[B-SIDE Podcast] QuaranTunes: The local music industry during the pandemic

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The local music industry has had to say goodbye to major live venues that simply couldn’t survive the pandemic, however beloved they may be.

As the country prepares to ease restrictions, B-Side takes stock of what it’s been like for local and independent musicians to collaborate and perform in a socially distanced world.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist of local alternative pop group Any Name’s Okay Renzo R. Lumanog has performed at venues such as Route 196 on Katipunan Avenue and at international music festivals in Taiwan. The band, formed in 2017 at the University of the Philippines Music Circle, garners millions of streams on digital platforms around the world.

In this B-side episode, Mr. Lumanog talks to Business world journalist John Victor D. Ordoñez on venue closures, people losing their jobs and musicians pursuing their passions.

TAKE AWAY FOOD

Online collaboration is here to stay.

During the pandemic, musicians used online platforms like Zoom to compose new songs and pursue projects since in-person band rehearsals weren’t allowed.

“Online collaboration has taught us to streamline our music-making process, which we believe is a lesson we can take with us post-pandemic,” Mr. Lumanog said, adding that maintaining a connection with his comrades group throughout the lockdown period was a struggle.

“A lot of musicians right now have either stopped making music, and there are some who have released more music than they ever did, there’s a scale there,” he said. -he adds.

The people behind the scenes are unsung heroes.

Local bands have “roadies,” technical teams that accompany musicians and help set up live shows. Roadies have suffered the most during the pandemic due to the lack of live events.

“People don’t realize how close roadies are to bands, they go beyond live shows,” Mr. Lumanog said.

Fundraisers were held to give back to these people behind the scenes, as most of the roadies were in-house employees of famous venues such as Route 196 and Tomato Kick, which were forced to close.

“It was really heartbreaking to see,” Mr. Lumanog said. “Music, in general, has been hit very hard because of this. [the pandemic].”

Know who you are as an artist.

“My first piece of advice would be to love the music you make, you have to stay motivated. You also need to love and appreciate your bandmates,” Mr. Lumanog said. “Make connections, not just weak connections to make extra money, but lasting connections that will push you in the directions you want to go.”

However, artists must also learn to branch out while staying true to their goals as a group or as an actor.

“Diversify in terms of knowing who you are as a musician and using platforms like social media to your advantage,” Lumanog said. “You don’t necessarily have to follow the hottest music trends now just to be relevant…that’s not what music is all about unless you’re purely commercial. It’s about getting your niche.

Recorded remotely January 28, 2022. Produced by John Victor D. Ordoñez, Jino D. Nicolas and Sam L. Marcelo. Music used with permission from John’s Dirty Old Sneakers.

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