Breaking the sound barrier

Published July 18, 2018, 9:32 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

These days, an artist with no online presence might as well be invisible.

Thankfully, talent management and video production house Sindikato is no stranger to all these platforms. With years of experience behind

Sindikato Management Chief Executive Officer Enzo Valdez (center) with his crew
Sindikato Management Chief Executive Officer Enzo Valdez (center) with his crew

them, they are trained to spot great talents for their roster – each complementing the others and not competing with them.

These are Sud, Callalily, Ben&Ben, Hulyo, Unit 406, Fighting River Blindness, and Fern.

In an interview with Bulletin Entertainment, Sindikato Management chief executive officer Enzo Valdez shared how their game plan works.

“We upload all of their videos on YouTube. If you’re a fan of Sud, you’ll also hear Ben&Ben songs. The tendency is their (Sud) fans will also become followers of Ben&Ben,” he related. “It’s a growing process and they help each other that way.”

Sindikato always puts on the table a year-long plan for each of their artists then they meet in the middle when necessary. The team only works behind the artists they believe deserve support.

“Number one for us when we look for artist is that they should be easy to get along with. They also should have the drive, the dream strong within,” he said.

He stressed that they do not force their talents to do what they want. Enzo proudly said Sindikato is pro-artist.

“We want to give opportunities to our talents and we let them use our platforms; we let them use the skill set of Sindikato to help them grow their craft. We believe in their abilities and we want them to spread their talent so that more people can appreciate their music,” he stated.

Sud vocalist and guitarist Sud Ballecer said they want to stay in the “middle.”


“We like to tap into underground indie ’cause it is our roots but at the same time, reach a bigger audience,” he said. “We could release a song that is meant for radio, for the mainstream audience. Then, at the same time, we can also release experimental music.”

He admitted that up to now, they still can’t believe their song “Sila,” released in late 2015, is still popular. It serves as good pressure to them to follow it up with a better track.

“What we are doing is that we just write songs that are very sincere. That’s what the listeners want because they relate to that,” he said.

Sud trusts that the audiences today are discerning.

“They’re like taste-makers,” he said.

They’ve already released the first two songs from their next album. These are “’Di Makatulog” and “Sana Bumalik.” They will soon launch another track, their first English song after three Tagalog tracks.

The other members of the band are bassist Raisa Racelis, drummer Jimbo Cuenco, saxophonist Carlos de la Fuente, keyboardist Kohl Aguilar, and lyricist-guitarist Jhay Ar Amado.

In a separate interview with Ben&Ben’s Poch Barretto and Patricia Lasaten talked about the challenges of being in a band with nine members.


One of these is fitting on stage considering each one has an instrument with him.
The other members are Miguel and Paolo Guico as vocalists-guitarists, Jam Villanueva as drummer, Agnes Reoma as bassist, Keifer Cabugao as violinist, and Toni Muñoz and Andrew de Pano as percussionists and backing vocals.

Prior to formation, the Guico brothers (then known as The Benjamins) were known for writing “Tinatangi” that won second runner-up and the Best Music Video prize at the PhilPop Music Festival 2016.

Patricia said changing the name is part of rebranding as an indie folk or folk pop band. They are now working on changing how they dress or look. They are open to using more indigenous musical instruments in the future as “it would be fun to experiment.”

What has Sindikato done for them, we asked.

“They helped us with our first music video. They helped us with contracts whenever we have deals with different brands or companies,” Patricia shared, adding that the management firm also helps them in negotiating deals.

“Especially with our schedule, we have a lot of things coming in and they help us manage our time. While, at the same time, they really make sure we have days that we can rest and that nothing is too much,” she noted.

She advises aspiring musicians to ask for help if they really need it.

“Help is always good. It’s always good to ask people who know the business.”

Poch added that more than the logistics of it all, it is important that the artists have a mutual understanding with the management team.

“A constant communication, understanding, a set direction for both is needed ’cause it should benefit both party and not just the other,” he said. “It’s a team that’s working together.”