During Satchmi’s 2018 Vinyl Day last June, we got to interview some of our favorite artists: Quest and Ben&Ben, who talked about their favorite artists, some industry hacks, and the future of OPM.
The first artist that we got to talk to was Jose Villanueva III. Of course, you know him as Quest. He is a hip-hop and R&B singer and he won the ‘Best Urban Music Video’ at the MYX Awards for his single “Back to Love” last 2010. He’s been in the industry for more than eight years now and he is happy to witness the rise of the indie scene today. First things first, though: where did his name “QUEST” come from?
According to him, ‘Quest’ is not an artist name, but a STATEMENT. Here’s what he had to say about his screen name:
“It’s really a statement. Parang ‘Quest’ speaks more than the artist but it speaks of the vision. It’s a movement. Ang goal ko kasi, gusto ko talagang dalhin yung tao to an adventure. Like when somebody hears my music, I want them to go on an adventure from sadness to joy, from confusion to clarity. There’s a journey. There’s the dream for me to take people on a journey and to take them where they should be—- kaya naging Quest. Kasi pwede ‘ring Journey, may banda nang ganon so when I thought of the name Quest, ang ganda nung monicker. Hindi lang siya about me. It’s about the music that I make. That’s why the tagline is always “Join the quest”.
Quest’s music really creates an impact. The melody and lyrics of all his songs are full of wisdom and emotions and it turns out, this is where he gets his inspiration from: “Majority talaga is life experience. Minsan naman istorya ng ibang tao. I like stories. I like hearing stories and translating them into music. So if you’re my friend, we’re gonna have a nice conversation for hours. I can pick your brain and maybe there’s a song. I believe that every human being has an anthem in their heart. And hopefully, I have the ability to put it into a song.”
As for what he thinks about OPM, Quest believes “the future is now. It’s thriving. You cannot confine OPM inside the television. Opm is alive, thriving. And the best thing about OPM is it does not discriminate genres. We can come up with one event with a rock band, hip-hop band, RnB band, a folk artist and everybody enjoys it. That’s what separates Filipino crowd. The Filipino crowd, they don’t discriminate. Para sa kanila walang genre. Basta maganda yung music mo, pakikinggan kita. Basta magaling ka papanoorin kita. Ayun yon, and the future is now. For someone like me whose been in the industry for more than 8 years, it’s so thriving. You can see the young guys; you can see everybody stepping up. You know age is not an issue anymore. Age is not even an issue. Everybody is inspiring everybody. Ngayon na ang future ng OPM.”
As for the new indie artists coming out here and there, he says, “I think na filter narin ng mga bata yung mga napag daanan namin. Noong panahon ko, yung peers namin talagang the dream is to be signed to a label. The dream is to be seen on TV. Ganun kami dati eh. And then namulatan kami ay hindi pala. Oh my gosh social media is such a powerful tool. Na filter out na nung mga old, ng mga seasoned artists like us para yung mga young acts, alam na nila. Hindi na sila masyadong jaded. Hindi na sila masyadong “oh kailangan akong ma sign sa label. “I see acts like Muni Muni, the first performer— such an amazing band. They don’t need a label. People sing their songs. The power of Social Media they can just tweet an event and everybody’s gonna be there. The same goes to my favorite band of all time, Ben and Ben. Ben and Ben is just an amazing band. I’m in love with them. I wanna marry them. Na filter out narin nila yung mga dating akala naming pre-requisite or yung mga kailangan, hindi eh. All they do is just make good music, put it out and people sing their songs. Same with IV of spades. Same with Autotellic. Same with everyone else na talagang nagta thrive ngayon sa industriya. I think lahat ng pagkakamali namin nakita na ng bagong generation. Iniiwasan na nila.”
Now, knowing that Ben&Ben is Quest’s favorite band of all time, we asked Ben&Ben how they feel about Quest. “Mas fan kami. Kung akala nya fan sya, mas fan kami. Minsan kinakanta naming yung voicing nya diba. He’s great.”
Ben&Ben first guested at Satchmi Vinyl Day when they were just a month old. According to them, only a few people would sing along to their songs back then, but look at them now. They are one of the headliners of the event and everyone in the audience sang along to their song with all of their hearts.
As a 13-month old group, they say that their biggest fulfillment as a band is arranging and making music together. And also their FASHION. (Here’s a tip from them: check out their old photos to know how big of an improvement they have made in terms of fashion.)
When we asked what sets them apart from other bands in the indie scene, they answered: “Yung pagiging folk na may percussion. Bringing like different instruments. It’s hard sometimes eh to really blend it well. I think having the same musicality makes it mash together. Meron kaming mindset na we have a lot of work to do, so we do a lot of work.”
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I asked them to spill who their favorite indie bands are, and here are some of their common favorites: Autotelic, Clara Benin (they all shrieked with excitement when they mentioned her name), Tom’s Story, and fellow Vinyl Day performer: MuniMuni.
We all know that Ben&Ben is not your typical band. They are a band composed of 9 members with all of them playing their own instruments, so I got curious on how they keep their mindset aligned.
“Actually, we fight 24/7, lalo na pag san kakain. We’re all aware of the direction that we wanna go. We have great leaders, which is actually everyone here. Like we’re good at our own certain talents and field we excel at and we always offer it to the table. It’s what we offer and it’s really about generosity with each other and we are also aware about the purpose why we’re together. Natuto kaming mag communicate ng solid, and we eat together. Tsaka na g-gets namin yung different personalities ng isa’t isa. Alam naming yung weaknesses and strengths-“ish” ng isa’t isa. May understanding, patience, love. So may choleric, merong phlegmatic, sinong sanguine, Half-half.”
To wrap everything up, here is their advice for upcoming indie bands who want to go big: “Be true to yourself. Eat more and eat together. Malaking bagay yung learning to trust other people with your dreams and aspirations. Certain people didn’t have the initiative to Share with them yung goals na gusto nilang ma achieve. Also never for money, always for love.”
If there is one common denominator between Quest and Ben&Ben, it would be their humility despite how big they have become. Talking to them, it felt like I was just talking to my friend or my barkada. Although they are all famous now, I am 101% sure that they will go beyond bigger in the music industry because they definitely have the heart to keep on going. They have authentic sincerity that you don’t get to see in a lot of other artists.
Did you enjoy reading the interviews of Quest and Ben&Ben? Who would you like us to feature next?