Music was never a famous path when it comes to choosing one’s career. However, we encountered rare breeds making waves in the scene–and they’re no longer clad in black shirts alongside their acoustic guitars. Now, the scene they’ve penetrated are all about laptops, electronic music, and rap lyrics.
Get to know Mito Fabie a.k.a. Curtissmith, Nate Nakar and Don Puno of Diamond Heights, Ramon Alonzo as Aaries, and Aki Suda as they share to us why they love making music even if it’s a still an open-ended journey ahead.
Why did you pursue music?
Curtissmith: I never really intended to pursue music. It was, and still is, a means for me to express what I feel at a given point in time. It’s something that’s constantly evolving and for somebody who can get tired of things quickly, there’s always so much more to explore in its realm.
Diamond Heights: Music has always been a way for us to encapsulate certain moments in our lives. It’s an art form that allows us to express our emotions and let people know how we feel. Whenever you listen to an artist you are taken into a 3-5 minute journey– a journey of an artist’s life, emotions, experiences, and for us to give people inspiration and joy by rapping/singing about our journeys and stories is an amazing thing. Also, because we find it pretty dope that people dig our stuff.
Aaries: Music has always been a big part of my life. I can’t imagine not making music when I’m older. Making music makes me feel fulfilled as a person.
Aki Suda: When I was about to graduate high school I had no idea what I wanted to be in the future, my sister recommended me to take music production. months later classes got more interesting and I started digging in about the industry and producing.
Describe the kind of music you make.
DH: Well, it’s pretty much a confluence of different styles. There’s a lot of rapping, but we also sing a lot as well. We’re really trying to push something different into the Philippine music scene and right now there isn’t really a word that we think can “encompass” our kind of music. We feel it’s very much important for us to nuance ourselves.
A: Honestly, this is one of the hardest questions to answer cause I can’t properly differentiate electronic music genres. But I think the music I make for my Aries project ranges from ambient to drum and bass, and experimental to noise house.
AS: I make electronic, jazz hip hop, soul, Rnb, sampling or sometimes just weird music hahah.
Where (who) do you get your inspiration (from)?
CS: Arctic monkeys, Tom Misch, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Jay z, J Cole
DH: We want to change the status quo, we want to take Philippine music to another level. You know how when you become a famous artist in the U.S., you’re famous everywhere or if you make a hit song in Korea your reach extends to so many countries. Now that’s exactly what we want to do. We want our music to transcend beyond the Philippines and be sung everywhere. It sounds crazy but we’re really crazy.
A: I get inspiration for my Aries project from the musicians who offer something new to the table, like John Pope, crwn, and Similar Objects. What really inspired me to start with electronic music was an event made by Buwanbuwan Collective, which is Bakunawa. When I got to experience it for the first time, my views on electronic music changed. I didn’t get it at first cause I thought electronic music is always supposed to be upbeat, and energetic. It opened my mind to different kinds of music that speaks to you. I can say that Bakunawa changed my life forever.
AS: Most of the time I get inspired when I listen to live performances. the energy just gets to you.
What/who are you currently listening to?
CS: I’ve been listening to Logic’s Incredible True Story
DH: We listen to a lot of different styles. We listen to rap, rock, pop, edm, and a lot of other genres. We don’t really confine ourselves to one genre.
A: Right now, I’m listening to Tame Impala, Homeshake, and King Krule. I remember listening to Tame Impala for the first time and it blew me right away. Their musicality and lyrics speaks to me in another level. King Krule on the other hand is a great poet and musician. There’s just something magical with the way he sings his songs.
AS: Right now I’m hooked on neo soul and hip hop so iv’e been listening to Robert Glasper, D’angelo, Lustbass, some tracks from saikei collective, freddie joachim, J dilla, also some Till Bronner on side.
How is your creative process?
CS: Usually I have to go through certain experiences, and if I’m going through something and I find a beat where I can express myself honestly then I start to write.
DH: It really depends. There is no one way of doing it, sometimes the beat comes first and the vocals come after and sometimes it works vise versa. But regarding the theme, it’s always about an experience we’ve had or an emotion we feel at a certain point in our lives.
A: When making a song, I usually finish 70% of it in a day then I’ll stop working on it, then check it out again after a month or two to complete it.
AS: Just listening to more music and isolating myself.
Who are your listeners?
CS: Anybody feeling alone or open to another perspective
DH: Young people. We don’t really know, to be honest, we’re just guessing.
A: I think the people who really listen to my music are electronic producers cause I think that my songs aren’t easy to listen to. Even some of my friends don’t listen to my stuff but, I also have friends who really supported me since day one. Those guys genuinely appreciate my music. Shoutouts to Tristan, Marc and Paolo!!
AS: Mostly my friends and soundcloud users.
What else do you do other than making music?
CS: I enjoy doing sports and reading. I try to always be mindful of balancing mind body and soul.
DH: Nate is a Founder and CEO of a startup company called Artise De Solution Inc. they make apps and the most recent one is called Pleyto, it gives customers discounts/freebies for answering feedback forms through the phone. They have IHOP, Cafe Mediterranean, and Burger Ave among others as Partner Merchants. The app is still in its early stage, but will soon take the market by storm.
Don is a recent graduate of DLSU with a degree in Behavioral Sciences. He’s always been into music and even took an internship at MCA music. Now that he’s graduated he will take his music skills to Yupanco Music as he is about to start working there really soon.
A: Right now, I’m into film photography. Not to sound pretentious but there’s this magic in it. When you know that the number of shots are limited, you’re bound to treasure every picture you take. Every photo is special. It’s kind of similar to listening to records rather than listening to digital copies of music.
AS: Binge watch! especially mostly watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. OR
Which of your tracks perfectly (somewhat) describes you?
CS: Top of my head it’s “For The Love”
DH: (Nate) “A Satire”, although Souncloud only has the demo version, the song’s story is something I really want to share to our listeners. It’s about staying positive and hungry, even though certain things don’t exactly go your way.
( Don) There’s no particular song that best describes me but you can say that all of the songs tells a story of what we experience with our day to day experiences. It’s more than just an expression. Our music is a testament of our lives. It’s like a timeline. I feel nostalgic every time I listen to our songs. It brings me back to the emotions that I was channeling during our writing process.
A: If were one of my songs, I’ll be “Et Nemus”. That song just really makes me feel sentimental. It’s able to give a vibe that none of my other songs could give, which is nostalgia.
AS: I think “horn flakes”, I like how the groove is just a head bopper and that’s how I like my music
How was your Malasimbo experience?
CS: It was great! I was able to spend time with people very special to me so I really enjoyed.
DH: It was awesome! We got to meet so many cool and talented people. We really enjoyed the Mangyan stage, the audience was just a few steps away the stage and it made things more intimate. We also saw a lot of smiles and cheers, well most of the cheering came from Mia, one of the organizers of the event, but all in all it was a fantastic experience. We are extremely grateful for the support and recognition given to us by Radio Republic and the Malasimbo organizers. God bless them!
A: It was surreal. Malasimbo has always been my dream gig cause I think my music can be experienced better when you’re surrounded by trees. I camped on the first two days inside Mt. Malasimbo and it just felt like home to me. I also enjoyed the sets of the local artists, and Lapalux! He played some next level sounds.
AS: It was awesome! i love it there, the art, lights, music, the vibe. every single thing there trips me out especially the performers they never stop surprising me.
What are the struggles of being a young artist?
CS: I guess all the uncertainties of where I’m headed and what I have to do to get there.. Wherever ‘there’ is.
DH: (Nate) I guess it’s really being able to disseminate your music at a wider scale. Another challenge I see is having to strike a balance between making music you love and making marketable music. We’re still in search of that balance, but we hope we’re on that right path. We’re always open minded and in search for advice, we’re not afraid to be told that there is room for improvement, because that’s how you get better, you seek customer insight and move on from there.
(Don) Just as what Nate said, one of our struggles as up and coming artists is for people to get a hold of our music. There are a lot of musicians who are great but don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Aside from that, there are also issues about our identity, musically. We want to craft our own style, we want to innovate music, we want to open the minds of the listeners to a “fresh” sound that can only be achieve through trial and error. Who knows how we’ll sound like years from now. I’m not afraid to make mistakes and we still have a lot to learn. I’m excited to go through this process, we’ll see where all of this takes us.
A: One of the struggles that I experienced as a young artist is getting your name out there. It’s really hard to make yourself known to other people especially if you’re new to the game. A lot of thanks to Logiclub for helping me grow as an artist.
What’s the best thing about making music?
CS: Connecting with people
DH: The best thing about it is that through our words and melodies we get to paint pictures of moments, of experiences, of emotions, all into an art form that everyone can relate to. That’s what makes music so special and this is why we do it.
A: It makes me feel fulfilled. I believe that making music is like connecting to people. It’s as if you’re telling a story. It’s hard to connect to people when you don’t have words in your music. Some people already told me that my songs tell a story, or share a specific emotion and those kinds of compliments really make me feel appreciated because I’m able to make a bridge to connect to them without using words.
AS: Expressing your personality through your tracks and you never stop learning new things. it’s very rewarding once you’ve gain those experience.
Words by Tin Advincula
Special Thanks to Mia Bautista of Radio Republic