Eclectic Kiss is making its rise in the middle of a pandemic.
The Manila-based independent label will be bouncing back into your radar to deliver indie/pop tunes fresh outta the creative oven this Wednesday (08/19).
Run by Filipino producer and Moonwlk synthsman/vocalist Nick Lazaro, Eclectic Kiss' roster features Lazaro himself, the dark and brooding music of Amss, Pikoy's explosive eand delirious offerings, Midwife (who has also been working as a frontliner during these trying times) and her post-rock riffs, and its latest signee COATES, a theater actress, poet, and musician with a lot of promise.
Bandwagon caught up with Nick Lazaro to talk about how he and his artists have been dealing with the ongoing pandemic and the limitations the lockdown has put on the scene.
Tell us the story about Eclectic Kiss and its "bounce back" this August.
Nick: Everybody and their plans have been put to an untimely halt ever since late March. Priorities have now shifted to our personal health, both physically and mentally. It has been pretty difficult to find time not only to create music, but also to release it.
I kept asking, "would we be insensitive to put out our music during these unfortunate times?" after about 5 months under lockdown, I finally gave in to the fact that there is still indeed an audience. Regardless of the circumstances, it's still important to share things that can make us feel just a little bit normal amidst the chaos and uncertainty. I made a very bold effort to work with our artists from the safety of our homes, and it has been proven effective.
I ironically call these four simultaneous releases a "comeback" even though we have barely started as a label. However, I'm not calling it a "comeback" for the label only, I'm calling it a comeback for new, original, and intriguing music into our lives once again. I'm proud to say that all of our artists cover a very wide spectrum of off-kilter, yet very sophisticated evolved forms of pop/indie music, but you will have to listen for yourself on August 19 (Wednesday).
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How have you guys been considering the limitations the world faces due to the pandemic?
Nick: Live gigs are gonna be a no go for quite a while. So tangible online content such as streamable music and shareable videos will have to suffice for the time being. Fortunately, each of my artists have means of recording [by] themselves at home, and we use the Internet to send our material back and forth for me to produce further and polish.
Ironically, we have all never been in the same room together, and our newest artist I haven't even met face to face! But I try my hardest to instil a family type closeness and support group by communicating to all in one single chat group. The pandemic sucks ass, but I'm not gonna let it ruin progress. We work very hard.
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What is it about COATES and her music that made you decide to sign her and debut her music during your bounce back?
Nick: Initially, Eclectic started out as 4 artists (Amss, Pikoy, Midwife, and myself Nick Lazaro). Our goal was to cover a broad spectrum of off-kilter, yet palatable pop/indie music: Amss representing the dark and brooding nature of pop music, Pikoy explosive and delirious, Midwife a more organic yet technical take on electric guitar-oriented "post-rock" with vocals, and myself just being emotional with an orchestra and blast beats.
COATES (Rachel Coates) is a theater actress, poet, and talented musician whom I happen to scroll through while browsing some of my friends' posts online. She was just fucking perfect to complete our groups' spectrum. She has an AMAZING vocal ability and a very colorful and sparkly approach to her songwriting. She describes it as "giving-Mr. Rogers-a-synthesiser-and-convincing-him-to-dance" music.
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What have your artists been up to over the quarantine period?
COATES: Over the quarantine period, I’ve been practicing the art of managing my anxiety levels and taking it one day at a time.
Doesn’t sound like much, but it took a worldwide pandemic to realize that breathing, eating, reading, even writing and playing music, were things I always felt like I was rushing through. Now, I’m drowning myself in all of it, and making space to listen. All of this and seething in anger at this administration’s apathy.
Pikoy: I work from home then try to make some music after shift. I create materials, live videos, and music videos.
Amss: During this quarantine, I've been self-reflecting a lot. Tried to cleanse myself from social media, but failed because I use it to stay updated about the current state of our country and although it's one of my stressors, it's also become my sanctuary.
Midwife (Zephra Lagos): Besides contact tracing and monitoring of PUIs in the city, I've been occupied with setting up a bedroom studio and finishing Midwife demos that are way overdue. My fondness for tabletop games also resurfaced now that my younger siblings are always at home!
What are your plans for Eclectic Kiss for the rest of the year?
Listen to the Eclectic Kiss roster here: