Joee and I
We converse with Joee Mejias on JOEE AND I, her musical project more than a decade in the making, and why she’s not a Björk copy.
Getting to know more about the avant-pop project of Joee Mejias
WHEN JOEE MEJIAS isn’t teaching production design at the College of St. Benilde, doing some projection mapping on projects like new media festival WSK Joee and I. It isn’t her alter ego, or an evil a totally different person.
in the simplest terms. Even the genre that no bueno, artist for that matter.
“Her music is otherworldly and entertaining way,” says Ian Urrutia of The of her performances from her personal very eyes. The use of music, production weave together the world of Joee and I.
What’s the story of “To the End Of the World”?
you don’t really know where it is. There is an acceptance of the whole cycle.
an audiovisual performance. How much of it is you? Do you produce there collaborators?
me. Like Jeona Zoleta, she’s a visual artist, so sasabihin ko sa kanya ’yung story, tapos I let her make something. then she’ll come up with her own version of islands. Ganoon siya. And for projection, I get Mvltiverse, or sometimes it’s my projections, and I ask someone to play it. Pati ’yung banda ko, they’re not regulars. Energy is important for me.
’Cause most of the time, my shows are improvised. Minsan lang kami mag rehearse, parang the day itself lang. So parang this is the song, and my songs are repetitive, so sinasakyan nila ’yung just do whatever they want with it.
Conventions in the realm of art have an effort to say something new isn’t really saying much.
That said, the appeal of Joee and I’s music lies not in the fact that it’s not just different from what we usually hear on the radio, Spotify’s Discover Weekly, or on what you’re initially watching, really), and I is effortlessly unique—a testament
How would you describe the sound you want to achieve?
I think it’s more of a collage. record sounds.
Like field recordings?
I’m playing with a kalimba, or whatever record my friends, and they have riffs that I like. And then I would put them together, so it’s more of a collage of sounds and storytelling.
It’s really on the spot when I write it. That’s the sound I’m looking for that has that story I’m trying to tell, and most especially with the sounds I collect. Then I connect them to something really wanted the song to depend on the story I want to share.
to remind me of this place, and the things that I wrote there.
Do you intentionally choose instruments that are uncommon? Especially instruments like the kulintang?
’ Yung kulintang I used it for this song called Kidnap I go to a place, like the palengke, tapos maghanap ako ng instruments nila like it on the song. So pwedeng after ko siya i- pla- place. Parang ko lang siya kahit ano, tapos after gagawin ko siyang kanta Parang ito na ’yung structure… ay, gusto ko ng ano dito, ng kulintang. It’s more of the sound that I’m after. But for the kulintang it’s a special case. I want that… Wala kasi tayo ’nun eh
Yeah. Hindi siya nabibili sa mall.
very Western. Because with our popular follow the West.
And you want to go against that?
Indonesia where the gamelan is used in every genre. May gamit ’yung tradition nila modern rap, or pop. Meron siyang fusion ng tunog nila. In the Philippines, we have want to incorporate some of that sound that’s coming from here pero in a way na parang ’di siya masyadong thematic.
“To the End of the World” was released way, are accumulations of her past work
is structured and focused in Joee and I, evolution in sound more than a decade in the making.
Whether the music sounds haunting in the heart of Joee and I’s music is a knack desire to connect with an audience: an same time. It’s a gust of whimsy piercing through you, a dream unfolding right
What do you want your audience to feel when they “witness” your music?
liked your track.” I’m not after that. It’s more of… you know, magkukwento sila tungkol sa panaginip nila.
When they can relate.
Ganoon. Sa Angeles nag ako there’s the local crazy guy, an old man. ’ Yung biglang sasayaw
Some of the people who watched dreams. And they’d say they went to another place.
Lalo na ’yung mga ’di taga- Maynila. Sasabihin nila na, “Grabe lipad ako!” Parang nakapunta sila sa ibang lugar. That’s the from their past, their childhood.
You mentioned that you wanted to add a couple more tracks or you want to change some other tracks in your current project. How do you know if a song is done?
Oh, that's hard. That's really the hardest.
Do you think your songs are
It really takes some time to develop a song so what I do is pag may gig ako tapos meron akong medyo bagong hilaw na tunog, ipipilit ko siya. And then, pag na- ko na siya, start na ’yun. That’s the start of the development of the song. And it should end in the studio,