Vex Ruffin grew up between California’s Inland Empire and Alabang, Manila in the Philippines and makes ‘Original Pilipino Music’ (OPM). Vex’s OPM draws on and smooths out the complex interplay between the American, the Filipino and other eclectic Pacific Rim musical influences that have seeped into the mix over the last three decades.
Emilio is named after the grandfather Vex lost when he was just a kid. Family is ever-present in Filipino culture — so it should be no surprise that relationships with loved ones are a central theme in Vex’s music.
The repetitive, mantra-like vocals on this EP focus on messages of simplicity, balance, understanding and making the most of one’s limited time. These themes are apparent on single ‘Do it Right’, “Not only do you have to do it right, but you have to put in the work. Be free and don’t settle, it’s all about the power of the mind.” Much like his earlier work, Emilio finds Vex singing over raw loops he handpicked himself. But this time melodies are light, tinged with laidback AOR or island vibes. You’ll hear a subtler, gentler touch on this project that might surprise you.
This music invites you to contemplate, to drift off, to chill out, to nod your head, to move your feet — sometimes all in one song. It’s OPM to enjoy. It’s music for everyday life: for commutes, for cleaning the house, to play while at work or on the dance floor. It’s OPM for the people.
Emilio cover by Mike Yates