The beautiful south of indie music

Why go to Manila or elsewhere for weekend night outs to enjoy great bands? They're all here in Laguna, thanks to South Indie Production, which is injecting a lot of excitement into the province’s indie music scene.


Photos by Leobel Colona

AS the province closest to Metro Manila in the south, Laguna is blessed with all that comes with it, which may explain why it has seen an influx of people from the capital who have settled here. The thinking has been, If you can have in Laguna everything you want in Metro Manila, why even bother living in a chaotic metropolis, right?

Well, as many Lagunenses have found out over the years, Laguna did not have everything that Metro Manila offered. A few years ago, one would have to go up north to enjoy a decent Saturday night out because, one, the better bands didn’t perform anywhere in Laguna and, two, there seemed to have been a lack of Laguna-based bands – indie bands, especially — that could fill this entertainment void.

The brains behind South Indie Production, Joey Misolas (left) and Steven Sy

Things, however, are changing. Enter South Indie Production.

It started with an idea by Joey Misolas, the founder, who wished to bring indie acts to Laguna precisely because gigs in the province were practically not yet being explored by anyone. With his co-founder Steven Sy, who also bangs the drums for the band Love Thy Neighbor Movement, Joey saw that traveling to areas outside of Laguna just to watch or be in a gig was such a bother.

That, plus the fact that, according to Joey, “There were a number of talented people in the south who didn’t have the means to get their names up for gigs and events.”

Particularly within the indie movement, Joey says people are still reluctant to spend money to watch these performances and have a good time. “We are still figuring out how to entice them to support OPM,” Joey says, referring to “original Pilipino music.”

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But, as we said, things are changing.

Kick-off party

The kick-off party was held at the Thumbayan Food and Entertainment Hub in Biñan City.

On January 28, South Indie Production held what it dubbed as a “kick-off” party for 2019, featuring OPM bands from the south and their fans who gathered in support of the local indie music scene. It was a night of great songs, great food, great people. Held at the Thumbayan Food and Entertainment Hub in Biñan City, everyone had a blast watching and singing along with original songs by the bands.

The kick-off party had a solid line-up, featuring some of the best acts in the country like I Belong to the Zoo, This Band, Memphis and Banna Harbera. It was loud and lively, with fans and supporters making it more spirited as they cheered all throughout.

The event highlighted Laguna-based bands. It was a remarkable moment as indie music enthusiasts witnessed performances by Love Thy Neighbor Movement, Happy Three Friends, Turbo Mouse, Common Traps, Ojas, and MJ.

Los Baños-based band MJ considers the kick-off as their first gig outside their area. MJ is composed of senior high school students from the UP Rural High School who bonded over their love for pop rock.

MJ, a band from Los Baños, opened the night its original  “Ayoko Nang Naulan.” Its music took a lot of influence from OPM bands like the Eraserheads. Onstage, the band talked about the indie scene and promised to just continue supporting it, the challenges and all.

Happy Three Friends pumped up the crowd with its singles “Okay Lang Yan,” “Buhay Banda” and “Single Since Birth.” Happy Three Friends started out when its members first met in a street in Biñan City eating balut. From there, they started hanging out and made music. These days, Happy Three Friends spreads what it calls “crammy and quirky” music in different gigs.

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Biñan-based band Common Traps performed their flavor of pop rock. From left to right: Ren Dupinlay (vocals), Patrick Misolas (guitars), Felix Ramirez, Jr. (Drums), Lex Agnazata (bass), and Ken Taduran (guitars).

Common Traps was formed also in Biñan City as a five-member band that plays alternative pop rock music. It was its first time to play in a big event like the South Indie Production 2019 Kick-off so lots of excitement around that night. Common Traps, whose songs are inspired by life struggles and coping, performed its debut single “Giving My All.” Last December, it released its first music video for the second single “History.”

Love Thy Neighbor Movement (LTNM), from left to right: Milbert Ebron (lead guitar), Steven Sy (drums), Jerc Palestroque (bass, back up vocals), and Sketch Palestroque (vocals, acoustic guitar).

Love Thy Neighbor Movement (LTNM) cooled down the crowd by serenading it with songs that speak of heartbreaks, positivity, inspiration, even spirituality. Skitch Palestroque, the band’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist, expressed his huge appreciation for those who support indie music.

Ojas Fernandez sits down for an interview with Laguna Now. His band Ojas hails from Santa Rosa City, Laguna.

OJAS, an independent band, is still in the process of finding their own music, according to its vocalist Ojas Fernandez. The group was formed in 2014 when members from different other bands decided to sit down and, well, make some music. Turbo Mouse, from Santa Rosa City, completed the line-up for the evening. Formed almost as “trip lang,” the band is now taking its music seriously. “We’re just here to express our music and our thoughts,” says vocalist Eduard Teodoro, who was immensely thankful for being invited to the event.

The band Turbo Mouse from Biñan, Laguna, was also present.

Gigs and tours

Indie South Production has been actively organizing bar gigs and tours for artists since it started in 2016. In the same year, it organized the South Indie Fest 2016 where local bands like December Avenue, Quest, and Jansen and the Flips took part in arguably the biggest indie music event ever to happen in the south.

Right from the very beginning, the founders of South Indie Production already envisioned that they would be blazing the trail for independent acts in Southern Luzon and support quality, local music.

“Give local bands, the independent bands, the chance. Listen to their music,” Joey tells Laguna Now. “If you’re willing to spend thousands of pesos on a big concert, why don’t you try to give a little to the independent bands?”

That seems like a fair point, especially because “sometimes, some of them are even way better” than indie bands outside of the south.

Joey has words of encouragement to those who aspire to form a band. “To people who are producing materials, just keep doing that,” Joey says. “Just play your music.” (Laguna Now)

Follow South Indie Productions and their events on Facebook at @Southindieproduction