Drinks with Champ Lui Pio

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Some people would probably associate me as someone who writes about music since in my publishing life, I’ve been part of several local music magazines. But first and foremost, I’m a music lover. I don’t think I’d go through my day without listening to music. For the most part of my young, editorial life, I love watching bands perform and one of which would be Hale. They’re probably one of the most hardworking local acts that I know, and one of the most resilient too. I’ve worked with them in shoots and gigs back when I started working in publishing. Hale has been releasing new music lately, just visit their Spotify and take a listen.

Among all the band members, I’ve been friends with Champ Lui Pio the most. Though we hardly see each other because the guy’s pretty much up his neck with gigs and business errands (he’s a part owner of several establishments), he’s always fun to be with. Don’t be fooled by the dimples and his boy-next door looks, he’s a dork and a half and exudes tito vibes from his jokes down to his life advice, and that’s what I love about him, he’s unruffled like that. There’s that unwritten rule when you’re within his midst: BAWAL ANG BAD VIBES.

He invited me to his latest venture, a restaurant in the South that serves breakfast dishes any time of the day called Bean & Yolk. This is my kind of place since I’m that kind of person who can eat breakfast food every day. When he got in, he ordered his black coffee, his favorite. Even though I didn’t order one for myself, (I have a strict one coffee a day rule, so I ordered their hot chocolate instead) this website project of mine is not called Drinks with Denise for nothing. I just took a sip from his coffee and it’s strong. I prefer my coffee brown with either muscovado or stevia. So, while we drink our drinks, I asked about what his normal day like, what inspires him to wake up, and that one trait he wishes he could change.

HOW DID WE MEET?

Champ’s version:

In all honesty, I don’t remember. I’ve known you for the longest time. I see you all the time in all music events or launches or gigs or festivals. I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly how we met. All I know is I think it was through Tricia (Pablo). Maybe in a press con? I’m not sure. Maybe in an event? I can’t…I can’t remember. Grabe. Do you remember how we met?

D: No.

Champ: We’ve been friends for too long. 

My version:

Like Champ, I really can’t pinpoint when or how we met. Maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s through our common friend Tricia Pablo who used to work at EMI Records, the recording company who signed them up before they had that hiatus. I remember when I was still working with Burn Magazine, we did a shoot with the band.

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Hanging out with Roll, Champ, and Pao in La Union

WHAT SONG DO YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN?

Champ: When I first heard “Yellow,” and this is always true, the best songs are sometimes the simplest, so I wish I wrote that. The chord progression is very simple, the melody is very catchy, the lyrics energizes me personally. It’s such a feelgood song; a positive song so, I wish I wrote that. Iilan lang ang chords nun. Bat di ko naiisip yun?

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WHAT’S A NORMAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?

Champ: For me? I woke up late so, I’m late for this session, I’m sorry, Denise, I love you. Ano lang naman 30 mins, hindi, mga 40 mins late. I wake up really late, I sleep late, I’m a nocturnal creature. I’m trying to change it kasi when I wake up, habol na ako e. My phone is always on silent, I’m a light sleeper. My senses are very sensitive. I use plugs kasi the smallest sound, it wakes me up. When I wake up, tingin na agad sa phone. I try to meditate a little but when I wake up really late, wala ng time to magmeditate, it’s more of catching up on messages, emails, and the things you have to do. Coffee muna para I can function properly. Either I’d do something for 12 Monkeys, for Hale, for errands, and now, for Bean and Yolk. Yey! Singit yun. See what I did there?           

IF YOU CAN CHOOSE THREE MUSICIANS TO BE YOUR FICTIONAL UNCLES, WHO WOULD THEY BE?

Champ: Chris Martin has to be one. Eddie Vedder is second. I’m a grunge baby. Kurt Cobain shempre. 

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“Do everything with passion and love. Time passes you by so quickly, I just make little moments count.” 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING?

Champ: My family, my loved ones, my band mates, my friends, music, I think that’s my purpose. I’m trying to wake up every day with a sense of purpose and meaning, that makes life worth living and makes my day count. Knowing that I have them, that makes waking up beautiful.     

WHERE DO YOU WISH YOU’D BE AT THIS VERY MOMENT?

Champ: Right here, doing this interview. When I dedicate myself to a meeting, to an activity, to anything, I’m here, right now. So today, Denise, you have my undivided attention, you have my time so, this is where I want to be, right here, right now. 

D: Plastic! Shet! Hahahaha!

Champ: Laftrip ka! Hahahaha!     

WHAT’S YOUR MANTRA IN LIFE?

Champ: This is one of them *points to motto on the wall that says Stay Hungry Be Humble*. But right now, time is so short, you just have to make everything count. Do everything with passion and love. Time passes you by so quickly, I just make little moments count.

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WHAT’S ONE TRAIT THAT YOU HAVE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET RID OF?

Champ: Waking up late. Grabe. So, every time I get back from the States or anywhere na may malaking time difference, obviously my jet lag, I wake up extra early.  

D: And that’s the only time that you’d wake up early? Hahaha!

Champ: Only time that I’m able to wake up early. I’m so productive. There’s a big difference when you wake up early and you wake up late, you accomplish so much more. It’s so hard to wake up that early when everyone you work with, and peak ng activity is night time. It’s just really hard but hopefully there’s still time to change that habit.    

HOW DO YOU MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY? 

Champ: As cliché as it sounds, just be yourself, just be genuine. Be selfless, I guess, without expecting anything in return. That’s always been how I perceive love, whether if it’s a partner or a friend.

D: Ang bait bait namaaaan. Grabe! Hahaha!

Champ: Nuks. Mabait mabait. Isa pa ngang kape dyan? Hahaha!   

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WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN?

Champ: You’re in your own world when you’re on stage. There’s a switch, when that switch is on, you’re in a whole new galaxy. Being on stage with my band mates is the best feeling in the world. You guys morph into this one entity, this being, and it’s just…it’s hard to describe it but it’s the best feeling in the world. To be able to do this for this long with amazing band mates, amazing team, I’m extremely grateful.       

WHY IS BLACK COFFEE YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?

Champ: We all got into it because of our band mate Pao. He’s a coffee connoisseur. Aside from being healthy, diuretic, and addictive, my pros and cons e, it’s our bonding. It connects us together. Whenever we’re on the road, coffee is our common denominator. The boost that it gives us whenever we’re tired or touring. At first, I was a bit like *makes a hand gesture* ’cause I’m more of a tea person before, but coffee is part of the band. It’s our baby. For the love of coffee. Hahaha! 

Follow Champ on Instagram and Twitter.

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