Pepe Lozano is a highly creative musician who has made significant contributions to the music industry with his unique compositions and recordings. He has been a part of several bands, including Fine Incessant Needles (f.i.n.), Weedisneys, and The Bloomfields, and his songwriting process is always a treat and exhilarating. Pepe’s favorite way to relax is with his guitar, and he loves to write words and then try to accompany them with singing and rhythm when they come to him with perfect timing.
Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Pepe to discuss his experiences in creating music with his earlier bands as well as his songwriting process, creative inspirations, and future goals. Join us as we learn more about Pepe’s creativity as a musician and his contributions to the music industry.
It’s great to have you here, Pepe! Can you tell us about your experiences creating music with your earlier bands like Fin, Weedisneys, and The Bloomfields?
Fine Incessant Needles or f.i.n., recognized as Fine Instant Noodles, in one of our bar gigs in the Philippines in front of University of Santo Tomas, Manila. When I introduced Fine Incessant Needles in front of the crowd, one of the audience members said, “What?! Fine Instant Noodles.” Funny as it seems, we then used that name ever since. But the truth still remains. The real name is Fine Incessant Needles. The name came from an English literature subject, the Araby, from my high school alma mater, La Salle Green Hills, Mandaluyong, Philippines.
For me, f.i.n. started as pure as it can be. My vivid recollection of one of my compositions was when I dreamt of the song one night and all the chords, melodies, rhythm, lyrics, and tempo came rushing in my brain. That song is called “Muzzy Star” – just like the rock band Mazzy Star but with a “U” instead of an “A.” So, when i woke up the following morning, I picked up my guitar and played the song out of my head and did it exactly the way I envisioned. True enough, the music playing inside my head wasn’t an illusion. Up to now, when I think of that particular song, it always puts a smile on my face. I just can’t believe what a mind can do – it’s a very powerful blueprint for making a song. Anything is possible.
f.i.n. for me is the start of innocence and experiences brought about my foundation in high school with friends. It’s love – an incredible unknown waiting to be discovered. For me, every song I created is a beautiful masterpiece. It has the right meaning and timing for that particular experience, whether it be romance or just plain, self-explanatory story-telling. There’s no telling what the future holds in terms of how lyrical or expressive the words you put in the melody are. There will always be good ones. Everything is a joy.
Every syllable of how you sing it will still be forming a puzzle at the end of a complete song. It’s like an inevitability of the phrasings of how you coordinate the guitar parts and licks of an element that was put in a full mature song where you can surely feel its energy given in between choruses and verses.
Guitar solos for me are always a delight. I don’t have to be technical about it. I just have to know how to feel about the moment when the time comes, then it will happen. That indication that part of these songs is moving you in a special way, that is when it’s completing the song. The spark is always there when the voice and harmony are complementing the instrument’s orchestration. There is a heavy influence of blues for sure in my songs, especially the guitar solos, recall intros, and melodies.
Ever since high school, I have been heavily influenced by the Renaissance period and Shakespearean way of writing the words – just pure love. For me, freestyling the lyrics is one way of experimenting the boundaries of making a song. It can be rhyming out or not. Whichever feels like coming down on a blank paper music sheet can be considered art when writing words. As I’ve said, there are no boundaries in writing music. So, whatever comes to mind, like humming or putting a certain feel of quirkiness, will eventually help. At the moment, for example, I am playing around with chords that I feel and think are unique and different. Eventually, I will make a distinct or pleasing sound to form a tune out of it. To make the story short, I really had an extraordinary out-of-body experience about working on songs in f.i.n. – just pure fun.
I remember creating this song while I was on a cruise ship across the ocean going to Cagayan de Oro, an island in the southern part of the Philippines. There, “Reef” was materialized. On the day of the said event, we played it. We were so nervous because this song is so new, but we definitely had fun. We also soundchecked the song “Dream Slam.” On the other hand, Weedisneys came to life out of boredom and outer space, metaphorically speaking, still heavily influenced by 90s era and 2000s indie-twee-pop elements. Ambient sound, shoegaze harmonizing guitar-driven downward-stroke-strumming accompaniment with heavenly-vocals, its famously ear-candy songs are a delicious delight for dream pop enthusiasts and can be melancholically poetic. It has this passionate, honest-to-goodness, strange sexy vibe into it. When I say queer, it meant it was just weirdly blended there and came out with a sense of purpose for a certain person to appreciate. That’s what I love about it. It is really unexpected. How we play it live is another thing. It adds a lot of flavor into it.
Going back to creating music, I felt at that moment the joy of letting it happen before my senses. It is pure feeling – the necessity of God’s love, beauty, nature, memories, emotions, and dreams coming to life through music. I am just trying to make lyrics first, then the structure of the song just came naturally in building most of the EP, “Your Clinic.” Just like f.i.n.’s “Hey, Popstar!” we submitted those EPs to a radio station in our motherland. People reacted positively about my music. It felt really satisfying as we were interviewed while playing our songs. Eventually, we got invited to play around the country. It was really an ecstatic time, truly wonderful. Going online is the way to make your music be heard by people all around the world. What a feeling to be recognized and be respected by fellow musicians. I think that is the ultimate priceless dream.
The Bloomfields came together effortlessly just the way I like it with previous bands, f.i.n. and Weedisneys. Our combined skills make our creation in music easier, a one-of-a-kind mix in character that gets deeper with time and age. Nostalgic indeed. We were heavily influenced by the 60s and kickass attitude. When we arrange a vocal harmony, and we see to it that we already perfected the ringing sound that recalls everything in your brain. And that should be the exact sound we convey live. Everyone is always welcome to contribute an original song. My guitar solos have a way of expressing the delivery to every song in our album. We even composed a pure Filipino (Tagalog) and Taglish (Tagalog/English) song for this band because we had to fulfill the demand of the masses.
Making a song in The Bloomfields is different from my other bands because we catered to a challenging time and we didn’t come from that era – we only fell in love with it. It is actually the advice of our parents. This is where the good stuff is. This is what everyone likes and loves. True enough when we played those songs live, people from all ages came together to hear it, even the late bloomers. Making music with my bandmates as The Bloomfields is a fun-filled learning experience. I will cherish it forever.
Bottom line is, in all of those bands where I made original songs, created marvelous memories, and instilled a broad spectrum of heightened awesome ideas, I know there is something magical and extraordinary that will always grow in us, especially on my part. I will cherish that time of triumph and tears and treasure every single moment I had with them whether it was making and enriching music or simply having a deep relationship with my friends and brothers. Also, I realized I have been bandmates with my brother, Gregorio Lozano (JJ) for a very long time. Ever since we materialized our dream of forming a band together, JJ was always there in f.i.n., Weedisneys, The Bloomfields, The BloomBrothers, and The Band of Brothers.
How would you describe your creative process when composing music?
It’s always a treat and is very exhilarating. It’s my favorite kind of time to relax with my guitar accompanying the voice. It doesn’t have to be lyrics first or the guitar first. It can be vice-versa or both at the same time. For me, creating music is my first love. It just came out naturally. That is what I love about composing.
Can you walk us through your songwriting process, from start to finish?
As iIve said, It can start anywhere. I love to write words and then I try to accompany singing with my choice of rhythm. When it comes, it collides in perfect timing. So, again, it can also happen anytime in a day – It can happen early in the morning when it hits you like thunder. I never limit the chances of letting the juices out. It actually differs when you are pleasing the listeners or just pleasing yourself. Those are the dividing factors.
Of course, as an artist, you usually compose what is pleasing to yourself. Usually, there is a title and a theme, and you base it from there. Then you build up a sensible story. Eventually, do a structure to add color, you’ll put drama into it. But as I’ve said, these are ones you should consider if you want to make sense out of your composition. In my style, it is all purely coming from feeling and uniquely chosen words,like a canvas that you put an oil paste to make a creation that expresses itself without even thinking about it. That is the power of self-expression, and that’s when music comes in to express it for me. It is endless, infinite. And for me, I am sure you can’t always express your feelings through words. And that is why music is so extraordinary. It speaks for itself. I like it like that.
Can you tell us about a song you’ve written that has a special meaning to you?
I really appreciate this question. I love it! “Annako” is a song written for my wife and my first born still in her womb. It is a time of joy for me becoming a father to them. This song was recorded at home. It’s a very special and intimate song for me. I actually sang this song in front of my wife before a show.
Can you describe the role that your guitar playing and singing play in your compositions?
They are very important. My guitar playing and singing are my character that is conveyed in every composition I make.
How do you incorporate your unique style and voice into your music?
I just let my heart come to my mind. You have to leave your comfort zone and experiment with chords, tempos, and structures of a song. If you are used to making a song that starts with an intro, for example, try entering with a bridge or an acapella. Or if you want to end a song with a common all instruments with voices in it, try another way to end a song with an instrument first then end it with an intense vocal with just the harmony. There could be fade-outs that can go fading gradually, but this time, try it with fading out then backing up again then end it without a fade. I actually did it in “Annako.” That song for me is phenomenal. There’s just nothing like it.
Can you share with us a recording that you are particularly proud of and why?
When we were in high school, f.i.n. did a recording, and this song came through a karaoke with two tapes so you can dub it again and again, just like a real recording. It isn’t your regular computer-type application, but the sound is great. Those two songs were “Miss S” and “Space Flower.” Also, f.i.n. did a recording in a semi-professional studio where we did four songs for an EP. After that, we submitted it right away to a radio station called NU 107. They have a segment in one of their weekly programs called “In The Raw” where all the indie unsigned bands are born. We had a decent amount of requests and regular airplays there, and while our songs were played live, we got interviewed too, right then and there. It was really an unforgettable and wonderful time.
How has your music evolved over the years, and what do you hope to achieve with your future compositions and recordings?
I think my music is diverse. I can make my own experimental song anytime. I can make an instrumental song for a music video or documentary – which I already did. I can make a song from the 90s down to the 60s as well as new-found gems in the bag, figuratively speaking. For me, the future is now – the present, which is a glorious time, and I’m thankful I am living it. To make music for life is the key to infinite possibilities. I am sure we’ll collaborate with other known and undiscovered artists. The important thing is continuously creating music – learning from it and evolving from it.