Photos by Seph Tamayo and Miguel Tarrosa
A lot of us are constantly itching to unload from all the hustle-and-bustle that our busy work schedules demand, to the point that going to a gig on a Thursday night doesn’t actually seem like a bad idea. Because it isn’t.
New to the scene, the Something Soulful gig production strays from the usual indie band set-ups and offers a laid-back atmosphere to those looking to unwind on a Thursday night. Founded by Benj Ledesma, Mike Tee, Marcus Mababangloob and Alec Adeva, the prod continues to gain a following amongst the regulars of our favorite college gig bars, binding together a community whose interests share one common denominator: soul.
Something Soulful started as an idea after the four friends went to the International Jazz Day that took place in Tago Jazz Cafe last April 2018. “We were stunned by all of the acts [and] the community was super tight and vibrant,” says co-founder Benj Ledesma. “That gave us the idea that a niche community for soul [was possible].”
The four were confident that the idea would take flight after they watched Anderson .Paak’s show together in Manila. “Right after that concert, we became sure that [Something Soulful] could happen,” he adds.
Something Soulful aims to create a space for like-minded individuals who’ve got a knack for neosoul, R&B, and hip-hop.
All around the gig scene, there are prods like Stay Useless that ensure mosh pits with every show. We’ve also got collectives like BuwanBuwan that showcase local producers and rappers, both new and old to the scene. And when it comes to Something Soulful, their goal is just as clear. The prod aims to create a space for like-minded individuals who’ve got a knack for neosoul, R&B, and hip-hop.
“It’s the collaboration, sense of family, and hunger to explore something new — either as artists or listeners — that we try to bring out in the Soulful gigs. This is why we try to pull in rappers, DJs, bands, and other acts into the mix. Different medium, same kind of soul,” Benj explains.
In the making of their first Soulful event, the four friends tapped college artists who they knew would be interested in taking part of their community effort. “The artists we’ve had don’t really appear in the usual gig lineups in our circles, so they’re usually refreshing to watch. For the other musicians in the crowd, we hope to spark the spirit of collaboration and to expand their musical palates,” he adds.
In line with this effort, a Soulful gig wouldn’t be a Soulful gig without an open jam segment, which happens right after the last performers take the stage. In the spirit of their collaborative movement, the team encourages guests and artists to come together and jam on the spot.
“We think that the culture behind hip-hop and soul is really rich and positive, and there’s a lot to gain by just giving it a shot.”
Mike Tee, one of the Soulful founders, talks about discovering new talents through this segment. “[Part] of the open jams was this band called Laraza. They really slapped as hard as they could and we [eventually] invited them to the second gig [as] part of the roster… that whole collaborative environment is something that strives well,” Mike says. “If you wanna jam, jam.”
Following the success of the first Soulful gig last October and their second installment last January, the team has expanded into a growing community where people can share their music and stay updated with what’s in-and-about. “We think that the culture behind hip-hop and soul is really rich and positive, and there’s a lot to gain by just giving it a shot.” Ledesma says.
With a clear-cut direction and a refreshing take on often untapped genres in the underground scene, Something Soulful is a breath of fresh air. A gig by this prod is a night full of grooves, electrifying performances and old school beats that are sure to slap the Thursday dread out of you.