Looking to take a fresh hit from the local music scene? Say no more—join alt rock band Fugu Musk for their “Stay Awake” EP Launch on October 13 at Mow’s! We caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist Raf de los Reyes for a quick Q&A.
Q: What in the world does “Fugu Musk” actually mean?
Raf: “Fugu Musk”, as a name actually came from the drummer who was with me when I took the effort to start a band, and had jam sessions with friends in high school. He was watching Megamind one day, and he saw the minion with a fishbowl head. He noted it looked like a pufferfish inside a perfume bottle. On the way home, he passed by a Japanese restaurant that served “Fugu,” which is Japanese for pufferfish. Fugu Musk literally means Pufferfish Perfume. How he decided “Fugu Musk,” would be a band name escapes me. However, I thought it sounded weird, but it had sort of a kick to it. I feel like that’s what I wanted to be reflected in the music.
Q: How did you guys end up getting together?
Raf: Fugu Musk started out with jam sessions back in 2010. I remember the first time I met with my musician friends to jam along was October 1, 2010. Eventually people lost interest, except for me. I looked around to find band members, which eventually led me to ask my best friend, Riggs Chanco and his brother Rodge to play bass and drums respectively. We played a few school gigs here and there, and eventually we got Kyle Arandia, a second guitarist to join the band. We’ve been that for a couple of years, and in 2015, Kyle left the band to focus on academics. It’s been me, Riggs, and Rodge ever since.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations for your “Stay Awake” EP?
Raf: I feel like “Stay Awake” was influenced by a different number of bands. When I make a song or when I’m looking for inspiration, I make a playlist for myself to listen to while I walk around the streets during late nights. Some bands or artists I listen to during these late night walks include Brand New, Green Day, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, The Cure, Eraserheads, R.E.M, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Bamboo, Muse, Oasis, Blur, Cueshe, and Royal Blood, to name a few. I don’t usually try to go for a specific sound, but I try to evoke the same emotions that I get when I listen to these bands in the music. I feel like it’s always good to try and stick to one’s roots. I feel like in Stay Awake, I succeeded in some regard.
As for the lyrics, I get inspiration from films. Freshman, I like to think, is a fictional character I created. The song is about growing up and adjusting to physical changes, and how young people are out there trying to get laid, or trying to be social butterflies, or to be popular. I thought of The Geek from “Sixteen Candles” when I was writing this song. A lot of the lyrics were also influenced by real life experiences. There are experiences of obsession, loss, existential terror, acceptance of one’s mortality, and social-anxiety. I feel like this EP is sort of a diary. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q: 2017 is coming to a quick close. What else can we expect from Fugu Musk before ringing in the new year?
Raf: What I always thought was that an EP was always a precursor to an album. I’m usually the type to take things one step at a time, so right now the band is mostly going to focus on the EP Launch itself. We are actually crowdfunding to set it up.
It’s scary to put your own music out there and to get support. Being an independent musician with little to no income, it’s huge risk setting up this EP launch through crowdfunding. That being said, there is more music to come after the EP launch. Through crowdfunding, we hope to reach a larger audience.
Personally, I would love to record an album. Over the years, I’ve been writing enough songs for about three of them. I’m itching to get the music out there as fast as I can. However it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to do that. Part of the reason why the EP was self-produced was because we couldn’t really afford recording time in the studio. I wouldn’t want to waste a studio owner, or a producer’s time if they’re not gonna be able to earn a living out of it. We had to make do with what we had for the EP. That’s why the main priority of the band would really be to reach a larger audience within our means.
I feel like that’s important to me, to be able to communicate with an audience, to be able to connect and evoke an emotional response from them. In my opinion, that’s what music is about, aside from the craft and all that. Hopefully this launch will be able to give the band a chance to perform more often. Getting ourselves out there, to be able to connect with people, was always a priority. The future of the band, I like to think, would always revolve around that.
Drop by Mow’s on October 13 to catch Fugu Musk play alongside Yurei, Kaleidoscope Eyes, Chairman Mouse, Devices, and Perkywasted! Entrance is at P200 with a free drink. See you there!