You don’t have to be deeply immersed in the local music scene to know that six-piece band The Ransom Collective is more like a barkada. Whether you spot them goofy-dancing at a local gig, jamming in their bandmate’s basement, or hiking up a mountain, there’s no doubt that the group has gotten a lot closer than when they first started out.
Composed of Kian Ransom, Muriel Gonzales, Leah Halili, Lily Gonzales, Redd Claudio and Jerms Choa-Peck, it’s kind of hard to believe that The Ransom Collective came together only a few years ago.
Last Dec. 3, they had an intimate gathering at A Space Greenbelt for the launch of their music video for their newest single, Open Road. The song deals with how unlikely relationships come about and the interconnectedness and growth that comes with crossing paths with others. Fans and friends wasted no time sipping wine and singing along to their entire set, which included crowd favorites like Fools, Settled, and Run.
We got the chance to speak to the band after the show to talk about the origins of the video (which is about a guy who goes on an adventure with a mannequin, who is basically his best friend) and the possibility for experimentation and new music.
YOUNG STAR: Hey guys! Most of you aren’t in school anymore, right?
MURIEL GONZALES (MG): He’s the only one in school (points to drummer Redd Claudio)
What are you guys doing aside from being in the band?
MG: We all have day jobs. I’m in network development in healthcare.
LILY GONZALES (LG): I’m in investment banking.
KIAN RANSOM (KR): I’m a free-lancer.
LEAH HAILII (LH): I’m a preschool teacher.
JERMS CHOA-PECK (JCP): I’m a hostel girl. Joke. I’m in the travel industry — I work in a surf hostel and do sales.
What is it like balancing work/school and band duties?
We usually practice late at night to accommodate everyone’s schedules. It’s tough but it’s fun because playing music is such a breath of fresh air from what we do during the day. If you’re passionate about something you’ll find a way to make it work. Balancing both the band and studies/work is hard work and can get tiring at times, it’s like having two full time jobs. But in the end it’s very fulfilling and we can’t imagine doing otherwise.
PSA: No mannequins were harmed in the making of The Ranso Collective’s latest music video.
Who thought of the concept of the video?
KR: I guess that’d be me. To be honest, I was walking through UP Town Center and the department store was closed down, and there were, like, 50 mannequins in the window. I was like, that looks so cool!
So how did you partner with your director?
KR: They actually approached us at a gig. Just introduced themselves, gave us their card. And we happened to be wanting to do a music video, and we looked at their stuff, and they seemed to know what they were doing so we went for it.
Were you involved with the filming?
MG: We were there during the actual shooting, but when they sent us the first cut, that’s when they added our actual input after for revisions.
All of your music videos are travel inspired or feature landscapes. Why is that the vibe you’re going for?
LG: ‘Cause we wanted to go for artsy shots — less story, more artsy. But then we ended up combining them both. That’s why it’s so trippy and new.
What was it like working with Yuna and GAC for the Oreo Wonderfilled video?
JCP: It was fun and really new to us! Apart from our Fools MV, we never really had to act and dress up so extensively. It was a great way to have our first international project, and we learned a lot about differences in the music industries in other countries. Yuna, GAC and the entire crew were fun and easy to work with. It didn’t feel like we were shooting, we were all just enjoying and getting to know each other. We also had so much fun exploring the different sites in Penang and immersing in their culture.
Adventure of a lifetime: The music video was shot in some of the band’s favorite places.
About your music. After almost three years together, how has your sound evolved?
MG: Definitely from the start, working together we’ve added elements that we feel are unique for our group and we really combine harmonies and percussion, piano and guitar. We try to maximize how the instruments interact with each other — like, what sounds good when you combine these instruments.
LH: I think we also kind of got to establish our own instruments. Because in the beginning, we weren’t really sure what we wanted to play for ourselves, but when we were able to choose, we got to practice more and more with that instrument. And we got to our own sound. Now, we’re just trying to make every set of ours solid and on point as much as we can.
REDD CLAUDIO (RC): I think we’re moving a bit more away from folk than we used to be. We’re diversifying more.
KR: It’s still folk, but we’re exploring new dimensions.
RC: It’s still us, but there’s something new to it.
How have you evolved as a band?
LG: We’ve definitely gotten better at our instruments, and stage presence-wise, we’ve really improved. We’re more comfortable being in front of a crowd, and we got used to being together as well as a band so we know what we want from each other. Even the music videos that we produce — it’s also a reflection of our progress as a band. I think we released two music videos this year as opposed to last year, which was one. So it’s like we’re really trying to be productive, to produce things that more people will like. And next year is our album, which is more music as opposed to music videos so that’s another thing we’re looking forward to and working towards.
What can your fans expect from you guys in coming months?
MG: The songs that we’ve played live, we’re recording. So they’ll hear that soon. Actually, I think that’s five or six songs that aren’t on a soundtrack. That’s coming out next year, 2017.
JCP: Promise. (Laughs)
Check out the video for Open Road on youngstar.ph. For updates, follow The Ransom Collective on Twitter (@TheRansomCMusic) and Instagram (@theransomcollective).