you composed?

A. Most are collaborations (with Eric). I think I have two that haven’t been recorded yet and 3 to4 songs from the 1st and 2nd album. I usually get involved in the creation of some melodies (Eric usually writes the lyrics and main theme), then later on with harmonies and arrangements.

Q. Which songs are the most meaningful and close to your heart?

A. From the first album, I think it’s 11:28 for Animated, Overture and Hibang. Two songs also that haven’t been recorded yet, Leaf and Listen.

Q. What does progressive music mean to you?

A. It means music that’s always moving, flowing, not stagnant. It’s the new classical music for me, using a wide variety of instruments and wide spectrum of musical styles that stimulate your mind to listen more.

Q. Who were your musical influences as you grew up?

A. I’ve been singing (and playing the piano/guitar) with church choirs since I was 6, and was listening to different kinds of music. I was listening to pop, jazz (the light ones, the ones my dad and uncle would listen to), oldes (from my lola’s playing and from the radio), new age (Jim Chapel) and playing with these songs (by ear, if I was interested enough) aside from the church music I was learning (traditional to Manoling Francisco’s works). Later on I would have been exposed to some light classical music (From Extension Classes in UP). It was only when I got to college that I learned about heavy classical music and progressive music when I joined Fuseboxx.

Q. How many musical instruments can you play?

A. I can play the piano, guitar, theremin (no practice though!) and Chapman Stick. I learned violin, flute and harmonica for a while too.

Q. What do you think of the local progressive scene here?

A. It’s still very young here, while there are a handful of listeners and music enthusiasts of progressive music, you can still just hand-pick a few who create that kind of genre. When we released our first album (2005), we initiated to build a progressive community. We had about 6-7 bands at that time but since it’s a high-maintenance music (something which really needs a lot of time, technicality, work and money), only a few remain. But I believe if we could expose this kind of music locally (and realize that this music can exist here), I’m sure that Filipinos, being the natural music critics we are, would dig this kind of music.

Q. How many line-up changes has Fuseboxx undergone since 2001?

A. Major changes are 4, so we consider this the 4th generation already, which I believe is the strongest batch. We’ve had several guitarists for the past 10 years, Mico actually came back, we had him just for a few months in 2002 then we chose him over an audition/contest in 2007. And 2 bassists, but when the last one quit the group, we decided to have the Stick to fill in the bass lines instead.

Q. Would you choose to be signed under a major label or remain independent?

A. You know, we’ve tried and pushed for both our 1st and 2nd albums for a label but sadly, our local major labels cannot risk getting a new kind of sound (or band) in the roster. They’d rather support and market foreign artists instead, and believe me, you’ll be disappointed with their reasons. We would still want to be in a label because we believe they still have more means to get our music across all borders. We’d really want to spread our music as much as we can, and if being in a label will help us do this, then we’d be more than willing to jump in there.

Q. Are there any local musicians you wish to collaborate with?

A. Well, I’ve already had the honor of playing with Ms. Cynthia Alexander from our group Humanfolk and her group as well, and it would be nice to collaborate with her for a new song or two. I’m still looking forward to working with a lot of artists on a new project soon.

Q. What more do you hope to achieve in your career as a musician?

A. I still want to discover and learn more of the Chapman sticks potential and to try other instruments (topping the list is cello). Create and probably record new materials for Fuseboxx and other artists, collaborate, teach and share with the new generation what I’ve learned throughout this musical journey, including it’s up’s and down’s, the real deal (showbiz and politics) in the current music scene and the like.

Q. How do you want the music aficionados, critics and fans to remember you?

A. Hmmm, tough one. I guess, anything but a rockstar, cuz I’m not. I think I would like to be somebody who will be their inspiration when creating and playing music that they really like and to always remember that making music is a collective effort. Whether you be in the foreground, background or the listener, the experience, though temporal, is what matters.

Fuseboxx is composed of Abby Clutario (vox, keys and stick), Mico Ong (guitars), Eric Tubon (synth), and Les Banzuelo (drums).

* * *

E-mail: [email protected].

vuukle comment











  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with