The beginnings of a melody echoed its way onto the wee hours of the morning. Louder and louder it grew, booming defiantly in the silence that followed. The plight of the drums, the sound of it. The houses next door groaned under its weight, finding the beginnings of a melody as mere noise. But the little drummer boy carried on, the drums and his heartbeat synchronized in its beating.

Then, the little drummer boy delved further into musical pursuits. His years in school became a rhythmic blur, the band scene becoming his oyster. It was punk one day, and indie the next. He birthed another musical persona in the form of CocoLulu. Then out came Spazzkid. But these days, he is known by way of Mark Redito.

Illustration by Bryan Sochayseng

How he got here was a journey to self-discovery. It was one he traversed and explored out of curiosity. The decision to peruse the electronic music scene was hinged on realization, “A band set-up wasn’t an ideal fit for me because I had strong opinions and it takes a special person to really work with me on such a set-up. That actually pushed me to explore. How would it look like if I made music by myself?  That’s when I began learning software, recording myself, and I enjoyed it”. He was then inducted into Manila’s night life, far from being a fixture but gaining momentum all the same.

“Maybe I can make this work? Maybe I can pursue this! How about I give myself a year or two to see where it goes.” This was his train of thought circa ’06-’07. This was a man on a mission. This was someone who had a certain pursuit in mind; he was determined to find his true musical form. The search led him to hone his craft and study the discipline Stateside. Mark finished the program with a much affirmed stance. He knew it then, and more so now. Music was something his heart beats for.

Spazzkid made his rounds on the World Wide Web, releasing tracks via SoundCloud. Canadian producer, Ryan Hemsworth, took notice and the next thing he knew, he was performing his first live show in L.A. Then, came the gigs he was booked for night after night. His track list expanded and so did his fanbase. He found himself touring in different cities, first in the U.S. and then in Asia. He looks back at where life has taken him with much fondness, “A highly memorable experience for me was when I was on tour with Giraffage two years ago. We played at a music hall which could fill around a thousand people. It was one of the biggest shows that I played. Just seeing this sea of people, it was beyond my wildest dreams. Just all these people to be cheering for you and dancing with you, and having a great time. It was a very humbling experience.”

Perhaps his strongest suit is his uncanny ability to make people dance. His previous monicker’s sound has been described as a sub-genre of new electronic music, a “lush glistening brand of synth-heavy arrangements”, as one would put it. Mark Redito credits his groovy tunes to several sources, attributing most of it to nostalgia. His playful aesthetic comes from growing up in an environment of video games, the soundtracks of which having seeped into his consciousness.  His music is also heavily characterized by Japanese pop with a nod to producer, Yasutaka Nakata. What’s surprising, however, is where he draws his inspiration from in the local pop culture scene. As it turns out, Eraserheads, the four-piece band that defined an era in Filipino music, played a huge part in his development as a solo artist. You don’t hear it in his musical make-up but the spirit it stands for is definitely there, “They’re the shit that I listen to, and I would say that they’ve been a big part in terms of songwriting and melody construction. It started from Ultramagneticpop which was very raw. It’s not the best quality but it’s full of energy. The pop songwriting on that one was really amazing”.

The tunes he puts out are by-products of a very systematic process. It’s borne of a healthy amount of discipline, a routine he doesn’t bother falling under. When he’s not on tour, he blocks off 2 to 3 hours on his daily to write music, explore certain sounds, make some loops, and experiment with his software. The man’s creativity is harnessed by the music he consumes. This is his unapologetic take—the method to his madness, if you may. This habit-forming foray of his has bid him well. This has blessed him with a resplendent growth into his artistry. There’s a fine line between CocoLulu and Spazzkid, and a definite distinction to the current namesake he carries. His sound palette has noticeably evolved into an artist finding his identity to one who’s grown confident into his own skin. The common thread then lies in the recurring theme he has consciously sought to put out with his melodies, “It’s always been about acceptance and positivity and hope. My music seeks to give you a respite from whatever baggage you’re carrying for the moment. It gives you the license to let loose and forget about your worries for a bit.”

If there’s been a struggle to his craft, he doesn’t show it. Mark Redito is the kind of person who takes matters into his own hands. He shares how representing a minority has been a challenge in the context of America’s electronic scene. Nonetheless, he chooses to view it in the positive light of things. Among his noteworthy undertakings is Liquido, a regular party he hosts in L.A. The cause behind it is close to Redito’s heart. It’s a space where diversity is championed and features people of color, women, and LGBTQ line-ups among others. This year, he’s looking into branching Liquido outside its party stance, to make it more akin to a lifestyle. We hear there’s also a bunch of visual collaborations with filmmakers on the horizon. And definitely a new album in the works after the Asian leg of his tour.

His young thriving musical persona is not one that can be doubted. And his slow steady climb to the top makes the success that comes with it a whole lot sweeter. His body of work speaks for himself and so does his learnings, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. I think that people don’t need to stress out too much about where they are in their creative pursuits or careers in that the process is there. Sometimes, you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but I want to encourage you to stick to it. To be unique, to stand apart from the crowd because it’s the only way people will remember you. Just by being you.”

That night, as I was browsing my social media feeds, I came across him again. He was spinning his set in XX XX in Manila for his Neurotropical Tour 2017. Even through the screen, I could see how everyone was transfixed by his presence. He was making them throw their hands up in the air, whisking them away to the dance floor; a respite to their worries in true fashion. There’s no doubt about his rhythm, the way he was making people feel. This was Mark Redito in action.

And this, at long last, is his homecoming.