Autotelic’s Josh Villena Expresses His ‘Fears’ In Solo Project ‘Totâ’

Josh Villena will be ‘totâ’ in a joint effort with his family

Autotelic frontman Josh Villena signs a partnership with Off The Record PH under the pseudonym “totâ.”

In an interview, Villena tells FreebieMNL that he will be dropping fresh tracks any time in May or June.


In his interview, Villena says that totâ is a mixture of songs that he has written throughout the lockdown.

“Pandemic project siya. Hindi ko siya sinasadya, pero since nasimulan ko lang siya, kinuwento ko siya. Masasabi kong pandemic baby ko siya,” he says.

He tells that it would be about his fears as a person. He also adds that for him, totâ is a very personal project.

Mas finocus ko lang siya sa fears. Madaming forms of fear. Fear of underwater, monsters under your bed, fear of the future, fear of being left alone. Parang of your new… kapag papasok ka ng bagong relationship. Fear of uncertainty. Tinackle ko lahat,” Villena says about the project.

Though opportunities still come his way, he says that this move doesn’t mean a departure from his main band Autotelic. Thus, he stresses that the effort is more of a message for himself.

Ito, masasabi ko na isinulat ko ito para sa sarili ko. Sarili ko ang kausap ko dito,” he opens up.


He adds that the project accidentally happened upon sending it to his manager Gabby Alipe, who later encouraged him to pursue the self-effort.

Sabi niya sa akin na ituloy ko kasi kwento ko yun as Josh Villena… [Sabi niya,] ‘Kumbaga, this sets you apart with Autotelic. Mayroon kang creative output sa Autotelic. Creative outlet mo rin ito’,” Villena shares

Family Project

For “totâ,” Josh Villena is set to collaborate with his father, veteran arranger Mel Villena, and his brothers Miko and Mark Villena.

Villena’s brothers are no longer strangers when it comes to chemistry in their music since they have been bandmates with Maya’s Anklet. For him, it’s like a full-circle moment.

Yung dalawa kong kapatid, parang nag-full circle. Pero tumutugtog ako noon, feeling ko, sa Maya’s. I write songs for Maya’s, peryodiko, and ‘Telic.”

Even though his sibs and father are known to have a strong background in classical music, Josh Villena says that he focused more on songwriting than the technicals.

Dito sa songwriting project ko, binibiro ko sila.Kayo yung banda ko. Ako yung boss niyo. Aral kayo sa music.’ [It] puts a lot of pressure pero at the same time, hindi rin siya pressure. Mga kapatid ko sila. Alam ko na ang dynamics,” he adds.

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On what to expect

Villena drops that the album has 12 tracks. There are ten songs with lyrics and a couple of filler tracks.

The composer also mentions that it is quintessential for him to connect each of the songs. This is why he treated it to be like a book.

“It’s not just an album where I write 10 songs and just put them together, it’s more of conceptual. So, there’s a beginning, there’s a middle, there’s an ending. Kwento siya,” he emphasizes.

The new project isn’t recorded yet. The new effort is his form of communicating to himself stressing: “Sarili ko ang kausap ko dito.

He also says that he is ready that people may not be ready to digest the new effort yet. He emphasizes that the record is to tell a story—his story.

“Ready na ako na hindi lahat tatanggapin kaagad yung record. Ang purpose nito ay gusto ko lang ikwento sa hangin yung mga kanta ko. If someone ay maka-relate, kasama mo ako. Ito ang pinagdadaanan ko. Until now kasi yun pa rin ang dala ko,” Villena furthers.

Banner Art Paulo Correa

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