Getting personal with R&B pop duo Stef & Euge

Getting personal with R&B pop duo Stef & Euge

They’re here to soothe your senses.

Photo by Maine Manalansan

 

Though R&B pop duo Stef Aranas and Euge Yaptangco have been collaborating on music since they were in high school, they’d always thought of those projects as one-offs, as solo outfits. That all changed after they released a collab EP, between Stef and Euge’s then-solo outfit Technicalia, when they realized that they work well together. 

Last month, they dropped by the Island City HQ to perform their new single Excuse (watch it on Island City’s YouTube page now!). We caught up with the duo last month as part of our ongoing series on Island City Live featured artists. Here, they talk about their beginnings and their concept EP, “Palate Cleanser.”

 

YOUNG STAR: Hey, guys! So how did you start making music together? 

EUGE: Well, me, I’ve been making music since, like, first year high school. I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll get software and do stuff,” and I got inspired. And then after that, I did consider making music in high school as, like, a practice run. As just casually making music, not really doing it for anything. That was just for fun. And then Stef hit me up to do a song. 

 

STEF: It was a class event in senior year. I was looking for, like, a producer to work with because I was writing songs all throughout high school, but I didn’t have anyone to, like, make them come to life because I write pop, I write R&B. So it wouldn’t be the same if it were just like a guitar, or like one piano. So I was searching around for producers in our high school, and then people referred me to him. And then he was game. So, yeah. And then after that, we liked the song we made. Or at least I liked it… 

 

EUGE: Like, “Yeah, let’s work together more.” And then we made four more songs together before we were, like, “Oh, this is a thing. We work well together.” So the EP, and then now we’re here.

 

What’s your dynamic like? 

STEF: It’s an interesting balance because he’s super into theory and super malawak yung alam niya about theory. And then I — well, I would write the songs, and then I would give it to him and then we would work on it together. He would do all the arrangements, the production. When I write songs, I just have a chord progression in my head. I write it purely by ear. So I don’t go on, like, a track and then write over someone’s chord progression, I just write whatever I’m feeling or whatever comes to my mind as I’m making a melody. So it’s a really interesting process.

Can you tell me about your concept EP? How’d that come about? 

STEF: Well, I guess I had a few songs I’d written about, like, either people or experiences, or just like feeling, like, hypothetical situations. And then when we were starting out we thought, “How would we arrange this into one body of work?” (The concept is) we saw it as stages of a relationship. 

 

EUGE: Butter is like a honeymoon phase, when you’re getting a little bit more intimate with the person. 

 

STEF: And then Eyes is like, “We’re having problems but let’s just f**k.” And then Personal is where it all goes down. Yeah, Personal is, “I’m done with this.” And then With You is, like, “We’re okay now. Like we’re past all of that sh*t, but we’re okay now. And let’s be okay.” It’s sweet, very sweet.

 

And lastly, what’s next for you guys? 

STEF: We’re taking it, like, a song at a time. Because we just put out Excuse, which is our latest single. We worked really hard on it. That was intense. Because we’re used to having, like with our last EP, where it was three songs at a time. 

 

EUGE: Yeah, we did it all at the same time. But this one, we did just one song. We just focused on one song. 

 

STEF: Yeah, and it was super detailed. And you were like, I want this exhale to be louder. I want this.

 

Is there anything else you want to mention? 

EUGE: Stream the “Palate Cleanser” EP. Stream Eyes, stream everything. (Laughs) Oh yeah, fun fact about Eyes… 

 

STEF: Yeah. I was in Japan for four months this year. So yeah, we went on like a huge performing hiatus. We were having a lot of gigs too before I left. So while we while I was there he was playing around with our single from the EP “Ice.” 

 

EUGE: Because I noticed that I’m really heavy on chords on the EP except for Eyes. And I thought maybe I can do something new. Maybe I can spice this up. And I put 20 more chords. (Laughs) Then, yeah, I arranged it made it sound less crunchy. Same vibe, same energy, but, like, a little more retro.

 

 

Stream the “Palate Cleanser” EP here. Watch Stef & Euge perform Excuse by following Island City on YouTube, Facebook.com/islandcityph, and Instagram.com/islandcityph and follow the duo at Instagram.

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