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Joee Mejias

Joee Mejias

Meet projection & video designer, producer and music artist from the Philippines, Joee Mejias.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write, produce and perform electronic music. and I am a projection/video designer for theater and live productions. I also teach production design in college and I have a dog named after a beautiful beach in the south of the country called Mati.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I lived in different cities in and around Metro Manila. I grew up in Quezon City where my family was renting an apartment beside a morgue and the biggest highway in the entire Metro. Later on, we moved and I spent my teenage years in Antipolo city east of Manila. It is a lot more isolated and is closer to nature as it sits on the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

 

I moved back to the Metro when I started working. I currently live in Makati City in an area near the city’s red-light district and busy nightlife. I stay by the Pasig River, in an older and quieter area where you can find the city’s oldest church. Here, somehow a lot of traditions are still intact while everything around is moving fast. I like living here because of that contrast.

 

There is a need to push through this chaos to be able to accomplish what you want to do.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

It is dynamic and full of energy but It can tire you and bring you down. I find a constant push and pull when I am here but that keeps me interested and on my toes. There is a need to push through this chaos to be able to accomplish what you want to do.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Love

Noise

Hate

 

How did you start your career in art?

I sang in the choir with my sisters and was in bands since high school as a bassist and drummer. My bandmate from then became a constant collaborator and we learned to make music using the computer. We had a duo together and a band with my sister. We played in underground gigs, goth, shoegaze, electronic; It was a time when I think it was still unusual to find a laptop on stage. Fun times but short-lived.

Unfortunately, I lost my collaborator and it was difficult to make music and to play for a while. I was constantly looking for that connection from others but it would just come and go. A few more years and experiments later, I have learned to accept that I will never find what I am looking for and decided to release the music that I have been writing and just perform it myself. That opened to more chances of meeting new collaborators and I am very happy to be working with them.

 

I have learned to accept that I will never find what I am looking for and decided to release the music that I have been writing and just perform it myself. That opened to more chances of meeting new collaborators and I am very happy to be working with them.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

I didn’t really have family working in the creative industry at that time so it was unusual or not ideal to try to work as a creative. But I’ve always been the type and I guess I was stubborn enough to pursue it and make a career out of it.  In the end, they still supported me.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I always felt as if I live two lives with my work and thought it was better that way, but ultimately, I think visuals and sound belong together. It creates a powerful experience. I am slowly trying to combine them in my own work. Whether it’s in a performance or building an object.

I plan to dedicate time to study and master the technicalities of my work, expand possibilities and teach more in the future.

I want to continue to produce more shows and work with other artists and exchange energies. Another goal is to set-up a platform for audiovisual performances in manila.

 

I always felt as if I live two lives with my work and thought it was better that way, but ultimately, I think visuals and sound belong together.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

David Lynch

 

How would you describe the women around you?

I have always been surrounded by women growing up. I grew up with two sisters and a mother who is the most hardworking and reliable person I know. I also went to an all-girls high school where we were taught to be socially aware and active. I consider myself lucky to have a lot of strong and inspiring women in my life. A lot of women in this country are brave and take on leadership roles despite the docile image that is typically expected of them.

 

I consider myself lucky to have a lot of strong and inspiring women in my life. A lot of women in this country are brave and take on leadership roles despite the docile image that is typically expected of them.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

My sister was a huge influence on me growing up. I got exposed to music outside of pop and saw the local scene because I followed her around. I would try whatever she was doing or listen to what she was listening to. I saw my first live concert because of her. Most of our favorite musicians were women singers.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

My work can get very technical and typically it is not expected for a woman to do such technical work. There is always that barrier that you have to cross to prove that you are not just a girl with gear. It excites me to see or meet other women who are in a field where you least expect them to be. It reminds people that there should be no barriers at all and helps even out the playing field.

 

Always have fun and be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take risks. If there is something off, your gut will let you know. Your instincts will tell you what to do and where to go.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Always have fun and be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take risks. If there is something off, your gut will let you know. Your instincts will tell you what to do and where to go.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Joee Mejias.

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