“On the internet, there is no real underground anymore,” writes graphic novelist and author Warren Ellis. Music today doesn’t rely on charts to remain relevant; some songs that have never experienced radio play have millions of plays on Spotify or YouTube. The internet has created an equalizing space for any artist to put their song out there, and hopefully make their mark in the world.
Conversely, people can get easily overwhelmed with all these music releases, which is why there are still channels people follow for new releases, little pockets of music people can live in. But today the question you should ask isn’t which music is the “best,” but rather which music you can relate to this very moment.
We take a look at local musical collectives that, one way or another, formed their own pillars in the music scene. There are artists that continually push sonic boundaries and there are artists that drive towards building a familiar brand. These are all voices worthy of being heard.
A production house, a talent agency, and a “content co-creation space” all at once, Stages Sessions’ artist-centric approach to gigs has been its trademark to fans. For pop artists, Stages Sessions provide a venue to experiment and push the boundaries of their own unique sound. For new blood, Stages Sessions offer a platform to be heard.
Stages Sessions has been getting attention from indie heads and mainstream fans alike since their its first event last October 2015 with headliner Christian Bautista. Since then, it has organized events such as Daniela Andrade’s Manila concert, Clara Benin’s farewell gig, and recently its latest project called The Gig Circuit, which takes their roster of artists to frequented gig spots in the metro.
Far from the do it yourself attitude of the local underground scene but also distinct from the trademark extravagance of local pop, what sets Stages Sessions apart is an emphasis on production value. Its take on music has been described as “mainstream stuff, done in an alternative way.” Each project comes off as somewhere in between pop sensibilities and new sonic territory, and it’s not entirely right smack in the middle. It’s in a different, better place.
This story originally appeared in Scout Magazine’s May-June 2017 issue.
Photography by John Dee