Blaster Silonga – who now goes simply by BLASTER – has released his newest single, ‘O Kay Ganda’.
The track, released today (September 21) on all major streaming platforms via Island Records Philippines, is a song expressing the artist’s appreciation of cosmos and celebration of freedom. Its music video was directed by Raliug and inspired by Everything Everywhere All At Once – watch it below.
‘O Kay Ganda’ previews BLASTER’s debut solo album, ‘My Kosmik Island Disk’, out on October 8. Read on for BLASTER’s conversation with NME about his inspirations on his upcoming record, 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 were not really allowed to do anything except walk around the neighbourhood. So one day, I was inspired to write a song about it but instead of walking around the neighbourhood, I imagined myself roaming around the galaxy. ‘O Kay Ganda’ is kind of like that – you will see lyrics in the song that describe the beauty of the cosmos.”
Why did you choose to tackle the topic of freedom and the cosmos for this track? And how important is it for you to celebrate freedom, especially as an artist?
“It’s kind of an ode to the difference between working with a band and going solo. [With] IV Of Spades, it was a different dynamic compared to now. There’s more creative freedom. While I still consider other people’s opinion, I’m the main overseer of things now; I’m the main guy in terms of decision making.
“Also, the theme of roaming around the galaxy is similar to being free. I imagine myself doing anything that I want in outer space. It represents being free and limitless, because the universe is ever-expanding. Freedom is really important because it’s hard to box yourself as an artist. For me, it’s really important to go into different territories, so I’m trying to expand my own universe.”
The single leads to the launch of your upcoming album, ‘My Kosmik Island Disk’. What are some of the themes covered on the record?
“It’s gonna tackle some cosmic themes. It’s not just the songwriting, but the music itself as well. It’s inspired by mecha anime such as 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 gonna be a really, really personal and selfish album. It’s gonna be that album where I’m just talking about my personal experiences. The title is inspired by BBC Radio’s segment called ‘Desert Island Discs’. In that segment, their guests are asked which eight songs they would bring with them to a desert island.
“So similarly, for me, what are the essential songs that I will bring with me if I get 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 include my previous singles except the Christmas song ‘Pasko’y Hindi Na Masaya’.”
What are some of the challenges faced with a solo record that you did not experience when recording with a band?
“The big change was there was no one to ask if something is good or bad anymore, because the main person that will tell me if it’s good or bad is just me. At first, it was really hard but it made me more mature as a musician. I learned more about what I like and what I don’t like, to trust my own instincts and my own taste.”
Your songs are all written in Tagalog. Do you intend to keep the songs in your first album like that?
“I didn’t really plan to just write an all-Tagalog album. During the pandemic, like everyone else, I learned about myself more. It just so happens that I think with my mother tongue, and all the songs in this album are my random thoughts. I just think that Tagalog is the language that I can express myself more with. But I’m not really boxing myself into writing Tagalog songs. Maybe in future albums and singles, I’ll write more English songs.”
It’s been a while since you started on your work as a solo artist. How much do you think you have grown as a musician and what are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
“I think I’ve grown quite well as a songwriter. The music can speak for itself – I don’t wanna say that I’ve grown this much. But the one thing that I’m sure of is that I’m a fan of my work now.
“In terms of lessons, I realised that in order for me to grow as an artist, I just have to continue writing and making songs. In the past, I struggled to finish my songs because I tend to be picky and a perfectionist. Then one day, I asked myself ‘why am I being like this?’. So I decided that maybe it will work for me if I just allow myself to release the excess baggage – to release that one bad thing in order to make a new good thing.”
Live gigs are also gaining momentum again after the pandemic. Are you planning on going on a tour to promote your forthcoming album?
“Yes. I’ve been planning to go on a tour for a while now. I miss live gigs – they’re really different from online shows. I just miss the people, the heat, the energy, even hanging out with friends and the fans. Live gigs are the gateway to that connection and it’s a way for me to give back to them. Maybe some shows will be happening this year or next year, but I will definitely be promoting the album for a long time. I don’t know how long, but I’ll be playing a lot for sure because, besides making music, I also like performing.”
Do you have any artist in mind who you’d like to work with, local or international?
“I’d love to collaborate with The Itchyworms. My last single ‘NARARARARAMDAMAN’ was inspired by them sonically. Internationally, I hope to collaborate with Japanese artists because I listen to a lot of Japanese music and have been a fan of Japanese culture since I was a kid. I think I’d love to collaborate with L’Arc-en-Ciel – they’re a really good J-rock band. If they’re up to collaborate with me, I would really love for that to happen.”
Who, in your opinion, is BLASTER now?
“BLASTER is blasting his way out of reality. I don’t know – that’s the cheesiest line I could think of.” [laughs]
BLASTER’s new single ‘O Kay Ganda’ is out now and his debut solo album ‘My Kosmik Island Disk’ drops October 8 on Island Records Philippines