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  • Writer's pictureMarielle Filoteo

Mo of ALAMAT is Out to Change Filipino Music for the Better




Three to four years after its popularization, many continue to scoff at P-Pop and call it a “copycat” of K-Pop and J-Pop to this day. While it’s not a lie that it’s a derivative of the two, I’d argue that P-Pop is music in its own right. And right now, P-Pop is on its way to figuring out its own sound the more it rises. And for some groups, they’ve found their identity already.


ALAMAT is one of those groups that I can say has one of the most unique concepts in the P-Pop world. And ironically, the group is at its most unique by looking within our own culture itself. Their “out-of-the-box” is looking into our roots, celebrating our Filipino culture, and being completely themselves.


The group is not out there just to show shallow definitions of what the “Filipino” identity is in their music. In fact, they’re the first multiethnic, multilingual act in the Philippines that’s championing a uniquely Filipino identity that’s more than the dictionary definitions and Metro Manila-centric tune.



Mo of ALAMAT is the vocal leader, main vocalist, and main rapper of ALAMAT who, like the other members of ALAMAT, is incredibly involved in their music and represents where they came from. Coming from Castillejos, Zambales, Mo is a young half-Filipino and half-Black American whose faced adversity in the past—having written a rap about colorism and racial discrimination prior. But today, he stands tall in fighting against prejudice of any kind and sharing a message of love and kindness always.


As someone who’s passionate about his role, he’s steadfast in encouraging everyone to not be ashamed of their identity and wants to champion others to be proud of who they are. Not afraid to talk about the sensitive issues, Mo is someone who’ll always put advocacy at the forefront.


In our talk with Mo, he highlights the role of ALAMAT in P-Pop, his honest views on the P-Pop system, and what it means to champion culture in music.


Q: With P-Pop, people tend to constantly associate and compare it to its main influence, K-Pop (and to an extent, J-Pop for other groups). It’s been said that P-Pop just copies this music culture, and there hasn’t been a “distinct” sound to define P-Pop. What can you tell me about that?


Mo: K-Pop’s training system was the one thing adopted by P-Pop but the concept, the music, styling, and most especially, the advocacy are different. We have high regard and respect for K-Pop and J-Pop but P-Pop is unique at its best.


The multilingual lyrics will always be part of our songs. The roots we grew up with and the culture we embraced will be included because that’s who we are. We want to introduce and incorporate different ethnic elements in our song’s instrumental, as well as our local and regional languages, the iconic ethnic dances from our provinces, and the colorful clothing that we usually wear in every music video we release. It is something to be proud of. And I am happy to see that other P-Pop groups are beginning to do the same and that is a great manifestation of P-Pop rising.


Q: With that in mind, the P-Pop idol system came from the K-Pop system which in turn, came from J-Pop. But, when looking at all three of them, they’ve all been pretty different and tailored to each country’s culture. What makes the P-Pop idol system? Is the idol system still applicable to our culture?


Mo: I think the idol system still applies to our culture. Nowadays, every talented, young Filipino wants to try their luck and showcase their talent. The younger generation is now starting to dig deeper into learning our culture, therefore looking for more Filipino concepts that are catchy and informative.


We are influenced by K-Pop but we do not have the intention of copying K-Pop because the concept is very different. Unlike East Asian/Confucian societies (Japan, Korea), Filipino society is less strict, less rigid, and more free-spirited. This has led to the production of highly polished output.


P-Pop, on the other hand, strives to have these things without the centuries-old traditions of Confucian society, leading to the hybrid nature of Pop music.


Q: One of the defining parts of ALAMAT is being a multiethnic, multilingual P-Pop act. I wanted to ask what’s the relevance/significance of having a P-Pop act like this.


Mo: We live up to our group name “ALAMAT” or Legend in English. Just like the folktales that are being shared with younger generations, our group wants to share a common history of our cultural values and traditions. We want our fans to remember us and our songs. The Philippines has a rich culture, and our diversity is something that we should be proud of.


As we always say in ALAMAT, you don’t need to strip down your own identity just to blend in. We are proud of who we are and where we came from, and our fans appreciate us. By word-of-mouth, ALAMAT is now beginning to become a household name—thanks to all our Magiliw.


Q: I’ve been seeing a lot of P-Pop groups showcasing Philippine mythology, legends, and myths in their concepts. And I thought it was interesting that it’s the part of Philippine culture that groups today are touching on. I wanted to ask why you think this is something groups are playing into more. What’s so interesting about that part of our culture?


Mo: My take on the showcasing of Philippine mythology, legends, and myths in P-Pop concepts now is that you tell stories through music. Whenever we touch on the cultural history of our country, we search for the soul. We search for music to come together in a beautiful composition of tones and various instruments as we interpret the deeper meaning of its cultural relevance. And this can be easily remembered by our audience.


Q: There can be a “toxic” way to incorporate our culture into pop culture/media. We’ve seen issues of romanticizing the “resilience” of Filipinos. We’ve seen the stereotypical depictions of Filipinos in comedy. We’ve seen the problematic use of culture as aesthetic. What are your thoughts on these? How does one draw the line between romanticization vs. genuine appreciation?


Mo: I believe we have proven through our many songs, our choreography, and our branding that as artists promoting our culture; bringing awareness to our rich heritage is at the core of who we are, and what we do.


I think, nagiging toxic lang ang isang bagay or movement dahil sa sariling interpretation ng mga tao. We cannot control how others perceive us or our advocacy, and that's not something we worry about so much kasi walang point itama or bigyan pansin ‘yan kung nakapag-decide na sila paniwalaan ‘yung mga opinion nila.


Kami sa ALAMAT, we only focus on constructive feedback kasi doon kami magi-improve. Our team, especially Direk Jason Paul, does extensive research on the cultural references that we promote and include in our songs or choreography to make sure we do not disrespect or misrepresent anything. At the end of the day, pinaka-important ‘yung we prioritize respecting our heritage and giving honor to it.



Q: In line with that, I’m sure it’s pressuring to be a so-called “representative” of a certain province/region/culture. How do you handle that?


Mo: While that's a huge honor, I try my best not to focus on that. Kasi kapag hinayaan ko ang sarili ko i-overthink yan, I might not be able to show my authentic self because I'll end up becoming performative.


What is important to me is that I am a good person, regardless of who and what I represent. I do my best to always be respectful to everyone I work with, show gratitude sa lahat ng tumutulong sa amin, and share my passion to create music with my brothers in ALAMAT. Nakaka-pressure lang ang isang bagay kapag nag-focus ka doon at nagpa-pressure. Just keep moving forward and be kind.


Q: As of the moment, we don’t really where P-Pop is headed as we’re still in the early stages of its growth. But, to you, what do you hope to see in P-Pop?


Mo: I hope to see more artists championing our culture. Sana mas marami pang ma-inspire from different places in the Philippines. Sana mas marami pa kami makilalang artists that represent all 7 plus thousand islands in the Philippines.


______________________________


Don't miss Mo and the rest of ALAMAT as they take the stage at the highly anticipated PPOPCON MANILA 2023 this July 14 to 16 at Araneta City. Secure your tickets now at TicketNet Online or through TicketNet outlets nationwide.


Additionally, don't forget to grab a limited edition copy of our #TheLeadersIssue at parcinqmarketplace.com. You can either claim it at the PARCINQ booth during the P-POP Convention or have it conveniently delivered to your doorstep. Hurry and take advantage of our exciting freebies!



Produced by Parcinq Team in collaboration with PPOPCON




PARCINQ


Photography by Rxandy Capinpin


Art Direction by Joe Andy


Production Coordination by Chardy Baldoza


Features Writers Queenie Cailing and Marielle Filoteo



PPOPCON


Communications Manager: Rhanica


Production Manager: Arby


Artist Coordinator: Jessette


Content Producer: Erica



Glam Team


Mycke Arcano


Aron Guevara


Janica Cleto


Nadynne Esguerra


Jonnel Derilo


Mark Familara


Mac Igarta


Marben Talanay


Charlie Manapat



Styling Team


Bea Guerrero


Miguel Quilang


Aaron Mangsat


Ica Villanueva


Team Rain X Em



Fashion Film By Ian Francisco


Video Associate Pogs Francisco


Camera Operator Anghel Millar


Gaffer Edward Logorta



Shoot Assistants


Chicco Rodriguez


Ana Alzona


Derreck Isorena


Kathleen Salvatera




Set Design by Rabbit Hole Creatives


Food Sponsors: Illo’s Party Trays, The Sandwhich Guy


Elemental Cafe Iced Coffee



Studio Partner Siren Studios


2 comments

2 comentarios


krislewis323
11 jul 2023

By incorporating traditional Filipino instruments and cultural references into their music, ALAMAT aims to promote the rich heritage of Filipino music and create a distinct sound that represents their identity. They strive to challenge the status quo and break barriers by introducing new styles and concepts to the Filipino music scene. However, his songs are not very popular, so it's worth buying audiomack plays: https://artistpush.me/products/buy-audiomack-plays


Me gusta

Van S.
Van S.
01 jul 2023

Can't believe this young man is only 21. So smart and talented. 🔥❤️

PS: You should listen to his RnB song covers. Definitely one of my favorite voice in Ppop.


Way to go Mo! ❤️

Me gusta
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