MANILA GREY is a Filipino-Canadian duo based in Vancouver. With the help of their producer and collaborator, azel north, the duo has been able to rise within the hip-hop industry in the past two years.
Childhood friends Neeko and Soliven have made it clear that they wholeheartedly embrace their Southeast Asian roots after donning the capital of the Philippines in their stage name. MANILA GREY strives to connect their Filipino and Canadian culture into their electronically-fused music. With smooth, reverberated beats and haunting vocals that are reminiscent of artists such as The Weeknd, MANILA GREY creates a moody atmosphere throughout their discography.
Soliven’s R&B-inflected choruses complement Neeko’s striking flow in their singles such as “Backhouse Bounce,” “Friends of Friends,” and “Midnight.”
MANILA GREY has only released one EP in their music career called No Saints Under Palm Shade, which contains video-accompanied tracks “Timezones” and “Youth Water.”
Both aforementioned songs give a mesmerizing account of Metro Manila nightlife and the seductive elements of party culture. In the “Timezones” music video, Soliven and Neeko are immersed in a world full of neon-aesthetics, distorted images, and friends ready to make bad decisions under the guise of emerging adolescence.
In a more detailed rendering of MANILA GREY’s songs, the individual artists describe songs such as “Youth Water” as a snapshot of their experience as growing adults and how, as people, it is inevitable to fight against time. Although they have come to the conclusion that staying young forever is unattainable, those rules do not apply to their music. By association, their youth remains eternal through this creative outlet. Risk taking and letting go of inhibitions are common themes prevalent in MANILA GREY’s work.
MANILA GREY’s purpose is to provide a platform to express their dual identities and to show the inclusivity of music as a whole.
— Patricia Damocles, Asst. Poetry Editor; Asst. Layout Editor; Communications & Media Editor