How a CNN article about ISIS soldiers burning the piano of a Syrian musician led to the writing of a new poem that I intend to set to music.
How psy-trance artists 808 State got me hooked on producing electronic music because of one album, Gorgeous.
In 1999, as editor of Channels, an entertainment magazine for a cable TV company, I had the privilege of interviewing Philippine national artist Lucio San Pedro. This was a year before he passed away. Little did I know how much impact that afternoon’s conversation would have on how I create music.
The title of the poem is Pag-ibig Na Makapangyarihan, which literally translates to “Love So Powerful.” This was a spoken word piece originally performed and written by Filipino hiphop emcee and poet Syke Dolero, known for his machine-gun flow. I ended up composing some jazzy world music around his poetry.
These three New Wave/New Romantic tracks from the 1980s influenced me and inspired me to create electronic music. While there are many more obvious choices I could have included (Depeche Mode, New Order, and Tears for Fears), these songs embody everything about electronica that appeals to me, even if the tracks themselves aren’t electronic.
The British dance music duo of Phil and Paul Hartnoll, who came to be known as Orbital, were critically and commercially successful in the dance music movement of the 1990s — and famed for their live improvisation during their gigs. But listening to their studio tracks taught me some important lessons. One track in particular “The Box” encapsulates these lessons in a single tune.
In the past few months, whenever I’ve been able to grab a few minutes, I’ve worked on some Filipino songs for Acid42. Things I’ve realized: composing lyrics and music in Filipino is pure gut feel. You create using your gut and the end result usually comes out strangely honest. You can’t hide behind fancy twists of phrase. Or at least, I can’t. And because I haven’t written in Filipino in years, it felt strange at first. But afterwards, it just started flowing more naturally than ever.