8 DJs, 8 genres, 1 epic night

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By: Mic Diaz

AMBITIOUS as it may seem, stalwart dance music organizations Club Manila Los Angeles (CMLA) and Party Party People (PPP) staged a monumental shindig last Saturday, May 4 at The View in Torrance.

Aptly called “We Are ONE,” the event brought together eight of the best DJs in the Filipino community in Los Angeles under one roof supported by members of CMLA and PPP who are champions of some of the biggest dance parties in Los Angeles.

Never losing their passion for music and DJing, CMLA has never been distracted by the monetary aspects of organizing dance parties since it started 26 years ago. Marking its 29th year of bringing the dance club scene of Manila to Los Angeles, CMLA and its DJs — Jake Martin, Ricky Fabre and Darryl Silva — once again took its arsenal of dance tracks to the dance floor of the Torrance nightspot.

Party Party People, also known as PPP, on the other hand, is a social media group that was founded a couple of years ago by Michelle Sto. Domingo Advincula with the purpose of featuring local Pinoy DJs who specialize in various genres, aside from disseminating information about parties and events in Southern California. PPP president Zigmond Yee adds that they are selective in choosing the events and DJs in that matter. Longtime DJs of PPP — Dee Buen, Mackie Catt and Jerome Sto. Domingo — thrilled partygoers and dance music connoisseurs alike with their selection of popular music from the ‘70s through ‘90s reminiscing the heydays of the clubbing scene in Manila.

Special guest DJs Dean Andrew Pantilo and Ickle Tiongson from the UK rounded off the gargantuan show of DJ gallantry in a jam-packed and brimming nightclub.

The eight DJs of the night set out to paint a picture of the heydays of the clubbing scene in Manila through the music that represented a particular genre.

DJ Jake Martin. ’80s. At the helm of CMLA, Jake grew up in Parañaque credits DJ Bong Bautista of Mobile Disco People as the reason that first got him into DJing when he first heard a cassette mixtape of the DJ. As many who grew up during the ‘80s, he lives and breathes New Wave and other music from the ’80s and ‘90s. Having been bullied during his high school years, Jake gravitated towards the music of Depeche Mode and to this day, considers their music his favorite. Fellow DJ Dean Andrew Pantilo is his favorite DJ because he can read a crowd.

DJ Ricky Fabre. Downtempo. Like many of the DJs in this event, Ricky continues to listen to New Wave. Growing up in Quezon City, he listened to the music of Care, a band from Liverpool, England, whose short lifespan as a band birthed his favorite song, Whatever Possessed You, and a cult following in the Philippines. He affirmed that events like this “brings back memories.”

DJ Darryl Silva. Manila Swing. Darryl who hails from Quezon City started as a DJ with UEI Mobile and Power Source Mobile Group in 1984 through 1990 in Manila, and went on to deejay parties in the U.S. A frequent spectator at Manila clubs such as Rumors, Euphoria, Stargazer, Kudos and Louie Y’s, he was inspired and influenced by his favorite DJs — Boyet Almazan, Dickie Tan and John Robinson — who are also now in the U.S. Darryl asserts, “DJing allowed me to create good energy and bring good vibes to people on the dance floor.”

DJ Dee Buen. House. Originally from Marikina, Dee Buen says that he got into DJing because of his love for music and as a form of relaxation for him. Dee identifies with many who came from Manila citing jazz, new wave and house as his favorite genres. His favorite song is More to Lose by Seona Dancing from London, England.

DJ Jerome Sto. Domingo. ’70s. Jerome of Quezon City has always worked with music, starting out as a DJ in Wedge Boys Mobile Disco and as an A&R executive at Octo Arts Recording Co. His love for his favorite songs from the ‘70s, ’80s and New Wave led him to DJing. Jerome affirms, “(Music) just makes me happy by listening to them. It reminds me of my high school and college parties. Those great times.” He adds, “It makes me full seeing the Filipino community enjoying each other’s company dancing to Manila’s good-time music.”

DJ Mackie Catt. ‘90s. Mackie was born in Makati, but lived in New York for a long time. In New York, he collected vinyl records and was told by a friend who saw his record collection to buy another turntable and taught him how to beat match. During the ‘90s, he went on a vacation to Manila and filled the DJ spot at Reasons Jazz Bar in Makati where he played jazz from 8 p.m. to midnight and ‘80s and New Wave from midnight onwards. He credits DJing as the reason why he met his wife with whom he has four beautiful children.

DJ Dean Andrew Pantilo. New Wave. Dean of Singalong, Manila learned to DJ from his neighbors. He credits WXB 102 Radio for his exposure to ‘80s and New Wave music that eventually led him, his friends and his neighbors to form a mobile DJ service called Eyeball Dub until the owners of Social Distortion Mobile asked him to join them. He got into DJing at clubs through an audition for one of the newly built clubs in Makati. He was a DJ for Anzia First Audio, DJing for the nightclubs they managed such as Pirates Den (Manila Hotel), Stargazer (Silahis International Hotel), Goldmine (Baguio City), Faces, Club Tivoli (Iloilo City), which later on led him to DJ in Beijing, China before coming to the U.S.

DJ Ickle Tiongson. R&B. A resident of London, England, DJ Ickle Tiongson flew in from London, England to be a special guest DJ in this massive event. According to Ickle who grew up in Baguio City, DJing was readily accessible to him because he had many DJ friends who taught him how to DJ. He gains satisfaction from mixing songs with the closest tune, key and BPM. His favorite genres are music from the ‘80s, ‘90s, R&B and House.

A feeling of nostalgia and yearning for a time long gone and forgotten brought by timeless classics and dance hits from the decades permeated through the dance club. It was certainly reminiscent of the younger days of the DJs and their guests, and the clubbing scene in Manila.

In attendance were PPP founder Michelle Sto. Domingo Advincula, PPP president Zigmond Yee, PPP members such as Jesse Pacleb, Mona Sto. Domingo Santos, Phil Santos, Jing Sto. Domingo, Karla Rodriguez Alba, Adel Uy, Erly Uy, Liza Lopez, Carlo Lopez, Lem Pia, Rachel Gatchalian Pia, Regi Libre, Marichelle Ortega, Charisse Deleon, Ela Catt, Janet Del Rosario, Raymond Bernal, Bel Domingo, fellow DJs Toktok Reyes, Gerry Raymundo and Buster De los Santos, longtime event producer Mutch Carino, co-founder of the Filipino-American Press Club of California Andy Edralin, former Vicor dancer Katrina Llanes, Mayee Salgado-Futterman, Sammy Estrella, Lizette Villafranca, Robbie Salvador, Romichelle Ligot-Del, Rosario, Tin Cabrera-Fontanilla and Melany Gan Del Rosario who celebrated her milestone birthday.

DJs Jake Martin, Dean Andrew Pantilo and Jerome Sto. Domingo invite everyone to come to The View at 1431 W Knox St, Torrance, CA 90501 on Friday, July 19 where they will be performing with local L.A. band Playback Jukebox. To RSVP, please email [email protected].

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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