"If you want to have an idea of what the potential future of Pinoy pop music is, as far as I'm concerned, Autotelic should be right up there."
- Francis "Brew" Reyes
During the summer of 2012, Neil Tin, the lead guitarist of the post-punk band The Naked Lights, contacted Josh Villena, lead guitarist of the alternative rock bands Maya’s Anklet and Peryodiko, and told him about his plan of forming a heavier-sounding rock band. The plan was put on hold until the latter part of the year, when Gep Macadaeg, the drummer of the post-punk band Lip Service, told Neil about his plan of joining or forming another band. Together with Neil’s friend and bassist Timothy “Pabs” Vargas, who was then new to a punk band called Nouveau, the four decided to meet and discuss this project. Sometime in August 2012, they met together and discussed the plan.
During that initial meeting, they found a common interest in and appreciation for different influences, mainly dance music, Japanese pop culture and a desire to create a lasting impact on Filipino music. With these in mind, they agreed that they wanted to write and play songs that will be appreciated across the mainstream and independent music scenes and deliver something fresh to listeners. To attain that goal, they shunned the original plan of making heavier music and instead planned to make songs that will not only have a positive and exciting vibe through the conventions of electronic dance music, but also convey a sense of being truly Filipino in theme and orientation.
For the band’s initial rehearsal, Josh brought and sang his demo songs for the then-unnamed band to play with. From the runthrough of the first song, it became obvious to the band that they indeed shared the same stylings, influences, and direction; simply put, it just all fit together. However, in order to complete their sound and meet their goal, they still had to find a keyboardist who is well-versed in electronic music.
After rifling through and contacting artists from the Filipino electronic dance music scene, the band sought recommendations from Eric Tubon, who was one of the founding members of the Electronica Manila artist collective and synthesist of the progressive rock band Fuseboxx. Upon learning the band’s objective, Eric offered himself to be part of the group, and the band set a rehearsal for trial. During the initial rehearsal, which was also the first time the five met together, the band was very pleased to hear the rehearsed songs getting embellished by Eric’s much-desired synth section. The band’s voice was born.
In between rehearsals, the members had several online sessions discussing their future plans, fine-tuning the band’s sound, sharing musical influences, and finalizing the band name. After exhausting brainstorming sessions, the band agreed upon having the name Autotelic, which means doing productive things for the sake of self-fulfillment and internal reward as opposed to worldly and external motivation.
When Autotelic deemed that their material was fit for listening, they contacted people from the local gig circuit for opportunities to play in local music venues. A few rough gigs later, the band was happy to find out that the listeners appreciated their songs and recommended their music to other people. On one particular gig, under Paul Pajo’s Soniclogo.tv Jumpstart event at Route 196, Bel Certeza, videographer of local music website Pindie Music, recorded the band’s live set and later posted it on YouTube. This particular video recording piqued the interest of more listeners, and the band got more motivated in honing and refining their performances. In just a few months, Autotelic was able to play in more notable gigs and performances.
As Autotelic performed their songs in more gigs and rehearsals, the songs grew and evolved. The songs were no longer bound by the limits of electronic dance music, as the members contributed more elements of alternative pop, post-punk, progressive rock, and world music to the tracks. While the band built each song with their individual stylings, they still retained the essence of electronica at the core of their material.
On early 2013, Autotelic went to Point Bee studios to begin recording their self-titled three track EP. All-Filipino in lyrics and theme, the EP contains three songs that capture some facets that the band offers – the dance track “Misteryoso”, the progressive rock and R&B-tinged “Mulat”, and the world music inspired “Balik”. The band released the EP on April 20, 2013 at Route 196.
The EP’s tracks caught the attention of an even wider audience, and the band went on to become more known in the local music community. PULP Magazine featured the band in the Homegrown artist feature of their August 2013 issue, and in September, they were featured by Radio Republic as the Filipino music website's Artist of the Month.
On November 2013, Autotelic was chosen to become the front act for Australian indie rock band Last Dinosaurs at Black Market. They were also selected as one of the finalists for the Wanderland band competition and Jack Daniel’s JD Set.
By the end of 2013, Autotelic was featured in several year-end lists, including Radio Republic’s Picks of 2013, 8list.ph’s 8 Best Local Indie Acts of 2013, and Vandals on the Wall’s Top 20 Filipino EPs of 2013 and Top 100 Filipino Tracks of 2013. The band also managed to get airplay for their tracks “Misteryoso” and “Balik” at Jam 88.3’s Fresh Filter program. On February 2014, they played at the UP Diliman Fair for the first time alongside popular bands. They were also featured in the February 2014 issue of FHM Philippines as the Rising Band of 2014.
Recently, Autotelic released the music video for “Misteryoso”, which was directed by renowned director Enzo Valdez of Sindikato Productions. The band launched the video at Route 196 on February 11. They are now currently busy recording their debut full-length album, which will be released this summer.
Autotelic is Josh Villena (guitars and vocals) | Neil Tin (guitars) | Eric Tubon (keyboards and synthesizers) | Timothy “Pabs” Vargas (bass guitar) | Gep Macadaeg (drums)