How One Click Straight Nabbed the Attention of a Filipino Music Icon
Originally published for STATUS Magazine, January 2019
Fueled by brotherhood and bonded by music, Offshore Records signees ONE CLICK STRAIGHT is changing the meaning of the age-old saying, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” with their debut album The Midnight Emotion.
Working with family is never seen as good advice, but One Click Straight proves that the best people to grind your passion with is family. The Filipino indie rock band composed of brothers Tim, Sam, and Toffer Marquez along with childhood friend Joel Cartera kicked off the band back in 2009 without knowing where it would take them in the next decade. “We couldn’t find the right mates to play and form a band with. We barely knew how to play our instruments when we started, but it felt right,” guitarist Sam recalls. “We just played ‘til we got to where we are now. Still the same old bregs.” Tim, the youngest of the Marquez brothers and the band’s drummer, puts their humble beginnings into simpler words: “Back in high school, we just really wanted to be cool.”
Coming from two tight-knit families allowed the four to grow up together. Their initial affinity for sports slowly turned into the arts thanks to musically-inclined parents, and with guitarist Joel enrolled in the same extracurricular classes, they never missed out on each other. “Our childhood was great. Being homeschooled our entire academic youth until college, we had more time to focus on what we wanted to do,” says Tim. “Our parents are really close friends. Back in the day, they enrolled us in piano classes. I’d like to say that’s where it all started—piano and classical music,” Joel follows. “Shoutout to teacher Joanne!”
As they began to master their instruments between the ages of 7 to 13, their music tastes remained in harmony with one another as the years went by. Moving forward from aimless jamming to curated songwriting in 2016 gave space for the band to release their debut EP Nostalgic the following year with rave reviews, but this was nothing more than a jumping-off point for bigger and better things. “During the Nostalgic era, we didn’t know what we were doing, to be honest,” Tim admits. “The difference with [The Midnight Emotion] is [that] we actually took time to make decent demos, [and] spent more time bleeding out lyrics and melodies. We jammed more for this record too; we really jammed til we were all on the same page.”
Taking a break from the hectic gig schedule, One Click Straight sat down with us to talk about what it’s really like to work with family, their newest album, and walking alongside the legendary Ely Buendia.
Some people say to never go into business with family. As a group with so much personal history, what’s your stance on this saying?
Tim: Personally, I believe that being a family is what really drives this band. It is why we’re still together despite everything that we went through. I will always believe that blood is thicker than water.
Sam: Well, we’re still here. I still and will consider these dudes as my brothers. It’s all good.
Toffer: Just keep it breezy and real. All will be well.
Joel: One thing I admire about the band is that we each put our individual strengths on the table. I feel like that’s one driving factor that helps us grow together. I believe it isn’t as much about whether you‘re working closely with family or friends or whatever, but about what each can contribute to make the business grow.
“I think sometimes being offended is part of the process, but it’s how each of us acknowledge the other person’s idea that really helps the band land on solutions.”
How do you guys land on a collective solution without personally offending each other?
Ti: I don’t think we land on a solution without offending each other. [laughs] Well, I’m not really sure. I guess there is this mutual respect with each other and we hear everyone out no matter what they have to say.
S: It’s all about the music. At the end of the day we’re four brothers on the same page, with the same dream and the same level of respect for each other. That’s what keeps everything professional and peaceful.
J: We don’t. [laughs] I think sometimes being offended is part of the process, but it’s how each of us acknowledge the other person’s idea that really helps the band land on solutions.
Let’s talk about your debut studio album The Midnight Emotion. How long was this album in the works?
S: We started writing and making demos around 2016. We did a short pre-album tour as well and we were recording and writing around that time. It took us around 6-7 months in the studio working on this. I’m proud of the album. I love it from the first to the last track.
“Everything on the album is a reflection of who we are now and who we were then. It’s about our lives and the sound was influenced by how we see life. The Midnight Emotion is a collage of our thoughts when we’re at our most vulnerable state.”
Your sound is a recollection of ‘80s synth pop mixed with modern day indie pop. As the album fuses your distinct sound with heart wrenching lyricism perfect for midnight drives, where did you get your lyrical and musical inspirations from?
Ti: Lyrically, I really get inspired by lines from films, poetry, or famous quotes from speeches or whatever line that speaks to me or that is honest. I listened to a lot of ‘80s [music] as well growing up and I guess it’s quite evident in the record, but we didn’t really talk about the direction for the sound of the album. We never really decided for the record to sound ‘80s. We just wanted to write and create the music that we wanted and maybe create a sound that we can call our own.
S: Everything on the album is a reflection of who we are now and who we were then. It’s about our lives and the sound was influenced by how we see life. The Midnight Emotion is a collage of our thoughts when we’re at our most vulnerable state.
“Prepare yourself for pain and struggle. Keep on playing and don’t think about what people will say. Be smart with band decisions and respect your bandmates, manager, crew and fans. They are your family.”
What advice would you give to starting bands who want to follow down your path?
Ti: It’s pretty cliché, I know, but just be yourself. Be honest with your music and remind yourself why you create.
S: Prepare yourself for pain and struggle. Keep on playing and don’t think about what people will say. Be smart with band decisions and respect your bandmates, manager, crew and fans. They are your family.
To: Keep it breezy and real. Never forget where you came from and remember that good things will happen if you persevere. Rak is rak.
J: Respect the grind and treat it as a business. Humility and keeping your emotional quotient in check are keys. Expect setbacks and criticism. Don’t forget to drink water.