pinoy pop

Q&A: SB19’s Justin talks solo debut with ‘surreal’

Rappler.com

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Q&A: SB19’s Justin talks solo debut with ‘surreal’
Justin sits down with Rappler to answer questions about 'surreal,' its music video, and the work that went into its completion

MANILA, Philippines – SB19 member Justin marked his solo debut at midnight on Thursday, February 29, with the release of his debut song “surreal.” With Justin now being the fourth member of the famed P-pop group to pursue a career as a solo artist after Pablo, Josh Cullen, and Ken, he sat down with Rappler to answer a few questions about the song, its music video, as well as the work that went into its completion.

Q&A: SB19’s Justin talks solo debut with ‘surreal’

What’s one word you can use to describe Justin as a solo artist?

Imagination. Siguro kasi I’ll be using ‘yung kung ano lang ‘yung nasa imagination ko for my solo career. Medyo maglalaro-laro lang ako with my solo.

(Imagination. Probably because I’ll just be using whatever is in my imagination for my solo career. I’ll just be playing around with my solo.)

Your first single is titled “surreal.” Bakit “surreal?” Bakit ‘yun ‘yung naisip mo na unang ipakilala? (Why “surreal?” Why did you think of introducing that song first?)

Mayroon akong number of songs na nasulat. Tapos ‘yung [“surreal”], itong kantang ‘to ‘yung parang medyo buo na talaga siya. Noong nasulat ko pa lang siya, sabi ko, “Parang ito ‘yung pinaka-rank one among the others noong sa demo pa lang.” Kaya nadecide ko na ito [ang unang ipakilala]. Tapos noong ni-conceptualize na namin siya, [sabi ko], “Ah, pasok talaga siya for my debut song.”

(I had alread written a number of songs. “surreal” was the song that was kind of complete already. When I wrote it, I said, “I think this ranks first among the other songs in my demo.” That’s why I decided to introduce that song first. Then when we conceptualized it, I said, “Ah, this really fits well for my debut song.”)

In this song, you also worked with Pablo and Josue. How was it like working with them?

Actually, mabilis lang. So, ‘di ba nasulat ko na ‘yung kanta, tapos may demo ako. Pumunta ako kanila Pablo, tapos pinarinig ko ‘yung kanta. Sabi niya, “Ah, okay, ano ‘yung gusto mong tunong? Ano ‘yung naiimagine mo?” So kinuwento ko lang sa kanila tapos after a few days, nagpasa na sa akin ng demo. Sabi ko, “Hala, ang ganda! Shocks!” Natuwa ako kasi parang bukod sa ineexpect ko or sa interpretation ko sa kanta ko, mayroon din silang sariling interpretation. Parang, based doon sa mga kwento ko, dinagdagan nila ng element. Ayun, very happy and madali lang kasi araw-araw na rin kayo magkasama e.

(Actually, it was quick. So, I already wrote the song and had a demo, right? I went over to Pablo’s then I had him listen to the song. He said, “Ah, okay, what sound do you want? What are you imagining?” So I told them about it and after a few days, they already gave me a demo. I said, “Wow, this is nice! Shocks!” I was so happy because other than what I expected or what my interpretation was of my own song, [Pablo and Josue] also had their own interpretation. Based on what I told them, they added their own element. It was very happy [working with them] and it was easy because you’re with them every day anyway.)

Q&A: SB19’s Justin talks solo debut with ‘surreal’

YARA’s Gelou is also singing a few lines. Why her and how was it?

Actually, sinuggest lang ni Pablo na parang maganda sa part na ‘to may babae na mataas ‘yung boses. Syempre, may tiwala naman ako kay Pablo, so nag-isip kami. Friend na namin before pa si Gelou from YARA, and kasama namin siya sa training before, sabi ko, “Sige magtanong tayo ng mga kung sinong kakilala.” Tapos sabi ko, “Si Gelou, baka willing siya.” And sabi, “Okay, pasok naman.” And sa schedule, swak din. Nakarecord na kami. And ‘yun, nagmatch naman. So [I’m] very happy and thankful din kay Gelou for accepting.

(Actually, Pablo just suggested that it would be nice for this part to be sung by a woman with a high-pitched voice. Of course, I trust Pablo, so we got to thinking. Gelou from YARA was already our friend before, and we trained together, so I said, “Okay, let’s ask around.” Then I said, “Maybe Gelou is willing.” And she agreed. Our schedules lined up, too. We got to record already, and it was a match. So I’m very happy and thankful to Gelou for accepting.)

Let’s talk about your music video. Can you tell us how you conceptualized the music video?

Medyo madali for us noong nagstart na kami mag-execute kasi mayroon na kaming nakastock na ideas from before pa. Like, mga random thoughts lang tapos sinesafe namin ‘yun. So noong binalikan namin, medyo mas madali ‘yung process and then naghanap kami ng theme. Sabi ko, “Smaller theme lang. Ito lang kasi ‘yung gusto kong gawin.” Gusto ko lang magshoot sa magagandang lugar. Parang run and done shoot lang. And then nakabuo kami ng theme. Tapos ‘yung team namin, nagprepare din sila for the days na maraming shot list, kumpleto, mapabilis lang ‘yung mga ginagawa. So I think very chill lang ‘yung pagshoot namin ng music video. Masaya naman kasi nakapunta pa kami sa magagandang lugar.

(It was kind of easy for us when we were starting the execution because we already had ideas from before. Like, random thoughts that we keep for later on. So when we went back to it, it was easier and then we looked for a theme. I said, “Let’s go with a smaller theme. This is all I want to do.” I just want to shoot in a nice place. Like a run and done shoot. And then we formed a theme. Then our team also prepared for the days with a lot of shot lists to speed up the process. I think shooting for the music video was very chill. It was fun because we got to go to a lot of beautiful places.)

Can you tell us the story behind the music video and how you thought of it?

‘Yung mga shots, it’s very surreal. It’s from a reality pero parang, wow, gusto ko rin puntahan yun. Ganun yung vibe. Hindi ko alam kung paano ko siya naisip, pero mahilig kasi ako manood ng mga movies, mga films like Narnia, mga Bridge to Terabithia, so from there siguro ko talagang naabsorb na gusto kong gumawa ng ganitong theme. So siguro makakafeel ka ng parang Narnia vibe, parang Bridge to Terabithia. Alam mo ‘yung parang sa atin, yung kabataan natin, parang ganon ‘yung nafefeel. ‘Yung saya na parang, “Ay ang cute! Gusto ko rin mangyari yan sa totoong buhay, pero hindi.” So ganon ‘yung gusto kong iachieve.

(The shots, it’s very surreal. It’s from a reality that’s like, “Wow, I want to go there too.” That’s the vibe. I don’t know how I thought of it, but I love watching movies like Narnia [and] Bridge to Terabithia, so I absorbed the theme I want to achieve from there. I guess you’ll be able to feel a Narnia or Bridge to Terabithia vibe from it. Similar to our childhood where we feel a happiness that’s like, “Oh that’s so cute! I wish this were real, but it isn’t.” So, that’s what I wanted to achieve.)

Is “surreal” a love song?

Yes.

Is it a happy love song or a broken love song?

Happy love song.

What was your most favorite and least favorite part of doing this project?

‘Yung favorite part ko is ‘yung mga tao is very supportive sa ginagawa ko, Nafeel ko talaga ‘yung mga taong nakapalibot sa akin. Even ‘yung SB19, the team, and even ‘yung mga kakilala ko lang na hindi ko naman talaga friends pa or kaclose pa, super supportive nila and very excited sila for me. ‘Yun ‘yung pinaka-favorite ko kasi bukod sa nagagawa ko ‘yung gusto ko, nararamdaman ko ‘yung suporta ng tao sa paligid.

(My favorite part is people being very supportive of what I do. I really felt the people around me. Even SB19, the team, and even my acquaintances, they’re all super supportive and very excited for me. That’s my favorite part because other than getting to do what I love, I feel the support of the people around me.)

Siguro ‘yung least [favorite part] is kailangan kong pagdaanan ‘yung pressure alone. Kasi, syempre, imagine dati, ‘pag tutuntong ng stage, lima kami, tinututukan na kami. Ngayon, ako lang mag-isa, shocks. Pero kakayanin.

(My least favorite part is having to go through the pressure alone. Because, of course, imagine before, when we set foot on stage, we’re five, and people focus on us. Now, it’s just me, shocks. But I can do this.)

– Rappler.com

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