Transit Records is a Manila-based internet label, positioning itself as something “between a DJ collective and events production concept.” Recently, they've been experimenting with the concept of "Pirate Radio” through live streamed music sessions performed by members of their collective, quickly adapting to the new digital landscape.
We catch up with Sean Bautista, creative director of Transit, in an email interview about their creative process in the confines of home. Check an edited transcript below and listen to our first Commonwealth Soundsystem playlist curated by Transit Records here.
First off, how are you?
I guess things are good as they could be. The team is fortunate enough to use isolation as an opportunity to take a step back, recalibrate and focus on adjusting to the reality of life in quarantine. We’re keeping ourselves busy and creative, to the best of our capacity, through a proactive mindset.
What was your process into creating your work-from-home setup?
We had to make do with what little that we have at home. While it's easy to obsess over the best gear and club-standard equipment; we figured that music, curation and our point-of-view were more important. We made sure to hit the ground running by working with what hardware we had, researching accessible broadcasting softwares, and sending each other gear through local couriers.
Do you have desk essentials you can’t work without?
Apart from my phone and laptop, a glass of cold brew has been a desk side staple. The drink cognitively positions me in a headspace ready for a day of work and the caffeine also gives me the additional push to power through laziness.
I also have my monitor headphones on while working on everything from designing flyers to attending to emails. Keeping an ear on a stream of Online Stations, Spotify Playlists and Soundcloud Podcasts has helped me dig for new music and broaden my sonic vocabulary.
One of the other things that I always keep on hand is a daily planner. Concretizing goals and listing tasks on paper is a tool I use to organize my priorities in a tactile manner.
What’s your key to staying productive? How do you get shit done these days?Touching base with the team, on a regular basis, has been really helpful. Delegating responsibilities and establishing accountability has ensured that we achieve progress with our ongoing projects. It’s easy to get lost in passivity when you’re relying solely on self dependence. Checking in has kept us not only on the same wavelength but answerable to one another.
What's your daily routine like recently?
Cutting down on travel time and workplace banter has allowed me to focus on life outside of work. If I’m not on my afternoon Google Meet or churning out assets for digital, I’m finding more pockets of time to work on my physical and mental wellbeing. I haven’t had the opportunity to read, meditate and workout, at this capacity, in a very long time.
How do you transition from rest to work at home? Do you have any rituals before or after you work?
Days always start with meditation and a cup of coffee. I keep the day relatively loose with blocks of work and pockets of leisure in between. As long as I check off the things in my list, I freely move things around based on how I feel. The work day usually ends with me preparing dinner for myself, hoping on a call with my parents or girlfriend, and listing down objectives for the following day.
How was the pivot from IRL events to live streaming? How did you arrive at a setup you’re comfortable with?
Unfortunately, we had to cancel all our activations, even corporate partnerships, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was definitely disheartening to find out that a big part of our week to week was being taken away; but I wouldn’t say that it was too challenging to pivot to the online space.
Working in a small team allows us to correspond and mobilize ideas rather quickly. Live-streaming felt like an intuitive contingency plan. Having partners that are proficient in operations also helped us seamlessly transpose our programs, from the physical space, to behind the screen.
Could you tell us a little bit about the playlist you made?
The team has been spending a lot of time in an app called JQBX — it's a virtual listening room that allows a group to queue and listen to songs in real time. This has enabled us to share tracks within our roster of DJs and discover new music with our extended community of non-DJs.
For this playlist, we hopped on a JQBX session to work off each other’s library while keeping Commonwealth’s energy in mind. The crew threw in a range of Contemporary Jazz, Neo-Soul, and Leftfield House and Techno tracks for this mix.