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Filipino in Mallorca Beats the Drum to Artistic Success

Filipino in Mallorca Beats the Drum to Artistic Success

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When the world becomes too loud for comfort, most of us cover our ears, turn away and carry on with our lives. Others allow themselves to be swallowed by the mundane bustle and drown in the process. And then there are those who take refuge in their artistic universe that shield them from all the noise and commotion. They have the power to see the spark, feel the rhythm and hear the beat visible and audible only to them. In this article, The Filipino Expat Magazine talked to drummer Tino Bautista Lucena, who found the sense of belongingness by creating his own world through music.

The bar is teeming with clients and to somebody with sensitive ears, the cacophony of clinking glasses, boisterous laughter, loud conversations and blaring music might be unbearable. For Tino, who was busy serving clients, there was something in the whole humdrum that made him stop in his tracks, as if in a trance in front of his imaginary drum set. A couple of beats from the bass drum went first, then the snare drum, then the hi hat. Everything was rolling. Right from there, he knew he had just created something in his head. And later on, with some guitar distortions, a little bit of violin and some play on the keyboards, the song Red Lips was born.

Tino Bautista Lucena (31) is the co-founder and drummer of the Mallorca-based The Prussians band. “One day, my skateboard buddy, Dominic Masó bought a guitar. We met up to jam. From there, we decided to form a band,” shares Tino in our Zoom interview, adding that they chose the name The Prussians, because “Dominic is half-German and he loves the sound of the word.” Tino composes their songs together with Dominic.

They were originally a trio, with Tino’s brother playing the bass. The band first performed in public in 2009. Soon after, a guitarist and a keyboardist joined in. “My brother left in 2012 and now we are four.” They have toured Germany, Sweden, USA and all over Spain and released three albums. Red Lips was included in their first album Karma, released in 2014. The Prussians boasts of a unique international indie sound. Over the years, it has evolved from indie rock to indie electronic rock to their current sound, indie group soul with black music.

Tino attributes his love for music to his father, Jaime, a guitar player. When Tino was five, he told his parents he wanted to play the drums after seeing a boy playing on TV. His grandfather bought him a drum set and his parents enrolled him in a music school.

“When I play the drums, I am transported to another dimension. I disappear in the beat. No thinking. No analyzing. But there is no perfect rehearsal, no perfect concert, no perfect recording. So when I make mistakes, I smile and promise myself not to do it again.”.”

Tino Bautista Lucena, Drummer for The Prussians
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His parents came to Mallorca in 1988 and although he was born in Spain, Tino can speak Tagalog and Ilokano fluently. The youngest of three siblings, he grew up as the lone Filipino at his elementary school. His older brothers only came to Spain when they were in their teens. “I was bullied for being different because of my skin and my eyes. But I fought back and sometimes I became a bully too,” adds Tino with a chuckle. “We have a close-knit family. I say po and opo. I also do mano po. I respect my parents but I also answer back when I know I am right.”

At first, his mother was very upset about him playing in a band instead of having a “real job”. “The first time I had a concert with the band, she went to watch even if she was mad at me. When she saw that we had potential, she gave in.” But his father has always been supportive since the very beginning.

“My father told me that his dream was in me. He always wanted to be a musician.”

Tino Bautista Lucena, Drummer for The Prussians
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The Prussians has been playing music together for 13 years.

Being in a band- rehearsing, touring and having a job on the side take much of Tino’s time that he seldom spends quality time with his family and friends. He is also aware of the temptations that come with the job: drugs, booze and all. “It only takes willpower. I always say no to drugs. But with alcohol, it is a bit hard to resist.”

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MainPhoto. Photo Juan Cruz Mountford

The saddest part that can happen to bands is when they disband. Tino blames ego as the main cause of these break-ups. “We have different ideas and not all the time my ideas will be followed. We have to learn to give in.” Tino shares how they were close to breaking up but for a different reason. There was a time when they thought they were not going anywhere and considered giving up and focusing on other things. But a new manager came along and put direction in the group. That was when he learned, “Never to give up on your dreams.”

2023 is a busy year for The Prussians and although the idea of moving to bigger cities sometimes pops up, Tino and his band opt to stay. 

“We love it here. Mallorca is paradise. It has mountains, beaches and parties. Even Filipino food. We used to go to Barcelona to get Filipino food but now we have a lot here.”

Tino Bautista Lucena, Drummer for The Prussians
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The Prussians recorded a song Deia as an ode to their beautiful island.

Tino stays focused. He dreams for his band to reach the top and make more beautiful music. “Also, maybe in two or three years, I will start a family, buy a house,” he shares with a smile on his face, hopeful that the future will be brighter.

This article was first published in TFEM’s Spring 2023 Issue
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