There was no better place than to catch up with Six the Northstar than at a barbershop.
And a barberdashery at that. Felipe and Sons takes pride in fusing the male monthly ritual of a haircut with the trappings of a gentleman, their brandy as smooth as the word play they used to establish their brand.
"I have this weird affinity for older stuff: 70s funk, jazz, soul, all these records, dusty records," Six says, quite enthusiastically for someone who just had a relaxing massage. "Let's say we [were] driving [around] and we see a garage sale, I'd be the first person to tell you, 'Wait! They might have stuff there!' Antiques, whatever. Anything. I like it. I like the smell of old books. Anything that references to [the] classic times for me. Even [with] motorcycles. I'd rather have a motorcycle that was built in the 50s or 60s versus what's coming out now.
"With places like these, I feel like I'm sorta getting teleported to that generation, but not really. Like, a middle ground [of sorts] coz this is a modern take [of this shop]. I've always even wanted to have my own barbershop except...inunahan ako," he added with a laugh.
Despite having failed to put up his own old-school establishment, this artist seems to be on his way to achieving his goals this year, and more.
When he wasn't busy looking for employees for a well-reputable burger joint, pushing buttons for singer-songwriter A Problem Like Maria, or providing beats for his hip hop homies Shadow Moses, Six was working on SixTrueMentals Vol. 2, a 16-track, full-length album that had him tired and elated at various points of its production.
"I guess it's really something I need to do," he says when asked about his work-music balance. "I have to have an outlet in terms of creativity; I really need to pull [the music] out."
But while his previous album, SixTrueMentals Vol. 1, was more of an introduction of who he was as a musician, his new releases are definitely something else. So, we at Bandwagon pried and prodded for reasons why SixTrueMentals Vol. 2 is the beatmaker's perfect CV:
1. The entire album talks about his 2016.
He had things going on for him all throughout the year that everyone loved to hate: he started the year with SixTrueMentals Vol. 1. He also joined music collective Logiclub last year and was consequently signed with Futurestudios. Shadow Moses also released their first EP Expansion Pack in 2016.
"It's mainly how 2016 ran for me," Six plainly states. "A lot of people are complaining about their 2016 and stuff, but [for me] it was an onslaught of good things happening for me. Everything was falling into place. Despite *coughs* some aspects that were not awesome, I think it balanced things out."
Rewind to a few weeks ago, when the first single from the new album was released. Listen here:
2. Samples from his tracks are the fruits of his record-digging labor...
Even though the new album had been crafted to sound "a little bit softer, so to speak, to the ears," the tracks still feature the old school chops listeners have associated with Six's music. This comes from sessions and sessions of digging for records and finding the right samples.
"Best thing about [working on the album] is I get go on a record hunting mission because most of the find [was included in] the album," Six recounts.
One particularly interesting sample comes from a random Turkish song. We won't tell you which one it is, but you can listen to the unlikely tune from this track and tell us what you think:
3. ...and they come with feelings, too.
When we first ask Six about his new album, he says that it's supposed to remind us of long walks on the beach and other romantic notions (thus, the Valentine's Day release). However, upon listening to the tracks, we find out that it's more complex than we originally thought. The song titles (such as 'I Tried,' '(Oh Lord) Forgive Me,' and 'I Know You've Been Hurt') are already very telling, but Six claims that there's so much more to these: experiences, feelings, and even principles and perceptions weaved into one seamless musical thread.
"Sometimes, I might sound a little weird or whatever, but when people get to know me, [they find out that] I still have those classic perception of things, even with life. Despite that it's 2017, some of the classic principles of a person I still try to incorporate in my life."
Sample the emotional buffet offered here:
4. His album pre-launch was held in Bacolod.
February 4 was a very busy date for music lovers, particularly in Makati and Tagaytay, but the scene was also very much alive that night at Bites&Booze in Bacolod, where Six first brought his new beats.
"Grabe yung influence niya sa 'kin. I wouldn't have this vast amount of open-mindedness towards music if it wasn't for Bacolod because [it] is such a melting pot of different musical styles and music appreciation. It doesn't matter what you're into. That's why with Volume 2, and my first time to have a pre-album party, I wanna go back there [as] my way of referencing back to where everything's coming from."
While his affair with Bacolod was never all roses, he eventually came to love this city in Negros.
"I read [about] people like Kurt Cobain: they'd have this feeling of alienation from back in the day that they don't know where they fit. I was born in Pampanga, grew up in Manila, went to college in Bacolod...all these places you feel like you don't belong. Now, I realized when I came back from Bacolod, graduated and after a few years I moved back [to Manila] (...) may contrast ka na. You see it [and say], 'Oh wait, I think that was home.'"
Listen to his homage to home here:
5. His album art has his favorite flower on it.
Created by local artist and Bandwagon Music Market 2016 sticker and art purveyor Lari Gazmen, the album art pretty much shows us a few of the musician's favorite things. Zero in on the sunflower, whose presence can be explained by a quote from D.H. Lawrence:
When van Gogh paints sunflowers, he reveals, or achieves, the vivid relation between himself, as man, and the sunflower, as sunflower, at that quick moment of time. His painting does not represent the sunflower itself. We shall never know what the sunflower itself is. And the camera will visualize the sunflower far more perfectly than van Gogh can.
The sixteen little fragments of Six's new melodic offering might as well be a personification of his coffee addiction (that apparently runs in the family) or obsession over old motorcycles (even though he claims to be bad at mechanical stuff). Listen to this track and find out more:
6. His friends say so.
And we're not only talking about his brothers from Logiclub who had their hair cut that fated night at Felipe and Sons. While they claim that he really does love long walks (information from Chito Villaluna, Ryoku's manager), and that he "loves" Satan (this one from crwn), his many friends and followers who had flocked to Bites&Booze reportedly went home stoked and satisfied with his sound. And when someone like somedaydream says that he's "the real deal," we figure we need no other validation than that.
Catch more of Six the Northstar at the Shadow Moses album launch on March 4. Watch out for his upcoming collaboration with Dante & Amigo and Earl of Manila. For now, listen to SixTrueMentals Vol. 2 on Spotify or iTunes.
CRWN, NINNO and Shadow Moses