The year may have just ended, but allow us to share our milestones for 2017. It was a major year for us, and we are grateful for the amazing opportunities that came our way.
Last year, we made two important plans — one for our debut album launch and one for after.
The first was a major production. Learning from our do-it-yourself EP launch in 2015, we tapped events & music production agency HOMONYM to help us launch our album at The Palace Pool Club. While we still did a lot of things ourselves (designing the graphics, looking for sponsors, planning the listening- and after-party, making decorations), the partnership allowed us to concentrate more on our music. With that, we focused on our set and tapped two violinists and a cellist (Keifer Cabugao, Oz Arcilla, and Poch Gutierrez) to add color to our music. The album launch was a success, and we were floored by the number of people who attended as it exceeded more than 600! Thank you to everyone who supported and celebrated our music with us that night. It was unforgettable.
The second major plan was less of a production, but still a huge part of why we are where we are now. It was a Strategic (“Strat”) Planning Session at Kian’s house. We just finished launching our album, and driven to continue our momentum, we scheduled a day at Kian’s to discuss what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go as a band. Somehow and somewhere, what we said that day came true.
It was a pretty systematic meeting, thanks to our unofficial Project Manager Muriel. Individually, Kian, Leah, and Redd prepared their findings on our social media accounts, Jermaine discussed her PR efforts, Muriel prepared our financials, and Lily took down notes. Together as a band, we discussed our musical direction, our goals for the year, and our long-term vision. What essentially came out was that we wanted to 1) make our presence stronger, 2) perform outside Luzon, and 3) tap the foreign market by seeking to play at international festivals and promoting ourselves online.
To accomplish our first goal, we decided to take on more gigs, play for schools, and actively seek radio and media guestings. It was a pretty busy year for us, and we were lucky and thankful to have been featured in 99.5 Play FM , Rappler Live Jam, Young Star, and other media outlets.
Our second goal was already an ongoing process, as we were invited early in the year by UP Iloilo to play at their campus. Sinulog in Cebu happened shortly after, and thanks to Coke Studio Philippines, we also had a chance to perform in Davao and Marawi later that year.
As for Coke Studio Philippines, that was an unexpected opportunity we were fortunate enough to have received. It was our first time to closely collaborate with another band, and for it to have been Gab & John of Urbandub was a major stroke of luck as we were fans of them growing up. We learned a lot working with them and producers Raims and Buddy. As a young and independent band, it was great to witness such professionalism and musical prowess. Coke Studio helped us expand our local presence and promote our music to different types of listeners. Our #CokeStudioPH experience has been amazing to say the least.
Lastly, our third goal caught us by surprise – we did not expect to accomplish it so soon, and to go to such an unconventional place!
Out of nowhere, we got a call from the National Culture for Commission and the Arts to send us to play at a music festival in New Delhi. At first we couldn’t believe it — India? Who would’ve thought! Next thing we knew, we were on a plane to New Delhi where we performed for a crowd of 12,000 for the ASEAN-India Music Festival. Not just that, but we got to play in the city of Jaipur as a second leg of the festival. It was an incredible experience — the people, the music, the culture! We had a wonderful time making new friends and learning about India, and we got along so well with the people and the vibe that they invited us back to play for the World Music Festival in Udaipur this February!
Shortly after returning from India, we found out that MTV was making a comeback in the Philippines and wanted to feature us as MTV Asia’s Spotlight Artist for the month! They also chose us as the Philippines’ Wildcard Nominee for Southeast Asia to the MTV EMA at London, but unfortunately, we didn’t win that contest. Regardless, their support has allowed us to tap places we wouldn’t have otherwise done on our own, like this TV feature in Shanghai:
Crazy, right? Completely unexpected.
Finally, to cement the importance of that Strat Planning Session, we were invited last December to be part of Laneway Singapore 2018. This really blew our minds because on that fateful day at Kian’s, we specifically wrote that we wanted to perform in international festivals in 3-5 years, and Singapore was the first country we put. To accomplish the goal, we just planned to cold call/email some organizers hoping they’d notice us. Luckily for us, it was sooner rather than later that they did!
Indeed, it was a major year for us in 2017. We released our debut album, joined the first season of Coke Studio Philippines, flew out of the country to perform in India, and got recognized by MTV Asia as an artist to watch out for. Tiny wins we’d also like to mention is the feature of “Fools” in the OST of Siargao, the relaunch of our website, and the countless smiles, comments, and tweets people have shared with us saying our music has made them happy. After four years of being a band, it has never ceased to amaze us how impactful our music could be.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all the love and support.