I can’t believe I haven’t posted these on my site. Actually there are tons of concert photos I haven’t posted yet, haha. These are Deftones photos from their concert here last February 2011.Deftones is coming back to Manila to perform this Sunday May 26, 2013 at the World Trade Center brought to you by Splintr.com.
I wrote an article on my Yahoo! Blog on being starstruck by Deftones. Queso and Philia are fronting for the band and I wrote how Queso vocalist Ian Tayao snuck in backstage and peeked at Chino Moreno’s tent to see him sleeping, haha.
You can also view photos behind the scenes from Splintr.com’s interview with Deftones including random pics of us being fans backstage the last time they were here. Slapshock and Urbandub opened for Deftones, you can view all of those HERE.
More photos below
What blew my mind being in Fuji Rock Festival in Japan is one, I have had this in my head since late 2009 and would only dream about it, two. Being in a place like Naeba for four days waking up to the view above, having buffet breakfast with a bit of American food in there and unlimited pickled vegetables (my favorite) and only thinking about getting ready for the list of artists you have to photograph that day… Oh it’s just the Stone Roses for the first day, Noel Gallagher for the second and then Radiohead for the last night, among many others like Jack White or Elvis Costello…. Yeah, just like any normal day.
You don’t recover from this that easily. It was like “Taking Woodstock” for me. A three day festival that changed the way you think about life, love and music. It was a cocoon, a music photographer’s Nirvana. I could have lived there forever. If there was anything I learned it wasn’t just about taking photos of the musicians, It was immersing yourself in the midst of the festival goers who wholeheartedly support both their local acts just as much as they would the foreign ones. It was inspiring and Japan really did change the way I thought of how I was going to approach music photography when I got home, and how I was going to look at our artists differently….. Now almost a year later, it is a bit clearer now, yet I’m still trying to find how to present things in the new light that I see them.
What a lot of people don’t know (or probably have forgotten) is that I was a stylist first before I was a photographer. Fashion was my first love and my first heartbreak, but if not for it I wouldn’t be in music right now. I specialize specifically in Menswear. My first works were styling music videos, my first job was a fashion consultant in various brands, I was a stylist for Rivermaya and The Dawn for a substantial length of time from 2004 to 2008. I still would occasionally accept consultation projects, but I never really blog about it because usually I’m swamped with so much photo work.
One of my major influences in fashion are primarily British brands. British brands who have contributed to music history at some point. Maybe that’s why I like British music or maybe British music is the reason why I like Brit fashion. I would never really know at this point. It’s like wondering if the brands just contributed so much in the image of musicians or the image of the musicians inspired the brand?
Being primarily a photographer now I know the importance of the visual aspect of music.
Ben Sherman, one of the top brands that I love has opened another store in Robinsons Magnolia and was fortunate to be invited to the opening. Francis Brew, Lourd De Veyra and Marc Abaya got some clothes from the brand the day before to wear to the opening.
I accompanied Francis Brew to pick the clothes he was going to wear because I wanted to see the brand’s current collection. I’m a bit sad they took out the women’s line because their jackets are divine as I have one myself and Francis sometimes buys his clothes in the women’s section (like most typical skinny rockstars). Thankfully there are extra small sizes that were available.
When I was in first grade, I took on the role of Chicken Little for our class play. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a folk tale that describes how paranoia can get you in trouble. In the end, Chicken Little who kept on screaming, “The sky is falling!” inciting mass hysteria on everyone else, led them to their death. Pretty morbid for a 7 year old to go through, but I still consider myself having my own Chicken Little inside me until this day.
More than the fear of heights, I’m afraid of things that fall from the sky. I don’t know when this started, maybe during the 1988 Coup d’etat whose images of I remember seeing planes and helicopters fly overhead and everyone else around me feeling anxious. Whenever I’d see a helicopter or a plane fly over me, I look up and wait for it to pass. I freeze, not in exaggerated levels but well, I’ve accepted this quirk of mine. I had a dream once of being squished by a truck’s container that fell from a building and slightly freaked when I’m beside tilted parked large buses or trucks on the road.
When College of Saint Benilde built their humongous building beside their house, it was never easy for me. I’d wake up mornings with the whole house shaking because they were excavating the ground. It was never good for me growing up, then fears of debris falling on our house, paint splattering on our cars… Ondoy came and large pieces of metal about 8 to 10 feet fell on our compound. Whenever there’d be earthquakes I think about our house being flattened if the building toppled. Yes, I’m quite paranoid, I have my quirky phobias but I’m not obsessed. I’ve gotten mad when a 1.5 litre sprite bottle fell from the CSB window and exploded on impact, when a cleaner accidentally hit a glass pane on the floor and glass shattered on our laundry area. I found it slightly funny when a Sprite can fell on our roof and it sounded like a chair fell and students of CSB got mad at me online for ranting because I said that they don’t realize how dangerous it is to throw a small item from that height.
I get scared when there’s heavy rain, because the damage in our roof created leaks and I have equipment that I need to take care of. I know we need to have it fixed, but there are many reasons, one is we’re just all praying to get out of that place one day and another is it takes a lot of money to renovate a house that shouldn’t have needed to be renovated in the first place.
Now someone fell from several floors up on that building and landed on the roof under my window where I work. That room is sacred to me, it used to be where I sleep growing up. I converted it into a workspace where I think of the things I write and the photos I want to put out, now all I could think of is that outside that window someone died.
It’s been 4 days since the incident and last night I passed by to pack up my equipment. The breeze that entered my room which used to bring memories of freedom from the open field that used to be there now gives just an eerie feeling of death. I still remember the loud thud that I innocently thought was yet another object that falls from the building, but realized it was a sound more distinct than the others. It was louder, like an explosion, something that would make you panic and look for smoke, but there wouldn’t be any.
I’m glad I didn’t get to see it. Thanks to some guiding force that made me go through the other room and charge my phone. I would have been the first one to see it. By the time everyone realized it was a person who fell, I was asked to stay in my room amidst all the commotion. I honestly don’t know how to go back to my old habits when I go home eventually. I’d like to think this is some sign to change and maybe remind me how to always live in the moment, which complacency has taken away from me. There’s so much to appreciate in the seconds that we just BE.
I have never been more glad to be alive, yet I wish it didn’t have to be reminded through someone’s death outside my window. Ultimately it could have been avoided, if College of Saint Benilde listened to us intently when much smaller objects would fall on us endangering OUR lives. It happened and there’s really nothing I can do about it. Nothing is random, I’d like to believe and with everything that I have been going through for the past year, I’d like to put it out there that at the very least boy didn’t die in vain. In the moment that he fell he saved me from something that has deeply plagued me for more than a decade. I just wish that he was still really alive when he fell like everyone said, because that would give him a chance to ask God for forgiveness.
I’m deeply sorry for the family of the boy. Yet I know everyone will move on from this, eventually. But I will always always be reminded of the day the sky fell when I look outside my window.
“Though no one else will see, nothing left for sympathy, a million flights to crash, like a silent scream of humble dreams to be” - I Stand With You, The Dawn.
Several months ago I wrote an article on Yahoo! promoting Queso’s reunion gig. I was there at one of their rehearsals because I felt the buzz that surrounded the whole reunion and thought about how this was going to change the landscape of the rock scene.
In that article on Yahoo! wrote: “In the case of the Queso reunion, it could spark two big changes: getting the heavy rock scene to the forefront again and having independent rock bands mount and self-produce their own concerts.”
It did change to this, massively.
There was the Chronic Wheeze event last September, while despite having the streets flooded, still packed quite a number of fans who were there to see five bands, Slapshock, WilaBaliw, Greyhoundz, Kjwan and Razorback. All bands are connected, Greyhoundz and WilaBaliw are connected through Queso, especially because Greyhoundz and Queso are contemporaries, Slapshock completes this trinity, all being pioneers of each of their particular type of music.
Then while the Queso reunion was brewing, Razorback and Greyhoundz had the Boars and Houndz tour which actually emphasized the connection between bands and how this connection actually made the show, translating that power to the fans. Greyhoundz have always been a fan of Razorback, especially during the early days. The Avenido cousins, Niño and Audie would listen to their albums over and over.
Razorback are the Kuyas of everyone in this group. Kjwan is connected to Greyhoundz and WilaBaliw as Marc Abaya is extremely good friends with Reg Rubio and Ian Tayao and have gone through really crazy stuff (that I can’t mention here haha) Also most of Kjwan’s members are from Ateneo which makes that connection to Greyhoundz’ Niño Avenido, when they were all still in highschool and college, their bands already existed.
Then right after Queso’s reunion last year, several gigs were organized last February which included Kamikazee and Greyhoundz. Kamikazee is there because Jay Contreras has said it many times especially during the first Queso reunion that Queso are basically their kuyas and have been a major influence on them and their music.
Then a lot of people wanted to join in what seems like one of the wildest record breaking in rock and roll-ness show, KamiQuesoHoundz shook the whole gig scene… Urbandub was one of those that opened for the Saguijo show and veterans Wolfgang was part of the line-up that opened for the last gig of KamiQuesoHoundz at The Collective.
I recall Reg Rubio tell everyone that evening that back then they’d just see Wolfgang up on stage and now they’re playing with them on the same stage. Jay Contreras jokingly said they’re their Titos in the scene, just to emphasize their respect for Wolfgang. I know it’s quite an honor for someone you look up to want to collaborate with you or be a part of your projects. It doesn’t mean Wolfgang is any less of a band, it only shows that people know when a gig is going to be good or not — even other bands show up and would want to play!
Then because of this whole slew of historical events (historical because people have come to learn to pay to get into a gig, to fill venues like The Collective and Saguijo like never before, and bands earning, finally an amount so wildly surprising for a gate share…. A GATE SHARE!!!), the trend started to become more obvious.
Soon afterwards, there were events with combinations of a lot of bands from Kamikazee and Queso, to recently Franco-Urbandub-Kamikazee, then next month there’s a Greyhoundz-Queso planned for Cebu, and another one a week later in Cebu as well, a back to back gig with Parokya ni Edgar and Greyhoundz.
So now I know this story isn’t ending yet so I’m flying in a few days to Singapore to catch Greyhoundz and Queso, which will be the first of these two bands to perform together in another country. I’m curious to see the growth of the demand of this scene which started with the reunion of Queso and see how much more of a boost to the rock scene will occur now that there’s a brewing demand outside of our country. It’s just like the usual back to back gig of Razorback and Wolfgang, which has been quite a franchise the past few years… and only two months ago they had a show in Singapore, too.
and to connect you to the title… that time when Wolfgang opened for KamiQuesoHoundz…. I realized all this… and everything else that came after just made a whole lot of sense.
To see a trend in the music scene unfold like this is mind blowing and see how a series of events spark a movement.
Let’s see where all this goes.
I kind of pieced it together (with other people’s input of course… also including the fact that I’m dating a genius. *wink*)
Time for some last minute packing. If you’re in Singapore next week, Queso and Greyhoundz will be performing at St. James Powerhouse on April 28, 2013. Tickets over at Requiem Rising.
I’m looking at all my photos for an exhibit. It’s so hard to look back when the future is all you’ve got. I know exactly what I was feeling when I took certain photos and where I was or what was happening around that time. A lot of times they remind me of the pain I was going through yet I know I can’t escape it because it’s become a job to document moments and archive them for history. This is one of the reasons I’ve never had a solo exhibit.
I remember several years ago, I deleted an entire event, which I later on would regret because of the possible value of those photos to the viewers. But I don’t regret not seeing it again because it was one of the worst days of my life. I connect myself to every event I was in and that’s where I gauge their value to me.
I document fun, I try to make it all grand. It’s a service to others, but oftentimes, rarely a reward to myself. I love too much and so much of these photos just remind me of how, at that particular moment in time, I wasn’t getting love in return. I know I deserve love and I deserve happiness, but sometimes the people you were with those times weren’t proud of you, took you for granted, lied to you and hid you from the world.
Photography had always been an escape. I’d do random film shoots with friends back in 2003 whenever I’d feel depressed and so my anxiety will just be translated to the anticipation if I got any good shots when I’d have a roll developed. Yet I know that any problems that i had, they were still there, when I’d go home after a gig, or when I’m done sorting photos. The next logical step then was to chase after gigs constantly, again and again and again just to forget and so I guess, I got good practice.
People say I’m lucky to be here and that should make me realize I’m special enough, but those moments, those people didn’t make me feel special and instead gave what I deserve to others who either had no idea about my existence or were just fools to think that on the days they were with the person I was supposed to be with, they were ‘the one’. I know I shouldn’t rely on finding happiness in other people’s approval. I don’t. Yet I must say, those who hurt me aren’t ‘other people’. All of those I love and have loved had done this to me at one point or another in the last 10 years of my life and I may have said I’ve forgiven them for that, most of the time I just forget. I’m forgetful. Photos are my reminders, yet as much as I like what the photo looks like or what they say, because they exist, it will always remind me of where I was at the time. It’s never easy. Forgetfulness is a blessing, yet I see all imprints of the past everywhere I go and I know I have them with me, always marked like a constant target for heartache.
And so I look silly crying while sorting photos. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe it’s the stress. I want to look forward to my trip next next Monday, but I can’t because I have to go through each and every one of these photos and get transported back to those moments.
This is why I’ve never had an exhibit. Good thing I’m preparing for a digital one in an upscale venue in Makati. If I see everything printed largely in front of me, I will get really emotional. I know people are saying they are reminders of how far I’ve come and how I’ve managed to still be here despite all that, but fuck it. I never ever EVER deserved to have been treated that way.
Music photography is a documentation of my life as seen through my journey with musicians. This isn’t just a gig or a job, it’s extremely personal to me. A lot of the photos I took locally are largely because of the relationships I’ve formed with the people I work with — from friendships that I still have, to the falling out with the others.
I have never known to do anything else so well than this and when I have to put photos that make me so angry up on a pedestal, it alarms me. Maybe this is good therapy, but I’ll never know until I’m done. Some people take pride in their past hurts knowing all too well it’s far from them. I guess maybe this is what I need, to just put it out there instead of hiding it, accepting it and moving on.
So pardon me if I tell you about an exhibit soon and it’s crappy for you, or maybe stuff you’ve probably seen before. It’s not even that big an exhibit, yet it still forces me to look at everything I’ve done so far. I know you will never know and will never feel what I felt at the time I took some of the photos, only feel how it is to you upon seeing it. I could say that I’ll just put up the one where I was in a happy place, but sometimes you need the others too because life isn’t complete without both the yin and yang. I know it’s just a gig, and they don’t really tell my ACTUAL life story, but from DAY ONE that I did this, they have always been the bookmarks of my life.
The bookmarks don’t tell the story, but they’re there to point out a particular chapter, verse or phrase and the book tells a story that don’t necessarily directly translate to your disposition. Yet as long as there are marks, they will always be there and some seasons are just complete turning points in my life.
I’m not ready but I always say that and have turned down so many offers, but I know I have to start at some point. If I don’t do this, I know I will never be ready for the rest of my life.
I have 7 days to do this.