Performing at gigs here and there, every now and then, plus having many other things and responsibilities to do, we were lucky enough to spend half a day with these local icons. Bringing you folks fresh and new content, for our 4th episode, we have Migo Señires & Al James of Baryo Berde Atbp.
This happened on a Sunday afternoon at the Sound Sanctuary Recording Studio in Maypajo, Caloocan – a studio where various artists from the local scene have recorded and produced their songs. It is owned and operated by our good friend, music producer and rap artist Ryke of 727 Clique.
Here it is, we finally made it happen. Because of tight schedule and time constraints, we often had to make some adjustments. True enough, the two just came off an event performance just the night before we met. Tired and a little hang over, they were still able to manage and accord us some time for a quick photo shoot and a sit down interview.
“DUN MO MAPAGAARALAN YUNG MUSIC, PAG NAKAKARINIG KA NG IBANG ARTISTS – DAHIL IBA YUNG FLAVOR NA DALA NILA, AT THE SAME TIME PAG PINAPAKINGGAN NILA YUNG MUSIC MO, NARIRINIG DIN NILA YUNG THOUGHTS MO.”
Despite their numerous acts, and also the wide & warm welcome of their music to people, what others may not know is that both of them have their day jobs. If they’re not rocking the mic and hyping up the crowd, Migo works as a marketing creative for a highly known footwear brand and retail company while Al James works for an advertising agency.
Both of them graduated with a degree in advertising & design from the college of fine arts under the biggest university in España, Manila so it it’s not a wonder for them to make use of the skills and techniques they have learned from school to gain better income and utilize it to do more things aside from hip-hop and music.
“SOBRANG LAKAS NG SCENE NGAYON, SINUSUBAYBAYAN KO NA YUNG EKSENA DATI, GRADE SCHOOL PALANG AKO, EARLY 2000s, NAKITA KO YUNG PROGRESSION.”
“LAHAT NG HILAW DATI, SABAY SABAY NALUTO. DATI NAGKAKAHIYAAN PA, NGAYON SOBRANG ACTIVE, PARTICIPATIVE NA SILA, NAG EENJOY LANG LAHAT.”
Being a rapper is their secret life they tell us, they don’t share their music and ‘other hustle’ at work so it would come as a surprise to them whenever some of their colleagues or co-workers would approach them and ask about it. After all, they mainly conceptualize and create a different art in the form of ads if not writing songs and rhyming to beats. For that matter, they truly are artists and craftsmen in two different, but similar rights.
Music became their outlet, Migo says, it became an avenue where they could express themselves, vent out their emotions, and share their life experiences. Hip-hop served as the platform that has not only helped them share their thoughts to people but to likewise connect and reach out to different artists and personalities – to hear from them, to know and learn what they’re art is about; especially now that the local art and music scene is booming and continuously progressing.
“HINDI KO PA TALAGA KILALA SARILI KO SA MUSIC, HANGGANG NGAYON EXPLORE PARIN, KUMBAGA SWERTE NALANG NA GANUN YUNG RECEPTION NG TAO SA GINAGAWA NAMIN.”
Even though they both admit that they haven’t fully immersed and given everything they have in their music career, it would be wrong to think that they are not serious about it. They’ve been making music for a relatively long time now, but they were quick to add that they are not trying to hasten or speed up the process of making it bigger than what they already are; instead they just appreciate and enjoy the opportunities that comes before them.
There is no doubt that they have come a long way ever since they embarked on their music journey. It was back in their college that Migo & Aj formerly became part of a collective called the 5th Wave Theory together with two other members: Thyro – who has helped change the flavor of OPM (Original Pinoy Music) by composing viral commercial jingles and hit songs like ‘Ikot Ikot’ by Sarah Geronimo; and then Ira Cordero of Sole Slam Manila – It was during this time that they first became part of a music group.
Battling through ups and downs, their prior group eventually disbanded and parted ways. It came to a point where it was only the two of them who remained but they remained relentless and stayed eager nonetheless. Along the way, they met other artists who were interested in what they were bringing in the table. Among others, they now have rap duo Row 4 in Marc Mamuric & Don Canasa, and female emcee Dess Banaag, hence the birth of Baryo Berde Atbp.
“KANYA KANYA TAYONG PINAGDADAANAN, SA WORK, SA CREATIVITY, MARAMI RIN KAMING INAASIKASO, OKAY MAG ALL OUT PERO KAILANGAN RIN NG BALANSE, KAILANGAN MAGING PRACTICAL.”
If you’ve noticed, the term atbp. is not included in their group name to serve only as an embellishment or additional decoration, but to let everyone know that their crew is not just solely about music. They also happen to engage in different types of ventures like food and fashion as the other members of their squad are into culinary and graphic design – like the two of them.
They even have their own clothing brand named Baryo Berde Lifewear (@baryoberdelifewear) that has the tagline ‘libog sa kultura ang tema’, a label that helps them add more means in sharing their personal aesthetic, vision, and stigma – a trademark and medium where they channel their alternate genius and creative graphic prowess.
“PARANG SALAMIN YAN NG PAGKATAO NAMIN, NG GINAGAWA NAMIN, HINDI SIYA PURO ANGASAN LANG EH, GUMAGAWA KAMI NG IBA’T IBANG STORYA NA GUSTO NAMIN MAKA RELATE ANG TAO.“
Although they still are experimenting and formulating more things to do, it is evident that their hobby that once was is now slowly turning into that of a music business. With gigs and performances steadily lining up, they’re making it a point to also constantly develop and curate their own individual and unified arsenal to let us know that they are nowhere near slowing down.
Now that they are strengthening their diversity and find themselves in a position where inspiration and creativity comes from various sorts and aspects, it is their quest to uphold and maintain their own distinct sound as a collective. With all of the things and projects unfolding for them, we can expect them to continue rising and rocking out.
Talk about anticipation, we were given the special privilege of hearing a snippet of an unreleased music that is yet to drop. A tandem track featuring both of them, and similar to all the other songs they have created before, it was eargasmic. Tunes full of vibe and lyrics that speak to both the heart and mind; they have a lot in store for us I tell you. I’m pretty sure that all the excitement won’t end soon.
“SA LAHAT NG ASPETO NA GINAGAWA NG BARYO BERDE, PINAKA PROUD AKO SA PEN GAME AT FLOW GAME NAMIN.”
“SOBRANG HIGHLIGHT NA NAKAPAG TUGTOG KAMI SA PASKUHAN, PINAGUUSAPAN NAMIN NUNG STUDENTS PALANG KAMI NA ONE DAY MAKAKA TUGTOG DIN KAMI DIYAN AT NAGAWA NAMIN YUN.”
Acknowledging the other music artists that they share the stage with and taking account of their experiences from the past, they say that it is crucial to be mindful of the things going around and about, may it be from the past or present. They can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to the others as well; every group or individual also has something different & new to offer and you learn more by being attentive to them.
Let us learn to open our ears not only to the catchy beats and fancy harmony, but also take the initiative to know and at least try to relate and associate ourselves with what another is trying to say for that is how we can connect and immerse ourselves through the message and story being said. Migo, Al James and the whole Baryo Berde Atbp. has a lot to tell and ultimately, their songs are designed to communicate with purpose and awareness.
Although, we were not able to have the whole group on board for this one, having both of them is already a treat. We’re thankful to have the chance of diving deep and getting to know them better. Their fun and jolly personality made the whole experience more lively and amusing, and we’re all excited and amped on what’s to come. They deserve all the credit they’re getting – for they are people who simply wants to own and impart their art; and push the local culture to the best that it can be.
“FOCUS KAYO SA SARILI NIYO, WAG SA FAME AT SA TAO, DI NIYO KAILANGAN I PLEASE LAHAT, ANG I-PLEASE NIYO SARILI NIYO, FOCUS KAYO DUN SA MGA NAKIKINIG SAINYO, GAWA KAYO NG SARILI NIYONG MOVEMENT AT COMMUNITY, DUN NIYO I-BUILD YUNG STYLE NA GUSTO NIYONG MAKITA.”
Just like the rest of you out there, we also can’t wait for the things they are about to create and release. This year, we can expect the group to drop more bombs; Migo is releasing a new mix-tape, Al James is about to release his new music video, more gigs, etc. If you want to know more about their upcoming activities, make sure to give their page a visit and know about all the details here.
Words & Interview by: Lex Perry Ignacio (xelyrrep)
Photos & Video by: The Visual Club (thevisual.club)
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