We talk with the man behind “All Night”
The amazing thing about music is that it connects millions of people across the world—through theme, language, message or the simple thrill we find in enjoying a beat or lyric. Music is powerful, and it makes us listen. So when we had the opportunity to chat with Steven Peregrina, one of the artists in PARADISE RISING’s semilucent 2 EP, we jumped at the opportunity.
The 23-year-old Laguna native is the man behind All Night, a track that brings us back to pre-pandemic nights that we never quite fully remember. It’s a song that’s as nostalgic as it is perfect for the wind-down moments we need at the end of the days of our new normal. Grab a drink—alcoholic or not, your choice—and enjoy, because our chat with one John Steven Nava Peregrina is up ahead:
Wonder: What is Steven Peregrina’s origin story? How did you know that music is what you wanted to do?
Steven Peregrina: Siguro nung bata palang ako. Kase may kwento way back yung mga tita-lola ko na nung bata raw ako, siguro mga five years old, sabi nila nasusundan ko daw mga melodies ng commercials. Tapos pag hine-hele ako kapag natutulog, nasusundan ko daw melodies nila.
So yeah, feeling ko bata palang, music na talaga gusto ko gawin.
(Probably when I was still just a kid. There are stories from my tita-lolas that when I was young, around five years old, they said I could follow the melodies of commercials. And when they would sing me lullabies to sleep, I could follow their melodies. So yeah, I feel like from when I was young, I always wanted to do music.)
W: Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process? Do you start with a beat/instrumental, or do lyrics usually come to you first?
S: Minsan una yung beat, minsan una yung vocals o nagvivisualize ako kung ano muna gusto ko mangyari. Pero madalas, siguro 80-20, mas nauuna talaga yung beat. Kase parang dapat ko pakinggan muna yung beat para alam ko kung ano gagawin ko. Kase para sa akin, kailangan mag complement yung vocals mo o yung melodies na gagawin mo at yung beat. Kaya madalas, beat talaga muna ako.
Pero minsan kase, may mga ideas ako na parang nagbeabeatbox ako, navivisualize ko sa utak ko na ganun yung mangyari dapat sa beat, so may times na nauuna talaga yung lyrics ko or melodies na naiisip. So yeah. 80-20, beat muna bago lyrics.
(Usually it’s the beat first, sometimes it’s the vocals or I visualize what I want to happen first. But usually, maybe 80-20, the beat comes first. I need to hear the beat so that I know what I’m doing. Because for me, the vocals and melodies that you create have to complement the beat. So usually, the beat really comes first. But there are times when I have ideas, like when I’m beatboxing, that I visualize what will happen with the beat, so I think of the lyrics or melodies first. So yeah, 80-20, the beat before the lyrics.)
W: What do you want people to feel while they listen to All Night?
S: Yung gusto ko ma-feel na once nila ma rinig yung All Night, syempre ma-uplift yung mood, tapos good vibes. Gusto ko rin ma-feel na kaya rin ng mga Pinoy makipagsabayan sa mga international music, sa Western music.
(Once they listen to All Night, I want their moods to lighten and for them to feel good vibes. I also want them to feel that Filipinos can work alongside international music, alongside Western music.)
W: What’s your favorite lyric from All Night? Why this one?
S: Yung favorite lyrics ko sa All Night, nasa second verse siya nakalagay. Yung “Flexing like my lolo / Pretty boy.” Yung pangalan kase ng lolo ko is Boy. So Lolo Boy yung tawag namin sa kanya. Tapos sinasabi ng my tita-lolas ko na kamukang kamuka ko daw siya…Sabi ko, i-reference ko yung lolo ko.
(My favorite lyric from All Night is in the second verse. The one that goes, “Flexing like my lolo / Pretty Boy.” My grandather’s name is Boy, so we would call him Lolo Boy. And my tita-lolas always say that I look like him…so I said I would reference my grandfather.)
W: Can you tell us about that moment you first found out you would be working with PARADISE RISING? What made you most excited about the partnership?
S: To be honest, hanggan ngayon, hindi pa rin nagsisink in sa akin na kasama ako sa EP na semilucent 2 ngayon taon. Kase grabe lang din na sobrang daming artists na deserving sa spot na yun, tapos gigising ako sa umaga na, “Fuck man, ikaw yung isa dun.” Sobrang nakakatuwa, sobrang nakakaboost ng self-esteem—lalo na sa music. Na mas pagbutihan pa, mas galingan mo pa, mas sipagan mo pa ng triple. Sobrang nakaka-overwhelm, sobrang nakakatuwa, nakakataba ng puso.
(To be honest, until now, it still hasn’t sunk in to me that I’m part of the semilucent 2 EP this year. There are so many artists that deserve the spot and I wake up in the morning like, “Fuck man, you’re one of them.” It’s so inspiring it boosts your self-esteem—especially in music. It pushes you to be better, to strive three times as much. It’s so overwhelming, so inspiring, so heartwarming.)
W: What moment from your PARADISE RISING/semilucent 2 journey stands out to you most? How come?
S: May na-unlock ako sa sarili ko na bago. Sobrang sarap sa feeling na may nalalaman ka bago na kaya pala ng sarili mo. Parang sakin, sobrang sarap maging estudyante habang buhay. Create ako ng create, hindi ko alam na kaya ko pala toh. So feeling ko, yun yung pinakamasarap na feeling sa pag gawa ng semilucent 2 EP.
(I unlocked something in me. It’s such a great feeling when you find out something new that you can do. For me, it would be so nice to be a student my whole life. I create and I create, even when I don’t know I can do it. So I feel like that’s the best thing about working on semilucent 2.)
W: Do you think your sound has changed or evolved with the help of PARADISE RISING? How so?
S: Grabe yung ginawa sakin ni PARADISE RISING! May na-unlock sakin na sobrang sarap sa feeling na kaya ko pala toh. Parang wala lang nagpupush sakin na kaya mo yan. Isa si PARADISE RISING sa mga nag-push sakin para magawa ko yung All Night.
(PARADISING RISING did so much for me! Something unlocked inside; it’s great to feel and know that I can do this. It’s like no one was pushing me before to say I could do it. PARADISE RISING was one of those things that pushed me to create All Night.)
W: If you could paint the picture of your life five years from now, how would it look?
S: Feeling ko meron na akong three to five hit songs dito sa Pinas, much better kung international. Pero kung realistic lang, feel ko three to five hit songs dito. At nakikita ko rin yung sarili ko na nasa studio pa rin, nag-aaral pa rin ako. Kase sobrang sarap matuto. Ako kase yung klase ng tao na kahit umupo ako ng 10 oras sa harap ng computer para lang mag music, para lang mag explore. Ganun ako, nageexperiment ako. Sky’s the limit; imagination mo lang ang limit.
(I feel like I would have three to five hit songs here in the Philippines. It would be much better if international, but if we’re being realistic, three to five hit songs here. I also still see myself in the studio, still studying, because it feels so good to learn. I’m the type of person that can sit in front of the computer for 10 hours just for music, just to explore. I’m like that, I experiment. Sky’s the limit; your imagination is the limit.)
W: But for next year, what can we expect from Steven Peregrina?
S: Next year, sobrang daming kong i-rerelease. Abangan niyo lang. Ayoko na mag salita ng kahit ano man. Pero abangan niyo ko next year. Itong All Night, ito yung takeoff ko. Abangan niyo ko.
(Next year, I am going to release so many things. Just wait for it. I don’t want to say too much anymore. Just wait for it. All Night is only my takeoff. Wait for me.)
When you bet on Filipino talent, skill and passion, you win. There is no looking back for Steven Peregrina, PARADISE RISING and the other semilucent 2 artists. The sky is the limit.
Special Thanks PARADISE RISING
Art Alexandra Lara