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“Music kept me sane”: LONER powers through the pandemic with more music on the way

With a new EP on the way & plenty of time to hone his craft, Lean Ordinario’s distinct Filipino house sound deserves all the play time when clubs reopen

  • Samantha Nicole
  • 29 September 2021

Lean Ordinario aka LONER isn’t just out to find his place in the electronic music scene. He’s undeterred to champion his native language — and his progressive principles — through his signature Tagalog house.

In a country undeniably influenced by its colonial roots that have seeped into local gig culture where all too often, patrons would prefer to pay hefty amounts to watch visiting international DJs, and with its people commonly conflicted about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, Ordinario’s inspirational direction deserves more attention.

After featuring friends in drag in his music video for 'Catwalk' and continuously injecting Tagalog in his productions akin to Park Hye Jin, JUBEE, and Shelhiel, Ordinario has been non-stop in pushing himself further despite clubs remaining closed and nightlife, practically non-existent.

“Music kept me sane. When the lockdowns gave us so much time at home, I decided to watch a lot of YouTube tutorials and experiment making music every day. I made a lot of mistakes but definitely learned from it, you really just have to spend time with your craft to develop your skill,” Ordinario shares.

Before breaking out into the Manila nightlife scene, the 24-year old visionary took his time soaking up night haunts and working with local music collectives like BuwanBuwan Collective, co-founded by Filipino electronic music trailblazer, Similarobjects.

“I definitely started differently, I used to like only band-oriented music when I was younger. I discovered dance music as I exposed myself to clubs and fell in love with the culture and the people that came with it,” he explains. “I started in bands when I was younger but pursued electronic music when I found out that I could make a whole song by myself. I had an old project called Le-an where I used to post these sample-based electronic tracks. At the time I knew nothing about dance music and its genres. That project got me my first gigs in Black Market where I was able to meet more people."

Ordinario’s earlier days and more recent night-outs pre-pandemic has given him a deeper insight into what he wants to put out, and help pave the way for both national and global audiences to embrace his music — and hopefully shed a prolonged spotlight on Filipino house music.

“I only went out to places in Makati and Quezon City, but I loved it. I really enjoyed playing in Poblacion and seeing so many different people of different backgrounds. I also enjoyed the music by bands at Mow’s, or DJs/artists at clubs in XX XX or Today X Future,” he says. “Eventually, I was able to play in different venues and found the music at Elephant Party in XX XX — they played techno, house, juke, jungle, and that was my first exposure to proper dance music. Currently, it’s still what I’m getting deeper into. I just wish more people sought the music while partying, I noticed that clubs that play the same music you hear everywhere get more packed.”

With the internet, plenty of support system, and an infinite zeal to expand his artistry, Ordinario is set to release his latest EP, and dreams of one day, getting ravers together for his very own curated show.

“It's an attempt to combine the musical styles I love — a mix of alternative, RnB, pop, house, UKG, and drum 'n' bass. I spent most of 2021 writing, producing, and mixing/mastering these 4 tracks. Hopefully, I get to offer something refreshing to the music scene. Currently working on its visual form but I’m set to drop it before the year ends.”

Oridnario adds: “I’m sure that when it’s 100% safe to go out, everybody’s going to go crazy. Definitely going to be a lot of events, and I want to try making one myself too. I guess while we’re in this pandemic, we can use the Internet to our advantage and continue the electronic music movement so when clubs are finally back, more people can be aware of it."

Make Noise EP by LONER will be released toward the end of the year Locked Down Entertainment

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