Being championed as a wunderkind is in and of itself both a blessing and a curse. The weight and expectations associated with such a title can often be deemed to be far too daunting for the myriad of new artists who each year will undoubtedly be identified as the next wunderkind.
However, when it comes to Chris Gavino, one can confidently say the artist more than lives up to the title and all its associated expectations. Gavino is known around the world as future bass producer Manila Killa, half of indie-dance and house duo Hotel Garuda , and founding member of the internet-born music collective Moving Castle. All things considered, these notable achievements would prove impressive for anyone in the world of electronic music and are even more astounding when viewed in context.
Gavino managed to achieve these monumental feats all while still attending college full-time, where he was studying business management. Balancing both college and an ever-growing music career where he was asked to play shows across the country, Gavino chose the path most artists rarely do. The rising producer fully committed himself to both worlds, succeeding in further honing and developing his craft without sacrificing his academic pursuits. Now, with Manila Killa fresh out of college, there's nothing holding him or his music career back, and he's already making that perfectly clear right at the start of Take the producer's just-released track with Nevve, "Everyday, Everyday," which similarly to Manila Killa takes no time at all before delivering everything a fan of electronic music could conceivably ask for.
In the year since Gavino graduated from college and dedicated himself solely to music, it would be an understatement to say that he's done amazingly well for him. He's launched the collective's inaugural music festival, Moving Castle World, showcasing some of the most promising rising stars across a range of genres, and is currently preparing to play a series of music festivals across the country as both Manila Killa and Hotel Garuda, the latter of which is currently making their way across Europe in support of Giraffage.
With a fully unrestrained Manila Killa already making such monumental waves in without even a debut release, I had more than my fair share of questions for what the artist could possibly have next in store. So, I did the only logical thing imaginable. I chatted with the wunderkind himself to gain some insight into the beginnings of Manila Killa as an artist and what he has next in store for the world at large.
OTW: Your name comes from the capital city of the Philippines-the country where you grew up and first discovered electronic music. How did that original discovery first come about? I still remember; It was above the basketball courts when my friend handed me his iPod, because we were still using iPods back then, and he was like, "Yo, take a listen to this," and my entire life changed.
After that, I went home, and I started looking for Daft Punk albums and everything. It was actually about a year later, because later that year we had a battle of the bands type thing at our high school and someone performed with their laptop.
I found it super crazy that you could do everything on your laptop. So, my friend downloaded FL Studio and let me use it towards the end of my freshman year. Then when I found out you could do it on your own computer, I went home, downloaded it, and just started doing it then. That was like OTW: You've officially been out of college for just over a year now, what's it been like being able to devote yourself completely to music?
OTW: Do you ever find it difficult balancing two projects that are both blowing up at the same time? Yeah, for sure. It makes me feel more free that I have more time to choose when to work on Hotel Garuda and when to work on Manila Killa. He already has too much on his plate. But, If I could be using more organic instruments, that would be awesome. If there was something that I would love to focus on from here on out, it would definitely be more organic instruments.
OTW: is just starting and it's already poised to be a massive one for you. You just embarked on Holy Ship! How does it all feel? It's awesome. It had been difficult for a lot of us, because when we started off making music, some of us had jobs, some of us had school, and it's really cool to see that most of us were able to stick together and really do our thing this year.
I'm just overall super excited to continue doing a lot of collaborations. OTW: So, looking back at it all, from your perspective, what events led you to become a founding member of Moving Castle? Honestly, that was just the most random thing. It was literally just me and a couple friends. At the time, I think what really led us all together was that none of us found a certain friend group that also produced music too.
We were all kind of outliers in our own friend group at the time. I had friends who I was hanging out with who knew nothing about music production and AObeats had friends who knew nothing either. So, I think the important thing was that all of us found each other, because we all make music and none of our friends were really into the same kinds of things we were. That was the big step in us coming together. OTW: Have you found that the collective route has provided you with a certain brand of freedom that you may have not found going down the typical label route?
I've never been signed to a label, so I can't say if there's more freedom or not, but it's working for me cause I get to put out stuff whenever I want. OTW: Seeing the collective's growth over the last few years, culminating in your own music festival. Is there now a new ultimate goal you have for Moving Castle?
Also, just throwing shows outside of LA. LA is kind of our home. It's where we all gravitate towards, but we would love to get out and play shows in Europe and Australia. Eventually, the goal is just to go global.
OTW: As a founding member collective born on the Internet, what do think has been the biggest time vampire, internet-wise, for you? Oh man. Well, lately for sure, just stuff that I've been looking at or watching. Honestly, Youtube videos, man. Youtube is the bane of my existence, because you can watch anything on there, and I love watching cooking shows. I also love film, so I spend a lot of time watching movies too. And then the third chunk of time is dedicated watching tutorials on how to get better at music.
Those three are literally my life now. OTW: When making a track, what's the process like? It's always different, honestly. I would start out with some house chords and be like this is straight for Garuda, or this is straight for Manila Killa. But lately, Aseem, the other half of Hotel Garuda, has been helping me get into the mindset of not overthinking it too much, because I tend to do that. I'm trying to approach it differently, because I've been producing the same way for the last three years, and I feel like I could do better, so I'm just trying new techniques now.
Mind talking about the making of that track a bit? That was last August. Me and Kidswaste, we had always wanted to work on a song together. We had started a couple of other songs before that but none of them were sticking. This person introduced me the Caribou song, and I was like, "Yo, this would be perfect to cover, why don't we put it out? It was difficult for me to stay in contact with Kidswaste cause he's all the way in France, so our only form of communication was through Facebook messaging and he's like seven hours ahead.
But I'm glad we were able to pull that track together, because we had been trying to work on something for the past few months. Yeah, once I heard that song, and I was like, "We should speed it up and give it a different vibe," he was already down. That was his first time singing on a track too, cause we couldn't find the vocal track of the original, so we were like, "Should we just hit someone up? OTW: Speaking of interesting cover and remix choices you also did an Enya edit. You clearly have some pretty interesting listening habits.
So, the way that I was raised was that my parents never forced music on to us. And the Enya song, it's funny, because the reason why I feel so attached to that song is that there was one point in my life where we were going to the ice skating rink after school every day, because my sister was a competitive ice skater.
Me and my brother would be bored there five days a week, so that's how I learned to ice skate. But they would play that Enya song every day. So, around that time when I put that song out, me and Brett were like do I have anything unreleased that I can just throw out?
Yeah, my listening history is super random. I just pick it up from when I was younger. I used to breakdance in high school, but I wasn't that good. I competed a few times but nothing ever stuck like music did. I can definitely say I respect all kinds of music, because I know music is not easy to make. I would say my taste is eclectic, but it isn't too out there.
I definitely appreciate Nicolas Jaar, but I can't listen to German tech house for two hours. I really love music, because it gives me a home in different moods. If I'm really happy, I have a set of artists I can listen to. If I'm feeling really down, I have a set of artists I can listen to.
If I want to feel inspired, I have a set of artists I can listen to. So, I think it's one of the most important things for me. It's kind of fluid with how I feel. There's a mood for all kinds of music. It keeps me going. OTW: So far you've managed to have a fairly successful career with only singles and remixes.
Any plans in the future for a full-length or EP?