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Performing live at home—how challenging is it?


Whether we like it or not, we are now living in a new normal. Covid-19 has changed the way we live. In the visual art scene, galleries and auction houses now hold exhibits and sales online. Likewise, music and stage performances have been limited to the virtual. 

All over the world, musicians and singers are performing live from their respective homes. Watching them from our own homes, in our screens, it may seem that these artists are having the time of their lives. 

But according to Filipino indie-rock band UDD (formerly known as Up Dharma Down), it is not simple as that. Prior to their performance at the recent launch of #SugarlandiaSessions, a fund-raising virtual music event by Don Papa Rum in support of the creative community hit by this pandemic, the group—composed of vocalist Armie Millare, guitarist Carlos Tañada, bassist Paul Yap, and drummer Ean Mayor—had a short conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.


WFH UDD members gearing up for their online performance

Music industry and the pandemic

UDD lead singer Armie Millare says that performing online is not what it seems. “As a musician, I think online shows are more challenging to do than live performances. It may look like we are just recording comfortably from home but the pre- and post-production for each song take a couple of hours or days to do,” she explains. 

Formed in 2004, UDD has gone through the world financial crisis from 2007 to 2008. This means that they have an idea of how the art industry can suffer in times like this. 

“During a global or national crisis, the entertainment industry takes a big hit because budgets are cut first for events. We experienced this during the 2007 financial crisis,” the group shares.

“That was a hard year. It could be worse this time around. Until a real vaccine is produced for Covid-19, we’ll need to keep on adapting the way we share our music without risking the lives of our listeners. We don’t expect to play in front of a crowd anytime this year.”

With that, the “Oo” creators say they are grateful to be chosen as the headliner for an event that benefits people in the art community. “We’ve seen how Don Papa has grown as a brand throughout the years. We even got to try out the first bottles during its infancy. To be part of this milestone event, we are very happy and excited for them,” they say.


The challenge of changing names

UDD explains to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle the reason behind their name change, from Up Dharma Down to simply UDD. There’s nothing mind blowing or spectacular behind this shift, the band explains. 

“We just found our old name to be too long. But it’s funny that Facebook and other online accounts don’t allow you to only have three letters,” Armie said. “We think it was more from a graphic design standpoint. I remember Ean saying, ‘three letters would look better on a shirt.’”

This decision was made in 2017, but it took a while to take hold among fans because Up Dharma Down has become such an established name.  

“We’ve learned that most people will still call you by your old name no matter what you do. It’s okay,” they say.

They might have changed their name, but their music has stayed the same. “No matter what you call us, our music will not change,” UDD says. “But our sound and approach evolve with every album.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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