In conversation with Philippines-based musician, Ruru
by Taylor Seamans 3 months ago

Q: Can you describe yourself?

Denice: I’m studying in an art school in the Philippines. It’s called De La Salle. I’m taking up film. I’m just doing music on the side.

Q: How would you describe your music?

Denice: Well, people call it bedroom pop, but I just call it alternative RnB. 

Q: Are you recording all of the music yourself?

Denice: I’m self-produced. So, everything is by me. I interned with a music producer in the Philippines. He does TV show jingles, and he was actually sort of my teacher when I was younger. When I was getting into music at the end of high school, I asked him if he could teach me how to produce music by myself, so he did. The software I’m using now is Ableton.

Q: What is the music scene like in the Philippines? Are there a lot of other young people doing stuff similar to you?

Denice: There are lots of people making music like me. It’s pretty diverse. But, when I was starting out, I wasn’t really friends with the young people. The music scene here is really a bunch of friends. We know each other, and we’re all interested in music. When I started out, I didn’t know anything about it. The person I’m really close to is Mellow Fellow because our main platform was SoundCloud  and the other musicians don’t use it as intensely as us.

Q: When do you feel like you started to build a following on SoundCloud?

Denice: Last year in July, two people from the Philippine music industry noticed me and private messaged me. They invited me to their scene, and after that I started to get different messages. I received a message from Mellow Fellow. I was also noticed by Cosmo Pyke and King Krule. They messaged me and followed me, and that was really overwhelming. But I realized that my music was actually being listened to by other people. Originally, I didn’t make it for other people. I only did it for myself. I never thought that anyone would care to listen to it anyway. It was just something I liked to do, and I would show it to my close friends who also like music.

Q: Do you feel like now that you have a following you’re pressured to change your style for your audience? Or, is it still just you making music how you want to make it?

Denice: Well, my style has changed, but I wouldn’t say it’s because of the audience. Overtime, I just felt like it needed to change. It changed naturally because of the things I listen to also.

Q: Do you have specific artists that inspire your music?

Denice: A few artists I really look up to are STRFKR, (Sandy) Alex G, Noname, Gypsy, and Chairlift.

Q: What about their music appeals to you?

Denice: For example, with Noname, I’m inspired by the way she writes her lyrics— it’s more like spoken word. She started out as a spoken word artist, and growing up I was really into poetry. So, I realized that writing like that could work for my songs. I found you could make word vomit (laughs) into music.

Q: What is your process like when making a song?

Denice: Before, I would have lyrics written out first and then the chords and everything else would follow. It’d start out with the guitar or with the piano, and then I’d lay it out on the software and add more layers of tracks. Now, I’ve been having a hard time thinking with college and everything. So, I start with a chord progression and then add layers to it. Then, I just sing over it.

Q: Are you planning the lyrics or just singing things that come to mind?

Denice: Instead of writing beforehand, I just sing things that come to mind.

Q: Do you have a song of yours that you relate to most right now?

Denice: Actually, no. That’s why I’m trying to write again. But, it’s really hard because I’m not sad (laughs). Before, that’s how I was able to write— because I was sad. But now that I’m fine, I can’t really write.

Q: How do you feel like social media and platforms like SoundCloud have helped you grow as an artist?

Denice: It’s interactive in the way that when I post something, I get feedback. I can also see what other people make. Also, people who want to collaborate can reach out. In that way, it’s helped me grow because I’m not alone.

Q: What is your biggest difficulty when it comes to making music?

Denice: I have two biggest obstacles when making music. The first one is when I don’t know what to write about. The second one is when I’ve actually put down tracks and I’m listening to it and I’ve gotten used to the sound. At that point, I’m not really sure if it really sounds good. There’s some self-doubt that comes with that, and it makes me procrastinate. I leave the track for a bit, and then I end up starting a new project without finishing the other one. I end up forgetting what I actually wanted for that track.

Q: Do you show anyone your music before releasing it?

Denice: I usually don’t send my drafts, but I’ve sent a few to Mellow Fellow before. Aside from that, I don’t send my drafts to anyone.

Q: On Spotify, “Changing” is your top played song. Did you expect it to be the most played when you made it, or is there a different song you would’ve expected?

Denice: I didn’t expect it actually. I thought it would be “Another” because I like that song better (laughs). 

Q: You said you were studying film. Do you want to pursue that as a career or do you want to pursue music?

Denice: I’m going to graduate next March, and I plan to focus on music for a year. After that, I plan on going back to film or doing both. I want to direct, but the problem is there’s already so many directors. I still want to direct, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m still learning about myself as a filmmaker. I’ve worked on doing fictional short films. Next year, though, music will be my focus.

Taylor Seamans
by Taylor Seamans
Taylor is the Editor-in-Chief of inbtwn.

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