Finding Your Imaginary Friends

Man On The Side by PAUL JOHN CAÑA
The Manila Times | September 16, 2010

The latest band churned out by rising indie pop label Lilystars Records is called Your Imaginary Friends. Their sound hovers somewhere between upbeat 80s guitar pop and early 90s rock, with a bit of dance mixed in. Four years in the making before arriving at their current lineup, Emerald Aquino (bass) joined brothers Ahmad and Ed Tanji (vox/guitars and guitars respectively) and Eric Po (drummer) in March 2010 with a resolve to do their bit in the name of pop music.

Ask for their biggest musical influence and the band will namedrop The Pixies, The Smiths and Death Cab For Cutie. In an interview with the teen magazine Meg, Ahmad explains the origins of the band’s unique sound can be traced to the song “Oh Liza,” which is ostensibly about a girl’s first kiss. “It’s a little too gritty to be pop and a little too pop-ish to be considered grunge.”

One of the band’s first major gigs was opening for indie-pop superstars Club 8 when they were in Manila a few months ago. Along with fellow Lilystars acts The Gentle Isolation and The Camerawalls, YGI sampled their brand of music to an appreciative audience. While many bands are struggling to find their audience in this age of uncertainty with traditional music distribution, the band is poised to scale greater heights with the launch of their debut EP called One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum. Just like brother band The Gentle Isolation, which launched their EP exactly one month ago also at the Ayala Museum, the curious choice of holding the launch at a place usually reserved for highbrow cultural events suggest the group is out to rope in a more selective, perhaps more finicky audience.

While some may argue a slight tinge of pretension in this formula, I would proffer that there is certainly something to the idea of identifying and zeroing in on a select group of music aficionados beyond the usual haunts in this city. It’s not about casting a net on the whole ocean, but finding a certain spot where you hope to hook a select catch. Apparently Your Imaginary Friends and their label Lilystars Records are out to prove that niche marketing doesn’t only work in consumer products, but in music appreciation as well. It’s like saying that while anyone is free to check out the band, clearly the product isn’t for mass consumption.

If you’ve had enough of the usual musical diet available in this town, come and check out Your Imaginary Friends at their EP launch tomorrow, September 17 at the Ayala Museum.

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