Howard: The band was planned three years ago, 2012.
Billie: We didn’t know Fries.
Howard: We had a different drummer in mind. And then we all had bands before this. So, there was already a friendship and bond between us because of our music org here in UP, UP Music Circle. That’s where we met each other. I was in a band called “The Etiquettes;” she [Billie] was a drummer for a band called “Donkey Qui-hottie;” Pappu was a guitarist for a band called “Idioms and Dispositions.” Originally, me, Billie, and Aaron, our drummer for The Etiquettes, were in CHE that night. Tapos, the Etiquettes had a gig, and Billie was there. [To Billie] Did you play for us?
Howard: I think she played for us. Then Billie and I were jamming outside and then, we just decided, “Hey, let’s form a band.” The current parallelism yata du’n ay Arctic Monkeys. That was the original direction. Anyway, after that, our drummer had a job in Parañaque, so we couldn’t see him.
Pappu: Tagal mo magkwento.
Howard: Kaya si Billie na nga lang.
Billie: Basically, long story short, Fries entered our lives and we formed a band and a year after, we decided to make music. ‘'yun na siya.
Why are you called “Oh, Flamingo!”?
Howard: Anyway, we’re called Oh, Flamingo! because--
Billie: Ganito ‘yan: we were called a very disgusting name.
Howard: Because we couldn’t think of a band name.
Pappu: Na hindi puwede for teenage girls of Reinvent Magazine.
Billie: ‘Pag sinabi ko sa inyo, baka masira 'yung image ninyo.
Billie: So the name is like this, okay… the tanders didn’t like it, because it was not safe for kids. Hindi siya marketable.
Pappu: ‘Tsaka ‘pag sinearch mo siya sa Google, iba ‘'yung lalabas.
Billie: So gumawa kami ng FB chat, tapos ‘'yung mga lumalabas na names parang pang-band na may songs na dedicated to their wives. So parang, “Shit, ito ba 'yung market natin?” Ideas were like, “Modern Memos”, “Vibrant Stalks”, “Modern Stalks”, what the fuck, ‘diba? Parang ang jologs nung naisip namin. So naisip namin parang either animal or plant. So we were playing with the words: shoots, stalks, seed, stem, branch… Tapos naisip ko, “Chubby Trunks.” And Howard suggested “Trunk Wire”, “Early Bird”. So 'yun nga, parang we were playing with nature. Until, Howard randomly came up with the word “flamingo.” We didn’t know where it came from, basta, “Okay, flamingo.”
Howard: It sounded nice.
Billie: “Flamingos”, “Fla-mangos…”, “Flaming Goes”. Basta ganu’n. We searched on Facebook kasi we were thinking of searchability. You know in the digital age, kailangan searchable ka. So we stopped considering “flamingo” kasi nga, ang daming flamingo-related objects online. So, we thought of “Fish Aquarium Jamboree” and “Wew the Kings.”
Howard: “Illegitimate Children.”
Billie: “Do You Dare?” Mga gano’n. Pero Howard brought back “flamingo,” after we slept on it. “Indigo Flamingo”, “Amigo Flamingo”, “Our Dearest Flamingo”, ang dami, ‘diba?
Howard: “Go Flamingo.”
Billie: Tapos, sabi ko lang randomly, “Oh, comma, flamingo, exclamation point!” Tapos 'yun na ‘yun. Wala na.
Howard: Before that was “Bingo Flamingo,” and then we almost stuck with that. Pero, kasi--
Billie: Corny eh.
Howard: Feeling ko parang pang old people market.
Billie: Parang show band. Sa casino.
Who are your influences?
Howard: We all have different influences.
Billie: My influence in life is Mahatma Gandhi.
Billie: Yeah, Mahatma Gandhi. Because you know how he was fighting for—salt ba ‘yon? Basta, meron siyang pinaglalaban. May pinaglalaban din kami, like Mahatma Gandhi.
Pappu: Ako naman, tumutugtog ako sa church choir namin. So ang main influence ko talaga ay si Manoling Francisco and other composers. Mga Bukas Palad singers, gano’n.
Howard: ‘Yung sakin, the ones which I apply are Dirty Projectors, Deer Hoof, The Beatles, and St. Vincent. We have Last Dinosaurs as well and many others.
Billie: Ikaw, Fries? Akin si Mahatma Gandhi. Tapos si Pappu si Manoling Francisco
Fries: Potato Corner.
Pappu: ‘Yung Potato Corner, famous band ‘yun. Nagbebenta ng French fries.
Do you get nervous before gigs? Do you have any rituals before you start every performance?
Billie: Ganito ‘yon. Of course you always get nervous, especially when you don’t know the place that you’re playing for and the people you’re playing to. So, we have rituals. Fries does yoga every time before we go on stage. Ako naman—wala. Wala akong ritual.
Howard: I go to the CR and I drink a beer. And I do jumping jacks.
Pappu: ‘Di ako kinakabahan, kasi makapal 'yung mukha ko.
Billie: Joke, may ritual pala ako. Ang ritual ko ay—I hold my bass before going onstage. And just play.
Howard: Actually, as we were starting to rise above, my academic status was very uncertain. I was in the middle of being unemployed, a student, and an employed person. So, for me, ‘yung difficulties nung time na ‘yon was sabay 'yung transitional period ko to the band.
Pappu: Sakto 'yung thesis time ko at 'yung pag-angat nung band. Tapos dahil du’n, nag-extend ako nang isang taon. ‘Di lang naman solely sa band, marami naman akong ginagawang other things in life, tulad nang pagiging radio DJ.
Billie: Ako naman, the difficulty with college and music was that you have a class at 8 in the morning, and then you have a gig, and then you’ll play at 12.
Pappu: ‘Tas gigising ka the next day para mag-klase.
Billie: So wala kang choice. Gagawin mo talaga siya. Pero, luckily, my thesis was about music so nagamit ko naman 'yung gig scene to further my education. I matched it naman. But, it’s a different problem when you’re working, especially ‘cause I work in BGC and Howard works in Mandaluyong. So it’s quite difficult. You really have to prioritize and schedule because the commute is terrible. That’s the difficulty.
Howard: College-wise—in college you have more time.
Pappu: Ngayon 'yung transition namin from being a college band to a yuppie band, so we’ll see! ‘Di rin namin alam. Malay natin, next month, ma-dissolve na kami dahil wala kaming oras or something. Pero, ayaw naman namin na ganon.
Howard: You do it ‘cause you want to do it.
Billie: When you love something, you’ll make it happen no matter what. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is. It’s not going to feel difficult if you like what you do.
Howard: I find my purpose in this band.
Billie: Passion with purpose siya.
Howard: Aw, ang wise natin.
Pappu: ‘Kala mo ang daming alam eh.
Have there been people who have stopped you from being in a band? If so, what are their reasons?
Howard: There was not a hindrance [for me]. Pero maraming transitional difficulties, pero never ko silang kinonsider na parang napipigilan nila 'yung band.
Billie: Noong high school ako, nagka-boyfriend ako na gago—‘di mo ‘to mababasa, sure ako. Tapos kung nag-meet kami, ayaw daw niya sa music, so ‘di ako tumugtog nang tatlong taon para sa kanya.
Howard: Don’t do it!
Billie: Kaya, mga kids, pag-iibig kayo, or hindi iibig, or whatever—if you’re gonna enter into a relationship, don’t compromise what you want to do, because that’s not a healthy relationship.
Pappu: Hindrance? Actually, wala naman. Meron lang constant worry on my part na tutugtog ako at alam kong meron akong ibang responsibilities, like at home or school. So ayoko kasi sana na ma-consume 'yung buhay ko ng tugtog, so ayun lang. Merong struggle to balance. Pero okay naman, I think.
Fries: You know, life should be easy. So parang, 'yung mga problemang ‘yan, 'yung mga hindrances na ‘yan, they’re just—they’re part of life. And it should be fun.
You guys are part of UP Music Circle. Can you talk about being in an org solely dedicated to music and being surrounded by such a community?
Pappu: Sobrang perfect 'yung question na yan.
Howard: We’ve all been officers of this org. Two of us have been president (Pappu and Billie). Three of us have been vice president (Billie, Howard, and Fries).
Pappu: So kilala namin 'yung Music Circle. ‘Wag kayo sasali ng Music Circle kung gusto niyo magtapos on time. Joke lang. Sobrang okay 'yung Music Circle and other music orgs that aren’t under the College of Music. It’s a venue for music and non-music majors to find music. Ang laking ginhawa kasi most of us tumugtugtog sa high school pero pagdating sa college iniisip natin ‘di naman tayo pwede mag-music kasi ayaw ng parents natin na 'yun 'yung career natin o medyo mahirap 'yung career na papasukin kaya magtatake ng engineering o kaya psych or something, other courses na hindi music. Pero alam mo within you na meron ka pa rin music. 'Yung UP Music Circle and UP Underground Music Community, sila ang maguunleash ng music in you.
Howard: That’s the org’s slogan.
Billie: The thing about UP Music Circle, it’s not 100% playing your music. Okay, the main thrust of MC is to develop your musical skill in and out, but also it includes the things that happened surrounding music, like writing about music, making prods, making gigs, and marketing your band and org. Your development in Music Circle is really holistic. And I promise you that everything that we went through with Oh Flamingo came from Music Circle. Whatever we learned in the Music Circle we applied in the real world and we’re really grateful
Howard: We wouldn’t be a band without this org.
Billie: That’s how Music Circle has helped us.
Howard: If I never joined a music org, I would never have been as exposed to the music scene.
Billie: Imagine being in college and you already meet people in the industry.
Howard: Because you see these people around gigs-
Billie: Or online.
Howard: You would never expect to see them
Billie: You would never expect to talk to them. This serves as an avenue for that.
Howard: It builds a community for you in college. When I was in high school I didn’t have many music friends. Tapos when I got to college parang, “Woah.” It was a stark contrast to the music community I had before.
Pappu: Si Howard ay galing sa Lipa, Batangas. A small town in Batangas and yet sikat na siya ngayon.
Is Music Circle for people only in bands?
Howard: Musicians and music enthusiasts.
Billie: If you love music and you really want to get involved, you’re welcome.
Pappu: Kahit hindi mo gusto 'yung music, pwede rin.
Billie: Kunyari, gusto mo lang matuto sa sales in the music industry, pero wala kang paki sa music.
Howard: The usual impression of people about our music scene is that it’s non-existent. Diba may “OPM is Dead”, those kinds of things. But it’s really a matter of knowing where to look.
Billie: It’s not just the band scene. Songwriters, singers-
Howard: There’s a rising comic scene now.
Billie: Very rich ang art sa Pilipinas.
Howard: You just have to know where to find them, be it in the Internet or in venues. The music scene is blossoming right now. There are many bands forming, many bands writing songs.
Billie: As for weaknesses, and this is a personal opinion, I think we have a tendency as Filipinos to have Pinoy Pride out of context. We limit ourselves to the term OPM when you don’t really see that in other countries. I don’t think it’s helping out. I don’t think it helps musicians or any other artists na natatali tayo as OPM. It’s okay to be proud, to be Filipino. That’s not bad. But limiting yourself to be just OPM will not get you out there. Because U2 doesn’t say they’re an Irish band or “Hi, we’re an Original Irish Music band.” They just have happened to be Irish. Music is music. To be appreciated by everybody, I believe that you have to get out of that box.
So it’s good to brand the Filipino music scene as something that’s being globalized?
Billie: Yes. We are living in a much globalized world. Marshall McLuhan, one of the foundations of communication research, said that we’re living in a globalized community already. He foretold that Internet would make us connected even though we’re separated by miles and miles. And that’s how we should look at the music industry in the Philippines. We can get to Ireland if we just get out of this limit that we put ourselves into.
Howard: Just because we’re saying that the music scene is globalized, it’s still very important to build the music community in where you are. You write your songs in the context of where you are, from the Philippines. It doesn’t have to be Tagalog, can be English. You just have to write about what’s relevant.
Billie: Of course, ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan- ano ‘yun?
Pappu: ‘Yung hindi makarating sa pinaroonan.
Howard: Kasi very interested ako sa mga music scenes sa America. Kunyari sa New York. You realize that the music scene doon kasing liit sa music scene dito. They just build that community and after they build that community, they reach out through the internet and media. I think we should do that too here in the Philippines.
Pappu: I think very exciting ‘tong decade na ‘to for music dahil we’re transitioning from CDs, cassettes to Internet media. Parang ang dali mo nang makadating sa ibang bansa. Ang dali nang mabato mo ‘yung music mo out there. It’s so easy to put your music out there. Kailangan lang natin ipush.
Howard: You can do anything now. The internet is in your hands. Technology is in your hands.
Pappu: Alam na natin 'yung mainstream media, ‘yung TV, radio, and to a certain extent, the newspaper, ay hindi ka ‘nun talaga papakailaman. Ang nangyayari kasi magfefeed na lang sila. Kung sino nang sikat, papasikatin na nila lalo. Kaya pabayaan mo na sila, pabayaan mo na 'yung mainstream media. Dito na tayo sa Internet.
Billie: Isipin mo 'yung opportunity. Ang mainstream media, they’re just one-way communication channels. However, digital media is a two-way ‘yan. Automatic pwede kang kumausap sa tao. Feedback agad. The means of communication makes it so easier. You actually build a true connection with your audience.
Howard: If you’re an artist and you’re starting something out, ‘di mo na kailangan magdesire to be signed with a major label because you can do it, as long as you have the knowledge, the motivation, and you have other people to help you.
Billie: But again, it all boils down to hard work. Everybody has to work hard. I guess that’s both a pro and a con. Kasi some people in the industry might be very lazy to do that. But a lot of them are really working hard to get their music out there, so we applaud those people.
Howard: The usual downfall of a lot of bands is that they do their music but they just wait for people to notice them. You really just have to push it. Play shows, record new music, upload it on the Internet.
Billie: Take every opportunity you can.
Howard: Meron kaming time na parang eight months na wala kaming nagagawa. Tapos wala nangyayari.
Billie: If you put your song on the Internet, it’s not going to be found just like that.
Howard: Treat it as a real business. Do meetings and things like that.
What’s your writing process?
Howard: We’re still in the process… of discovering our process.
Billie: Usually ‘yung our aggregators are Fries and Howard. They jam and they’re always together. They write something and then Pappu and I get there and add stuff.
Pappu: May seed and we grow it into a tree.
Howard: May farmers, may cultivators.
Billie: Dinilidigan namin ni Pappu.
Pappu: Si Fries ang sunlight dahil gold ang hair niya. Si Howard ang fertlizer kasi bulok [siya]. Kasi ang baho niya.
Howard: Totoo 'yun. Organic.
Billie: Basically, that’s how we write songs. Ang philosophy namin is the song writing never ends. When we release our EP, on November 14, 2015 at Route 196 at 8PM, it doesn’t end there. That’s not the final form of our songs because they will always grow.
Pappu: ‘Yan ‘yung instantaneous.
When you write your lyrics, are they instantaneous or are you the type of band that edits and edits?
Howard: Lyrics wise, ako ‘yung in charge.
Pappu: Oo, pinapalitan kasi ang dami naming songs na buo na 'yung music pero 'yung lyrics hindi pa sure. Ang daming placeholders na lyrics.
Howard: There’s our song Inconsistencies where the second version isn’t done yet. The lyrics are stupid. “In case of intrigue, duly notify me.”
Billie: What does that even mean?
Howard: Wala pa siyang actual meaning, but hinahanap pa namin 'yung lyric for it. Tapos parang 'yung songs namin, they grew out of playing so many gigs.
What’s the best gig you guys ever played at?
Billie: We have a gig-a-log, so we list down all the gigs we have. Currently, we’re at 131. So we don’t know to choose which one is the best gig.
What about the memorable ones?
Howard: The first memorable gig was our first gig. We played five original songs already.
Billie: May 0.5 pang gig.
Pappu: Meron kaming dinedeny naming na first gig, pero yan talaga 'yun first gig namin. Na sobrang alat. Tatlong lang 'yung nanood at dalawa lang 'yun organizer. Same day dumiretso kami sa totoo naming first gig na maganda.
Howard: Nasa Mass Com Old Aids.
Billie: Basically it was a gig na featuring the members of this org in UP called Samaskom.
Howard: Which she’s part of.
Billie: Tapos ang members ‘nun si Jeje Giniling.
Howard: Miro Valera of Stonefree. Tuesday Vargas.
Billie: That was our first gig and we were super grateful.
Pappu: 'Uung first gig namin nagulat kami kasi ang ganda ng reception. Parang, “Wow.” Doon namin naisip na baka meron something kami. May katutuhan 'yung ginagawa namin. Parang ang nangyari doon, before 'yung gig na 'yun, wala pa kaming plano. Pero napilitan kami magsulat ng kanta kasi kinuha kami magperform.
Billie: 'Yung sinabi kasi, “Billie, may banda ka ba?” Sabi ko, “Um, yes?” We spent two weeks in the studio to write songs for that gig only.
Howard: Our first gig was an indicator that we were doing something right. The next memorable gig was the Rock in Focus of UP IE Club. Last year.
Billie: Someone in the industry came up to us and said, “Yo, I like you.”
Howard: He introduced us to many people.
Billie: Then Pappu had a leave of absence ng isang gig, so he asked if he could session with us. Then we got introduced to the studio where he practices with his band.
Pappu: Basically, ang nangyari ay sakto lang ang timing na ang next band ay isang band na pwede kaming madala into higher heights. From there, doon na nagsimula ang chain of invites to better opportunities. Kasi dati parang ang mga tugtog namin within UP or UP orgs lang. From there, tsaka kami nakalabas. Right time, right place.
Billie: It taught us the valuable lesson of timing.
Howard: Also the importance of live shows because you never know who you’re going to meet and who’s going to listen to you.
Billie: So you always have to give your 110% when you perform. And the next memorable gig we will have will be our EP launch at Route 196 on November 14.
Howard: It’s an interesting story.
Billie: Basically, we are very good in media. We are trying to maximize our strength in media. Fries is a Film major. I’m a Broad Com major.
Howard: I’m a Fine Arts major.
Pappu: I’m a Food Tech major. Food 'yung medium ko.
Billie: Putting the strengths together, we decided to make videos.
Howard: Let’s use our skills to help our band.
Pappu: 'Yung sa playground na 'yun, parang wala lang eh.
Pappu: Oo, spontaneous. “Oh, gawin mo ‘to Howard.”
Howard: What I did in the video was not planned. None of it was planned.
Pappu: Most of our videos aren’t planned. Naka-online camera. Okay. Do whatever.
Billie: We just decide, “Tara, shoot tayo today.”
Howard: Fries does his magic.
Pappu: Si direct.
Howard: Making videos is a good way to reach out to people. If I’m interested in a band, I absorb their media like interviews and videos. So we applied it to our band.
Billie: Tsaka gusto naming gawin, eh. Masaya siya.
Pappu: Kasi gusto namin maging action star.
Billie: Living our dreams.
Pappu: Parang, o sige, ayaw niyo kunin kaming action star, kami na lang. Kami na lang gagawa ng video.
Billie: Sabi nga ng isang tao sa amin, sa ACLE ng UP Music Circle, if a channel or whatever form of media doesn’t want to get you, make opportunities.
You mentioned that you’re going to launch your EP soon. Could you talk about the EP itself and the launch party?
Billie: ‘Di na muna namin sasabihin 'yung line-up kasi pasabog siya.’ Di ako bumibiro. Sasabog utak niyo.
Pappu: 'Yung songs namin sa EP ay 'yun lang na songs na meron kami. Walang special reasons. Hindi siya 'yung pinakamagandang songs na magkakasama. Wala kaming choice. 'yun lang talaga so ilalagay namin sa CD. Pero meron kaming dalawang [existing songs] ‘di na naming sinama.
Howard: It’s a peak into the journey of the band as we find our sound. Swear.
Billie: The launch again is going to be at Route 196. So, support.
Pappu: Sige ileleak namin 'yung theme. Ang theme namin ay “Birthday Party”.
Billie: May party games. It’s going the best. I swear.
Pappu: Palayok pero bote ng beer. Tapos beer lang din lalabas.
The last movie you cried at?
Pappu: Home Along Da Riles. Bata pa ako ‘nun. Hindi talaga ako umiiyak sa movies pero kasi meron doong part, si Boy 2 Quizon parang tinatabuy siya ng pamilya niya tapos naiyak ako. 'Yun lang.
Howard: Annie Hall by Woody Allen.
Billie: A Moment to Remember, a Korean movie.
Fries: Blue is the Warmest Color.
Go to karaoke song?
Pappu: Gold by Spandau Ballet.
Billie: Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita by Roselle Nava.
Howard: Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown) by Orange and Lemons.
Fries: I don’t sing.
Pappu: I Don’t Sing by Bayani Agbayani.
Shrek or Minions?
Pappu: Shrek! Dahil girlfriend ko si Fiona.
Billie: Shrek because I’ve only seen Shrek. I haven’t seen Minions.
Howard: I haven’t seen Minions.
Fries: Minions because I like bananas.
If you were pizza toppings, what would you be?
Billie: Anchovies. Dilis in Filipino. Because it’s salty and at the same time savory.
Fries: I’d be the tomato sauce, cause 'yan 'yung base.
Pappu: Star anise kasi di 'yun nilalagay sa pizza.
Pappu: Or pwede 'yun.
Billie: Pwede 'yun. Masarap 'yun.
Pappu: Oriental pizza.
Billie: Gawa ka ng star anise sauce.
How do you like your potatoes?
Fries: I don’t discriminate. I love every kind of potato.
Billie: Pwede bang what I don’t like? Ayoko ng patatas. Music Circle lang makakagets.
Pappu: Ayaw namin lahat ng patatas na walang ginagawa. Mabigat sa pamilya. Patatas na gulay na nasa ICU.
Watch below their songs June and Inconsistencies for Reinvent Sessions!
| || |