“I always wanted to be on the gray lines” — kiyo on son

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Over the past few years, the Philippines has witnessed the rapid rise of an exciting addition to their hip-hop scene.

A born storyteller with a knack for crafting tunes that are as meaningful and relatable as they are pleasing to the ear, kyo has captured the hearts of many in his home country since he started making music under his stage moniker in 2018.

But what makes this 22-year-old artist such a fascinating artist is his ability to surprise his listeners. Not one to stay in his comfort zone, the rapper – whose real name is Yukihiro Rubio — is always on the lookout for opportunities to change his sound.

“[It’s] unorthodox. I always wanted to be on the gray lines. I want my music to bridge all boundaries with a taste of hip-hop,” kiyo said of her brand of music.

Fusion of genres such as lo-fi, trap, tropical jazz, chamber pop and experimental hip-hop, his first album of 2021, HARANASAis a showcase of his experimental spirit.

He explained, “My amateur side tells me that I need to try different genres to find what I’m really looking for.”

This year, the creative genius behind hits like ‘Ikaw Lang’, ‘G’and ‘Eba’ will make significant progress towards its goal of spreading its music internationally during the third edition of the ASEAN Music Showcase Festivalwhich will be held in Singapore the September 10 and 11.

Next to Fern., Tips, As Banzuelo, KRNA, S.O.S.and Young Cocoakiyo will represent the Philippines at the event which aims to spotlight musicians from the ASEAN region.

Before the festival, kiyo spoke to moving train about his musical inspirations and style, explained the concept behind HARANASAand teased what fans can expect during her performance in Singapore.


Hello, Kiyo! How would you describe your style of music?

Unorthodox. I always wanted to be on the gray lines. I want my music to bridge all boundaries with a hip-hop flavor.

What themes and issues do you like to explore in your music?

SLICE OF LIFE ! A slice of everything in between. HARANASA is about starting over and finding a purpose. I want to be able to make songs that make listeners ask questions, make them more aware. Whether it’s about love, heartbreak, or a song about self-discovery.

Your first album, HARANASA, is diverse. What was it like exploring a variety of genres (lo-fi, trap, tropical jazz, chamber pop and experimental hip-hop)? Why did you decide to combine so many sounds in one project?

My amateur side tells me that I need to try different genres to find what I’m really looking for. I’m still experimenting with what I really want to do with my music, [and] that’s why I tried to put [in] everything at once. This is my first project after all.

One thing I learned in the process is that hip-hop is a life story – you can take hip-hop anywhere as long as it has a beat, and you can still tell your stories. I can tell my stories through different sounds [Having] a lot of genres in one project is really unusual so I wanted it to make sense. That was the challenge. That’s why I got the idea of ​​time.

My first album revolves around time/the clock and the journey of life! And life is made up of colors, experiences, vibrations, different moods, as well as travel stories. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions you can feel [at] at any time of the day. That’s why I put different sounds in a project, with each song having a specific time labeled.

‘G’ is 5 p.m. It’s about running away, letting go and disappearing into the dark. It was sunset time on the beach and I was looking at the beautiful orange horizon thinking about my future. When the sun goes down, I can try again tomorrow.

‘Eba’ arrived around 2pm, its a lazy afternoon with the boys at your favorite spot.

‘Ikaw lang’ is 5 am. You usually come to Baguio before sunrise. That explains the time, and you have a whole day to do it all! The song is about falling in love, starting anew and going places you’ve never been with someone you think you can try again. [with].

‘Pagkabigo’ is 1 p.m. because that’s usually the time we get home from work, when we hang out with our friends and meet our crushes. That’s why it takes place in Sunken Garden with the jeepney.

The times shown in the video are what you usually do at that time. Whatever you feel at the time is your experience.

Where do you get your visual inspirations from when making your own music videos? How do your creative processes for music and video differ?

Music and my videos are always correlated. I always start with color. What color is this song? What color should match the music for me to build the video? [It is very important for] audio and visuals to connect.

Before making music, I was in the film industry, not the indie one, but I used to film weddings, debuts and put on commercials for chicken feed. I always really like to do my part in the production of music videos, which is why I make my own videos.

Let’s talk about your live performances. What goes through your mind when you’re on stage? How do you keep your audience engaged?

I used to be conscious around people. I can’t look them in the eye. In fact, I still have trouble talking to others. But the moment I step onto the stage and feel the anticipation of the audience, my fear disappears. The public is with me. It’s the best feeling when running. I don’t really try to get them to sing with me because it ruins the way I perform the song. My number one rule on stage is NEVER LOOK AT YOUR FEET!

You perform at ASEAN Music Showcase Festival for the first time this year. What can fans expect during your set?

I hope I can bring my group. The experience of playing with a band is very different [from performing with] just reading, but I prepared for this one! I will perform unreleased tracks at the ASEAN Music Showcase Festival. This festival is a great opportunity to spread my music.

Finally, what can we expect from you in the years to come?

My goal is to sail through [the] ASEAN [region]. Not the whole world, for now, but soon. The artists around me are more focused on realizing this western dream. I thought to myself that I should first connect the music of the Philippines and connect it to the rest of Southeast Asia. We are going abroad.

[A] new project [is] on my way! Cold… cold… world.

This interview has been translated into English and edited for brevity and clarity.


The tickets for the ASEAN Music Showcase Festival on September 10 and September 11th are available here.


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