ENCORE FEATURE: The Story Behind Indie Music Artist I Belong To The Zoo
If there’s one word we could all agree when describing indie music artist I Belong To The Zoo’s songs—it’s heartbreaking.
His hit songs like Sana, Porter and Balang Araw are something we’d want to listen to as we cry ourselves to sleep or during those rainy nights with a cigarette in our hand. They all speak of unrequited love, making them relatable for millennials—no wonder fans are crying in every gig.
Folks, meet Argee Guerrero—the man behind I Belong To The Zoo’s hauntingly beautiful songs. Yes, he’s a solo indie music artist who also plays in his band, Tonight We Sleep. Read on to know more about him:
What’s the story behind “I belong to the zoo”?
I started performing acoustic solo shows way back in 2002 as myself. Nahirapan ako na ipromote yung sarili ko as Argee Guerrero dahil feeling ko ang yabang ko when I say “listen to MY music, hanapin mo lang Argee Guerrero.” So from then on, I used a monicker instead of my real name. Back then, Fireplace Letters pa yung solo project ko. Then I stopped when I focused on Tonight We Sleep.
I Belong to the Zoo came about around 2014. I wrote a couple of songs about feelings that I couldn’t share even to my closest friends. My initial plan was to just release anonymous songs as a form of an outlet for such feelings/events. I made some of my friends listen to it and from there, i got invited to play shows tapos nagtuloy tuloy na.I Belong to the Zoo yung name kasi madami akong insecurities siguro dahil narin sa mga nangaasar sakin. So in a way, parang inuunahan ko na yung mga haters or manglalait sakin na sana pakinggan nalang nila yung music sincerely instead of judging ibttz by how they see me.
How’s the solo experience compared to when you’re playing with your band Tonight We Sleep?
Syempre mas nakakakaba kasi mag-isa lang ako sa stage. Wala akong matignan kapag tumutugtog. Lahat rin ng sound, sakin manggagaling so mas dagdag yun sa pressure. Medyo mahirap rin when it comes to songwriting kasi wala ako mapagtanungan during the songwriting process. Kapag nagka writer’s block, either pipigain ko yung sarili ko for output or itatabi muna yung nasimulan na kanta.
What are your inspirations when writing your songs? Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
Most of my songs are from my own experiences. Some are stories from my friends then i just add a bit more to it to make it more personal. I find it hard to sing a song that doesn’t connect to me in any way.
What advice do you have for people who want to enter the indie music scene?
Just keep writing songs and keep practicing them. Also, stay humble and continue doing what makes you happy. It’s not a competition.
If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
The easy answer would probably be my beard but in all seriousness, I just want to be remembered as the guy who writes honest songs.
When asked what’s his favorite out of all his songs, it’s Porter. Though as of now, Sana tops the list as it’s the first Filipino song that he’s ever written. It’s undoubtedly the song that would make you ugly-cry especially through the part of “biglang nalaman ko, may hinihintay ka lang palang bumalik“—talk about the sad reacts from fans every time he plays it during his gigs.
Watch the official video here released only two weeks ago:
His previous album I Belong To The Zoo was released last year, check it out here:
And in case you’re wondering—yes, he’s planning to release another album before this year ends. The songs are already complete, just waiting for recording. Expect this indie music artist to tear our hearts out, again (but you know we’re all excited for it!).