The Gigs Are Alright: the new prods keeping the local indie music scene alive

Photos by Karen De La Fuente

It’s tempting to say that the gig culture is dying. Venues have changed (no smoking inside Route?!); fave music prods are on a seemingly permanent hiatus (huhu, Salad Days); technology has permanently changed the landscape (why risk ear damage watching live when you can stream?); bands you brave the traffic for have, well, disbanded (‘Sup, Dearest,?).

But that’s the thing, the music scene is always changing, and the members of the community are always in flux. Spending an afternoon with a some of the next generation music prods, we see how change has come for the independent music scene — the good kind.

The words “passion project” and “community” came up a lot. So did “sustainability”, “approachable”, and “safe space”. Meet the purveyors of the next generation’s music scene, criticizing the old model, and energizing with the new.

From L-R: Maqui Castelo, 22; Giles de Jesus, 22; Raphael Galvez, 22; Claudio Lopa, 23 | Not in photo: Paolo Lim, 22; Paolo Halili, 22

Liga

What started out as a barkada of fresh graduates from Ateneo is now spearheading an artists’ movement. They aim to make a world-class community musicians and artists can call home.

Raphael: We were scared that we’d have to quit music when we graduate. Instead, we channeled that fear into finding a way to make music sustainable not just for us, but for other musicians.

How festive: Past Liga lineups have featured veteran bands like The Morning Episodes and newbies like Kremesoda. | Poster courtesy of Liga

Maqui: Our name is inspired by La Liga Filipina. We were inspired by the cultural community Rizal formed during his time in Europe. We thought about the potential of Filipino musicians and the music scene. That’s our driving force. Liga is a movement. It’s our mindset.

Raphael: We’re trying to start a culture of bands getting paid. We saw it as an opportunity to do something different from previous music prods. We try to make a sustainable model through partnerships. We look at venues that want to create a space for musicians and artists, and collaborate with them.

For updates and gig schedules, check out Liga on Facebook.

From L-R: Paolo Jiz de Ortega, 22; Anthony “Tobi” Tobias, 22; Sab Hernandez, 20 | Not in photo: Rice Lucido, 21

Caravana

Caravana is a bandwagon in the best sense. This music prod aims to be the vehicle that helps new bands find their audience.

Tobi: We wanted to create a network that’s approachable for musicians. We all come from the same school, same batch, same course — music production. But we found that beyond making music, we wanted to create a good environment for musicians.

Sab: Most of the time musicians don’t know how to approach prods, especially the ones who are just starting out. It can be really intimidating.

Getting on the bandwagon: Caravana wants to create a network that’s approachable for musicians | Poster courtesy of Caravana

Tobi: We scout new bands to be part of our lineup. Most of the time musicians don’t know how to approach prods, especially the ones who are just starting out. It can be really intimidating. So in our lineups we mix it up and put together new bands with more established bands. The crowd’s exposure to new acts also gets diversified.

Paolo: We want lineups to reflect the broad spectrum of sounds. The music scene in the Philippines is so broad, so diverse. You can’t just classify it easily, to an indie sound, a rock sound. There are in-betweens. So what we try to get as much of the broad spectrum so people who come by get a sampler of the variety of sounds out there.

For updates and gig schedules, check out Caravana on Facebook.

Raphael Ang, 21

Stay Useless

Stay Useless might be a one-man jam, but it powers a whole community. It hosts gigs that are a mix of college bands and established faves. Who says moshing is only for metal?

I started making my own gigs with the lineups I wanted to see. I started because Salad Days, yung prod ni Mariah Reodica, stopped, and wala akong mapuntahang gigs because I found most lineups boring.

My goal is [to get you]  to mosh with everyone else. I try to make sure that at least two bands are college bands to give them exposure.

Hey Cool Kid: Raphael Ang’s goal with Stay Useless is to get everyone to mosh with everyone else. | Poster courtesy of Stay Useless

I was looking through my iTunes and that’s how I chose the name. There was another Pavement song I wanted to use, but I just stuck with [Cloud Nothings’] Stay Useless.

I’m lucky the people who go to my gigs eat a lot and drink a lot. That’s what keeps me going.

For updates and gig schedules, check out Stay Useless on Facebook

From L-R: Maryane Cadiz, 21; Lyon Bajamundi, 21; Janina Navarra, 20

ultraparallel

In non-Euclidean geometry, ultraparallel lines get to meet. This music prod aims to create an intersection for high school students, by (former) high school students.

Lyon: We met in Philippine Science High School. Two of us are alumni, one is still in high school, but we wanted to cater to the students. We just wanted to create the environment we wished existed back in our day. It can be intimidating when you start going to gigs because it seems like everyone knows each other.

Fresh meat: One gig that ultraparallel helped organize was “Kababae Mong Tao”, which featured an all-female lineup. | Poster courtesy of ultraparallel

Maryane: We helped start “Kababae Mong Tao”, a free gig featuring an all-female lineup. When we go to gigs sometimes the lineups are all male, and hindi yun sinasadya, it just so happens — the unfortunate norm. (Patriarchy sucks!) Apart from having female bands perform, we also screened shorts by female filmmakers.

Lyon: Everything is volatile in our scene. Two years tops — the bands you see now are not gonna be there anymore. So enjoy it while it’s still there, and hopefully a lot of kids also make music and share it because it’s a lot about community for us. Hopefully people get out more and listen more and appreciate the music that we have now.

For updates and gig schedules, check out ultraparallel on Facebook

From L-R: Paula Castillo, 22; Red Bartolome, 21; Lyon Bajamundi, 21; Nissie Arcega, 21

Almost Crimes

Almost Crimes, named after a Broken Social Scene song, is a safe space where musicians and their audience can come together. No problematic faves allowed.

Red: Our lineups are like playlists in gig form. We look for contrast. We want to be a platform for acts that we genuinely love. We don’t like the idea of having a primetime for a specific band.

Paula: It’s not about making the space full. It’s about making a space safe. You have to be responsible as a prod to be grounded in the experiences of the audience and to protect that experience. We want to create a community that is a safe space and for it to grow that way.

Manic pixie dream prod: Almost Crimes creates lineups that are like playlists but in gig form.

Red: A lot of it is going back to the bedroom culture, to the DIY culture. It jumpstarted a large part of this. It’s like a big passion project that we want to make sustainable.

Paula: We wanna emphasize that we are a part of a community. We want to fucking break the barrier. We want kids to see musicians as musicians, to approach them. We want the scene to be safe in a way that people can be comfortable enough, where we can all just hang out after.

Red: Our faves don’t have to be problematic. That’s what we’re pushing. Conversation is really important.

For updates and gig scheds, check out Almost Crimes on Facebook.

Produced by Gaby Gloria
Art direction by Ina Jacobe
Sittings by Maine Manalansan and Jam Pascual
Shot on location at Frank & Dean BGC
Special thanks to Miguel Escueta

Tags:
#culture #music

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