Not much has been written about the Filipino-American duo CLLLAPS. Their Instagram page is cryptic, with posts that go against the grain.
“Instead of cloning ourselves into a template of trends or even trying to create a look that logically matches our sound, we’ve landed in this world of neutrality with CLLLAPS branding: all gray everything, irony of corporate aesthetics & transparency without a layer of gloss,” they say. It’s all a lot to take in — more artful than you’d expect from an electronic music outfit, but that only contributes to the ~mystery~.
Based in the Bay Area of Los Angeles, CLLLAPS is composed of Justin and Pat who’ve been friends since high school. Both come from visual backgrounds, with Pat in graphic design and Justin in video production.
Producer Ryan Hemsworth discovered them while they were in college, and now they’re signed under the DJ’s Secret Songs label (fun fact: YS cover boy No Rome’s earlier songs were released under them).
We got to know the duo a little more over email, where we asked them about their roots, that Kanye “collab”, and their new single.
Young STAR: Hi guys! There isn’t much about you guys online, so can you tell us about yourselves?
Pat: Yeah, I guess we stay off the grid and haven’t done any interviews like this. But, my mom is from Pangasinan and moved to the states in her 20s. My Dad is from Butuan City, and came to the US when he was a baby. They grew up in pretty big families, a lot of siblings. My mom always mentions how she’s cousins with this popular Filipino singer from the ‘70s, Ric Segreto. She says our music reminds her of him. His stuff slaps. His song Stay is so good.
Justin: My parents are also both from the Philippines. My mom from Batangas and my dad from Mindoro. My parents came down to the US in the late ‘80s and brought with them a huge network of cousins, aunts, and uncles that have been my support system ever since. Both of our parents raised us in the Bay Area and I believe they definitely kept us in check with the classic Filipino morals of family and love which we incorporate into our music. We’re glad we’re doing an interview with you guys because it totally aligns. I guess we’ve always embraced our parents’ Filipino culture and let it naturally inform us as we navigate through a heavy American cultural hub like LA. We also just recognize the blessing our parents gave us simply by moving here.
How did you guys get started in music?
Justin: My family has always been a musical family. My dad and his brothers had a band called the Six Pack where they toured different parts of their city (as he says). As a kid I vividly remember my dad playing Yesterday by The Beatles on the piano all of the time. Growing up, ‘90s Pop, R&B, and hip hop was everything. In high school, I just started getting into production making mixes and songs for my friends.
Pat: I just always sampled records since high school days and loved Dilla and Madlib. I loved obscuring a sample so much to the point you couldn’t tell what the original was. In college, I naively released five songs on my SoundCloud page of like 30 followers, and somehow a dude from the Mixed Management team in LA (shoutout to Mike Washington) hit me up and sort of pushed me to develop more. Justin and I were roommates, and he would give me vocals over my weird beats out of boredom. 10 songs later, we started to take it more seriously.