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Ely Buendia’s focus on vinyl

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ELY BUENDIA and the Itchyworms

FORMER Eraserheads front man, Eleandre “Ely” Buendia, has formally launched his two-year-old independent music label Offshore Music — which focuses on creating vinyl albums — in a bid to give “artists who deserve to be heard that chance,” said Mr. Buendia.

“I wanted more control of my own music as well as a chance to make a difference in current landscape of music,” he said in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld on Oct. 24.

Offshore Music — a label he founded and where he sits as chairman — currently has a stable of seven artists including Mr. Buendia’s own Apartel band, a big band focusing on soul music, according to a release; The Late Isabel, which started out as an “old school goth rock experiment”; rock guitarist Jun Lopito; One Click Straight, whose music has been described as a “fusion of melodic pop, indie rock and synth pop”; indie musician and producer Idris “Eyedress” Vicunia; EB X IW, a collaboration between Mr. Buendia and Itchyworms; and Ransom Collective, a six-piece indie-folk band.

Despite being two years-old, Offshore only had its formal launch — or “coming out party” as Mr. Buendia termed it — in early October.

And how does Offshore Music choose its artists? Well, Mr. Buendia said simply that they would to “like them as artists and as people.”

“My wish for them is to find their audience and thrive in their own art, without losing their identity and integrity,” Mr. Buendia explained.

Mr. Buendia recalls in the press release that the idea of having his own music label started with his love for vinyl and, together with his partners, they started signing bands who would record in a music studio which sits above his residence.

But this wasn’t Mr. Buendia’s first time on the other side of the music industry as he was once a label manager for the now defunct BMG Record (Pilipinas) Inc., which signed his former band — the Eraserheads — and produced the band’s albums including their debut album ultraelectromagneticpop! (1993) as well as Circus (1994), among others.

In the label’s two years, Mr. Buendia said that what counts as success is “getting respected artists and promising new ones to sign with us.”

He said that one of the things they’re proud of was Record Store Day — a record fair they organized together with Satchmi which included performances by live bands — at the UP Town Center in April.

The same event saw the launch of Offshore Music’s first compilation album, Offshore Music Vol. 1, which features unreleased songs from its roster of artists including “Imperial” by the Late Isabel and “Isa na Lang” by Apartel.

In the near-term, Mr. Buendia said the label will be getting more artists while they focus on their promise of being a “vinyl-only label” — this although Offshore’s music is also on streaming services. Mr. Buendia said the reason for this is that one of the metrics for success in this age includes “streams and sales… and charts.”

“‘Signing’ is a very loose term I use. I won’t name them, but we are in talks with a bunch of very interesting ones,” he said. — Zsarlene B. Chua









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