A video from January showed a surprised Khalil Ramos being serenaded with a birthday song by girlfriend Gabbi Garcia together with the couple’s favorite local band, Ben&Ben. Set in Route 196 in Katipunan, the 23-year-old’s post-birthday party, as we learned later on, was part of the set of the real-life couple’s first movie together called LSS.
"It was one of the last few scenes. Everybody was grabbing a drink, everybody was really into the zone and listening to Ben&Ben. Like literal na nasa gig kami—gano’n ‘yung feels niya,” Gabbi recounts. As frequent gig-goers themselves, their first headliner film is a perfect fit for this twosome.
View this post on Instagram
But more than just two strangers being pulled together by the indie scene, the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019 entry presents the reality and challenges that young adults in this day and age go through, especially when pursuing the arts. “The music is not just background music. It’s actually part of the story,” Gabbi says.
Bitten by LSS
Just like their characters Zack and Sarah, music brought the two closer together. “We love going to live gig bars. It’s our bonding,” the leading man shares. Case in point: one of their most memorable dates was a gig in 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub in Ortigas more than a year ago, where the couple watched Ben&Ben for the first time. Despite the cramped venue, they sat right in front of the stage, totally consumed by the band’s performance. “Then after that, we followed them na talaga,” Gabbi says.
In another universe, Zack, a work-from-home IT professional, and Sarah, an aspiring musician, met in a P2P bus when the latter heard the former singing songs of Ben&Ben. They immediately connected. It’s a meeting that turns their life around.
“When he meets Sarah, she convinces him to take the leap of faith and just go with what your heart feels,” he says.
“Zach enters her life, and he shows her how she can reach her dreams without sacrificing anything,” she says.
LSS on set
Working together for the film for the first time is an advantageous move for the two, though they initially were hesitant to give it a shot. "Pero no regrets. It was such a smooth ride, and we learned a lot," Gabbi confirms.
Khalil describes the experience as refreshing. As someone who plays a lot of dark and sophisticated roles, Zack's character proved to be a challenge for the actor. It was almost like starting from scratch. But thankfully, Gabbi's by his side, who helped him along the way. He reveals, "What I learned from her is her experience when it comes to romance comedies and scenes where chemistry is the bida."
Meanwhile, the actress applauds her partner's attitude towards the craft. "You're going to respect him kasi he's going to come prepared. And I appreaciate how generous he is on set," she muses.
Apart from these new discoveries of each other, another memorable part of filming LSS is working with Ben&Ben. Gabbi gushes about their realness as individuals, and for sure, viewers will get to see the genuinity of the 9-piece folk-pop group in their acting debut.
Once you step out of the cinema from seeing the tale of Zack and Sarah, what's next? Well, apart from raving how relatable the movie is whether you're a gig regular or not, we suggest that you go discover other OPM acts that are on Khalil and Gabbi's radar. They list Brisom, Jess Connelly, IV OF SPADES, and Janine Tenoso as some of the artists they follow.
View this post on Instagram
And of course, go to bars and listen to music, live! The LSS stars give tips on maximizing your gig experience: No matter how tempting, Khalil recommends, "Drop your phone. That's my first piece of advice." "And go with someone who can actually ride and appreciate as well," Gabbi adds.
Finally, the two agreed that, no matter how amazing big productions are, it's those smaller gigs that give you an experience to remember.
Who knows? You might meet your Zack or Sarah in one of those more intimate shows around the metro.
ALSO READ: #ChalkChallenge: Gabbi Garcia & Khalil Ramos Share Their Favorite Songs For Each Other!