bts

mark and his
two brothers
were pioneers in the independent music scene in dubai,

and have made a name for themselves as the trio Butterspoon Experiment.

Playing guitar and lead vocals, his passion for songwriting exuded as they braved the open mic scenes back in 2009. Due to unforeseen events, however, the Villars had to move back to their hometown, Manila.

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behind the stars | mark villar: a virtuoso's journey

Fast forward to 2019, Mark's skills have now morphed from songwriting to producing and playing session guitars. "I've always been into music ever since I was young, so I guess you could say that as long it has anything to do with music, I'm always in." the virtuoso remarked.

The sound engineering and music production aspect came in when he began writing his material. "You know, we all needed to record with as much control as we can," said Mark. "I didn't realize I was going to get extremely interested in it until I was tweaking more knobs than I was strumming my guitar," he added.

Mark's work ethic is outstanding. When asked if he has ever worked on a project that was not as appealing as others, he replied, "Not really. Every project is just different and has its challenges and merit."

Destiny found its way to reward him. In 2010, the first major project he worked on was Amigo, an American-Filipino drama film set in the 1900s about the Philippine-American war written and directed by John Sayles.

Not long after, Mark started working on more significant projects with big names attached to it. Award-winning Filipino singer Sarah Geronimo trusted his musical ears for a local project. As for international gigs, the Korean Dream by Jimmy Jan and Terry Lewis made its way to his list of star-studded endeavors.

With excellence comes reward. Mark was a nominee for Best Engineered Recording, 29th Awit Awards (The Philippines' version of The Grammys). "It was unbelievable! I was like 'did I really get that?'" he recalls.

In 2015, he was Philpop 2015, 2nd Runner Up and People's Choice Award for the song Sa Ibang Mundo (In Another World). To this, he exclaimed, "It was crazy!"

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behind the stars | mark villar: a virtuoso's journey
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Upclose and Personal

favorite song mixed by another engineer?
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room mixed by the fantastic Manny Marroquin

favorite song that you mixed and master? Maybe the Night by Ben & Ben

what do you prefer more, live concert mixing or mixing studio recording?
Studio.

Any embarrassing moment at work?
Misspelling the name of an artist.

Practice!
Never give up!
I can't stress
that enough.

what's the dream gig?
Work with the engineers/producers I admire most — Michael Brauer, Manny Marroquin, Serban Gheanea, Steve Jordan, to name a few.

any advice on up and coming sound engineers?
Practice, practice, practice, and never give up! I can't stress that enough. Most budding sound guys I know lose the fire when faced with challenges and setbacks. Just keep going and learn the 'real' ropes as you go. Keep your ears conscious and curious all the time. So protect them at all costs!

balut or penoy? (Filipino delicacy)
Balut, 'nuff said.

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behind the stars | mark villar: a virtuoso's journey

Being behind the stars of successful artists gives Mark a sense of fulfillment. "So much fulfillment" to be precise. "So much growth not just as a professional but as a person. Also, so much gratitude. I mean, what are the odds that you'll end up working with these amazing artists? For you to be there at the right place at the right time? The alignment of stars, you could say," he concludes.

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So much growth not just as a professional but as a person. Also, so much gratitude.

With that heart, Mark Villar deserves the best of both worlds. Either being the frontman of his previous band in Dubai or being behind the star in Manila; Mark is a headliner in his own right whichever way one views it.

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behind the stars | mark villar: a virtuoso's journey
behind the stars | mark villar: a virtuoso's journey