Project Index

An Interview with Edril Secuya

Cliff Rigor, Edril Secuya
November 2019
Cebu, Philippines

February 2020, before the pandemic happened, the Tropical Futures team set up a passion project called Enter BRGY, a once-a-month new media exhibition cultivating contemporary forms of Philippine art, design, music and performance. With a cross disciplinary approach to setting up shows, the monthly events will pull from different subcultures in Cebu, the Visayas and the rest of the Philippines.

In the process of all this, we encountered Edril Secuya, an entrepreneur from Cebu, Philippines. His business revolves around the set up and customisation of sound systems. We began to take interest in the world of the local “diskoral” and Edril definitely played a big role in all that. To learn more about the local party scene and how sound system clashes worked, we asked Cliff to talk to Edril for us. The following conversation is translated from Cebuano to English.

Edril: During my high school years, my teenage years, I’ve always been going to the “discos,” I’ve always liked sounds. In college, I became an Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman (an SK Chairman represents the barangay in the municipal or city association). 

I’m from Somosa, Tabogon, Cebu. When I was in high school, that’s when I started getting involved with sounds. My dad was also into it, he has a tricycle before that he customised with a sound system and so I would also join him in fixing and tweaking stuff. Eventually, I got into “baile-baile” (literally “dancing-dancing”), “disco-disco.” I always make sure to go to one when there’s one happening nearby. Eventually I started to take an interest with it. In college, that time I wasn’t financially stable yet, I was elected SK Chairman in my barangay. My first gig was the sound system. So I used this as a service, whenever someone or a small event needed it, I would immediately accept it even if I don’t get anything out of it, just as long as it’s fun.

Cliff: So since you were young, you were already into
that stuff.

Edril: Yeah, because my dad was also really into it.

Cliff: How about those battles? How did you find out about them? What are they?

Edril: The “battle ground” in Cebu is more traditional. It originally started in Ilo-ilo but in Cebu, we have a different style. Before the sound systems would really face each other and clash. After a year, I started doing the sound systems, I joined those. It didn’t have a criteria. It all depended on the audience, who sounded better, louder. Rumble, whoever’s sound resonated more. The audience would just stand in between the huge speakers and we would play the music. Whichever team had more pressure, wins. The new ones have a criteria, category, depends on your speakers, the wattage. There’s now a proper criteria for judging.

Cliff: You’ve joined those?

Yeah, I joined those but not as much as before because those were for the smaller sound systems. Those 4x4, etc.

Paytera sa, Kinda like how they do it in Jamaica.

Dinagyang have extreme sound systems, it covers a big area. Here, whenever there’s a big battle, the most is maybe three sound systems but really nothing as extreme as the ones in Ilo-ilo. In here a lot join but only the smaller ones with the 4x4.

I went to college in the city. I worked abroad. They would ask me to be in charge of the sound system, that’s how my business really started.

Edril: EJS is me and my wife’s initials. E for Edril, and
J for Janice then Secuya, our last name. And all of our children’s initials are EJ.

Cliff: Is that from DOTA?

Edril: *laughs* I’m really into games and the internet so I also put up my own internet cafe.

Cliff: It matches. Earth Shaker then your sound system is also an earth shaker.

Edril: My amplifier is also a skill of Earth Shaker, eco-sound. So yeah, it’s all fun.

Cliff: You don’t just do sound systems right? What else do you have?

Edril: This really is my main business but I sell products too-- I recently just started it. The ones Chris (TFI) has, those really are my products. They’re from abroad then I just labelled them with EJS.

Cliff: If you really think about it, you think you get a return on your investment with this kind of business?

Edril: Before, if I really thought about it practically, no, it’s not sustainable. I wouldn’t have put it up. It’s not sustainable because there are always going to be new products available. So you always have to stay up to date so you can get a lot of customers.

Cliff: So it’s more of a hobby?

Edril: That’s why I got into direct reselling so I can still get some returns.

Cliff: Chris said you were doing something with
your car?

Edril: Yeah, I never really got into fixing that sports car.

CREDITS — Photography: Cliff Rigor