Love of the Craft & Sense of Reality
She’s unstoppable in broadening her taste in music. For this young guitarist who does not practice the instrument but just plays it leisurely, her work can be as enjoyable as dabbling in the occult.
What makes a musician stand out from others?
Musicians of any level, who exhibit a love for their craft yet retain a grounded sense of reality, are the ones who stand out most for me.
What are your dreams in your musical career?
One of my biggest dreams is to jam with one of my guitar heroes! Even if I would probably embarrass myself. My other dream is the dream every guitarist has: have a signature model guitar.
What would your top 3 tips be to succeed as a musician?
First, don’t rush; take the time-you need to grow as an artist. Second, be kind; it will pay itself back. Third, have vision; having an idea of where you want to go will make it easier for others to join you for the ride.
Do you have a daily regimen in music learning? (Feel free to use technical terms and go into details. Our readers would appreciate learning about a good and practical regimen.)
I don’t have a daily regimen. The guitarist Guthrie Govan has said in interviews that he never thought about playing his guitar as “practicing” and that resonated with me. I practice, but my practice feels like play and I let it take me where it may. As a self-taught guitarist especially, this allowed me to develop an organic and personal relationship with my instrument. Though it also meant that it took me a long time to get some concepts down, so I don’t necessarily recommend my approach.
“If anything has changed, I would say I’ve simply become more comfortable in liking what I like and not giving a hoot if some music snob would think I’m lame.„
What's art and music and why should it matter?
To me, art and music are reflections of the world and of the soul of the artist. They are windows into emotions, desires, aches and so on. An appreciation of art is, in my mind, necessary to appreciate life.
How has your musical taste changed over the years?
I go through different phases. At one time I listened only to ambient music. At another time, nothing but Irish folk music. Then there was my death metal phase. More recently I went through a post-punk and goth-rock deep-dive. If anything has changed, I would say I’ve simply become more comfortable in liking what I like and not giving a hoot if some music snob would think I’m lame.
Do you play for any bands? Who? Did you join/form them?
I play for the Minneapolis band Alien Book Club. I joined the band in late 2019/early 2020 and have been going strong since then.
Have you composed any songs/albums?
On the most recent Alien Book Club album I composed a song called “Angela” which was based on the cult classic horror film “Sleepaway Camp”. The song structure itself was based on Megadeth’s “Hangar 18”. I also wrote a four song goth rock EP in 2021 inspired by bands like Sisters of Mercy and 水玉消防団 (Mizutama Shobodan).
Tell us about your favorite musicians/bands.
When it comes to the global stage, my favorite musicians right now are the guitarists who inspire me. People like Marty Friedman, Guthrie Govan, Mateus Asato, etc. However, honestly my true favorite musicians and bands are the ones I know personally on the more local level. I love my bandmates, and I love some of the bands I’ve gotten to play with over the years (shout out to CalicoLoco).
“The primary responsibility that comes with gaining a larger fanbase is how you use the power of your platform to influence others.„
What are the responsibilities that are subjected to you when you have a huge fan base?
The primary responsibility that comes with gaining a larger fanbase is how you use the power of your platform to influence others. Often it is said that power is sought and handled by those who should least have it: the kinds of people who are hateful, sleazy, false and so on. The more I write the more I feel like I’m just reiterating the “with great power comes great responsibility” thing from Spider-Man.
How do you see your audience? What do you want to tell them and what do you expect from them?
Anyone who’d take the time to support me in any way, even with a simple like on a video, has my gratitude. I do not expect anything aside from good vibes: if you prefer hating on people you might not belong in my audience!
Where do you think rock n’ roll is today and where is it going?
I think we are still waiting for that Great New Something to push us into a new age of rock. We’re at a point where a lot of rock music is a throwback to an older era, or it’s some evermore esoteric sub-subgenre (looking at you, progressive metal). From my perspective at least I think rock music hasn’t been adventurous enough for a while now, and until that changes I think rock will remain under the radar for a lot of people in the 21st century.
What are some of the challenges as a musician, especially a female musician?
Being a musician has so many problems! You’re likely trying to balance your music career with a job that pays the bills, you have to network from the ground up which takes years, you have to put yourself out there and be willing to fail and willing to play shows for empty venues at the beginning… And especially as a female musician, at least personally I’ve had to face a lot of sexism. Struggling to be taken seriously no matter how hard you work can be frustrating but you’ll find good people who want to help you grow eventually.
What do you think of pop music? Would you consider some of today's music in the rock charts as pop?
I don’t really listen to pop music. Maybe some pop songs from my childhood but I’m not current on what’s happening in pop today. The rock-chart rock-radio stuff is pop to me.
“From my perspective at least I think rock music hasn’t been adventurous enough for a while now, and until that changes I think rock will remain under the radar for a lot of people in the 21st century.„
Do you ever receive sexist comments in your social media? If so, how do you treat them?
Yes. If it’s something well-meaning but ignorant I try to engage with them and see if I can change their mind. If a comment is simply mean-spirited, then at this point I delete it and block the user.It’s not good for me to see that and it’s not good for others to see it either.
When and where were you born and raised?
I was born on July 24th, 1994 (so I’m a Leo!) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. My childhood was split between both Minnesota and my mom’s home country of the Philippines, specifically Cebu. In fact, I am a natural citizen of both nations!
Aside from music, what studies and jobs do you have or have had in the past?
For most of my life, my primary interest was actually in theoretical physics. However, in college I got my degree in English, doing both academic work and writing creative pieces (and at one point I was selected for a writing award by a New York Times best-selling author). As for jobs, I actually met one of my bandmates when we were both working at a record store.
What are some of your hobbies?
My various hobbies come and go in cycles. I enjoy reading philosophy, learning about history, and dabbling in the occult. There was also a phase of my life where I learned to regularly lucid dream, which was a fun hobby I hope to bring back at some point.
How did you discover your musical talent and passion?
I’ve been playing guitar for over nine years and up until recently I would not have called myself a musically talented or passionate person. Passion, I’d always thought, was something other people had. People who have had music as part of their life since childhood. Guitar has stuck for me though, for almost a decade, and I suppose I discovered it by realizing how much it meant to me for so long.
How can music change the world?
Music really does bring people together and I’ve seen that first hand. People of all sorts follow me, and many having had their perspective on the LGBT+ community changed for the better because of it. When art comes first, it’s a lot easier to reach common ground and friendship with others.
Does it sound scary to choose music as a career?
For me, no. Any career path I would like to pursue in my life is unstable and unprofitable, which I’ve come to accept.
What song would get you back on your feet when you're down?
I can always go back to Billy Joel when I’m down and out. The guy’s got a song for every occasion.