And independent licensing agency Merlin says a growing number of indie musicians are emerging via self-release services. A few have even managed to use the reach of the internet to cross the line between indie and mainstream, expanding genre boundaries and redefining contemporary music in the country.
One example is Autotelic. Members of the Metro Manila-based group originally got together in to make heavy rock. The band formed as a side project for musicians who had all previously played in rock outfits. Tin and Villena wanted to create something that would have a lasting impact on Filipino music, which would require venturing beyond the sounds they grew up with.
Historically, the Philippines has been heavily influenced by the American entertainment industry. Filipinos developed their own style, with lyrics in the local languages and dialects. However, interest in the genre slowly waned when Electronic Dance Music EDM swept into the country in the early s. Autotelic recognised that EDM would have a lasting impact on music worldwide. Without losing their rock sound and artistic identity, the band decided to try out a fresh approach, infusing their new songs with electronica.
Wanting to expand traditional genre boundaries, in Autotelic crafted a new sound that band members believed would find wide enough appeal to be picked up by local radio stations.
According to Macadaeg, new listeners began to search for the band on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Macadaeg says the internet has become the most effective platform to showcase the band and their music — the radio stations are already playing their songs. They now have about , monthly listeners on the Spotify music streaming app alone, and more than 74, followers on Facebook. Macadaeg says the band want to reach as many people as possible — which is always a struggle for an indie outfit.
So they take any opportunity to perform, ranging from hosting regular gigs to playing at corporate events. Although Autotelic began as an indie group, they have crossed the commercial barrier. So each member has another job. Villena works as a designer for a brand of chilli garlic called Silly Garlic. Kai Honasan, who joined Autotelic in as a vocalist, also performs as a solo artist and released a pop EP that year.
Tin works as an account manager for a design agency, while Macadaeg has a day job as a marketer for international schools in Metro Manila. The band are now writing songs for their second album, which is slated for release in mid For some musicians, diving into the indie scene is a path to artistic renewal. Jensen Gomez had years of experience performing as a solo artist in the early s, while under contract with Universal Records.
But around , Gomez wanted a more adventurous creative experience. So he ended his partnership with Universal and approached the backup session musicians who had been playing live with him, explaining that he wanted to form a solid band whose music would stand out from the mainstream.
Jensen and The Flips was born. Gomez wanted the band to be in total control of their style and future. Image wise, they decided they wanted the group to be easily recognisable by always performing in button-down shirts and ties. Musically, they wanted to deliver a unique blend of indie pop and Motown soul. It was a successful formula. Jensen and The Flips released their debut album, Honeymoon, in It was distributed by MCA Records and the band inched their way into the mainstream.
Jensen and The Flips — who have earned a reputation for energetic stage performances — once performed 23 gigs in a single month, Gomez recalls. Gomez says that social media and streaming services have been a big help for Jensen and The Flips in building a fan base.
The band routinely update their Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud and other channels to pull in new listeners. Social media also helps them connect to important people in the industry, Gomez says. When they are not making music, band members have other activities to juggle. Lead vocalist Gomez produces for other artists. Miggy Concepcion, who plays keyboard, organises a union for composers, called Phalanx Score.
The popularity of digital streaming media gave indie artists in the Philippines the chance to stand their ground against the might of the mainstream pop industry. But despite the many ways to build a following online, the musicians have to remain inventive to make ends meet. We think you'd also like Thank youYou are on the list. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: The state of independents.
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And independent licensing agency Merlin says a growing number of indie musicians are emerging via self-release services.