Aside from postponing his marriage to KZ Tandingan to next year, singer TJ Monterde admitted that one of their biggest plans this year was also derailed by the announcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine last March. “We were supposed to go to a school in the US, it’s called the Berklee College of Music, kami ni KZ. Maraming nag-aral dun na mga musicians na nandito sa Philippines pero kami online workshop lang. So yun yung parang plans talaga na sayang kasi excited na kami. I was supposed to be in songwriting tapos siya Jazz yung kinuha niya na class so excited na kami for that season pero hindi natuloy. Yun yung online classes na tini-take ko ngayon. Pero iba pa rin yung alam mo na makakausap mo yung mga tao, the culture and everything,” he shared.
TJ said that he and KZ planned some performances abroad after taking their course in the US, but everything had to be cancelled because of the current situation. “May mga international tour dapat kami ng gagawin na hindi na tuloy because of this. career-wise yun yung mga hindi nangyari. Siguro isang bagay pa na hindi muna matutuloy ngayon is mga recordings sa recording studios na staple kasi when you record songs, you go to a studio, you have a vocal coach, an arranger, you have somebody on the mixer. Pero ngayon hindi siya possible kasi nga social distancing and hindi open yung studios,” he explained.
TJ initially started writing his latest single “Puhon” two years ago but only finished it during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. The Ivory records artist said he did not expect to be recording everything on his own at home before its release last month. “With this song ‘Puhon’, naging experiment song din siya sa amin. Is it possible to actually release a song that is Spotify quality but recorded from home? And nangyari naman. Kaya naman pala. So yun yung isa sa naging challenge ng song na ’to na bigay ko sa arranger, ibabalik niya sa akin may areglo, tapos kakantahan ko ng unang draft ko, ibibigay ko sa vocal coach, ibabalik niya sa akin ng merong revisions tapos gagawin ko ulit. So nagawa naman namin na pasa pasa lang. Technology lang talaga,” he said.
The whole recording process took just two weeks according to TJ. “Yung advantage is madaming oras lahat. So si arranger, marami siyang time kasi nasa bahay lang siya eh so mabilis din siya makapag-arrange. Si vocal coach pagpasa ko sa kanya, that same night nabigay niya sa akin yung first revision kasi wala naman siyang ginagawa. Ako rin wala akong ginagawa. The challenge lang was when the internet connection for everybody, kasi malalaki yung files. Pangalawa is setting everything up kasi you can’t just put a mic here and record kasi yung acoustics so kailangan mo ng maraming kumot, maraming unan, maraming damit na nakaikot sa microphone para maganda yung acoustics mo then you can record. Yun lang yung naging challenge siguro, yung pag set up. DIY talaga tapos USB mic lang na nabibili sa mall na mura, mga 5k na mic ganun puwede na yun. Kaya naman basta magaling lang yung mag-ma-master,” he added.