SINGKO before their performance on Silakbo 2020

Members: Anton Acosta, Noel Caliwara, Dylan Manuel, Darren Nicolas, and Josh Papa

Managers: Franco Angelo and Joash Franco

Genre: Experimental

Socials: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube

SINGKO on SINGKO

For the first-ever issue of MIXXXOLYDIAN, we sat down with the boys behind the fast rising young band of Rizal, SINGKO!

Singko was one of the highlights of a local battle of the band, Silakbo 2020 in San Beda University Rizal Campus. When asked about their experience participating in the local gig circuit, Anton Acosta (lead vocalist) said that it feels good to have been given a platform to showcase their talents and express their passion for performing while keeping the audience entertained and engaged.

Singko was also featured as the singer behind the OST of Blessed Be The Kids, one of the short film entries in a local film festival in Rizal. According to them, it was a pleasant experience because they were able to collaborate with other students in a more artistic way rather than the usual academic-based one.  

When asked about their musical inspiration, the band members were all in agreement when Darren mentioned that IV of Spades is their “musical hero” which is why they chose to perform Mundo— one of IV of Spade’s songs during Silakbo 2019. According to these young musicians, IV of Spades doesn’t shy away from more unconventional and original styles. They even compared IV of Spades to Queen due to their shared quality of being experimental.

As for their genre, they could say the same for themselves. Noel Caliwara (Lead Vocalist) points out that since there are several members of the band from different paths, each one of them has their own corresponding style. The result is a mix-and-match of different styles from every member. In Anton’s words: “there are no borders.” They are still on their path to discovering their “distinguishable” sound, but for now, they are still working on it by combining different techniques. 

As for their managers, they were asked about their experience in handling SINGKO as a school band. Joash Franco reminisces on how he used to think he was just supposed to be a helping hand at first. He went on to mention how he thought managers were supposed to be the ones that reminded the group about their upcoming releases and gig opportunities. As he got more immersed as their manager, he soon realized that his work is satisfying and relevant even if his responsibilities are behind the scenes.

Singko after their performance in Venture 2020 at Assumption Antipolo

SINGKO on Politics

We also asked Singko on their views on politics given the current Philippine political environment and different political events that happened as of late— the (mis)handling of COVID-19, the shutdown of the ABS-CBN franchise, the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Law, to mention a few.

In particular, we asked them whether musicians especially young aspiring artists should speak up on political issues or just focus on pursuing their arts.

For Noel, although he cannot say they are professional observers of politics, but as citizens, they have a right to analyze and criticize the governance of the country. He also continues by stating:

“If the criticisms come from the citizens, it should be okay because that is how democracy works and we are in a democratic country. People need to speak up.”

Anton, for his part, expresses how he feels about the government by pointing out that they are not satisfied with the way COVID-19 is being fought. He clarifies that they don’t choose sides, but rather, they are anti-bad governance. When they see something wrong, they would want to do something about it. 

Josh Papa, on the other hand, said:

“It’s not about being a musician. It’s about being a citizen of your country,”

He added that people have a right to share their opinions because it’s part of their right to do so.

Anton adds another point by mentioning that when a musician speaks their mind, it is a compelling action because they have the power to influence not only with their music but also with what they say. “Through this way, they can sway and persuade an audience”, he said.

Noel continues by saying that:

musicians may have talent and skill, but not using their exposure to speak out about rampant issues would be pointless.”

With this, they can also inspire other artists to talk openly about other problems. 

For Dylan Manuel, he said:

“Music is one of the greatest forms of protest”

He went on to cite the Sex Pistols’ song “God Save The Queen” as an example by explaining that it was considered the most dangerous and insulting thing that was faced by the monarchy and it was made by musicians. He added:

because of this, it is apparent how impactful music can be, not just in politics but everywhere else it tackles.”

He further explained how the song incited rallies and how the band was branded as terrorists because of how powerful their song was.

Anton shares a similar take, which further tackles why he believes that the current political environment does impact the development of their music. He said:

“When a person writes or when a person makes art, it’s all about what they feel and what is happening with their life right now. I think politics is part of that. Especially now since the politics in our country is so heated.” 

We also asked them how they would grade President Duterte’s performance in fighting COVID-19. They decided, however, not to give him any.

Noel explained that although they cannot give numerical grade to the performance of President Duterte, what they can say is that the current performance of the president and the government is downgrading. He said:

“wHATEVER his past grade was, whether it be high or low, it has lowered based on His actions during the present situation.”

He added:

“Let’s divide the president’s image into two: his past and his present. The first was very clear in his goal which is to end the drug war but there have been conflicts about the process. A lot of people were angered by how he resolved it which is by ending lives. That was why the Philippines was shoved with the major issue that is extrajudicial killings. When we proceed to the ongoing situation of the country, we see that the goal of the president is slightly vague.”

Another reason, Dylan shares:

“We want to operate in that gray little area wherein We will try Our best as musicians to do what We can and point out what We think is wrong.”

As for Joash, they wanted to avoid emotion-based reactions because if they don’t do so, it’s not much of a contribution when they choose not to look at it objectively.

SINGKO on Their Future

Fresh off with their cover of Minsan (originally by Eraserheads), it is known that SINGKO specializes in creating unique song covers. According to them, we’ll be seeing a new one very soon!

“We’re putting a lot of effort into this cover,” explains Noel, “We want to make sure that whoever hears it would instantly be happy. We want to entertain anyone who scrolls down their Facebook feed and then sees SINGKO. Of course, we also wish that the person we’re dedicating this song to will be delighted. Kung gusto niyong malaman kung sino man yung pagdededicatean namin ng cover na yun, aabangan niyo nalang.”

Not only that, but according to them, they are also working on their original works. “We’re working on our originals but focusing on our covers.” says Josh, “We want our listeners to hear our songs and immediately think  ‘Uy! SINGKO yan!’.”  Anton says if only the pandemic didn’t happen, there would be a lot of gigs and original releases from the band. “As for now, we’ll do whatever we can but still do it very effectively.”

Speaking of gigs, one of their managers, Franco Angelo, says that they are looking forward to booking more gigs, especially around the University Belt area, as the majority of them will study there.

We asked them about how they can ensure that the band will still continue to produce music even if they are already in different schools.

Dylan answered by explaining how much they love music, and because of that passion, they will always make time for it.

Josh added with “You do it for passion, not for anything else. You do what you love, and you love what you do”.

For Anton, he points out how technology is important for our generation and how easy it is to be able to use it. With that, they can utilize it to create songs even if they are far apart. 

Singko’s Anton Acosta performing in The Battle of the Bands 2019 in San Beda Rizal, Photo by: Patricia De Vera

SINGKO’s Advice to Young Musicians

It seems SINGKO has a lot of advice for musicians who are just starting out. Here’s what they have to say:

“First of all, it starts with passion talaga. Anyone can do it anywhere, I promise you. As long as you have the passion, you have the heart, and you work hard. Lahat ng opportunities na mapunta sa inyo, grab it. [Pxxxt] Lahat ng opportunities na pwede kayong maggrow, lahat ng opportunities na pwede pa kayong mas gumaling sa musicianship niyo, grab it. Lalo na if you want to take this seriously. Pero most of all, of course you should love what you do.”

– Anton Acosta

“Do what you love. Another thing is dedication. Hindi lang sa simula dapat yung ginagawa pero dapat for long term siya. Isipin mo nalang na yung mga sikat ngayon binabash, pano pa yung hindi masyadong sikat? Edi siyempre makakareceive din sila ng negative comments ganun. Use it as a way para mas maimprove yung music mo. Isipin mo pa yung mga ways pa kaya maiimprove yung music mo and don’t let the fire die sa heart mo para sa music. Lastly, support mo din yung kapwa musikero mo kase tulong-tulungan kayo dapat eh. Kung kayo pa yung nagbabashan diyan, walang aangat sa inyo. Make each other as inspirations nalang.”

– Franco Angelo

 “Pag nasa banda kayo, hindi lang kayo nandiyan para tumugtog ng isang beses. Ang pagsasali sa banda, it’s sort of a relationship na magkakatropa kayo tas nagkakasundo kayo sa isang bagay and para sa amin, sobrang nageenjoy kami doon. Wag mong ipressure sarili mo kasi the more na ipressure mo sarili mo na kailangan kong umangat, di mo maaabot kasi ang maiisip mo lang is yung pressure, hindi yung passion mo. Take note of your passion, not pressure.”

– Noel Caliwara

“Appreciate your role, kahit ano pa yan. Basta part ka ng group, ano man yung role mo, do your best at it, appreciate it, kasi kung alam mo sa sarili mo na you did your part para makatugtog, it’s more than enough. Kaya doon sa mga working in the background, doon sa mga hindi nabibigyan masyado ng credit kasi in the background sila, keep doing your job. Wag mong iisipin na hindi ka appreciated kase the fact na kasama ka doon sa band, sayo inentrust itong part na ito for the band, means you’re important.”

– Joash Franco

“Don’t treat music as something of a pastime or iislip mo lang sa schedule mo. Kung talagang gusto mo yan, treat music as a part of yourself. Kung mahal mo talaga yung music, hinding hindi ka talaga mawawalan ng oras diyan. Kahit gaano kabusy, you will always find time for it. Always explore, wag kang pahihinaan ng loob. marami kang criticisms sa ibang tao na hindi maganda, use those negatives and turn them into positives and make your music greater. Wag na wag kang susuko porket iniisip mo na pangit ang nagawa mo. You’re just starting. Magexplore ng magexplore and never stop exploring at malayo ang mararating ninyo”

– Dylan Manuel

 “Bilang isang gitarista at producer, just keep on creating what keeps you creating. Don’t doubt yourself kasi once you do, magiging talo ka eh. If you think your music sucks, isipin mo nalang na there are musicians who are creating di ganun kagandang music pero sikat pa siya kaysa doon sa mga mas worthy pakinggan. Just keep on doing what you want to do.”

– Darren Nicolas

“Focus on yourself. Wag mong icocompare yung craft mo sa iba. Halimbawa, kung mas magaling siya, edi okay magpractice ka. Strive hard to be better kasi ganun talaga. Laging may mas magaling, laging may mas marunong pero doon ka kukuha sa passion mo eh. Yun yung bubuhay sayo. Dadating ang panahon na walang nakikinig sa music mo, dadating ang panahon na hindi mo na kayang tumugtog ng tulad noon. Pero dahil sa passion mo, yun ang gusto mo, yun ang mahal mo gawin. Musika yung mahal mo.”

– Josh Papa

*Lay out and graphics by Adrian Matias

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