BMBX Entertainment: The Newest Music Label and Production Company Introduced by Apl.de.ap
The Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.ap and his manager, Audie Vergara, talk about the sonic mouthpiece that the world-class artistry of Southeast Asian music deserves
The curatorial genius of Apl.de.ap stands at the helm of BMBX Entertainment, (pronounced “boom box entertainment”) a new music label and production company that is set to amplify South East Asian talent. Apl’s manager and BMBX founder, Audie Vergara, says, “When first envisioning BMBX, we wondered what would creatively happen if we took our production resources and know-how from Los Angeles to Southeast Asia to closely collaborate with local talent.”
Both Apl and Audie share a Filipino-American background, building an affinity for an Asian outlook from their Western settings, with frequent trips and extended stays for projects orienting the two to the local music culture. “We loved the music from the area,” says Audie.
Of the many artists in the scene today, it may seem surprising that it was a metal core band that caught Apl’s attention given his background is in hip-hop and dance. But Apl did identify Slapshock early on as the sound of Philippine rock and metal, the band being one of the few acts to not only lead the biggest, rowdiest concerts in the country but to also share the stage with such international artists as Korn, Killswitch Engage, and Lamb of God. Slapshock represented the skill and charisma that Apl envisions BMBX to represent from Southeast Asia to the world.
Slapshock has kept its original line-up from the start, dating back to 1997 and spanning 17 years from the time of cassette tapes to iTunes, which is no small feat. They lay true claim to being pioneers of the metal genre in the country with an awesome loyalty from thousands of fans that call themselves the SlapArmies.
After all this, one would ask, what else can Slapshock do? What else do they need to do? At the most perfect time, Audie asked the questions that would form BMBX’s mission: “How could we possibly help Southeast Asian artists make their sound even bigger so even more people can hear it? What if we paired talent from here with some of the United States’ most successful producers and musicians?”
So in October 2013, BMBX recorded Slapshock in Los Angeles with contributions from Apl himself of the Black Eyed Peas, Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down, and the Grammy-awarded sound engineer and producer, Damien Page Lewis. The result is an EP that features a big, bold sound that is competitive with some of the world’s top tracks. With mixers like Terry Date (Ozzy Osbourne, Korn) and Ben Grosse (Marilyn Manson, Seven Dust, Stone Temple Pilots), Slapshock is steering towards a new horizon for what it means to be musicians in this part of the world.
BMBX is changing the format of locally produced music and giving a momentous definition to global collaboration. The locale is Southeast Asia and the artist is Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysian. “We are on to something huge,” says Audie, “Something that Southeast Asia is ready for: home grown talent that will share the stage with the biggest artists in the world.”