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NAS 10 Questions with Thoughts and Notions

This time, we get to know Thoughts and Notions, an Inspirational Power-Pop band from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines that aims to uplift wounded souls with their brand of music.

Jasper Lloyd Tan - Lyricist, Wilbert Tan - Music Arrangement, Kai Huyno - Guest Vocalist

The track "Brand New Reason" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.

Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:

1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.

Hi! We are Thoughts And Notions, and we are a Christian Contemporary songwriting duo from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. We started with this setup, recording a 10-track album with Thrina Dimaano as our vocalist. The original intention was to record an album and use it as a fund-raising project for our Church. We did not expect our songs to go out from the confines of our church, but a Christian Record Label in the Philippines took notice of our album and offered us a Distribution contract. This development made us consider to seriously pursue our music. To which not long after, we decided to go the band route. Over the years, we featured different band lineups with Thrina being the only constant band member. We were able to come up with two 10 track albums (2006 and 2009) and our peak was when we were nominated in the most prestigious Rock Music Radio station in the Philippines for College band of the year.

In 2009, we took a long hiatus and just recently came back last quarter of 2021 to put all of our albums on Digital Music Stores. As we are restarting our music career, we have decided to go back to our roots and focus on songwriting. Since Thrina is sidelined for the moment, we are looking for avenues to collaborate with different artists to feature. And for this specific song, we had Kai Huyno, a talented singer/ramp model/Volleyball High School Varsity Player to do the vocal chores for us. Moving forward, we will be releasing songs featuring diverse artists to interpret our songs. So pretty much, this restart is a refreshing take of our new musical journey. Like some rebirth of sorts.

2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?

It was always about writing Positive Christian-themed songs. As the main lyricist, I had always wanted to channel my emotional and spiritual journey through the songs that we are writing. I feel (with much prodding from Wilbert) that rather than write songs that are negatively emotionally charged, it would be better to write songs that helped me heal my pains. The songwriting journey started from there. It was always about helping uplift wounded souls. In fact, little did I know, some years after, my songs helped me ease the pain that I have whenever I feel down.

𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?

We are heavily influenced by Christian Contemporary artists like Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, Switchfoot, and Vertical Horizon, as well as mainstream acts like The Beatles, Lifehouse, Coldplay, and even local Philippines artists like Rivermaya, Barbie Almalbis, Imago and a host of other female fronted bands.

4. What are your goals in the music industry?

Our goal is very simple, it's just to provide positive inspiration to our audience. We not only speak to Christians but to every other people from different religions as well. We feel that at the end of the day, Love does not choose religion, race, or orientation. It is all-encompassing. And we are speaking about that Love in a Christian context. Love is a very powerful transformative tool if only people embrace it with a pure heart. So it does not matter if we have just one or one million listeners to our songs. As long as it helps uplift their wounded soul, then I think we have accomplished what we set out to do with our songs.

5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.

Since I have no musical background (except that I'm a big fan of music), it is always writing the lyrics first, which is the main identity of the song. Then Wilbert provides the musical arrangement. I fully trust Wilbert with how the song would sound because Wilbert is a gifted musician with a deep versatile background in different musical styles and genres. It does help that Wilbert is a veteran of the local music scene. Having been a member of various bands of different genres. So, with Thoughts And Notions, Wilbert can play around with his music and not get too limited by a set genre. Of course, he is still big on the Rock Music side of things. But Thoughts And Notions offers him a respite from the heavier sound of his music if he decides to dabble and experiment with other genres. And the chosen direction of having different artists to collaborate with them fits the bill nicely.

6. What is your all-time favorite song?

Wow! This is too hard to answer as there are so many great songs put out over the years. But I think, to narrow it down to my locality, it would be Rivermaya's You'll be Safe Here. I just feel the songs are such a simple rock ballad with a simple clear-cut message. Nothing too deep, nothing too simple. It's just a straightforward love song but at the same time, if you read every word in it, it helps reassures you that someone out there cares for you. Of course, there are many more, but currently, this is the one I feel right now.

7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?

I think a lot of artists worry about making the next hit song or the next big thing. But through my experience, and with my numerous interactions with successful artists, it has always been about staying true to yourself. Before, it is so hard for our music to be heard because, besides live gigs, we had to rely on Radio, TV, or Album Purchases before our listeners can hear our songs. Right now, one just needs to have an Internet connection, and you can easily access music through the various Digital Music Platforms readily available. So by staying true to who you are, you'll eventually connect to your right audience.

8. Proudest accomplishment?

I think it has to be that time when we were nominated in the NU 107 Rock Awards. It was the most prestigious rock music award-giving body in our country and every rock musician dreams to have their name to be on the list of nominees. While we did not win the award, we were happy to just be recognized as among the nominees because it was something that we didn't expect. We had a lot of things going against us. Namely, we were situated in a far-flung region in the Philippines, a small city in the island of Mindanao. Not a lot of musicians from that area get recognized especially if they are active to that area alone. Secondly, we were a band that plays Christian Contemporary Music, so being nominated in a mainstream awards show was not what we envisioned during that time. But throughout our existence as a live-playing band, we have always been versatile and accessible to the venues that we played in. Be it in Church-related events, small independent gig productions, or even general mainstream big events. We don't put a limit to where we can spread our songs. So that nomination was like the icing to the cake. Though it was more than 10 years ago, and we took a hiatus shortly after that. We're hoping that this return will offer us the same platform if we keep at it.

9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?

I think people misconstrue the purpose of why I'm into this music thing. A lot of my friends think that it is for fame or fortune. That's not really my main concern. It's all about the message of our songs. I actually shun doing video-recorded interviews or guesting. I do understand having fame gives you a bigger platform. But that is not my motivation. Rather than focus the attention on myself, I'd want our listeners to focus on our songs instead.

𝟭0. Tell us about your highest and lowest points in music so far.

Easily, the high point was the nomination to the NU Rock Awards. As well as the recognition of our first album by a Christian Record Label which helped kickstart our musical journey. The lowest point is when I decided to call it quits and disbanded the band. It came just right after the nomination. The platform to pursue greater heights was there for the taking. But my heart wasn't there anymore. And I know opportunities like that don't come often. So, it was a wasted opportunity. But like all things, I let God direct our musical journey because I owe everything to him. I just go where he takes me and give it my best shot. So, this rebirth is a fresh start. Exciting things ahead, especially in this Digital age of Music.

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