We want to start off on a positive note and we’re all ears to Callisto’s music. The band’s current line up consists of drummer Eugine Visarra, bassist Phoebe Rabino Mendoza, lead guitarist/vocalist Laurence Vail Peralta, guitarist Justin Gulmatico, and acoustic/vocal Engel Razon.
Callisto is a product of Engel’s vision of forming his own his band. Creative juices started to creep into Engel way back high school days when he would borrower his friend’s guitar. Among his first influences were friends and schoolmates who were likewise musically inclined.
His first owned guitar came as a gift from his father’s friend and unfurled his talent to an immense depth. As he learned to play the instrument , his first band experience came at junior high school as they jammed and crafted raw songs, but sadly parted ways after graduation.
In 2011, Engel with good friend Laurence attended gigs where his attention was captivated by performing artists such as Astoria and Threads of Fantasy – known especially for grunge acts. Their music and performances inspired him to compose songs infused with his own distinct style. Ready to take the stage, Engel was most visible doing rounds in watering holes and established camaraderie with other artists.
A year later, Engel became a family man with uncharted responsibilities. To augment his earnings, he took on jobs which consequently kept him away from his guitar nor had enough time to compose new songs. Through the help of friends, they encouraged Engel to keep afloat his love for music despite the changing trends in the scene. Looking back, Engel almost gave up but on his dream if not for friends who echoed his passion.
Engel came up with a no-fail way to rebuild where he left off, amidst personal responsibilities. He started off as a solo artist performing his original compositions. Later, he was joined by Justine Gulmatico to form a two-man act. By 2019, a three piece band was formed with Laurence Vail Peralta and Jordan Enaje. Despite the challenges, Engel breathed music and maintained his class act.
Through time, Engel formed Callisto as a band, which grew in experience to live on what he only once dreamed of. The pleasantly-sounding name is superlative to kalos or “beautiful”. It is synonymous of a Greek mythology nymph, the second largest satellite of Jupiter, and the third largest moon in the solar system. But as far as Callisto band is concerned, the audience is pleased to what they hear.
Engel reveals that Callisto was actually formed with Laurence who shares his passion to composing songs, numbering to more than twenty by now. “Isang gabi, dumalaw si Laurence sa amin para lang makipag kwentuhan. Niyaya ko uminom ng beer hangga’t ipinalabas niya ang gitara at nag-umpisa na kami mag-jam. Nakagawa kami ng melody at doon rin at nabuo namin ang kantang “Pula’t-Puti” para sa mga taong torpe at kumukuha ng lakas ng loob sa alak. Biglang yaya ko sa kanya na tumugtog na kami sa mga gigs. Nakaka-excite kasi makakasama ko ang tropa kong ubod ng galing sa gitara. Every Saturday, tumatambay kami para makabuo ng mga new ideas at melody. Inareglo namin yung mga compositions namin”, says Engel.
“July 2019 ay naka-eleven gigs na kami sa loob ng limang buwan na puro acoustic, na may touch ng rock. Then nag-usap kami ni Laurence na kailan kaya kami magiging full band? Palibhasa parehas kami maarte sa mga gusto namin ipasok sa banda. Gusto kasi namin ay yung willing mag practice, hindi mukhang pera… pure passion lang. Kahit hindi magaling basta willing matuto. At higit sa lahat ay kung sino naunang member ng banda ay wala ng palitan…parang relationship lang…hehehe. Parang Parokya ni Edgar. Then first week ng August na meet namin si Eugine (drummer) na sobrang bait. Ni-refer siya sa akin ng friend ko noong first gig namin. Then kinontak ko si Eugine at ang bilis naman kausap.”
Callisto was basically honed by experience, and learned from each bloopers committed along the way. “Unang sabak namin sa gig ay sa Musikapihan Imus. Sobrang saya namin kahit maraming palpak sa first gig namin hahaha! Syempre may sumunod pa ulit na gig, kada tugtog namin ay kinukuhanan namin ng video tapos papanuorin namin para malaman yung mga dapat pang iimprove na vocals at instrument. Kaya kada gig namin ay iba-iba yung tunog namin kasi pinipili namin yung pinakamaganda. Sabi ko lang eh tumugtog lang tayo ng tumugtog para mahasa tayo. Para kapag dumating na yung opportunity sa amin ay ready na kami”.
Callisto serves on the plate these songs: Pula’t-Puti, Litrato, Pansinin, and Akda ni Bathala. “Sa ngayon ay may apat kaming kanta na pino-focusan. Maganda ang Akda ni Bathala dahil personal vow ko yun sa aking asawa”, says Engel.
As for plans, Callisto has a line-up of bucket list. “Plano namin libutin ang buong South area para mas lumawak pa yung experience namin. At makakilala ng mga bagong kaibigan sa industriya. Dream din namin makatugotg sa 19 East” . Indeed it’s still a long way to go for Callisto. “Wala pa kaming record nyan. Sa December pa kami maglalabas. Sa ngayon ay apat pa lang kami, pero sa October eh five piece na kami.”
Callisto is selfless when it comes to genre, welcoming a variety. “Yung genre naman eh walang specific. Kasi ayaw namin ikulong yung music namin sa isang genre. Open lang kami sa music. Kung ano lang ung ma-express namin” .
Today, Engel Razon is a living proof that a dream can become a reality through hard work and determination. The hurtling future is just as bright and Callisto has more to offer to the prime music industry. We can only watch from a distance when Callisto soon makes the headlines and operates in its own musical territory.