Satchmi Stories: Jason Magbanua

We’ve all come to know him as one of the greatest wedding videographers in our country today. He is able to tell visually captivating and heart tugging stories in less than 5 minutes. Jason Magbanua is renowned all over for his craft but little do people know about his love for music (and his involvement with Satchmi history!) We even got to dig through his crates of vinyl and hang out on a repurposed bathtub couch.

“Vinyl has always been for me, at the time, a novelty, something nice to have but couldn’t afford, or something too cumbersome to be fully enjoyed for the music. Despite that, I’ve always been really interested in music. As in super, super, super into music!”

How did you start your vinyl collection?

When I was about 10 years old, my father was so into music. Every Sunday he would blast his Sansui sound system. The neighbors would complain but he didn’t mind and he would play his Harry Belafonte, his Ray Conniff, his salsa, his disco, his very extensive collection! At first it was a nuisance because it was so loud, and then we got into the groove of it. We lived in Taguig and at that time, in the 80s, there was a bit of impermanence there because, on an annual basis, there would be flooding, and so we would have to find somewhere else to stay. This was in my high school days. Vinyl didn’t have any sentimental value to my dad or to me because it would get washed out. So vinyl has always been for me, at the time, a novelty, something nice to have but couldn’t afford, or something too cumbersome to be fully enjoyed for the music. Despite that, I’ve always been really interested in music. As in super, super, super into music! I would watch live gigs and my internship was at a radio station – LA 105.9

As a DJ?

Whatever they asked me to do, but not like a student jock. LA 105.9 was one of the very first rock stations in Metro Manila. Even though I didn’t get airtime, that was where I first heard the Eraserheads’ first few demo tapes, “Pare Ko,” Wolfgang, Razorback, Cynthia Alexander, so basically everything! This was like the birth of the second golden age of OPM! I’d make copies of the tapes and bring them home to listen to. I had so many copies! So I’ve always been into music. I was also a DJ in Lucena and, with making wedding videos, I’d have to be abreast with music, be up to date. The only problem with weddings is that everything you listen to has to be happy! It has to be positive and I felt so lame because all I’d ever listen to were happy, love songs. When you’re a kid you’ve got Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, you were so mad at the world. In the end, it was necessary.

Then I met Edric (from Satchmi), and he was gonna get married a few years ago. This Edric guy was crazy! Super visionary, and I experienced this first hand, like, “What is this person talking about? Reviving vinyl and making it a lifestyle?” This guy really believes in it, and this was all forming the foundation of Satchmi while at the same time preparing for his wedding! He told me, “Jason! Go to Rockwell tent. We have a booth there called Satchmi! Pick out some records!” He gave me a Motorino Mk. I and all the records I chose were new: Jay-Z, Daft Punk, a rock album. After the Motorino, in less than 6 months I wanted to upgrade already! I used to have an all brand new expensive set up but ended up selling it for secondhand equipment that I am really happy with right now and all for under P20,000! A lot of my first records were from online, from Satchmi, and then because of Google you find out they have more in Cubao and Makati, too.

“The only problem with weddings is that everything you listen to has to be happy! It has to be positive and I felt so lame because all I’d ever listen to were happy, love songs. When you’re a kid you’ve got Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, you were so mad at the world. In the end, it was necessary.”

How many records do you have now?

Lost count. Not even counting. I have a couple more crates inside.

How often do you usually buy?

I binge, so around 3 or 4 at a time. At first, as a collector, you just want to keep buying, but that’s a bad habit because you won’t be able to listen to all. As much as I can right now, I pick 1 or 2 records listen to the hell out of them.

What’s the record you’re most proud of that you have?

You know, I’m a 90s kid so the best music for me is really from the 90s. I have a couple of records like the re-issue of The Score you know, Lauryn Hill! Really well-made record.

Have you ever used a hip-hop song in one of your wedding videos?

Yes! It’s been a while though. Usually there are break beats I’m looking for like when I want something really funky so I have a couple saved up in my mind. You really have to push what you can and can’t do.

“You really have to push what you can and can’t do.”

What’s a song you’re so sick of right now?

[That song from] Ed Sheeran!

Why are your records outside (your house)?

I enjoy my music more outside. It’s more relaxing especially if it’s early morning or late at night. The sunset is there, too! I mean, the view is a building but it’s there. The colors are there, at least. In a sense you may judge me because it seems like I’m not taking care of my records enough, but it’s not there for me to keep. It’s there for me to listen to on a daily basis. If I’m gone for extended periods of time, then I just cover it up and keep it away from dust. For the most part it’s pretty protected from the elements.

What’s a record that you don’t have yet, that you need to have?

Belly and the Cocteau Twins! I want to have more old 4AD pressings.

Do you remember your first memory of music? Like what song or artist really got you into music?

It has to be, as far as I can remember, LS FM, Jon Bon Jovi.

Do you have any records of Bon Jovi?

None.

Do you have any records that you particularly love listening to?

Tycho and for a time, Daughter, too!

“I appreciate pop, I can get behind a good Justin Bieber song but I’d prefer less known music for my clients. I want zero or little to no airplay, and that song will just be for them since I don’t repeat songs.”

How have your records, or music in general, helped influence your work?

The kind of music I listen to, for the longest time is non-pop. I appreciate pop, I can get behind a good Justin Bieber song but I’d prefer less known music for my clients. I want zero or little to no airplay, and that song will just be for them since I don’t repeat songs.

What if they really want this particular song?

As a person who’s been doing this for a long time, I’m going to manage it. If they tell me, “Eto kasi yung nag-play nung proposal niya eh,” that’s up to me! When I get a feel of what they like, if they want Ed Sheeran, I feel that they want something super romantic, a good melody, overtly romantic lyrics that’s all love, love, love, I can find something else for them.

Since you work with both visuals and music, do you have any music directors that you are inspired by?

Yeah! At the time, there were the likes of Guy Ritchie and Spike Jonze. It wasn’t a direct influence but you could see they had interesting techniques so in that way they were an influence to me.

Do you plan to branch out?

I do! Not on a regular basis, but then if I have musician friends who call out, and my schedule is free, then that’s no problem! One of the first music videos that I did was for Sandwich, it was for “Lakad” and in that first foray we actually won Myx’s People’s Choice! Recently—it was only a month ago, I think—somebody tweeted that the music video is really similar to the Foo Fighters’ music video but we were ahead to make that video!

What about OSTs? Best soundtrack?

My soundtracks are digital: Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Atticus.

“I go a lot by feel. You know those stupid sticker blurbs on the upper right hand? Even with CDs, it’s the same!”

Was there a record that you got just because it seemed interesting but you had no idea what it was?

Ah yes! I go a lot by feel. You know those stupid sticker blurbs on the upper right hand? Even with CDs, it’s the same! It reads, “Made by the producer of so and so” and that really works on me! Before it was so cheap! If it was a tape, it was P120. If it’s a CD it’s 500 pesos and I would get affected, “ah okay siguro ‘to!” With vinyl, I’m the same way! I’m very impressionable.

Do you play an instrument?

No. That’s why I think I love music so much because I don’t know anything! Even with a guitar, no chords at all! It’s so frustrating.

What band have you seen live, and they sound the same way on record?

More than the record, Sigur Ros! I watched them in Hong Kong, full set. You can’t figure out whether to close your eyes to feel the music or open them because it’s such a visual show! With the projection and the shadow play, it was like magic. It wasn’t an arena so it was more intimate. This was 2-3 years ago.

Do you usually get a record when you travel?

Yes! Especially if it’s Europe, like when I went to Munich. You look for stuff, and sometimes you don’t know what you’re gonna find. It’s easy to find new records, but when you see something half-priced or rare, it’s such a thrill.

“Germany would be #1!”

So where would you recommend travellers who are also vinyl enthusiasts to go?

Germany would be #1! In the US, we went out of our way to go to Brooklyn to go to Rough Trade. Oh my god! Three floors, four floors!

Why Germany?

They have a lot of pressings that are really nice and are specifically from there.

Has your record collection influenced other people to start collecting as well?

Yeah! It’s hard not to be influenced by it.

Are you a fan of Kanye?

A bit, yes. My girlfriend’s kids are so into hip-hop, and they influence me. I listen to a different kind of hip-hop but I know how to appreciate it, just not continuous listening.

“What you buy should be something you know you will listen to for the longest time.”

Do your kids mess around with your collection too?

They weren’t allowed to before because they were too young, but now I taught them how to load records so they can now.

What’s a genre that you don’t understand?

Frankly, Jazz. I’ve been more open to it in recent years compared to before, maybe because I wasn’t exposed to good Jazz. But I can’t get onboard free flowing Jazz.

What would be your advice to vinyl newbies?

Vinyl is expensive. So you should be judicious in buying. What you buy should be something you know you will listen to for the longest time. Not because it’s at the Top 50 for the moment or you’re just into that genre right now. It really has to be worth it.

Watch a quick video of Jason’s “Top 5 + 1 Wedding Tracks/Songs on Vinyl”

Photographed by MV Isip
Video by MV Isip
Interview by Reena Mesias and Patricia Armamento
Words by Patricia Armamento

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