Blaster Silonga – who now simply calls himself BLASTER – has released his latest single ‘O Kay Ganda’.
The track, released today (September 21st) on all major streaming platforms via Island Records Philippines, is a song that expresses the artist’s appreciation for the cosmos and celebration of freedom. Its music video was directed by Raliug and inspired by Everything everywhere at once – see below.
“O Kay Ganda” is a preview of BLASTER’s debut solo album “My Kosmik Island Disk” out October 8th. Read on for BLASTER’s conversation with NME about his inspirations for his upcoming album, the differences between his solo career and his time with IV Of Spades, his dream collaborations and more.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind “O Kay Ganda”?
“I was inspired by my random afternoon walks. During the pandemic, we weren’t really allowed to do anything other than walk around the neighborhood. One day I was inspired to write a song about it, but instead of walking around the neighborhood, I imagined myself roaming the galaxy. ‘O Kay Ganda’ is something like that – you’ll see lyrics in the song that describe the beauty of the cosmos.”
Why did you choose this track to take up the theme of freedom and the cosmos? And how important is it to you to celebrate freedom, especially as an artist?
“It’s kind of an ode to the difference between working with a band and soloing. [With] IV Of Spades, it was a different dynamic than now. There is more creative freedom. While I still consider other people’s opinions, I am now the chief overseer of things; I’m the captain in terms of decision making.
“Also, the theme of roaming in the galaxy is similar to being free. I imagine doing anything I want in space. It stands for freedom and limitlessness, because the universe is constantly expanding. Freedom is really important because it’s hard to wrap yourself up as an artist. Going into different territories is really important to me, so I try to expand my own universe.”
The single leads to the release of their forthcoming album My Kosmik Island Disk. What themes does the record deal with?
“It’s going to cover some cosmic themes. It’s not just the songwriting, it’s the music itself Neon Genesis Evangelion and space movies because I’m a fan of the sci-fi genre.”
What can you tell us about the album? What can fans expect?
“It’s going to be a really, really personal and selfish album. It will be the album where I only talk about my personal experiences. The title is inspired by BBC radio‘s segment called “Desert Island Discs”. In this section, her guests are asked what eight songs they would take to a desert island.
“For me, what are the essential songs that I will take with me when I am stuck on a cosmic island? That’s basically the theme of the album. There will be nine tracks and some of them are instrumental tracks. It will contain my previous singles except for the Christmas carol ‘Pasko’y Hindi Na Masaya’.”
What are some of the challenges of recording solo that you haven’t experienced when recording with a band?
“The big change was that no one could ask if something was good or bad anymore, because the main person who tells me if it’s good or bad is just me. It was really tough in the beginning, but it matured me as a musician. I’ve learned more about what I like and don’t like to trust my own instincts and tastes.”
Her songs are all written in Tagalog. Do you intend to keep the songs on your first album like this?
“I didn’t really intend to just write a Tagalog album. During the pandemic, like everyone else, I’ve learned more about myself. It just so happens that I think with my mother tongue and all the songs on this album are my random thoughts. I just think Tagalog is the language I can use to express myself better. But I don’t really force myself to write Tagalog songs. Maybe I’ll write more English songs in future albums and singles.”
It’s been a while since you started working as a solo artist. How much do you think you’ve grown as a musician and what are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
“I think I’ve grown pretty well as a songwriter. The music can speak for itself – I don’t even want to say that I’ve grown so much. But I’m sure I’m a fan of my work now.
“In terms of teaching, I realized that in order to grow as an artist, I just have to keep writing and making songs. In the past I’ve struggled to finish my songs because I tend to be picky and a perfectionist. Then one day I asked myself: “Why am I like this?”. So I decided that maybe if I allow myself to let go of the excess baggage—let go of that one bad thing to do a new good thing, maybe it will work for me.”
Live gigs are also picking up speed again after the pandemic. Are you planning a tour to promote your upcoming album?
“Yes. I’ve been planning to do a tour for a while. I miss performing live – it’s really different from online shows. I just miss the people, the heat, the energy, even hanging out with friends and the fans. Live- Performing is the gateway to that connection and it’s a way for me to give back to them. Maybe there will be some shows this year or next, but I’ll definitely be promoting the album for a long time. I don’t know how long, but I sure will play a lot because I not only make music, I also like to perform.”
Do you have an artist in mind that you would like to collaborate with, locally or internationally?
“I would love to work with The Itchyworms. My last single “NARARARARAMDAMAN” was sonically inspired by them. Internationally, I hope to collaborate with Japanese artists because I listen to Japanese music a lot and have been a fan of Japanese culture since I was a child. I think I’d like to work with L’Arc-en-Ciel – they’re a really good J-Rock band. If they are willing to work with me, I would really like to do that.”
Who do you think BLASTER is now?
“BLASTER blasts its way out of reality. I don’t know – that’s the cheesiest line I’ve come up with.” [laughs]
BLASTER’s new single “O Kay Ganda” is available now and his debut solo album “My Kosmik Island Disk” is out October 8th on Island Records Philippines