(photo by Nyx Veloso)
.wendil is the musical project of Manila-based artist Mika Manikan. When she isn’t painting, illustrating, or acting, she creates music out of the melodies in her head, formed out of experiences she’s been through, both physically and emotionally.
If the name sounds familiar, you probably remember her from the last Cassette Store Day, performing three yet-to-be-released songs in all their stunning neon glory.
This November 15, Thursday, .wendil drops “Maturity,” the first single off the upcoming EP entitled “fireside.” In anticipation of the day, we sat down with the artist to talk more about her craft and the things that keep her going.
What inspired you to start the .wendil project?
“I’ve been making music since the seventh grade, thanks to family influence, but I’d never released any of them, only sharing them with closest friends for a whole lot of reasons. The push to finally send them out was seeing a loved one die this year.”
Where does the name .wendil come from?
“Wendil means ‘wanderer.’ It’s also the name of a friend who comes to me in cycles—maybe a past life, or one of those beloved soul strangers.”
Who are some of your musical inspirations, and how have they influenced you as a person, and in terms of songwriting?
“I grew up listening to a lot of different music, and I never really learned the concept of genres until recently. Back then, music was just music for me. They were all beautiful, no matter what they sounded like.
I’m still fixated with VOCALOID. It’s the boundless, creative culture surrounding it that intrigues me. Simply put, it’s thousands of music producers from all around the world using the same voice synthesizer in different stories—diversity under one voice. It reflected the no-label music culture I grew up with, and I guess that’s why right now, I seem all over the place. It also reflected the voice as the ultimate vessel, so that’s what I’m hoping to be, one way or another! The style I’m currently writing in is apparently ‘pop,’ which is alright with me because A.) It’s universal, and B.) Fuck you, Brenda.”
Describe your process when writing music.
“I try to name an experience, then the song happens. Actually, it’s different all the time!”
Let’s talk about your first single, “Maturity.” What’s the story behind it?
“In other artistic platforms, one of my biggest frustrations was being told I was too young; too inexperienced in their eyes. But how does one really gauge the experiences a person goes through, never knowing how they live their life, and never hearing the thoughts in their head? Age is but a number, and a year can go by without ever experiencing anything.
So, unstable from grief and vying for some sort of cosmic connection, I caved in one night and tried to be something I wasn’t—something I thought would fit their standard of what it was to be mature. It didn’t fit me as well as I thought, and the song was born from that experience. After that, maturity, at least for me, was redefined into acceptance.”
What can we expect from your debut EP? And when is it coming out?
“You and your dearest friends who’ve been with you at your worst and shine with you at your best, all dancing together in your bedroom. Tossing pillows, laughing at nothing, crying at everything, deep conversations, spilling the popcorn, and taking lots of photos. If you don’t have friends, then you, alone, probably doing all the same things.
I’m hoping to release it before my birthday (January 29), if life is kind!”
What are triumphs and struggles you’ve experienced while working on this EP?
“Struggles? Assumptions. And a lot of people telling me what I’m doing is apparently wrong, or not the ‘right’ way. As the cherry on top, a lot of personal anxiety, but I’m gonna go for it anyway! I think that last one is a triumph in itself. I gotta thank the people who’ve been with me throughout this entire experience.”
Who is Dorothy?
“Dorothy is a memory I’ve learned to thank. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. And I wouldn’t have the perfect name for the perfect song!”
What advice can you give aspiring musicians?
“Just put it out there, ‘cuz life is hella short. Plus, A.) You’ll never know who’s gonna need it, and B.) Fuck you, Brenda!”
~Words by Kurvine Anna Chua