I’m still hungover over Club 8’s visit to the Philippines even after weeks since the conclusion of the shows we co-produced plus the fact that Lilystars has already turned two years old last May.
I cannot recall including concert production on a large scale as part of our plan of activities. Lilystars as I heard a friend say (after I told him how we got the Club 8 gig) is a “happenstance producer.” Managing bands, producing and selling records and small event productions are already very challenging tasks sometimes fulfilling and sometimes disappointing especially for a start-up non-commercial indie label with very limited time and resources and still in the process of learning and growing.
What my team and I have are big dreams and good intentions and the means to afford “creative freedom.” Creative freedom means a lot and it means different things to different people. But above all, it gives me and the other artists we bring on board, the freedom to explore new worlds in their music, take chances, and boldly try out to new blends, instruments and musical themes. I believe this is where genuine artistic growth happens and we are ready to stick our necks out with any artist we support and believes in us. We enjoy the thrill, the excitement and the danger of being on the cutting edge of what is new and progressive and we embrace the risks and the losses in terms of time and money simply because we love good music, we love what we do and the fact that building a musical career does not take overnight.
A week ago Ian Zafra (Sheila & The Insects) shared a blog entry from Seth Godin entitled 16 Questions For Free Agents and the first two questions I think is the most important:
- Who are you trying to please?
- Are you trying to make a living, make a difference, or leave a legacy?
We perfectly know the answer to these. And till now, after two years, the answers are still the same. We quietly celebrated our anniversary on a hot Monday afternoon over pizza delivered from Shakey’s looking back at the year that has passed and assessing short and long term goals. That same afternoon Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes expressed their desire to continue their careers on their own prompting us to recalibrate our plans.
To summarize the year that has passed, we were able to accomplish the following:
- Released a repackaged version of The Camerawalls’ debut album “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld.”
- Released CD Singles of Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes. It comes with excellent remixes by Jonathan Ong of Sonicstate Audio both recognized for Best Remix category in the recently concluded AVIMA music awards. “Morning Swim” entered the charts of JAM 88.3 as well.
- Co-Produced Scottish musician Ally Kerr’s mini shows in Manila backed up by The Camerawalls.
- Project Ondoy: participated and produced shows as part of relief drive for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.
- Produced and released “The Sight Of Love” by The Camerawalls – a digital single originally released for free download. It became number #1 for several weeks on Jam 88.3 weekly charts. Produced and released a music video as well directed by Wincy Ong.
- Co-Produced Swedish band Club 8’s first Philippine visit and major concert in SMX Convention Center in Manila and in Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
- Produced more than a dozen shows for The POP Shoppe! in Manila and paid tribute to the following artists Paul Weller, The Beatles, Morrissey, Blur, and Club 8.
- Produced The POP Shoppe! events in Baguio and Cebu.
On the other hand, these are what we failed to complete within the year:
- Release The POP Shoppe! Vol. 1 – a compilation album featuring two new songs each from The Camerawalls, The Bernadettes, Turbo Goth, Patience Dear Juggernaut, Your Imaginary Friends and The Gentle Isolation. 80% done recording the project which began September of 2009 (before Ondoy hit the country). The release was postponed to June 2010 to accomodate the Club 8 concert but eventually pulled the plug on the project.
- Release the full length albums of The Bernadettes and Turbo Goth.
As with any goal there is always a risk of a plan not coming together, dynamic decision making and adjustments to changing times and even calamities not to mention adhering to the indie label’s shortcomings and most specially a change of heart.
But in general there is nothing like being in the presence of like-minded people. When you are with your band you expect they all have the same values, the same approach to music and career. But it is more than that. You expect they understand the musical vision and speak the same language. Lilystars takes that sense of shared community and makes it into a business that can promote those shared goals and protect the community we share. A kind of teamwork more times than not makes a plan come together.
That being said, we welcome a new year with open arms and an open mind to face new challenges with the same passion and integrity. To my colleagues in Lilystars, Antonette and Denise, I take this opportunity to thank both of you for your unconditional love and support and for standing by me all this years. To newcomer Valerie, we are grateful for the contribution you have given in a short amount of time. We welcome you in the team with open arms.
To our current roster —The Camerawalls, The Gentle Isolation and Your Imaginary Friends—we are excited for your upcoming releases and hope you develop the courage to lose sight of the shore but remember the path and treasure the journey. To our former artists, we wish you all the best in your musical careers and thank you all for being once part of our label.
To everyone who supported Lilystars, our artists, our projects in ways big or small; to everyone who believed in our cause and in the music we champion; our hearts are full and we will give you back the love by continuing what we have started and offer more significant projects and releases in the future.
Happy Anniversary to Lilystars!