CARE­LESS MU­SIC

What does it take to change the land­scape of the lo­cal mu­sic in­dus­try? Or rather, who? Care­less Mu­sic Manila might just have what it takes.

Scout - - CONTENTS - Words by LEX CELERA Pho­tog­ra­phy by JP TALAPIAN Styling by HIDEKI ITO

FOR­EVER IS THE most crim­i­nally un­der­rated, if not the best, song in “Palm Dreams.” The lyrics are easy enough to un­der­stand. For ex­am­ple:

You are all I want So much that I put it in a song Can we just stay home We can take turns on the PlayS­ta­tion

The lyrics, writ­ten by James Reid al­legedly a month into his re­la­tion­ship with Na­dine Lus­tre last 2016, read like a di­ary en­try. The en­tirety of “Palm Dreams” shares the same sen­ti­ments of de­sire, ex­cess, and youth­ful en­ergy bed­ded in vi­brant, re­laxed R& B groove. But For­ever set­tles in that sweet spot of vul­ner­a­bil­ity that catches you off- guard. Out of all of the songs in the al­bum, this track in par­tic­u­lar doesn’t ex­actly call to the fact that the al­bum was made by fa­mous celebrity and one half of power cou­ple JaDine, James Reid. It shoul­dered the idea that the al­bum would be lis­tened to by any­one who isn’t fa­mil­iar with James, which makes “Palm Dreams” not your typ­i­cal run- ofthe- mill artista al­bum, which earns it some artis­tic merit. While a lot of al­bums earn ac­claim sim­ply be­cause of the name at­tached,

For­ever and the rest of “Palm Dreams” pointed out that al­bums could stand on their own two feet. No other artista could have repli­cated James' vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in For­ever, much more the rest of the al­bum.

But “Palm Dreams” wasn’t just a con­trac­tual obli­ga­tion nor was it a pas­sion project. When one of the big­gest young celebri­ties in the coun­try is be­ing given full creative con­trol of his own mu­sic la­bel and does what James Reid is do­ing, this is Care­less Mu­sic Manila, spear­headed by James and Bret Jack­son, have been sign­ing po­ten­tial artists across the coun­try left and right, and have been slowly gain­ing in­ter­est among

dis­cern­ing mu­sic fans in the coun­try about what they are up to.

Right now, Care­less are at­tempt­ing the fore­see­able fu­ture, if ev­ery­thing Dreams” to garner so much ac­claim, but it sparked some­thing in him to make a move and cre­ate his own la­bel. What we’re see­ing here is a pos­si­ble game changer in the mak­ing, a force to be reck­oned with that is slowly re­al­iz­ing its tra­jec­tory. With one foot in the dom­i­nat­ing and con­trol­ling show­biz in­dus­try, and the other in the fringes of the mu­sic scene, Care­less might just have what it takes to change the lo­cal mu­sic in­dus­try.

The name Care­less be­gan as an in­side joke be­tween friends af­ter Care­less

Whis­per adlib,” James shared. "And then, it just kind of grew."

“We were in Bo­ra­cay [a few years on the beach and one of my friends said, ‘ Ang care­less mo gago.’ And we just laughed about it,’” shared Bret Jack­son, oth­er­wise known as the fre­netic, en­er­getic rap­per KingWAW in Care­less. “And then biglang ev­ery­one in Bo­ra­cay was say­ing it. They would it stuck. When James was record­ing “Palm Dreams,” he was asked to give a name for the la­bel. “Care­less”

James and Bret met on­stage as con­tes­tants in Pi­noy Big Brother: Teen

Clash 2010. They quickly be­came friends af­ter shar­ing their in­ter­ests in mu­sic, and both signed con­tracts with Viva Artists soon af­ter. You can still see rem­nants of their old band WE ARE WHAT­EVER on­line–a re­flec­tion of their in­spi­ra­tions at the time, in­clud­ing Never Shout Never, whom Bret cov­ered as well.

Seven years af­ter Pi­noy Big Brother, the two are to­gether again in a la­bel un­der their creative con­trol with one project each un­der their name. Join­ing them are: the equally ta­lented and fel­low rene­gade Na­dine Lus­tre, Dubai- born model and rap­per Luke Has­san a. k. a. AstroKidd, Du­maguete- based half- Ghana­ian, half- Filipino Hais­sam "Mas­siah" Mor­ton, 19- yearold Ta­cloban na­tive Sofia Ro­mualdez, and rap­per-

en­tre­pre­neur Mito "Curtismith" Fa­bie. Some of them have only been on the spot­light as early as July’s Scout Gen­eral Pub­lic, and yet as early as now, their ac­tions in­di­cate that they are onto some­thing, and that they are onto some­thing big. Prob­a­bly some­thing even big­ger than all of them put to­gether.

“We only work with peo­ple we like,” Jeriko Tan, COO of Care­less, said while ca­su­ally sip­ping cof­fee. Shar­ing images of Care­less’ re­cent work trip to Ma­cau and of his mo­tor­bike, Jeriko stressed that Care­less as a group main­tain a strong foun­da­tion of friend­ship to build on. pub­lic’s ears as of yet, the tracks in the al­bum re­veal a pol­ished dy­namic be­tween the la­bel­mates.

group at 19, joined Care­less af­ter a chance meet­ing with Bret in the stu­dio. The two would later work on a song that was never re­leased, along with the rest of the songs from en­counter would later bear fruit. “It was over a year ago. James and Na­dine; they heard my stuff and wanted me to get there.” Thinkin’ U lat­est track, shares the same pop- R&B sen­si­bil­i­ties and cur­rently breathe in.

Bret was also re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing in Mas­siah and Astrokidd, who add trap ta­ble. Be­fore they joined Care­less, the two were on dif­fer­ent tra­jec­to­ries. While AstroKidd has dou­ble de­grees in air­craft en­gi­neer­ing and mar­ket­ing man­age­ment, Mas­siah just re­cently shifted from en­gi­neer­ing to creative writ­ing in Sil­i­man Uni­ver­sity.

AstroKidd gar­nered at­ten­tion af­ter re­leas­ing the mu­sic video for Sky­fall feat. Dalla and Pzy­cho Sid. ‘[Be­fore

WHEN ONE OF THE BIG­GEST YOUNG CELEBRI­TIES IN THE COUN­TRY IS BE­ING GIVEN FULL CREATIVE CON­TROL OF HIS OWN MU­SIC LA­BEL AND DOES WHAT AMES REID IS DO­ING THIS IS A PRIME EX­AM­PLE OF WHAT WE CALL A FLEX.

he shared. “I was just mak­ing mu­sic on the low.” While work­ing on mu­sic and en­joy­ing mod­el­ing stints, he’s also set to work on his own cloth­ing line in the near fu­ture.

Mean­while, Mas­siah qui­etly set­tled in the Du­maguete un­der­ground scene work­ing with Mid­nasty, one of the big­gest Bisaya artists. Out of ev­ery­one in Care­less, he might have one of the widest mu­si­cal tastes. “YouTube is re­ally my drug. I can watch YouTube for hours.”

Curtismith joined Care­less “quite or­gan­i­cally,” as he put it. The past year, he has placed his en­ergy on things other than mu­sic: open­ing a res­tau­rant in La Union and ca­reer to a stop af­ter im­plod­ing on Twit­ter in lieu of al­le­ga­tions of misog­yny and be­ing a Mar­cos apol­o­gist, both of which he has cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied. Re­gard­ing the to just chan­nel my en­ergy where I would want the things that I can con­trol, do­ing more good work, re­gard­less of peo­ple notic­ing, and stick­ing to my val­ues.“His po­lar­iz­ing im­age not­with­stand­ing, his lyri­cism and pen­chant for laid­back beats proves an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to the posse. “IDEAL” and “Soully, Yours” were both projects that inked Curtismith’s name in the lo­cal mu­sic scene, and which con­trib­uted to the grow­ing ap­peal of mu­sic that had none of the hall­marks of lo­cal for­mu­laic pop, but had still the ca­pa­bil­ity to be rec­og­nized in­ter­na­tion­ally.

When it comes to deal­ing with the me­dia and the gen­eral pub­lic, no one in Care­less knows more than Na­dine and James. For the past few years, the two have been bask­ing in the lime­light, both to­gether and as their own re­spec­tive artists. Trust me when I say that their fans are as all­con­sum­ing and all- judg­ing when­ever their names are men­tioned any­where on­line. And the two are very well aware as well.

When the name “Care­less Mu­sic Manila” sur­faced as the name be­hind the Na­dine- di­rected mu­sic video for “Palm Dream”’s The Life on Dec. 15, 2017, there was some back­lash haters, bash­ers, and they started call­ing me care­less,” James shared. “I thought it’s funny; it gives me no guilt be­cause for me, care­less is I don’t give a f*ck.”

For James, mu­sic has al­ways been Care­less, he’s set to make his mark for him­self. When he started with “Palm Dreams,” he “was just mak­ing mu­sic that he thought was cool.” But with the al­bum’s re­lease, the deca­dent, in­dul­gent mu­sic videos, the lust­ful lyri­cal con­tent–it changed his pub­lic im­age. It was like un­cov­er­ing a mask. For him, that’s cathar­sis.

We live in a coun­try where mu­sic, cinema and sing and dance on Sun­day noon­time shows while singers and dancers land roles in movies and tele­seryes. For the same pool of peo­ple to ven­ture into pol­i­tics wouldn’t be sur­pris­ing. It’s all too nor­mal for us.

To dis­rupt this line of think­ing, this sta­tus quo, is to be la­beled im­prop­erly as “indie,” and as dif­fer­ent. But

“THERE’S SO MUCH TAL­ENT BUT IT’S JUST NOT GET­TING OUT RIGHT.”

It’s great. It’s in this am­bi­gu­ity that Care­less thrive in and are able to stretch–they are un­der Viva, af­ter all–but the group rep­re­sents a shift in taste when it comes to what and how peo­ple con­sume me­dia. While some would con­ve­niently dis­miss James and com­pany as a mere in­dus­try plant, as an­other it­er­a­tion of the show­biz in­dus­try’s glacial step into what the kids are into, Care­less, the la­bel, the group, the sum of its parts could maybe give the man a mid­dle the win­dow and po­ten­tially chang­ing the land­scape of what con­sti­tutes as OPM. I mean, JaDine is al­ready do­ing

Luke, and Hais­sam aren’t just the mem­bers of Care­less; they are joined by graphic artists, pho­tog­ra­phers, and pro­duc­ers–artists that know the score when it comes to what the kids are into to­day. Peo­ple who would have had to grind for years be­fore earn­ing a break. The at­ti­tude to col­lab­o­rate with young, de­serv­ing artists is al­ready a move that would con­trib­ute as to why Care­less have been dubbed as “push­ing the cul­ture.”

Push­ing the cul­ture. A phrase in some so­cial cir­cles, par­tic­u­larly the hip- hop, skate, and indie scene know all too well. What does it mean? James’ take is a per­sonal one: “It is not the type of cul­ture that gets to be put on TV. I think now’s the time. The gen­er­a­tion now is like. . .Filipinos are hella cool. They’re hella stylish and there’s so much tal­ent but it’s just not get­ting out right.”

For far too long, the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try in its in­ten­tion­ally my­opic vi­sion main­tained its per­pet­ual choke­hold on its artis­tas while main­tain­ing their “para sa masa” rhetoric. Maybe it does take some­one who knows the sys­tem well enough, some­one with the ma­chin­ery and pub­lic im­age to take it down. But it does take more than one per­son to build it back up, and Care­less–the name they call them­selves now a mis­nomer– are well- equipped, and more im­por­tantly, not lack­ing in any fore­sight.

“Palm Dreams” was one of the few al­bums from an

artista that caught my at­ten­tion last year, and their de­but mix­tape–ten­ta­tively dubbed “Care­less Mu­sic Vol. 1”–will be a whop­ping 15-track project that’s tech­ni­cally been years in the mak­ing; a re­sult of col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween nu­mer­ous ta­lented in­di­vid­u­als work­ing on a sin­gu­lar vi­sion. Af­ter that, each artist is set to roll out their own in­di­vid­ual project. They’re also in talks to do a tour in the United States, and in time, sign more artists. They’re not lim­it­ing them­selves to the neon- lit, moody pop, trap sign some rock bands next year, some of which he has al­ready scouted.

By the time this story gets pub­lished, Care­less–all them rowdy, cal­cu­lated boys and girls–would have al­ready been cel­e­brat­ing the re­lease of their de­but mix­tape. As “Palm Dreams” and “Is­land City Poems” in­di­cated, the most promis­ing qual­ity from this group is their will­ing­ness to act on what they think is good, sup­ple­mented by nat­u­ral tal­ent and in­formed by their ca­pac­ity to make their projects hap­pen. What­ever their next moves are, they are a force to be reck­oned with. They al­ready have the eyes of both the lo­cal mu­sic cir­cles and the big­wigs up in cor­po­rate me­dia. I think they’re well aware of that, which is why they’re any­thing but care­less.

(this page) ON BRET: OJK vest, F&H pants (op­po­site page) ON ASTROKIDD: BA­LEN­CI­AGA suit, F&H knit top ON MAS­SIAH: KC PUSING coat, F&H knit top as shoul­der warmer ON CURTISMITH: OXY­GEN pants ON SOFIA: F&H white hoodie, JANN BUNGCARAS jog­gers ON NA­DINE: ALEXAN­DER MCQUEEN shirt, VALENTINO JEANS denim jacket ON BRET: OSH KOSH B’GOSH jacket, F&H hoodie as scarf ON JAMES: GAP cor­duroy blazer, F&H in­ner shirt

ON SOFIA: PR()BLEM co-ords, NIKE shoes ON MAS­SIAH: PAOLO MENDOZA coat, NIKE shoes

ON CURTISMITH: YVES SAINT LAU­RENT top, NIKE shoes ON ASTROKIDD: PR()BLEM coat

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