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.