Ears open, folks. Local music is thriving
I'm going to be honest and say that I don't know much about the local music scene––or at least I didn't. Until around last year, the only local artists I could really name off the top of my head were the long-standing, time-tested staples of OPM: Parokya ni Edgar, Eraserheads, Apo Hiking Society. Don't judge me, but the only “young” musicians I could name back then would probably be Hale and Sponge Cola––and the last time I'd really listened to them was back in high school.
I'd never bothered to poke my nose into the local music scene, never felt hard pressed to do a little exploring like I'd do with say, K-Pop and indie artists on YouTube. Which isn't to say that these genres are better at all. If anything, I'd attribute it to a lack of catalysts that made me want to dive deep into the world of proudly Filipino-made music.
Thankfully, change is afoot. Or to anyone who has had their eyes and ears open, it has been for a while now. Local collectives and music prods in the Philippines have been spotlighting independent musicians, giving them the platform they need while, perhaps without intentionally doing so, stirring the pot and reshuffling existing perspectives of what the Filipino sounds like. Now, more than ever, we're listening, fingers against a thrumming pulse point.
Probably one of the most familiar prods on the scene, Almost Crimes has something of a reputation for bringing all sorts of sounds together at their gigs. Serving as a platform for young artists who are looking to get a foot in the door, Almost Crimes' events give all performers equal ground. As their Twitter bio so aptly puts it, “We like music, so [we] make shows and stuff.”
Give Almost Crimes a like on Facebook to get updates on their latest gigs!
Liga Artist Group
Perhaps the most striking thing about Liga Artist Group is the way they define themselves: a networking group for artists. With the singular aim to share Filipino culture, they don't just stick to your usual gig (read: at night, in a bar, with beers and teeming crowds involved). They do smaller scale productions, too, like their new Coffee Break Sessions in partnership with Frank & Dean. It feels a little less like, “Hey, give us your money to listen to these bands,” and more like “Listen to these guys; we like them and maybe you will, too.”
Good luck trying to look for a more tongue-in-cheek music prod than ultraparallel. Chances are you won't––these guys are just so damn good at keeping gigs light and fun, and all the things they're supposed to be. But don't get them wrong––there's a lot of meaning behind what they do, too. In partnership with Heresy, ultraparallel was the force behind an all-female music and film gig called Kababae Mong Tao.
Discover what ultraparallel is up to by liking them on Facebook!
The Rest is Noise
The driving force behind All Of The Noise and Summer Noise, The Rest is Noise does a kick-ass job at diminishing the gap between local and global artists. For instance, All Of The Noise‘s two-day lineup for 2018 featured the likes of Boy Pablo, Elephant Gym and Phum Viphurit alongisde familiar names like Mellow Fellow and Jason Dhakal. The return of Summer Noise in May is no exception––while only phase one of the lineup has been revealed, there's plenty of promise in it.
Hinged on local music and self-expression, Echoes isn't just about artists putting on a show. There's a little extra mile magic in the things they do. With the goal of blurring the line separating artist and audience, Echoes gigs tend to be an intimate opportunity for musicians and performers to showcase new sides of themselves and their craft.
There's plenty of room to love local. Take this as a starting point: get out there, watch a gig, invite a friend, talk about it.
Art Alexandra Lara