That sounds really sad, but it also seems very constructive.
But you’re talking to me, right? And I don’t seem like a nut case. I’m good. I’m pretty good.
So you mentioned that you wanted your album to have narratives that people could weave together when they listened to it. What are those narratives?
Again, it’s less of memories and more of feelings. Like a tapestry of feelings. It sounds so pretentious. [Laughs] Like a quilt of feelings. I don’t know. The indie scene in Manila is undergoing a mini-renaissance. It’s really diverse now, and there are people who review local music regularly. There’s this site called Vandals on the Wall, which is like a semi-Pitchfork of Manila, or the Philippines in general ’cause they feature acts from Mindanao. The guy who reviewed my album, his name’s Itos, and he’s part of this punk band. I wasn’t sure if he was going to like it because I didn’t know he would write it. The fact that he liked it made me feel very good. He said that listening to the album, at its core, it’s about the “emotional immediacy of youth.” That’s very nice. ’Cause a lot of reviews and features about my “music” are about me being very young. And I do act like I am young. I’m very impulsive, so that contributes to a lot of it. I think a lot of the album is about the aftermath of being very impulsive in my decisions. Yeah, “the emotional immediacy of youth”—what does that mean, right? I guess now, it’s just hard to find real intimacy in the age that we live in.
Yes! I mean, I could relate to your album. Earlier, you said that a lot of people listen to your album in transit. That’s what I do! It’s what we play in carpool.
I think everyone in the car was wondering why we were making them sad on the way to school.
Aww. (laughs). That’s crazy. It’s cool that people always listen to it in transit. A lot of people come up to me or message me to say that they really want a physical copy. And to me, that’s like the equivalent of saying “Marry me.” I really like the concept of making an album. Now, with the streaming, it’s mostly…
Your album’s available online too, right?
It’s online, but the concept of having an album from start to finish is good.
With the track listing and all.
And with a specific order.
So you know what’s going to come next.
I was very particular about the order, too. I don’t follow the order during my shows, but I kind of try to create that kind of order. The fact that people look for the CD to listen to from start to finish in the car or…obviously people don’t bring Discmans anymore, but the same concept applies with saving it on Spotify and listening to it on the train. I really like the concept of how it’s like a movie. There’s a beginning, the rising action, the time-lapse or whatever. Personally, I’m an album person. I grew up with a Discman, and not an iPod. So I would have to listen to an album from start to finish, and I would have to rip CDs or buy a CD. And I couldn’t do the thing now, where you’re on your iPod, and you’re just like, “I don’t wanna listen to this song,” and so you switch to a completely different genre. I can’t do that. I’d have to get my sleeve book and [flip through it].
You always talk about how you got started. How that…
Unpleasant experience, yeah.
Are there still instances where people don’t take you seriously?
I talk about it, but not in the same frame of mind as I did two years ago. Before, I would say it as is, like, “That’s how I started, I was literally angry.” Now it’s more in hindsight. It’s not fun to talk about, but it’s more interesting to talk about now. I like being reminded of it. Sometimes I’m on stage and see a sea of people and think, “Wow, I’m so proud of myself,” in my head. I allow my head to get a little big. [Laughs]
You should be allowed to have that sometimes. If you see so many people there to support you, right?
Yeah, and it’s like I always have a knee-jerk reaction to remind me of how I got here. I’m past being a jilted 13-year-old girl. That’s very far from who I am now. It’s nice to think about when I was younger—I’m a nostalgia junkie, but now I’m trying to focus more on plans for the future. It’s still a fun story, and it’s still literally what spurred the whole thing. I’m always kind of indebted to that guy who was a dick, but who also inspired me to take myself seriously.
You’ve mentioned about how people put such a premium on where you start.
If you’re like a prodigy or…
Or even if you’re a girl in the music industry, then that’s what they focus on.
They’re like, “She has a vagina, and she makes music. That’s like, groundbreaking!” It’s not like we aren’t half of the population.
How would you explain how you thought of that?
I guess that it was always one of the things that people would mention in features, and it got me thinking about my own experience and other people’s experiences. I remember one of the books I read when I was younger was…what’s that biographer’s name? Are you familiar with the guy who wrote Einstein and Steve Jobs? What’s his name? [Pauses to Google it] I love Google! I love data.
Was that the one that they mass published when Steve Jobs died?
Walter Isaacson! There. He’s an influential biographer. I was reading about Einstein, and I was reading about Steve Jobs and how they started, and how the passion really was the thing that made them do it. And I was thinking also about how easy it is to read about Steve Jobs and Einstein. And how, before, you had these people who were influential because they started early or started late, but then it all really doesn’t matter as long as you had the literal will. I don’t know what that defining moment is for you—if you got rejected, or if people totally kissed your ass because they figured you were good at something. But also, just keeping the enthusiasm, I guess. No matter what age you are. I don’t wanna half-ass being a lawyer, or half-ass being a musician. Eww, law! Did your parents want you to take up law?
Nope. They’re fine with anything. ’Cause their parents were kind of strict, so…
What did their parents make them take?
Business for my dad, I think. My mom was a pilot.
What?! Why don’t you write about your woman pilot mom? What the hell? Really? [Laughs]
Yeah, she was the first commercial woman pilot in the Philippines.
I can’t believe you’re writing about some obscure weirdo like me and not writing about the first commercial woman pilot in the Philippines that happens to be your mom! You better include this, OK? Now I feel like everything I’ve said prior to what I just heard is irrelevant.
Not at all! Whenever she talks about it she’s like, “It’s no big deal. I just enrolled in pilot school.”
It’s a BIG DEAL. And you just casually mention this in conversations? Like, “Oh, it’s no big deal. My mom is the first commercial woman pilot.” That’s cool. Does she ever tell you about her experience?
Actually, now that you’re telling me how people always put a premium if you’re a girl, or part of a minority…
Or you’re young, or like, a geezer.