Based in Toronto, UPPERCASE is a FilCan pop-rock indie band composed of members Mark de Leon, Allan Lagat, Joey Giagonia and Kyle Saliva. Reminiscent of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), their songs will instantly send you to “homesick” mode. Their song “Balikbayan” was voted number 1 on CyberPinoyRadio.net, the UK based digital radio station is proof of that. Formed in 2009, They made waves internationally doing mall shows in Manila and multiple features on different online media like Rakista Radio, Gigs Manila, and Bootleg-Radio.com. In 2013, UPPERCASE released their full-length album at the Toronto institution, Hard Rock Cafe. They’ve been kind enough to sit down with me and get to know them as a band. Here’s what we talked about:
Who is UPPERCASE? Where are you all from and who do you create music for?
MARK: I am Mark de Leon from Scarborough. I write and make songs to share my thoughts about life and express them musically.
ALLAN: I’m Allan Lagat from Scarborough. mahilig lang talaga ako mag sulat ng kanta. minsan sa mga movies ako kumukuha idea.
JOEY: I’m Joey Giagonia from Toronto. I think we mainly create music for ourselves. Bonus na lang kapag may nagkakagusto. Hehe!
KYLE: Hello I’m Kyle the drummer. Born in Mississauga, grew up in Quezon City. We make music maybe for ourselves. But my personal goal is to inspire young, up and coming artists to write and make their own materials.
How would you describe UPPERCASE’s music?
MARK: Catchy melodies and relatable lyrics.
ALLAN: Catchy at madaling sakyan.
JOEY: We might fall in the indie rock genre saka OPM din siyempre.
KYLE: UPPERCASE is an indie/rock/alternative/pop? band, I don’t know. Hard to say, I personally don’t label our music. Na dapat rock lang… No. When we make music kung ano kalabasan yung ang UPPERCASE. Since iba iba kami ng personal influences, like magkakaiba talaga. it is a mixture of sobrang daming kind ng music. I think that’s what makes it kinda unique.
What is the song that would be an introduction to UPPERCASE?
MARK: “Tanging Ikaw”. To back up my answer to #2 above. Hehe.
ALLAN: Panaginip (a song written by Myself) Nasa Spotify din siya.
JOEY: Tanging Ikaw.
KYLE: I’d say “Tanging Ikaw” for me yun yung song na pinaka nag introduce sa bagong UPPERCASE. Check it out, it’s on Spotify and may MV din siya sa youtube.
Is there a Philosophy Behind Your Music?
MARK: I try to write songs about my own personal experiences. No specific themes or philosophies. Just songs that hopefully people can relate to and connect with them emotionally.
ALLAN: Wala naman specific, basta kung ano lumabas yun na.
JOEY: As long as we make something original.
KYLE: Nope, Ang main song writer ay si Mark and si Allan. They record a demo and they send it to us. We jam it and arrange it as a group. Pag nahanap namin yung middle ground na lahat kami masaya sa kalalabasan yun na yun. So it could take months, years for us to be able to make a song. Walang rules, formula. Basta Happy kami lahat yun na yun. And I think since apat na utak ang gumawa nun, dun sya nagiging relatable sa mas maraming tao and yun lang yung goal. Makarelate sila and maka inspire.
What is the vision of a music career for UPPERCASE?
MARK: Ideally to be able to play in gigs and record new songs to share to the world. Because most if not all of our songs were written in Tagalog, to be able to make a dent on the mainstream music scene in Manila (radio and gigs) would be a great goal to achieve.
ALLAN: Maka tugtog ulit. write and record more songs.
JOEY: Make more songs!
KYLE: I always say. Do I want to play music for a living? hell yeah. Pero right now gusto ko lang maulit yung Manila tour namin nung 2015. More songs, albums, EPs. More Radio guesting sa Philippines. My personal dream is to be able to play sa isang legit na music festival. Basta gusto ko makita na madaming tao and nakarelate at nainspire sa music at story namin coming from Canada. If magawa ko yun, that’s a music career for me.
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Raphael Tigno is the Founder and Creative Director of the magazine website vibeant.com. VIBEANT is an online magazine bridging global culture in fashion, art, music, culinary, subcultures, and lifestyles across the world. Pronounced as "VIBE" + "ANT", a literal translation of "ANTS ENERGY" a reference to "BAYANIHAN" virtue of Filipinos.