20 questions and travel essentials: Myrene Academia will rock you

20 Questions with Myrene

1. Online streaming or record player? Right now, streaming. More options for me!

2. First album you ever owned? It was by Leif Garrett, a teen idol in my time

3. Favorite song on the album? “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”

4. One song so good I wish I’d written it myself is… “Everything Now” by Arcade Fire. It’s like “Dancing Queen” and “All Night Long” rolled into one

5. Most unforgettable concert you’ve flown out to see? U2 last year. The first four songs had me in tears

6. Last thing you bought at an airport? Most probably snacks

7. Coffee or wine? Both

8. Best record to listen to in flight? I have a slight fear of flying and John Mayer always calms me down

9. How do you unwind on board? Sleep

10. Favorite travel buddy? My daughter!

11. What makes you an ideal person to travel with? I can sit anywhere

12. Early to the airport or cutting it close? Early to the airport

13. Describe your recent 20th anniversary gig with Sandwich. Mind-blowing, nerve-wracking, face-melting, full of fun and love

14. What’s the best part about being in a band? Playing songs you made with four of your mates, in front of people who came to have fun

15. Where would you most like to play? The Budokan in Japan would be nice

16. Hotel or hostel? Hotel. I’m old!

17. What do you miss most when you travel? My bed and my bathroom

18. What’s your most worn-out record? Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order

19. What are your musical guilty pleasures? Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol

20. If you had to prescribe a song to get over a breakup, what would it be? “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé

Travel bag essentials

1. Hoodie: “Aside from keeping me warm, this is also my comfort thing.”

2. Beanie: “I pull this over my eyes on the plane and sleep.”

3. Scarf: “I get cold easily, so I’m never without one.”

4. iPod: “I still love it — including clicking through the tracks using the wheel.”

5. Book: “Even if I can read on my tablet, I still like having books with me.”

6. Backpack: “There’s a pocket for your devices in the back, which is handy when you’re going through security.”

7. Power bank: “Just necessary.”

8. EarPods: “I’ve just gotten into wireless Bluetooth things and I feel spoiled not being physically tethered to something.”

9. Metal drink containers: “I’m trying not to buy bottled water or coffee in cups. One’s for hot drinks, and the other’s for cold ones.”

10. Camera: “I’m an Instamatic person, but I like this one.”

11. Sunglasses: “I’m an aviator girl. These are lightly tinted so that I don’t have to take them off even if I’m walking through the airport.”

12. Reading glasses: “They’re multiplying in number, but that also means I always have a pair in my bag.”

13. Fanny pack: “I can put my essentials here and leave the big bag in the car.”

Get to know Myrene

You’ve been in music for over 20 years now, with Sandwich and Imago. Do you remember when you were first flown out for a big gig?

We’d watch concerts in Hong Kong and we’d meet Filipinos there who’d tell us they were fans. When they started producing their own concerts, they would invite us to play, and that got the ball rolling. We ended up playing [the annual music and arts festival] Clockenflap, which I never would’ve expected that we would do. I feel really lucky whenever we get opportunities like that.

How has travel changed for you after over two decades of being on the road?

I’ve learned to deal with cold weather a lot better. Just because they say it’s spring doesn’t mean it won’t be 10 degrees when you get out of the airport. I also swear by Google Maps, which didn’t exist when I first started traveling. I don’t need any other app, it’ll just tell me where to go, what train to take, and I’ll never really be lost.

The soundtrack to your next adventure (featuring albums by local artists)

  • Before the Babies by Cheats. “We had a trip two years ago where I played bass for them, and this album brings back a lot of memories.”
  • Self is Universe by Ourselves the Elves. “This was just released and I really, really like it.”
  • Sa Wakas by Sugarfree. “If I’m in a car and this album plays, I will sing. I mean, I will sing.”

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Photographed by

Regine David

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