Up Close and Personal: Caloy on Lead Guitars

We got the chance to sit down and talk with Carlos Ricardo Estipona. Let’s know him up close and personal.

Caloy on lead guitars for Kuerdas
Caloy on lead guitars for Kuerdas

Q: How long have you been a member of Kuerdas Gensan? What is your role? How did you become a member?
A: Na member ko sa Kuerdas officially since May of 2012. I play Lead Guitars.
Naging member ko kay familiar na ko sa mga tugtog or pondo sa Kuerdas since reggae band member pud ko dati, tapos gina- kuha ko usahay nila Onyok pag absent ilang Lead Guitar player, or mag fill-in pud ko kung absent si Onyok. Naging friends na pud ko sa ila ever since.

Q: So it means member ka previously sa band pud before Kuerdas?
Yup, bandmates nako sa “Laskuridas” si Eric ug Rollan before (duha ka kalbo).

Q: After Ting-Ting, ikaw nagpuli?
A: After kay Roland Eslit ko nagpuli.

Q: Aww! Interesting info. So it’s been 5 years since your membership, how was the journey as a musician? Puyat, kapoy, odd hours. Pano ka naka-adjust? Was there a need to adjust to your routines kung sagunson ang tugtog?
A: So far, feel nako na naa ko sa best position as a musician because I think I have the best bandmates ug murag family na akong pagtan-aw. Although dili smooth ang dalan, determinado japon magpadayon kay naa mi goal. Naa jud ang puyat ug kakapoy pero murag balewala lang kay gina- enjoy jud nako basta ga- play ug music.

Q: I see. You speak with so much fervor and passion about your craft. Was there difficulty or struggle pag- start nimo as a Kuerdas member? i.e. adjusting to each members’ personalities, etc.
A: At first naglisud ug adjust pero naka- adjust man agad kay gina- enjoy man ang ginabuhat. Positive mind setting lang siguro. Yes naa jud struggle at first kay 10 other different personalities ang dapat i- deal pero so far, murag ga- jive ang each other, murag perfect mix kumbaga.

Q: You sound very positive and optimistic. Was there an instance nga nagka- conflict or issue with a bandmate? What was it in particular and how was it resolved?
A: Always jud ang issue or conflict when it comes sa grupo, pero happy ko kay paspas ma- resolve sa amoa kay so far willing man maminaw tanan. Gina- estoryahan kasi in person basta naay dili mao, unya pangitaan dayon ug solution.

Q: That’s awesome! Coming from you, it’s good to hear that the members are openminded and matured enough to handle conflicts. So wala ka nagka- issue with any bandmates?
A: Ako, nagka- issue siguro pero dili serious, isa man gud ko sa naay very strong personality sa grupo. 😂 Siguro kanang pagka strong nako manulti, kasi isa ko sa mga “bully” sa grupo, pero more on sunloganay ra gud na pang lingaw- lingaw.

Q: What are your strengths?
A: Unsang klase na strengths?

Q: Personal strengths that affect musicality, relationships with bandmates, and fellow musicians…
A: Siguro akong strength kay daghan kog ideas sa akong mind. Unya naa koy ear for music na ma- determine nako kung unsay mas maayo or dili when it comes to arrangement sa music, etc. Unya naa koy murag “will” sa mga decisions when it comes sa band music or iba pang endeavors.

Q: You certainly know what you are talking about. Is the group open for suggestions? Once you have this particular idea, you share it with the group, right? How is the group taking the suggestions?
A: Yep. But of course not all suggestions or ideas madawat kay magbase man sa other members, pero so far, willing ug open tanan for suggestions biskan among Band Leader.

Q: Cool! 👍 Naa kay embarassing moment on stage? If yes, paunsa nahitabo?
A: Naa. Like nagtulo akong laway onstage. Lol. 😂😂😂 Nag- estorya ko ato pinabigla tapos nagtalsik akong laway unya naay audience nakakita- gikataw- an ko 😬 Sa Pahayahay to dati, siguro mga 2013…

Q: Bwahaahahha!!! 😂😂😂 Grabeh akong agik-ik ba. Wa pako ka- move on. Ha! Ha! Ha! On a serious note- I should have asked this in the beginning- before you became a member of Kuerdas, how do you see the band as an outsider/ onlooker? Has your perceptions changed when you became a member? When the role was offered to you, did you have second thoughts in accepting?
A: Una- una nakong kita sa Kuerdas siguro mga 2006 or 2007, honestly I was blown away! Ang energy sa performance, ang crowd, etc… Na- amaze jud ko!!!

Tong na offeran ko, siempre 100% YES kay isa sila sa naging influence ug gina- lookup namo while naa pa mi sa dating banda…

Tong naging member na ko, akong mindset at first is: dili ko maka- tuo na maging member ko ug gina- make sure nako na alagaan akong position sa Kuerdas.

Q: Awesome feedback. So how was your membership like? Has it made you a better person?
A: As a person, of course it made me better. Murag na- establish nako to be someone who I want to be. The name “Kuerdas” attached to my name I think gave me or will give me opportunities or privileges na dili nako makuha if wala ko na member sa Kuerdas Band. It gave me an identity kumbaga..

Q: Wow! Beautifully worded. Can you please cite some examples of those privileges?
A: Privileges like you have the chance to know more people in different departments, like government, police, traffic, etc. I dunno if proper pero it’s the truth. Also the opportunity of meeting celebrities. Siguro pud people, particularly other musicians will listen to what I or we have to say when it comes to guitars, gears, music, etc.

Q: It’s alright. It’s a fact and it comes with the job. It’s good that you mentioned that. And while we are at this, does it go to your head? How do you take the destructive criticisms?
A: The VIP treatment because of the Kuerdas name; also we have accessibility but not all the time pud. Sometimes man gud makadawat ug free food, beer, gifts, souvenirs, etc from people or supporters.

Q: For the win noh? As earlier asked, do you feel entitled because of these special treatments you mentioned, did it ever go to your head?
A: Sometimes dili ko makatuo na ing- ana ang mga special treatments but I always try my best to stay humble and I always say “Thank You” kay sa akong isip “dili man ko artista.” Nyahahahaha! 😂
When it comes to destructive comments and criticisms, I don’t take it personally because I know for myself that I’m trying my best to be friendly to everyone especially fellow musicians, although of course I get mad or dissappointed sometimes kay siempre banda nako ang gina- attack. But we can’t deny the fact that haters will always be there no matter what because we cannot impress all.

Q: That’s a pretty good mindset. Haters gonna hate no matter what you do. So better to do your own thing and always give it your best shot.
A: I just have the mindset that Kuerdas is Kuerdas and it’s the truth. Some will accept, while others won’t. But still, we are happy in whatever position we have right now.

Q: That’s right. You can’t please everybody. We discussed previously about your strengths, now may I ask what are your weaknesses?
A: Weaknesses- when it comes to time management and learning or arranging songs, sometimes my patience is not enough haha! Food is also a weakness.

Q: Food is a good weakness. It goes bad when you overeat. How do you address these weaknesses?
A: I just relax muna, take a break and think, then I get back at it again with a clearer mind. I have this goal that I will make my weakness as my strength someday. Again, its easier said than done.

Q: Is performing the only thing you do?
A: As of now, I’m performing and currently studying Masscomm, graduating na hopefully this March. It’s worth mentioning that I’m paying my school tuition fees from my income as a Kuerdas musician.

Q: That’s fantastic! Do you still see yourself performing in the coming years even after you graduate?
A: Yes of course. That’s the main goal for me. I want to perform and make it a career, provided of course na dili pud in poverty. Haha! And I will be proud to say that when I graduate, it’s because of my hardwork and earnings from Kuerdas.

Q: But some say there is no money in music. There is overflowing passion but no money. How do you react to that?
A: I would say it’s the opposite. It’s up to the person on how he will convert the passion into money or opportunity. We are living testimonies that there is money in music. But of course it’s not as easy as they think. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Q: Wow! I am learning a lot from this exchange. I am sure the Kuerdas page followers will be very impressed! And haters will now begin to love you.
A: Hahaha! They can hate all they want but they can never change the fact.

Q: Right! What else I haven’t asked that you feel important to discuss and let your followers know?
A: Hmmm. Maybe they should know that Kuerdas is very friendly and approachable… and most importantly, being a local musician is a noble career and plays a great role in the local entertainment economy.

Q: Very well said, Mr. Estipona! This is very interesting content. Do you get a lot of those bad impressions? How did it come about?
A: Kay siempre murag naa siguro ga- think na Kuerdas mga hambog, tikalon, etc. Pero so far murag wala man koy concrete evidence na naa koy nadunggan na nag- ingon ug ing- ana.

Q: I am not putting words into your mouth but I want to clarify one thing: wala in your face but daghan behind your back, is that it?
A: Siguro. I just think so pero wala nalang ginaisip kay mas gusto nako/namo happy ug goodvibes. That’s very important in performing, dapat good mood so good music/performance ang outcome. If we always dwell on negative things, it will manifest on stage.

Q: That’s very positive attitude. You need that to stay solid and strong. What do people need to know about you as a person and not “Caloy the Kuerdas Lead Guitarist”?
A: As a person, they need to know that I’m a positive thinker, I always neglect negative things in life if I can. I love my family so much and I am always friendly, and I love kids. Ug hilig ko mag joke permi biskan waley na minsan. I love to read, go watch movies, listen to music- all kinds of genres from death metal to gospel songs. I respect them all as a form of art in their own rite. I also love to just sit down and talk with people, especially intelligent ones kay feeling nako ma- bright kog apil. Ha! Ha! Ha! 😂

Q: I can clearly see that from this exhange. What are the things you value the most?
A: Of course my family especially my Mama, my Kuerdas Family, my guitars, my pedalboard, of course my reputation. I have this obssession or goal na I always want to be remembered as a good person but of course nobody’s perfect.

Q: What is your message to your supporters, bandmates and co-musicians?
A: To my bandmates, I am thankful for the existence of every single one of you, I’m very happy to have you guys as my mates. What we have is something that we should appreciate and take care of. We can do this together and let’s grow to be better together!

To Kuerdas supporters – We thank you so much for showing up at our shows, you are the reason that we are playing music to the best of our abilities and without you, we are nothing. We promise to give back good music for all of you and thank you for the friendship!

To co-musicians – We just continue to support each other and make our scene be known. We are glad that musicians here are close as good friends and if ever there is competition that we cannot deny, let’s make it a healthy one! Good vibes always!

Perfect! You are brilliant! Thanks for your time, Caloy!