Sonic Boom

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Monday, June 17, 2013


IF YOU are a regular to music gigs happening in the city, it is likely that you have come across the name “Sonic Boom” at some point. But what exactly is it anyway? In its iconic bold, yellow and red font set against black logo, it is a name that many people seem to have a vague idea about. Is it a music label? A production house? An events company?

Sonic Boom is actually a little bit of everything. It is a growing music community, which for over seven years, has been in the forefront in serving as platform for independent artists to share their craft and make their music heard all over the country and the Southeast Asian region.

It was started in the mid-2000s by Alex Lim, Kaloy Uypuanco and a handful of volunteers who were passionate about “making a dent in the music scene.”

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They staged events, managed startup bands, and over the years have expanded into the full-blown, explosive (pun intended) community it is today. It was officially labeled Sonic Boom in 2006.

“It was initially founded to have a backend support for Urbandub and the first few bands that were with us,” said Kaloy. “I guess we were placed in the right time, with artists who shared the same vision and passion as us—and it just grew in every gig that we went into.”

Kaloy cited that Sonic Boom’s very foundation was built by their followers who sought the kind of raw music they were promoting. “We wanted to create a music fan-based community, where we can interact with our audience, that we can cater to their needs and bring them the music that we can share,” he said.

Sonic Boom presently has 15 bands in its line-up; not counting the alumni bands, featured artists and foreign ones. “We don’t really set a criteria for the artists that will be included in our line-up,” Kaloy explained, “our taste is so varied: from hip-hop to metal. But of course, they must play well live because Sonic Boom is all about live shows.”

They have three annual main gigs, each of which gathers a crowd of thousands: the Sinulog Blast-Off! held in Cebu every third Saturday of January, Shockwave! held in Manila every third Saturday of August, and the Built by Sonic Anniversary held every third Saturday of November, plus the regular bar gigs they do nationwide.

Kaloy also noted that they do events in Singapore at least twice a year. Sonic Boom entered Southeast Asia’s music scene in 2008 when one of its pioneering bands, Faspitch, was invited to represent the Philippines at the Baybeats Festival in Singapore.

“We gained connections from that event and the rest was just history,” Kaloy said, “we’ve been constantly bringing bands to Baybeats and some of our bands get to play in neighboring countries like Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia. We also hold Sonic Boom gigs there and in turn, we also bring bands from these countries to play in our events here.”

Kaloy factored in the Internet for shifting the music landscape, which has now made it easier for musicians, independent or otherwise, to be known in other regions of the world.

“Music has become global. Because of the Internet, our competition is not only local bands, but foreign bands as well. What we love though is what we also hate—the Internet. Through it, we can promote our bands outside our shores and we now have a bigger audience,” he said.

But at the end of the day, he said, with all the tools now readily available, it is up to the band to make it happen. “And in order for this movement, for this community to always be alive, we just need to be persistent in our commitment that we can take local music global,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 18, 2013.

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