When I arrived at the Entry for Manila Killa‘s show on Thursday night, opener, AObeats, was still onstage, and he looked about as comfortable with standing on a stage as I do. That is to say, he looked rather uneasy.
Thankfully, his music didn’t mirror his feelings or his body language. Instead of stoic, the music was bouncy and upbeat. At least he’s taking care of the important things, right? I can dance to whatever as long as the music is good.
I’m not sure if I found Manila Killa or Hotel Garuda first, but I know one came in quick succession after discovering the other on SoundCloud. You know SoundCloud, the once-relevant and heavily used app for discovering new music that served as a direct conduit from those who made the music to you, the listener? It’s the orange app on your phone that you probably haven’t opened since you hate-closed it after it played a commercial (the same commercial) between literally every song. But I digress.
Manila Killa was a part of what I like to call the ‘SoundCloud cult,’ a group of marketing-savvy producers who use the platform to assist each other in getting their music pushed out. Whenever Manila Killa or Hotel Garuda or Sweater Beats or Autograf or Gryffin dropped a new track, everybody in the group would post it, then re-post it a few days later, then a week or so after that. It worked, garnering each a hundred thousand followers on SoundCloud and millions of plays on Spotify.
Recently, Manila Killa made the difficult decision to leave his former project, Hotel Garuda. He decided he needed to focus on just one production project after pulling an impressive bout of multi-tasking. For a while, he produced music and remixes for both projects, started up a label (Howling Castle), AND managed to finish his college degree. At the same time. Also: He’s 24 years old.
Funny enough, Manila Killa showed up in Minneapolis a couple short weeks after Hotel Garuda played at Skyway, opening for Jai Wolf (another member of the SC Cult). While Hotel Garuda sounded a little like a listing ship searching for land, Manila Killa sounded firmly and confidently rooted.
I was a little worried when Manila Killa split that one of the duo wouldn’t live up to the expectations and hopes of their fans, but it seems like they’re both working through it just fine. At least in the studio.
The setlist was comprised of mostly new music. It was light on remixes and completely devoid of any of his early work that made me a fan in the first place. Which is fine, I guess, but sometimes you just want that quick and dirty thrill, you know?
He wrapped up in the same way as Hotel Garuda, with a new original track with vocals he provided. Just like that, he went from the confident two-step bounce of the rest of his set to a more stoic posture. It’s clear that this is new territory for him, and he’s not entirely comfortable with it. But he’s forging ahead, all the same, so more power to him. We could all stand a little of that in our lives.
If you’re more of a visual consumer, take a gander at my full album of photos on Flickr.