Enjoy local music live and on tape at Cassette Store Day Philippines

Enjoy local music live and on tape at Cassette Store Day Philippines

Three acts from different regions tell us about their own cassette tape memories.

After a successful first run in 2018, Cassette Store Day Philippines returned this year with more tape sellers and more performances by local bands. The annual worldwide event, established in 2013, aims to celebrate the cassette tape with live music and exclusive tape releases to keep the format alive. 

Organized by cassette tape shop United Cassettes and DIY tape label Genjitsu Stargazing Society, this year’s local event,  “You Can’t Kill Us,” was held on Oct. 19 at Limbo, Makati. 


[READ: United Cassettes is bringing back a dearly missed analog format]


Cassette tapes and cassette-related goodies were available from United Cassettes, Mutilated Noise, Treskul, Plaka Express, Struggle Records, Ariel Magat, Genjitsu Stargazing Society, Noise Box PH, CD’s Atbp., Erick Records, and Think Positive Records. Save San Roque sold art and tote bags for a cause. 


[READ: Genjitsu Stargazing Society is the counter culture arts club you need to know about]


There were performances from bands and artists from all over the country who have released or have been on cassette tape, including The Buildings, Pamcy, Memoryville, .wendil, Kino1998, Marty McFly, Grrl Cloud, Anesthesia, Pastilan Dong!, ~sohee, brittleglasscasket, and Washington Drama Club.

We caught up with regional bands bedtime television of Cebu, TIM ÄWÄ of Lucena, and ビクター MKII (pronounced “mark two”) of Naga, and asked them what it’s been like to be part of Cassette Store Day, and about their own cassette tape memories. 


Young STAR: Tell us about your band! 

Isabella of bedtime television: bedtime television is eerie, melancholic, and we’ve been told; surprisingly comforting. [It’s] basically a fever dream where I could project all the things I love, all my interests, fixations and all the sadness that I carry around with me everyday.

Zeph of TIM ÄWÄ: I used to call my music “mapagpanggap math rock.” I mean, it’s still alternative, I guess. Guitars, and drums. It’s not as technical and it is not as ambient, shoegaze-y. (laughs) [I’m also known as] “that post-rock girl from Lucena.” My producer Nick Lazaro (of La Balls) wrote that in a caption and I just took it as a pun as I can’t really claim it.

Victor of ビクター MKII: I’m a beat maker/producer. I produce instrumental beats inspired by nostalgia, Japanese animation, and everyday ambient sounds. I always wanted to make something light, subtle, and somewhat familiar in a nostalgic sense, something that can make you relax and introspect at the same time and I think I’ve achieved those by approaching beat making as a subtle storytelling.

Zeph of TIM ÄWÄ used to call her music “mapagpanggap math rock” but now identifies her sound as post-rock and alternative.

What was it like for you to release your music in cassette tape form? 

Isabella: It was really exciting because a week before we got an email from Genjitsu Stargazing Society (who lovingly adopted us) [my bandmate] Tram and I were talking about how if we could ever physically release our own music it would definitely be on tape. Then, a week later I had a weird urge to check our email, which normally never really happens! We’ve loved every second of it, and we loved working so hard to make something we believe in, we’ve loved all the friends we made along the way, and how much we’ve grown, and now I just hope other people will like it!

Zeph: I asked mom and dad to buy me a James Taylor cassette tape for my 8th birthday in 1998. I never imagined my own music would be released in this format 20 years later. It’s crazy! I guess the cassette culture never left some people or vice versa. And now it is at its peak again! I get surprised that people are always inquiring how to get a copy of my tape. 

Victor: As a beat maker I’m familiar with it because it’s a widely popular medium for release so releasing a beat tape on an actual cassette tape is something I wanted to do for a long time. It is a bit tedious though, because in the Philippines it is hard to source blank tapes so you have to order blanks elsewhere and requires a lot of DIY’ing, but it is worth it though because fans love them.

bedtime television’s music is melancholic, but surprisingly comforting.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite memories with cassette tapes? Why is it important to bring back this format? 

Isabella: My favorite memory is inheriting my aunt’s very old stereo which had a cassette deck, where I would make mixtapes of my playlists and would sometimes give to my friends as birthday presents! We also used it in the lyric video for Ouija Bored, of course it didn’t turn on during the shoot! I think it’s important to note that cassettes never really went away, what I mean is there has always been a culture and a community that has been using and that has appreciated this format. I guess instead of thinking about “bringing it back” we should think about the culture that already exists and what we can do for this community and culture as a whole that already exist to thrive alongside other cultures with other formats in our modern day society. 

Zeph: My cousins and I were into pop stars and boy bands in [the 2000s]. We would agree on who would buy a Christina and who would buy a Britney so that we’d have both, and then switch tapes afterwards. I got [the Backstreet Boys’] “Black & Blue,” my cousins got an M2M and The Moffats, etc. And I’m sorry but I kind of had pirated ones too. Yes, tapes. (laughs)

Victor: My favorite memories from cassette tapes is the classic waiting for your fave song all day on the FM radio so you can have your own bootleg copy of it, I’ve also made a few personal mixtapes when I was in high-school and played them while I skated, that was pre-mp3 days. I think it’s cool to bring them back, now that we live in an ever more digital world, it’s important to hold on to these tangible little things. Also, buying tapes from your fave artist is more personal, and it also sounds warmer and nicer in general in my opinion.

Victor, a.k.a. ビクター MKII is a beat maker and producer that makes Japanese animation-inspired music.

When is the best time to listen to your music?

Isabella: I recommend listening to our music late at night as you are falling asleep with all the lights off except for the television running on mute. But generally falling asleep at night while listening to our music is just as great, too.

Zeph: Sabi nila while driving. Or on the road or habang naglalakad. Sa tingin ko kapag mag-isa. Naka-headset.

Victor: I think you can listen to my music anytime really, but I personally listen to it when having coffee in morning and sometimes after a tiring day just chilling.

#culture #music

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