First off, what was life before electronic music?
I was taking up Broadcasting and Journalism in Limkokwing University, a Malaysian school where part of your course is done on another campus. So I went to London. Before that, I played acoustic guitar and was a singer in a funk-rock band called Splitcide.
Can you tell us about the first electronic track you made, and how’d you go about creating it?
I listened to a lot of BBC Radio 1 Experimental with Mary Ann Hobbs, Daft Punk, Justice, Rustie, Mike Slott, Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus, Plej, Burial, Benga, Scuba, Mount Kimbie, dubstep, trip hop… and pretty much tried to make my own tracks based on certain sounds or melodies that I liked.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?
It has bass, it has beats, and might remind you of computer games.
First record or experience that got you into electronic music
It was my roommate in London who got me into electronic music in 2007. He had some equipment and introduced me to Fruity Loops, which is still the program I use now.
Top five tracks on your playlist, as of the moment?
I usually get whole albums… Right now, I’ve been listening to Synkro, Arkist, Bombay Bicycle Club, and locally, there’s Bent Lynchpin and Similar Objects.
What are the three things you think are essentials elements in a good track?
Something that surprises me or I don’t really expect. I look for the swing—I think it has its roots in jazz, I could be wrong. But to put it simply, it implies another rhythm… a rhythm within a rhythm, that’s how I understand it. So even if your main beat is the usual four counts, it’s how those counts are subdivided, or, what happens between counts, that make a beat really interesting for me. Personally, though, since I come from a funk background, I like tracks that are at least vaguely dance-able or head-noddable.
Also, space—front and back, reverbial space, left and right, panning and stereo field, and treble and bass, equalization. This has more to do with mixing. I really love bass, and it’s hard to pull of sub-frequencies, or bayo in Tagalog, without a good mix.
What can we find you doing when you’re not working? I have a day job writing online articles. I also still play acoustic guitar when people request for a gig. I also write poetry, which I plan to maybe put into my tracks one day. I’m always looking for new sounds or melodies, different hooks—it’s kind of like ADHD. When I like something, I want to make it right away, before I lose steam. I do miss performing with a band—even when I do live sets, I’m a bit fidgety and want to move around a lot. But I do like the longer sets, about 30 minutes, you get when playing electronic music.
A piece of music really stands out for me when all the elements sound interlaced, not like they were just slapped together.
Beats that sound like they were tailor-made for the instrument and vice versa.
PHOTO BY GINO DALAO.