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Funk band Flu’s ‘Tito tunes’ are here to make you dance

By Neal Corpus Published Jan 30, 2020 6:00 am

When I first heard that there existed a local band called Flu I thought, “Whaat?” But when I heard that they were a funk band, I became curious. There aren’t a lot of those on the local scene, to say the least, and definitely not a lot that describe their music as “Titotunes.”

Flu, composed of Dieter Bautista (bass), Luigi Aganinta (guitar), John Rae Rebano (guitar), Randall Enriquez (drums) and Deus Vergel de Dios (vocals), is the first band of newly minted music label Funky Records.

The genesis of the band stems from a thesis requirement and evolved almost like a happy accident. All of the guys are music production graduates (except for Deus, who is an industrial designer), so they really have a sharp ear for what sounds good, which really shows up in their music.

To date, the band has released three singles:Fine Day, Get Downand’93, all of which have a fully-realized funk sound that’s perfect for a Sunday morning coffee, a breezy rooftop evening with friends, or a cruise around town late at night — either way, you’re going to find yourself shimmying a little bit while listening.

On the other hand, their fourth single, which launches today, is a little bit slower and more emotional. TitledIs This the Love That I Need?, the track talks about modern love and relationships, and whether or not what you see in the movies is what you really want. We sat down with the band to talk about their new single, their influences, and what’s coming up for them this year.

YOUNG STAR: What’s your songwriting process like? Is it led by one member, or do you guys all chip in to complete songs?

DIETER BAUTISTA:For the album, I wrote most of the tunes, and co-wrote some of them with the other members. I give a demo, they listen to it overnight, and then at the next rehearsal, we jump right into it. See what feels right, see what’s lacking, and then we pitch in our ideas and then it evolves into a new thing. That’s basically how it goes.

Formed just last year, Flu (composed of John Rae Rebano, Dieter Bautista, Deus Vergel de Dios, Randall Enriquez, and Luigi Aganinta) is in for an exciting 2020.

Tell me about your new singleIs This the Love That I Need?What’s the story behind the song? Did you also write it, Dieter?

It’s not a firsthand experience for the lyrics, but it’s mostly about, I guess, what you see in movies and what you hear from friends or people complaining about the modern dating scene. It’s mostly about feeling a conflict of wanting more from someone, but realizing or accepting that that’s just as good as it gets. That’s what the song revolves around.

How would you describe the sound of Flu, and from where do you draw your references?

LUIGI AGANINTA:Siguro meron kaming magkakaparehas na mga gustong tunog,like‘yung tunog nga namin, tinatawag naming “titotunes,” kasi ‘yunginfluenceng mga pinapankinggan namin, tunog ng mga naririnig namin sa mga tatay namin, sa mga lumangrecordsna naririnig namin.Mostly‘yun ‘yung mgainfluencenamin, and nai-incorporatesiya sa mga tunog na ginagawa namin ngayon.

“We try to make our own song based on the emotion, the style… until we change a few things, then it becomes our own at the end of it.”

DEUS VERGEL DE DIOS:Nakuha ko yunginfluencesko sa tito ko. Tapossincesabay kami nunghigh schoolpa lang, sabay din kami nag-growsatastengmusicni Luigi.

DIETER:Lahat naman ng parents namin, hindimusicians,so walangbias‘yung pinarinig samin(growing up),walang “Ah, eto magaling mag-gitara, grabe ‘yungvocal rangenito — ‘yungbottomlinelang nungmusic is that it feels good.Mapapa-smileka, or if‘yungintentionmoisumiyak, iiyak ka. It’s grounded by‘yungemotionna nadadala nungsongs.‘Yun yunggoaldin namin sa lahat ngsongsnamin.

Do these references directly influence the music that you make?

DIETER:Yes, definitely,kasia lot of the songs — well, one example is this single, but also on the album — ismay mgafavorite songskami, minsanfor two weeksmayfavorite song kami as a group, and thenija-jam namin. We’ll play it, and suddenly,mamaya parang, “Oh, it’d be nice ifmay sarili tayong… not version, but may songtayo na parang ganito rin.” So we try to make our own song based on the emotion, the style… until we change a few things, then it becomes our own at the end of it.

You guys are just about to hit 100,000 streams for your first single Fine Day, and you’ll also be playing in Wanderland come March. How are you guys feeling about all of this?

While Flu describes their sound as “tito tunes,” the band’s songs definitely aren’t snoozers — in fact, they might just get you to dance.

LUIGI:Ako, ‘di ko in-expect.Nung nagsimula ako mag-gitara and gumawa ngmusic…gusto ko lang tumugtog. ‘Di ko in-expectna may mga tao na makikinig at matutuwa, ormay mafi-feel at least,kung ano mangemotion‘yun, kung malungkot or masisiyahan sila. Pero ‘yungfactna naaapektuhan, masaya ako para dun.

DIETER:I thinklahat naman tayo nag-startsa dahil mahilig lang kumanta, mag-gitara, mag-bass,mag-drums. And‘yung magandangpart is,kaya tumutuloy kasi ganun pa rin, gusto lang namin tumugtog. Nadala lang na mayopportunityna pwede ring ma-sustain ‘yunglivingnamin. Parangbonus part na lang ‘yun. Pero ‘yungmain part is the fact na nakakasulat kami, nakaka-jam, and play for people live. ‘Yun yungfun parteh.

Dieter, your full album is dropping pretty soon. What can listeners expect from it? Are there any surprises?

I think there are a few songs there that don’t sound like the first four singles somedyosurprise attacksiguro ‘yun. Perothe others, they feel just as good as the rest.

Stream Flu’s latest single Is This the Love That I Need? on Spotify, and follow them at @followflu on Instagram.

Photos by Renzo Navarro