20 June 2017

The Next in Line: Logiclub Collective's Arthur Tan, Earl of Manila, Aries, and Dante & Amigo

Over the past couple of years, the local music scene experienced a renaissance, with the emergence of fresh acts, new music styles and movements, and a deeper sense of musical appreciation and understanding among the Filipino crowd.

A lot of factors helped push the rebirth of local music – technological advancement, the Internet, hubs that sprung up serving as avenues for live music, and communities and collectives supporting the rise of musicians.

One of the movements that took center stage was electronic music. Here, we get to know four up and coming artists from the Logiclub Collective as they shared their creative processes, thoughts on the music industry, and insights on the impressive developments in the local music scene.

Photos by Zaldine Alvaro

Arthur Tan – DJ
As a DJ, can you describe your musical style?
It’s a mix of 90’s hiphop, pop, and rock. Usually in my sets, I like to incorporate a lot of early rock/punk-rock songs like Blink 182, and bands or artists that I grew up to.

How has your musical style developed and progressed from when you first started up to now?
My style changed when I joined Logiclub. Before I was just a normal club DJ, but after I got recruited to the collective, I was exposed to more kinds of sounds – both by the music they made or artists that they shared with me. My style branched out from commercial to a more experimental one. I discovered producers that I never heard of before and took inspiration from them.

Tell us more about your creative process when it comes to making your beats or playing your sets.
When it comes to my sets, I always try to have a theme or a story. Whenever I play a set, I always keep in mind to play songs that will come out as a surprise to the crowd. I like to go a bit nostalgic. If I’m preparing to play for events, I always go back to older songs that people used to listen to or something that will make people go, “Oh, I haven’t heard this in so long.” Then they would want to hear it again. It makes it more memorable. I’m more of a throwback DJ. 

What’s your assessment of the current local music industry?
I think it has progressed pretty well. Since I started DJ-ing back in Fiamma up to now, music has changed so much. Before, it was purely EDM. From there, it branched out to a deeper set of electronic music. I think now people are more open-minded to music; they don’t stick with just the mainstream or what they see on TV anymore. I guess it has a lot to do with Spotify, and the Internet in general. I think the music scene now has grown so much more than just pop or whatever is ‘uso’ or in.

What do you think helped in that perspective?
Well, I would say Spotify, SoundCloud, and the Internet in general really helped the music scene, especially for new artists. The unrelenting efforts of different artists – like CRWN, Jess Connelly, and Kidthrones helped a lot. The way that they pushed their music was very effective, and it helped people have a deeper understanding of music. 

Another thing were the organizations who brought in different artists like Wanderland (Karpos). They made a big impact on the music scene, not just because they brought in headliners, but the whole idea of the festival itself made more people want to go out there and appreciate music. It gave more opportunities for local bands and artists to showcase what they have.

What’s something you would like our readers to know? 
Keep doing what you love – whether it’s music or any kind of art form. Whatever you do in life, stay creative.

Earl of Manila – Earl Limjoco, Music Producer and Singer

How would you describe your sound?
My music style is more of soul, pop, and RnB. Before, I just did whatever I felt like doing. I didn’t have any certain genre. I didn’t have a solid concept of who I am as an artist so I just did whatever pops in my head when I’m playing. Now, I’m trying to have a unifying concept already so I have a cohesive sound especially since I have a lot of musical influences.

Who are your musical influences?
My top five would have to be Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, Usher, Keith Sweat, and Baby Face.

How has being a member of a collective like Logiclub helped you as an artist?
It helped me a lot in terms of confidence building. Before I didn’t have go-to people to share my music with before it comes out. Now, I have people who can critique my work. I have friends to help me produce the music and a support system who gets me.

Can you tell us more about your creative process? How do you come up with your songs?
Honestly, I find inspiration in random places and times – most of the time, right before I sleep. (laughs)

I usually start with the melody followed by the drum beats. When I write a song, it’s always the chords first because I need to “feel” it before adding touches and more of my style to it. This works since I’m also a singer and I write my own music, I need to hear the melodies first so I can get an idea of the kind of story it evokes.

Now, little by little, I try to do things the other way around – write the lyrics first so I have a concept at the onset. It’s a trial-and-error process. There is not a single way on how to do it.

How do you see the current state of the local music scene?
I think it’s actually good to put out music right now because everyone is listening compared to before. When I was growing up, I only relied on what I see on TV in channels like Myx, MTV, and Channel V. Artists and bands then were not really that experimental when it comes to their style.

Nowadays, people have their own crowd. They have their own movement or style that they associate with so when there are musicians and bands who put out good material that matches their style, they get hooked. Artists and bands get to have almost an automatic fan base.

Why do you think it progressed this much?
It’s the internet. I started by posting my songs online. I didn’t have any expectations when I posted my material. I just did, and it went on from there.

The impact of the internet on us musicians is so overwhelming that a few weeks ago, someone reached out to me from Toronto because she was looking for producers to work with. Luckily, she happened to be visiting the Philippines so she messaged me on my Facebook page and asked to collaborate with me while she was here. Since she’s a singer and a writer, she asked me to make the music and the beats to her songs. I ended up working with her for her EP. I think that’s really cool because what were the odds that she’ll discover my music – and it’s all because of the Internet.

Aries – Ram Alonzo, DJ/Producer
www.soundcloud.com/aaries / Also on Spotify

How did you start to venture in the electronic music scene?
I had a band back in high school. We were post-hardcore then so it was a completely different scene from where I am now. That’s also when I started dabbling with electronic music because of bands like Attack Attack! and Asking Alexandria because they had synthesizers in their sound so I experimented with that.

But I got deep into electronic music back in 2014 when I met Seña of She’s Only Sixteen. He introduced me to local electronic music artists like Similarobjects, Floating Sound Nation, Like Animals, and After School Special when he invited me to Bakunawa. That was my first experience in local electronic music, and it really inspired me. If I didn’t go to that event then, most likely there wouldn’t be Aries.

Can you describe your musical style?
Aries is mainly ambient, glitchy, down tempo. I have house tracks, though. I also have drum and bass tracks, but mainly ambient.

What is your creative process like? 
I usually start with the melody and the chord progression. When I make tracks, I usually finish about 70% of it in two or three days then I let it park for a while to avoid experiencing fatigue with the sound because I have a tendency to get tired of hearing it over and over. After some time, like a month or two, that’s when I listen to it again and finish making the whole song.

Where do you get inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from things I see online and through my friends. There are a lot of great artists like Jacob Colier and King Cruel, but my ultimate musical influence is Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. I consider him a musical god. He’s a creative monster (laughs).

How would you assess the local music industry now?
Now that I’m a part of it, I can see the musical prowess of local musicians in depth. Sometimes I get surprised and find myself saying, “Wow, this is local?” Before, the sound of local music sounded so similar with each other. Now, it has gotten more diverse, and there are a lot of really talented and underrated artists and musicians.

Why do you think this is so?
It’s the Internet’s fault. Before, people can only access music through radio, TV, or old records, and friends. Now when you search even just one song on Spotify, YouTube, or Soundcloud, it allows you to branch out to different artists.

Dante & Amigo – Bryan Dante Moya, Producer and Andreas Sto. Domingo, Rapper
www.facebook.com/dantexamigo / Also on Spotify

Can you give us a background on how you started as a duo?
Dante: We came about when we started hanging out in my place. I would make beats, and he’ll rap over it until we started recording and decided to put our music out.

Please describe to us Dante & Amigo’s musical style.
Dante: I would say computer fusion and guitar rap.

Andreas: We are heavily influenced by Outkast, Kanye West, and the guys from Logiclub.

Speaking of, how has being part of Logiclub helped you as artists?
Dante: Of course, they helped share network, but it’s mostly having friends who have the same interests and people who resonate with you.

Can you share to us your creative process?
Andreas: Most of the time, he makes the beats and send them to me then I write for it. I go to his house to show him how it goes, and we talk about how to fix the structure of the song. Then we record it.

Dante: Most of the time, the music comes first, but we also have songs where the words came first.

What’s your current assessment of the local music industry?
Dante: I think it’s in a pretty good place right now because I was at an all-indie gig in MOA recently. It was one of the first gigs that didn’t have headliners in it. It felt a lot like coming of age because there were no mainstream artists in the lineup.

What would you like the readers to know?
Andreas: Expect more from us. We’re going to keep making music. We’ll try to make it as nice and real as possible. We’re planning to have a couple of releases this year so watch out for that.

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With more artists and acts popping up, the local music scene is definitely thriving and nothing short of talented musicians and bands who can provide variety and quality music for Filipinos – and the rest of the world – to listen to. Indeed, our is in a really good place right now, and it’s something that we all can be excited and proud of.


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