Mark Laccay is the mind behind ArtisteConnect, a crowd-funding online platform which helps fund creative projects by sourcing donations and pledges from fans, friends, family, and anyone who's willing to offer their support.

It's become an invaluable tool for local artists to kick-start their projects, be it a film, an album, a magazine; ArtisteConnect is empowering artists through social media, and we talked to the guy that started it all.

Name: Mark Laccay
Age: 37
Occupation: Audio Engineer, Educator, Audio Archivist, Audio Consultant, Art Advocate, Entrepreneur

How did the idea for ArtisteConnect come about?

My IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) lawyer called me one day and asked if I was looking for something to do with all the projects I had and all the other contacts I had in the music and film industry. I was very saddened by the state of the music scene that time because nothing new was coming out, but there were so many talents I wanted to produce. And at that time I was also doing sound for film, same with the state of the indie film industry, so many talented directors and great potential projects but no funding to push through with it. Or so we thought. and MMC (My Major Company) remained to be an inspiration because it was too idealistic to be collecting from our local audience, in US dollars or even payment gateways were impossible for our audience that time.

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How did Diego Mapa become involved in it?

Diego is a good friend of mine. Actually I pitched ArtisteConnect to him as a person who will be putting up a project or two.

Diego: I was blown away by the idea of the site because I had a dream vinyl project and when I posted the project it earned about 15K in two weeks. I called Mark and asked if I could be part of his team. So what I do now is I'm the associate web manager of the site. I try to get more projects fort he site, take care of the project owners concerns, fix collections, take care of the pledgers, meet the artists, market, spam, etc..

What problems (if any) did you encounter when you started ArtisteConnect?

Introducing the site. Because the concept is fairly new in the Philippines and in Asia, so awareness is tough but I think we are doing well. Getting more payment gateways. There are issues with getting a huge payment gateway or a place where people can pay for their pledges. But brick by brick, we are working on it.  

What’s the competition of ArtisteConnect?

Actually we have no competition, we support everybody. We want to be a tool for artists, companies, individuals, cultural institutes, and other corporate establishments. We want to be a partner and not a competitor. We dig all genres of music, and creative forms and invite them all to utilize the site. We try to support all kind of art as long as it's within the law. We want to be an effective fundraising tool. We are not the kind of business that we need to be competitive, but definitely we are still a commercial business.

What other jobs do you have besides managing ArtisteConnect?

I'm an audio engineer by profession: I do live audio engineering for live concerts. I'm also a recording engineer for bands/singers and other musical arts, and I'm also a record producer. I'm a sound designer as well, and I do on-location audio recording and audio post-production and even surround mixing for films and music. I'm a consultant for audio-related concerns. I'm the head audio consultant for MRTV4 network (the only TV network in Myanmar who run several free TV and cable channels and several radio stations).

I'm the CEO of Click Multimedia Resource Inc., a facility for specializing in music and sound production for films/video and new media.

I have been a professor from 2000-2005 at DLSU-CSB Music Production Course, and Multimedia Arts, and also was part of the team who had formulated the curriculum for audio and technology subjects for these courses.

I still also teach audio courses at the Institute for Audio and Acoustics and MMDC (Myanmar Media Development Center), which I also am the curriculum consultant for their audio subjects.

I do artist consultancy and management, especially on music production, and creative businesses I manage the band Drip (Philippine’s premiere electronic music act) and produce albums and music for several groups and artists.

I am a certified Digital Audio Archivist specializing in historical audio tapes for content/data retrieval for heritage preservation. I currently have projects for UNESCO Memories of the World Registry, one of which are the EDSA 1986 revolution Radio Veritas tapes, and the Dr. Maceda Ethnomusicological Research on the linguistic groups of the Philippines Islands from Batanes to Sabah, Malaysia

I was personally mentored by Dr. Dietritch Schuller the so-called “Father of Digital Audio Archiving” at the Austiran Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

You have a lot on your plate, how do you manage your time?

I try to plan my work and my time several months ahead or even a year in advance if possible, so I can accommodate jobs that are more from the arts/creative industry. I really love focusing on creative projects that identify me as an arts advocate from all others.

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What keeps you going when you’re having a bad day?

I continue to draw inspiration from my family, my wife and especially my kids. When I'm having a bad day I just think of them and they inspire me to do more in life. At the end of the day, I just want them to be proud that their father has been part of history by being part of change in audio media industry and the preservation of our artistic and cultural heritage. I try as much as possible to be with my kids especially in these early years of their childhood.

How do you kick back on your days off?

I'm a Vespa rider and enthusiast and I love to go riding around the city or even out of town for several days touring the streets with my Vespa Club Pilipinas brothers. There is nothing like tasting the local cuisine and culture in the far and unknown towns of the Philippines with riding buddies on my Vespa.

What advice can you give to other young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

Live your passion. No amount of studying and hard work will be fruitful if you are not passionate about what you do.

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