Getting to know them more: Kai Honasan, Jeri Vega Oro and Eric Strange –

While many music aficionados have a superficial knowledge of our local musicians and grazing familiarity with their names, I thought it would be very interesting and quite gratifying to get to know them better on a deeper level. So I have asked a number of the  finest we have around today the same three questions. Their answers below will give us a clearer picture of what defines them now as musicians.
1) Kai Honasan (Keyboards and vocals) of Autotelic / Kala Ukulele Artist / Songwriter


Kai Honasan
What were the influences at home and/or outside of family which helped form your interest in learning your instrument of choice?
Kai Honasan – I was surrounded by professional musicians so picking an instrument to focus on was quite difficult because of their level of expertise. I picked the ukulele simply because it’s not exactly an instrument you show technique and skill on, its purely for entertainment and enjoyment purposes. It made me happy.
How and when did you realize you had a calling to be a full-fledged musician?

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Kai Honasan – There was no moment of realization. I enjoyed notes over words because black dots look simpler on a page as a kid learning how to read. From then on it wasn’t even a question if music was my path, I just grew up focusing on just that. It just never occurred to me to develop any other skills (hehe..)
How do you continue to hone your skills and continually raise the bar of excellence for yourself ?
Kai Honasan – Be a music fan before being a musician. Musicians will sometimes get burned out but fans will always love music. Listen and update yourself. It widens your taste level as well.
2) Jeri Vega Oro (Guitars and Vocals) of ROUGE
What were the influences at home and/or outside of family which helped form your interest in learning your instrument of choice?

Jeri Vega Oro

Jeri Vega Oro – My father, who died 11 years ago, was my major influence why I became eager to learn the guitar. He was an active server at the church way back then, serving through actively participating in church programs, carols and worship using his talent in music. I studied guitar when I was in high school, learned the basic chords and also started writing my own songs. Though I stopped playing it when I was in college for the reason I got busy with my academics, I continued my passion for singing. I joined singing competitions in the university and eventually used my talent in singing to perform professionally and earn money to finance my studies.
How and when did you realize you had a calling to be a full-fledged musician?
Jeri Vega Oro – I tried to work for an office after I graduated but still managed to do bar gigs at night. Then a year after, when things were getting hard for me – doing office work everyday and gigs at night, I decided to resign from my work. That was the moment I realized that I was made for music. That was also the time my all-girl band ROUGE came into my life and gave me back the love, passion and eagerness to play the guitar.
How do you continue to hone your skills and continually raise the bar of excellence for yourself?
Jeri Vega Oro – It’s been 2 years since I was chosen to be a part of ROUGE. We had change of members, we had lots of adjustments. Then finally found the members who will stick to the group. Everyone of us is improving. I had guitar lessons, we practice regularly and I think the best way to improve is to take each other’s suggestions/advice when it comes to arranging the songs we will play. But the most important thing to do when everything is doing great in your life is to thank our God Almighty for the talent and the opportunities that are coming along your way.
3) Eric Strange (Drummer) of Paranoid City
Eric Strange
What were the influences at home and/or outside of family which helped form your interest in learning your instrument of choice?
Eric Strange – Hmmm. Originally, when I formed my first band (Pumping Pluto) back in 2004, I wanted to become the guitarist since it’s the only instrument I know how to play and it really looks good playing the guitar on stage. ‘Ewan, ang astig lang tignan mga gitarista habang tumugutog’. However, when I asked my bandmates, they told me that they wanted to play the guitars as well. So they told me “mag-drums ka na lang. ‘Di ba marunong ka konti nu’n?” Reluctantly, I said ‘yes,’ since I do have some tiny knowledge naman on playing it. And the band will not be complete without a drummer, so ayun! (Back-story: I was part of my highschool pep squad as the cheer songs’ composer, thus, I am always with the school band, rehearsing the songs on a live band.
One rehearsal day, I asked the drummer to teach me some basic beats, so ayun, natuto nang kaunting-kaunti). But it doesn’t mean I don’t like playing the drums. I’ve come to realize through constant jamming and gigs that playing the drums is really cool. I think it suits my character as a wild soul since, whenever I play the drums for my current band (Paranoid City), I make it a point na super napapasayaw ako, sigaw ako nang sigaw and to always bring a lot of energy to the band. And it feels awesome when the audience starts dancing to the beats; super fulfilling! Nakakaalis ng stress magdrums for me kasi. Hindi ko masyadong nag-iisip masyado. Togs lang.
As for the influences naman at home, I think there are no influences since none from my family is musically (instruments) inclined talaga. They were even surprised that I decided to form a band. Haha! Probably my greatest influence in terms of learning my instrument is Mitch Singson of the now-defunct Sugarfree (more of that below). I don’t know, siguro his drum beats for the album SA WAKAS and DRAMACHINE have character talaga. Not purely technical–may puso!  I learned playing the drums just by listening to those albums. So the blueprint of my drum knowledge is based on Mr. Singson’s.
How and when did you realize you had a calling to be a full-fledged musician?

Eric Strange – To be honest, I’m not a fully-fledged musician as I am working as a country manager for an investment banking firm in Makati and a part-time finance professor. But I must say that I am ‘fully committed’ to be a musician. I don’t see myself not playing a gig or two every month. For musicians like us who have day jobs, you really have to be committed if you want to be in a band. Gigs and rehearsals lang, it takes time. Song-writing and recording albums pa. Corporate jobs for most of us are kind of boring, so we want to play to have something to look forward to. Pang-escape sa corporate reality!
For the how and when, I think I decided to become part of a band when I started listening to Sugarfree (circa 2004). I really love their music and their songs. Very catchy and highly emotional ‘yung songs sa first two albums. When I started listening to them, I told myself “Mag-banda ka na, Eric.” However, I didn’t have a drum set during that time. My daily baon when I was in college in De La Salle University was P200 and I had to save P100 just to buy a drum set (cost 11,000php in Raon). I even finished my blockmates’ food/baon (especially the girls’) just to have lunch. So, it’s not really “calling” but more of passion to become a musician since you worked hard and went through a lot just to become one. Once you are passionate with your craft, it becomes part of you and your well-being. It makes you a better person and people will respect you because of it.
How do you continue to hone your skills and continually raise the bar of excellence for yourself?
Eric Strange – I learned playing the drums by myself through constant watching the live gigs of the bands I follow and of course, listening to their albums. It worked for the first album that my band recorded but now, I am already in the point that I need to improve my skills and drum beats for our upcoming album. Also, since self-learned ako, minsan may mga techniques ako na mali talaga or hindi efficient. Sabi nga ‘di ba, we should always think that we are an empty cup. We need to realize that we need to learn pa and improve ourselves. As of writing, I am having drum lessons with the well-known drummer, Jun Regalado in Parañaque. Drum lessons from the very basic topics to intermediate ones. Pero hindi naman ala-Whiplash. Haha!
In addition, I’m listening to new acts both locally and internationally for additional influences and drum perspective na din. Sometimes, we learn from each other din kasi; we learn from other musicians. We just have to open ourselves to these kind of stuff…you know, like an empty cup.
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About Kalika Ayuna

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