Five Cheers To Three Years

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I bet if my freshman high school self knew what I was doing right now, he’d be proud. But at the same time, that kid would’ve tried to figure out how to get to 21 ASAP.

Backstage at Summer Noise, Photo by Jeremy Caisip

I only started attending gigs last 2017; with much desperate attempt to watch and follow Oh, Flamingo! to every possible gig I could get myself into. I never forgot the feeling of how surreal it was for me to have met, become acquainted, and then later on, become friends with them; as the only thing I was holding onto prior was to bother my college dorm building floor with the unwaveringly loud repetition of my copy of the Oh, Flamingo! EP.  Managing the distance of Los Baños to Quezon City with my student allowance was relatively easier than it was for me to wallow over the thought of how the people making those sounds from my stereo could transcend into meeting and interacting with them in the flesh; allowing for more insight on a track while you get to know the people that made it rather than just being boxed by the thoughts from a song’s beginning to its end. It was never easy for me from then up to now to keep my cool around people who made art that meant a lot to me. I was a mix of awkwardness and anxiety around my idols, but I’ve tried and  to keep myself as “composed” as I can (which I more or less never succeed at).

With Oh! Flamingo.

The longer I became a regular gig goer, the crazier it got. I somehow got tangled into the loop and started meeting people I  then only looked upon from afar. It never really sunk in to me that well; how I was only used to seeing the people I admired from a distance above a platform (the proverbial “pedestal”, if you may) then suddenly I was with them away from the limelight, finding myself incapable of putting the said pedestal away. With much embarrassing moments I carry with shame, I believe it’s safe to say I somehow got desensitized and conquered my fears, albeit not always. For the longest time, I believe the craziest of them all for me would be meeting the Eraserheads (individually and on separate occasions) and having them sign my copy of Tikman Ng Langit.

With Ultracombo at Rakrakan Festival

It was kind of a stormy jumble of anxious socializing along with a play on alcohol to ease my head; overall turning me into a confused boy trying to function beyond the apparent dysfunction. A little ways down the road, an opportune moment came for me to get onto bigger things. For me personally, it started to get out of hand in a good way. It was a clear sign that the road into the music scene might actually work, as I could somehow scratch the idea of conventionally using my STEM-related bachelors degree to get by quite unhappily even though I would be sort of financially stable. Through my frequent gigging, I found myself standing beyond the audience, as I started working for the events themselves. I was lucky enough (and very thankful) to have met Ms. Bel Certeza of Indie Manila who was patient enough with me to go through the ropes of music event management. From one prod I then made my way through four, along with being a Road Manager for two artists.

Inside a jeepney going to Intramuros with Turnover.

The biggest break I probably had was when I was given the chance to be a Road Manager for an International act. It was pretty scary because 1) It was my first time being a Road Manager for someone and 2) it was Phum Viphurit. I only knew him before from the Recommended Videos section when I was skimming through YouTube, as he was on the sidebar along with the likes of Boy Pablo, Clairo, and IV of Spades. From then on I knew it was big, but the gravity only hit me when I brought him to the venue. We actually became good friends, as he, his team, and I still get in touch online from time to time.

It was never easy for me from then up to now to keep my cool around people who made art that meant a lot to me. I was a mix of awkwardness and anxiety around my idols, but I’ve tried and  to keep myself as “composed” as I can (which I more or less never succeed at).

Same goes for Turnover, whom I had the chance to fetch from the airport and show around Manila. During my commute to Intramuros with Turnover, my body was pretty much rejecting the fact that I was walking along Cubao with people I never believed that I would have been given the chance to meet and hang out with. I was brought back to the moment I first heard Dizzy on the Comedown, and how Peripheral Vision helped me through a very tough time in college. I was floating, it was surreal. Throughout the day, I was reminiscing about how things got to where they were. Recounting my entire journey into music all over again, I realized I could never have been more thankful; as I also found it all quite overwhelming in the span of 3 years.

I’m still taken aback by everything every time I try to skim through what I’ve been doing for the past years. Despite my lousy sense of time and date, I’m still drowning in the thoughts of everything that had conspired along with what might come ahead. Excited and scared as I may be, I just hope the future be kind. For what it’s worth, the community has been a loving one, shitstorms and issues aside. It warms my heart to know that despite the language barriers or just the sheer incapability of conveying a thought in other terms, we still find a way to understand each other through our vernacular that is music.