Ben&Ben Makes Music Matters: A Step For The OPM Indie Scene
Manila is becoming the be-all-end-all for aspiring bands and musicians in the Philippines and the whole region. Any given night there are gigs scattered in various venues all over the city that help form the future of music. Whether it is the local hole-in-the-wall boozer, swinging jazz joints, creative pop-ups or DIY basement clubs; the idea is often not all about commercial success, but rather the chance to foster a local music scene by nurturing home-grown talent and bringing in artists from further afield. There is a real community spirit supported by the musicians, creative venue directors and passionate promoters alike that bring out the best in all genres of music. Be it pop, R&B, indie, grime, dubstep or OPM that gets you on your feet dancing; along with the burgeoning attention from a younger generation of listeners, Manila is a breeding ground for young musicians.
One great example of a thriving indie OPM act is Ben&Ben. The fast-rising band formed in 2015 by twin Filipino singer-songwriters, Paolo and Miguel Guico. Their sold-out debut EP launched in December 2016 and three singles debuted within the top 5 of Spotify’s Philippines Viral 50 Chart. Blending folk, world, and pop elements into heart-warming lyrics and melodies, Ben&Ben first gained acclaim at PhilPop 2016, the most prestigious song writing competition in the Philippines.
Ben&Ben have headlined in major gigs, universities and music festivals, such as Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino and Fete de la Musique. They continue to make waves internationally and they will represent the Philippines in this year’s “Music Matters 2017”. The independent music festival takes place in Singapore on September 9-13, 2017. The Be app had the chance to speak to the band and found out why Ben&Ben music matters!
Q: How did Ben&Ben form?
Ben&Ben: The band was originally called The Benjamins and it was formed by the twins Pao and Migs–Paolo Benjamin and Miguel Benjamin–as a singer-songwriter duo. Ben&Ben became a band this just this year, 2017 with Poch Barretto (electric guitarist), Agnes Reoma (bassist), Jam Villanueva (drummer), Patricia Lasaten (keyboardist), Keifer Cabugao (violinist), Toni Muñoz (percussionist), and Andrew de Pano (percussionist)
Q: How do you describe your music? What makes it different?
Ben&Ben: “Our music is different because we play different music.” Paolo jokes. “Our music is basically folk with pop sensibilities plus the individual influences of each member of the band. That’s what makes it different, because we also incorporate elements of Philippine folk music.”
A number of band members from Ben&Ben actually play for other local artists and bands such as Coeli, Bea Lorenzo, Never The Strangers, Asch x Value Meal, and Runway Hits.
Q: What / Who inspires what you do?
Ben&Ben: We inspire ourselves. Haha! De, ok, seryoso na. (Okay no, let’s be serious.) Our listeners inspire us because they enable us to keep going, and they support us along the way. Their love is what drives us to write music, arrange it as a band, and play it.
Ben&Ben often performs in Route 196. After their gig, they usually hang out where there is peace and quiet: “…to give anyone the time to reflect, think about life, and maybe even write songs.” A similar place that fits their description is Restock Cafe in Guijo Street, Makati, where gig goers can relax before SaGuijo opens in the evening.
Q: What places do your members find inspiration to write music?
Ben&Ben: We find inspiration in different places, and also in the places we’ve traveled to. So recently, we’ve been to Zambales and to Baguio.
Q: What can we expect from Ben&Ben / What upcoming events will you be a part of?
Ben&Ben: Well, we have collaborative shows with Autotelic, The Ransom Collective, and Mr. Ebe Dancel, so you can look forward to that. We’re also playing for Music Matters in Singapore as representatives for the Philippines and we are scheduled to open for Lucy Rose for Bandwagon. Yes – there are many exciting shows, and more projects and releases before the year ends.
Ben&Ben will be one of the 3 bands representing the Philippines in Music Matters in Singapore on September 9-13, 2017. Visit their website for more details at http://musicmatters.asia/
They will also be performing for Lucy Rose at 19 East in Sucat, Muntinlupa on September 16, 2017 for her Manila Cinema Tour 2017. Download the be app and look out for Ben&Ben gig details to get tickets next week: http://onelink.to/j3f6vu