Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘antonette maniquis’

In The Flesh: Your Imaginary Friends

September 26, 2010

Denise Atas

Last month at the Ayala Museum, Your Imaginary Friends (YIF) kicked-off The Gentle Isolation’s EP launch by being the first act to perform in the first event for The POP Shoppe! Music Series: A Call To Mind. This month, it was Your Imaginary Friends’ time to shine as tables turned and The Gentle Isolation returned the favor. On September 17, 2010, Your Imaginary Friends went public with their first official record entitled “One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum”. The launch of the CD EP containing five, all-original tracks by Your Imaginary Friends was the highlight of the second Lilystars event.

Your Imaginary Friends in the zone. Photo by Nina Sandejas.

On the afternoon before the launch, Your Imaginary Friends dropped by the NU107 studios for a little chat with DJ Pontri before heading off to the Ayala Museum for a mini-press conference. In between playing songs from “One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum” and the mandatory band bio, the lively discussion that ensued on air had Ahmad Tanji (YIF’s front man) telling the stories behind their songs and how the record came together with a theme regarding “coming of age”. The band went on to relay how by melding two great eras in music—the 80s and the 90s–they were able to find their sound. A fun and entertaining discussion continued during the mini press conference with the band expressing their genuine excitement about the whole event.

That evening at the Museum, the minutes just seemed to wear on forever until at last it was time to begin the show. Shortly past 9:00 pm, fabulous event host, Hilary Isaac excitedly welcomed the gathering crowd. After doing a run-down of what attendees can expect that night, event opener, The Gentle Isolation, soon came on and played songs from their recently launched EP (“It Started With An April Shower”), getting the audience into their pop mood.

As an aside: just as The Gentle Isolation was finishing off their set, special event guests, California-based band, Hello, Goodbye, walked-in, fresh from their own gig just a stone’s throw away from the Ayala Museum. Before introducing the night’s second performer and to everyone’s amusement, host, Hilary didn’t try to contain her excitement as she called attention to the foreign guests who almost successfully, discreetly walked in, had it not been for her announcement (Hello, Goodbye was meant to be a surprise for Your Imaginary Friends as they are great fans of the band).

Ahmad Tanji (Your Imaginary Friends) and Lilystars' head honcho Clementine with Forrest Kline and Joseph Marro of Hello, Goodbye.

After Hello, Goodbye’s unintentional discovery, Hilary carried on to introduce the second performer, Lilystars’ banner artist, The Camerawalls. Clementine, bassist Law Santiago and session musician on drums, Bachie Rudica, treated the audience to a preview of their release (still in the works) by playing a new song called “Bread and Circuses,” which ended in sound applause. The Camerawalls ended their set with their intense, epic original, “The Emperor, The Concubine and The Commoner”.

Those who came looking for a grand time but didn’t expect to find it that night ended up in the right place as third performer, Techy Romantics, altered the beat and gave the crowd a party. Having been tried and tested, no gig with the Techy Romantics in it has ever failed. Doing songs from their current album, “Touch,” their act took the event to the next level of high.

And since what was heated up must be cooled down, the set by up and coming indie darlings, Arigato, Hato! fronted by Cat Cortes was a welcome treat. Playing their “all-heart, lyrical, pop-hop” as the band describes their music on their Facebook page, the 5-piece was the perfect segue to the night’s main act.

The Gentle Isolation opening the evening event.

The Camerawalls

Camyl Besinga of electro-pop trio - Techy Romantics

Arigato, Hato!

It was almost midnight when strong winds and rain forced those milling outside of the Ayala Museum Ground Floor Lobby into the venue, where on stage, Your Imaginary Friends themselves began causing a stir, rendering their audience oblivious to the suddenly nasty weather and the other goings-on outside. From their first song, a toothpaste commercial-worthy original called “By Beautiful Intentions,” down to their last song, “Nikita” (another original about missing a childhood friend), pride and confidence emanated from the band, proving that their presence in the music scene is no longer just a figment of the imagination. The diversity in the audience became evident as cheers of approval were heard from isolated areas in the venue upon the band’s rendition of “Histrionics” by Swedish band, Popsicle and “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies. All songs from “One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum” were played to a very receptive and appreciative audience. Another highlight during the band’s set was when usually reserved bassist Em Aquino was thrust into the spotlight to sing The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” which had the audience cheering, jumping and dancing the entire three or so minutes that they played it.

Ahmad Tanji (Your Imaginary Friends)

Em Aquino (Your Imaginary Friends)

Khalid Tanji (Your Imaginary Friends)

Eric Po of Your Imaginary Friends

On the sidelines.

As with all things, the night had to come to an end, and end well it did as warm congratulations from Your Imaginary Friends’ family and audience greeted them downstage after their performance. Plentiful too were the requests for autographs on their CDs and photos with the band. The night couldn’t end without the obligatory Lilystars “class picture,” where artists who performed, the Liystars team, the audience and basically anyone and everyone who wanted to be in the photo were invited on stage to pose in front of the cameras. Outside, the weather had abated, allowing everyone who attended the event to safely head for home.

Before we call it a day.


One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum is available for purchase in the following stores: A Different Bookstore (Serendra), Powerbooks (Trinoma, SM Megamall, Shangri-la Mall, Glorietta, Greenbelt and SM Mall of Asia). Digital stores iTunes, Amazon, Emusic, Rhapsody and Napster also distribute Lilystars music.

COMING SOON from Lilystars Records: The POP Shoppe! Music Series: A Call To Mind—the third installment: a 70th birthday tribute to Mr. John Lennon! Saturday, October 09, 2010 at the Ground Floor Lobby of the Ayala Museum, featuring 8 indie acts doing Lennon covers PLUS 13 young contemporary visual artists displaying works on canvas.

The POP Shoppe! Music Series: A Call To Mind is made possible by NU107, the Ayala Museum, the Manila Bulletin, Powerbooks, BusinessWorld,, A Different Bookstore, Jorge’s Portrait Studio and Sony Philippines.

Thanks to Nina Sandejas for the photos. To see more photos from this event, visit our Gallery.

Loud Concert, Quiet Anniversary

June 10, 2010


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:

  1. Who are you trying to please?
  2. 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:

  1. Released a repackaged version of The Camerawalls’ debut album “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld.”
  2. 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.
  3. Co-Produced Scottish musician Ally Kerr’s mini shows in Manila backed up by The Camerawalls.
  4. Project Ondoy: participated and produced shows as part of relief drive for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Produced The POP Shoppe! events in Baguio and Cebu.

On the other hand, these are what we failed to complete within the year:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!