28 September 2016

New Brand Tomorrow Takes Today by Storm with their Debut Collection

When looking at the casual wear scene, there's a certain thread to be found across all brands. The kind of edgy, devil-may-care sort of vibe that's one part anarchy, and one part good fun. Which isn't bad, but you'd sometimes wonder if there's anything more to the scene.

Enter Tomorrow - from the tandem of Tim Lopez and Andrew Panopio - the local clothes brand that's injecting a more positive spin to the usual narrative. Envisioning messages of hope, timelessness, and looking forward, Tomorrow's brand is one that ultimately combines the "good vibe" feel of other street bands, while transcending.

Power Mac Center’s Sync Sessions Returns with Free Workshops and Indie Performances

Power Mac Center stays true to its mother brand’s trademark of innovation with the return of Sync Sessions. Now on its third installment, Sync Sessions is designed to celebrate the power of apps, accessories, and Apple devices in music-making. Running from September to October, Sync Sessions will feature Masterclass sessions with local music greats like Gary Valenciano, Urbandub’s Gabby Alipe, and Raimund Marasigan. 

More than the Masterclass sessions, a Logic Pro X training for beginners will be led by De La Salle College of St. Benilde music professor Teresa Barrozo. The free training will be held on September 25, October 5, and October 23. Aspiring musicians can register for the training through this link.

To showcase homegrown music talent, independent acts BP Valenzuela, The Ransom Collective, and CRWN with Jess Connelly will also perform in select Power Mac Center branches on September 24, October 8, and October 22, respectively. 

For more information, you can visit www.powermaccenter.com and follow @powermaccenter on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat. 

27 September 2016

We talked to Artists and Fans at the Urban Jam 2016 about Hip hop Music and Culture

It was a rainy day last August 27, but people were not deterred to show up at Bridgetowne Open Grounds, Quezon City for Urban Jam 2016. From rap aficionados, graffiti writers, to hip hop dancers, the place was filled with positive energy that winds and raindrops can't repel. With the music performances headed by Mobb Deep and Skratch Bastid, and flanked by local acts headed by BLKD, Batas, Anygma, and Loonie, everybody was definitely hyped. They were all down to bump their heads to banging beats and sick rhymes. Every artist definitely brought it, from young cats; Tatz and Tweng, to veterans like Dash and Kemikal Ali.

Here are some photos from the event, plus a quick interview with some of the hip hop heads in attendance to provide you a better view of what went down. You will also have some insights on what it is to be hip hop, and the outlook that they have for our scene.

"When I went to (play) other music, they were like, "we want some more hip hop" which was really cool. I like that. True hip hop fans." 
- Skratch Bastid

Interview by David Villania III and photos by Tristan Tamayo

1. What can you say about the crowd at Urban Jam?

Protege, Emcee & Producer

I think it was a pretty diverse hip hop crowd. You had the old school heads, the newer younger generation, the hard-core supporters of the local scene, the fans of the international acts, and also some non-hip hop people, seeing them all for the first time.

Skratch Bastid, DJ

Well the crowd at Urban Jam is a very hip hop crowd. It was really cool to come here and play new hip hop, old school hip hop, classic hip hop, everything. When I went to (play) other music, they were like, "we want some more hip hop!" which was really cool. I like that. True hip hop fans.

Sloj, Producer

I thought it was dope that there were a lot of familiar heads that night, but I also wished there were more of them. Also enjoyed watching break crews and their cyphers. It was great that people were still into the show despite the bad weather.

Dash, Emcee & Producer

Fun, everyone had a great time and loving every minute of it to last drop, despite the weather and all. Classic moment.

Batas, Emcee

Well, they were very interactive regardless of the rain, it didn't bother them to watch and listen in front of the stage. It was a good crowd.

Kemikal Ali, Emcee

The Urban Jam crowd had a majority of the real heads. The rain didn't stop them at all.

Umph, Producer

I saw some real hip hop heads in the crowd, from old school to new.

Skratch Bastid

Goriong Talas, Batas, & Sayadd (Illustrado) 


2. What is the first song that got you into hip hop?
Anygma, Emcee
I can't say that just one song got me into hiphop but one of the earlier actual rap songs that I can remember was "Lodi Dodi" by Snoop. I was probably 9 or 10 years old and the storytelling really got me, partly too 'cos it was very explicit. haha!

Joshua Cesario, Graphic Artist
"Ilibing ng Buhay" by Death Threat.

Havoc, Emcee
For me, I think it was Kurtis Blow with his song, "Basketball".

Cedric Cordero, Videographer

Foreign track: "My Adidas" by Run DMC, local track: "Mga Kababayan" by Francis M.

Meow, Emcee & Graffiti Artist

I remember my father always made me sing "Humanap ka ng Panget" by Andrew E when I was a kid, but I can't say that I got into hip hop because of that. There wasn't really a specific song but some of the first hip hop albums that my cousin and I listened to were from Bone Thugs, Death Threat, Sun Valley Crew and Urban Flow.

Mon Punzalan, DJ
I grew up in Novaliches, mobile sound systems were popular that time. "Paid in Full" by Eric B and Rakim, that was the most popular song back then.

Tatz, Emcee & Producer
The first song, I think (is) "If I Rule the World" by Nas. That's also the first beat that I wrote to.

Havoc & Prodigy (Mobb Deep)

3. What is your fondest memory as a hip hop artist? 

Prodigy, Emcee
When we did that song with Rakim. That was crazy doing a song with Ra.

Kemikal Ali
Fondest memory was me spittin' in front of Andrew E at the parking lot of Greenhills Sound Studios. I think that was 1994 or early 95. I couldn't come up with a demo tape so I went at it.

Skratch Bastid
It's probably building a friendship with DJ Jazzy Jeff. It's not really one memory in particular, but he's my idol, my hero. And now he's my friend and we work on stuff together. It's more of a life direction, and I'm very happy about that because he's an amazing person and I think, together we're doing some really fun stuff for DJ.

Fondest memory is when we first performed at Boom Boom in Pasay in 1993 with Masta Plann, Death Threat and our mentor and producer Boom! That was our first ever big debut as Legit Misfitz. And then there was 2008 First Asian Hip Hop fest with the BeatMathics and (we) performed in front of 50,000 people when we opened up for Nas. We did our set and killed it, ended it with Pambansang Kamao, no doubt!

Man, I really hate these questions 'cos it requires me to rank things. But off the top at the moment, maybe not exactly my fondest, more like one of my proudest moments, was actually making it to Toronto for World Domination 4 despite the insane flooding, being fucked over by the embassy 'cos they just didn't open my application despite it being submitted 9 weeks prior, me breaking down, trying every possible and potentially illegal way to convince them to grant me my visa. Having slept only like 15 hours in 5 days, not sleeping on the entire 22+ hour flight, (and) arriving a day late for the 2-day event, being picked up by the homies, getting to the venue straight from the airport, and battled on stage in like 15 minutes upon arriving. I feel like it was one of my better showings as well. But yeah, everything about that trip, it was really crazy, I can probably tell it better in person and with more self incriminating details too. haha!

I miss the times when you would really have to search for hip hop. Everything is on the Internet now. Back then I keep switching from one music video channel to another just to see if they would be playing hip hop. Aside from Channel V and MTV, there was Channel O, which I think was an African network that played a lot of rap, from Ghostface to Dizzee Rascal. I went to every record bar I could find to search for tapes and CDs. If I wanted to check out an artist's album, I couldn't just download the whole thing or listen to it on Youtube or Spotify,  I would have to search Limewire or Kazaa, then download whatever song is available.

One of my fondest memories in hip hop is going gold for the first time. One of our albums going gold, that was pretty dope.

This right now, Urban Jam. My first real, real, real hip hop performance.



DJ Teaze


4. What do you want to happen to the hip hop culture in the Philippines?

I personally would like to see our hip hop culture and its artists gain more international audience. People need to know what we do out here, and the history runs deep. At the same time, we have emcees who rap in English that non-Filipinos worldwide should listen to, as well as some of the best musicians, producers, and DJs.

I would want more original sounds to come out of the scene.  Like stuff that doesn't sound like it has a peg.

Joshua Cesario
On the real though, more money to circulate in the scene, so that the artists can get paid right. Even the people behind the scene: organizers, graphic designers, video directors, etc. So that there's a budget to play around with, to execute ideas and concepts.

That there will be more heads who understand what's going on.

I want it to grow bigger and bigger. I hope the quality evolves and evolves.

Kemikal Ali
I wanted it to blow up (like) back then. Now I just want the true hardworking individuals to get what they deserve. Get respected, be supportive of each other and get paid. That's, get paid right.

Cedric Cordero
I want it grow more even-though it is already happening,. More critical listeners. More tastemakers. Less cheapskates and fakers.

More foreign acts, more big events/hip hop festivals with all the hip hop elements present.

Music festivals like Urban Jam are a boost to a local music scene. There is nothing like watching international acts perform live and, if you're lucky, interact with them even just for a bit. Come April next year, better not miss out because the organizers are gearing up for Urban Jam 2017. Philippine hip hop stand up! 





DJ Buddah


DJ Kimozave


Sud goes louder than usual with their new music video for "How We Play"

Seven-piece alternative soul band Sud has been one of today's popular acts in the indie music scene. After having fans sing in unison to their slow jams "Smilky" and "Sila", they decided to switch it up with their latest music video for their song "How We Play". Watch on as two girls roam the streets, having their own version of fun with reckless abandon. We asked frontman Sud Ballecer a few questions to give us an insight of how everything came to fruition:

What makes "How We Play" different from your previous songs?
It sounds different compared to our slow and sexy sounding songs. It has a heavier feel and it's very aggressive.

How did the idea for the music video came about? Who came up with the storyline, etc.?
Enzo Valdez, our manager and the music video director was the one who came up with the concept. He wanted it to be colorful, intense and fast paced, just like our song.

What do you guys want to convey with the music video? How is it connected to the song?
We just want to let the people know that we will continue creating our music the way we want it.

Is the last scene connected to any future music videos or anything you guys will come up next?
We'll be releasing a few more videos before the year ends. Watch out for that!

The band just got on a magazine cover last August and is slowly breaking through mainstream as television networks are starting to showcase them. With more people taking notice, there are those who have said less positive things about the group and their works. But for those who dig what they do, you can count on Sud to provide you with what brought them here in the first place: their own kind of music.

26 September 2016

Stargate x Urban Trilogy "Deliver Us, From Evil" Capsule Collection

The emerging local skate brand and collective, Stargate has recently partnered with newly born brand, Urban Trilogy for a Capsule Collection. Inspired by the demons, hell, and the dark side in totality, the collection expresses the raw rebelliousness and devil-may-care attitude. The aptly named "Deliver Us, From Evil" Capsule Collection features graphic t-shirts - a skate ensemble staple, sweatshirts and short sleeved button-downs. The collaboration collection was released through an event last September 24, 2016. Both brands' skate teams were there to join in the launch of the collection. Rap Santos, Aliza Alejandre, Brian Vallescas, Allen "Renzo" Dizon, Pao Mendoza, June Braga, and Jordy Barreyro shred with their skateboards as much as they celebrated with Stargate and Urban Trilogy. You can view below the event recap video to see what happened last Saturday, plus the full lookbook and video presentation for the collection.

Escolta Advocate and Resident, Arts Serrano of One/zero Design Collective shares their Story

I’m drawn to things that have that old world’s charm – photographs from the 70s, 60s rock, vintage finds, architectural ruins, the remnants of a world that was. This exact wonder perhaps is what urged me to give Escolta, the business and entertainment center during the 50s, a visit. I first saw Escolta in September 2015; and, despite the undeniable yet often overlooked beauty of the old buildings’ architecture, the street was sad to look at. There were only the blank faces of people coming from different directions, caught in their errands and only seeing this once glorious street as a portal to somewhere they need to be. Convenience stores and a few other establishments stand in some corners. The signs were dilapidated, gathering smoke and dust just like the abandoned buildings – these elegant structures that the times have forgotten as new and more conducive business districts came to life.

It was then great news for me when I learned that some creative groups were making efforts to help revitalize the street, or at least get people to visit the place and give it the admiration it still so deserves. At the time, it was the so-called Saturday x Future market which, after gaining a lot of support, called for an expansion. Thus, it now has a more sustainable set-up that is patterned after an improved concept and has a new name: The HUB: Make Lab – an incubation space for independent start-up companies. It is that which summoned me back to the Queen of Manila Streets.

What I saw was different from when I first came. There was more life, at least in the First United Bldg. where The Hub is located. Apart from the crafts and artworks that were displayed, I also got to witness how artists share the story behind them. Then, I realized that they’re as inspiring as the product of their hands. It is during the little chats with some of them that I learned that there’s more that’s brewing in the First United Bldg. than the bazaar. Save for the coffee shop found at the back, there’s also another space that’s worth admiring – an office that elegantly mixes the old world charm and a modern flavor. They were referring to the One/zero Design Collective’s office nested in the building’s 5th floor.

It was lucky of me that the owner was kind enough to show me the space. Perhaps just like everyone who’s been inside their office, it was the big, hexagonal window that first got my attention. It is that window, I think, which set the building apart from the others surrounding it, and that which became the basis of the office’s overall design. For one, it allows for a wide, picturesque view of the outside – the Sta. Cruz church, the other buildings, neighboring streets, and the hustle and bustle of the district. Architect Arts Serrano, founder of One/zero, shared that they didn’t want to obstruct this view by covering it with blocks of shelving. So, they emulated the proportions of the window frames in planning their shelving and creating their furniture. White paint, steel bars, and glass were used – thin, light, and neat materials – to keep the transparency that the windows beckon. Arts emphasized that it was important for them to design it in such a way that the view outside is visually connected to the person inside – so that the person can capture both the modern look of the office’s interior and the classical grandeur of the neighboring buildings. He also said that the design of the office is their way of reminding the younger generation that old spaces can be used in modern ways – a tangible channel for the millennials to connect with heritage.

More than the idea behind their office’s aesthetic, Arts also shared the philosophies that One/zero swears by, their story, how they found a spot and a community in Escolta, and more in this conversation:

"by being surrounded by these creative individuals, by being exposed to how they work, how the graphic designers and artists around us work, we get influenced by how they think."

Interview by Queencee Quitalig and photos by Bryan Benida

Can you tell us how it all started?
It started way back 2014, I think. That was the first time that I went to Escolta. And I went here on a week day only to find that it’s closed. Apparently, it only happens every Saturday. That was the first time that I went here. Then, when I went on a Saturday, I was surprised to see that people really go here when the bazaar is up. I’m glad that there’s that curiosity. Although, at the time, the set-up was less formal. The set-up before was that every artist who has a craft that they want to sell would just have a “latag” of sorts. I saw a lot of interesting items. And it’s inspiring to see that people are experimental in this place. Then, in September of 2015, I talked to Marica Constantino (executive director of 98b – the group behind the initiative that has now turned into The Hub) with a certain collaboration for a work. I really wanted to just collaborate on something, but she later shared that there are still vacant spaces on the upper floors. So, we went to the balcony, then, we saw the space. It’s available and empty back then. It only had the Dolphy standee (Arts later informed me that the room was once the King of Comedy’s studio). That was the first time we saw it. And then a week after, we signed the contract.

But One/zero, as a firm, was already established before that?
Yeah. Before, One/zero was just me. So, as a freelancer, a startup company, we would just go to different coffee shops and work there. That went on for maybe a year or a year and a half with smaller residential projects. And then, when we got recognition in some of the competitions that we joined, we found it important to have an actual, physical studio. Then, we found this place just in time.

Why did you call it One/zero?
One over zero in Math is undefined. Architecture for me is a constant looking for a definition of what style the Filipino design should be or what a residential project should be. So, for us, design process is fluid. It’s a constant process of trying to find out that philosophy that you would apply in a certain project. So, it’s one/zero.

Is finding an office in Escolta, which is something that one wouldn’t expect, also follows the philosophy behind the name?
Yeah, it’s a very interesting experience. Back in college, I did an undergraduate thesis for a Church. I was very interested with the Renaissance Architecture. But I wasn’t really thinking that I’d be in a classical building 5 years from then. I guess it sort of made sense that, as an architect, I found a home base here..

Having an office in Escolta is quite a risk; but does such feat also reflect how you view your projects?
Yes. Because, as I’ve learned from the four competitions that we’ve joined and luckily got recognized in, for young architects, it really doesn’t matter if you’re established or a foreign architect. As long as you have this idea that you want to highlight, and you’re really passionate about what you do, you can do something great. So, by getting a space here, it’s risky in a way because you aren’t really as adjacent to important city centers. But, I guess, there’s a creative energy that’s thriving here in Escolta. It’s very interesting to be a part of it because the dynamic of being in collaboration with a lot of passionate individuals about their crafts is more inspiring, I guess, than being in a suburb in Makati or in a hipster district in QC, right? I think it’s perfect for us in One/zero to be based in Escolta.

Since you’ve mentioned it, can you tells us more about how you’re working with the other creative groups here in Escolta especially in terms of the initiatives to revitalize the street?
As architects, we can be a bit rigid. The process of architecture is very repetitive. I experienced, when I didn’t have an office yet, getting bored with my own projects because I just churn out a lot of the same ideas. Now, by being surrounded by these creative individuals, by being exposed to how they work, how the graphic designers and artists around us work, we get influenced by how they think. And it’s interesting that we are having regular conversations on our processes and how we do things.

It’s also nice to consider how 98b call themselves a collaboratory while we, at One/zero, call ourselves a design collective. So, I guess, the trend now is being more open to your process and collaborating with others because, really, no one man can do everything on his own. So, it’s interesting that this is what’s happening now.

In terms of the initiatives for the street, we always say that what we’re doing is not a direct effort to revitalize it. It’s just an effort to do interesting art, an effort to engage people with art and architecture. I guess, the by-product of it is you get a lot of people interested with what’s happening in Escolta and you get the conversation rolling by having people interested to come here.

Now, we’ve also learned that you’re behind the set-up or the overlook of The Hub, can you share with us the idea behind it?
I think that was in December last year when Marica pitched the idea of turning the Saturday x Future market into a more permanent set-up. Considering that start-ups do not have as much capital as those who are established, they set up the idea of a 3-month contract that will allow you to dress up your rented space as minimally as possible and you would have your own studio to showcase your work and actually self them. They pitched that idea and then we, as architects, designed it in such a way that everything is still transparent. The idea of the Saturday x Future market before was everyone was just on the floor and people would be walking along the corridor and looking at the products and talking to the makers. We don't want to lose that connection. So, we proposed that the sellers can only use wood, wire mesh fabric, so that everything will still be transparent. You would have the chance to discuss everything with the people going around and your co-sellers. That way, it’s easier to foster one community. So, the whole spirit of community, collaboration, being one collective, that is what’s thriving here, and the design process also. That’s what we want to highlight and not our architecture. So what we did with the space was really just setting up the steel tubes so that the tenants would have the visual delineation of what’s theirs. Since we want to highlight each seller, we want to give them the liberty to show their own character.

When asked about their future projects and plans, Arts shared that they’re working on efforts to push the design conversation forward. This is to challenge the current design fabric which seems to follow a cookie cutter module that makes designs very repetitive. As of now, the firm is set to work on a project which will be their venue to uplift the standards of housing projects and another in which they will introduce the concept of a boutique housing for students. Of course, they’re also involved in the adaptive reuse projects happening in the First United building while keeping their actual projects that help them stay grounded with their process. One/zero is also looking forward to joining more competitions to learn more about how they can be up against more established offices and be inspired to continue questioning and challenging design standards.

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