On the eve of summer last year, D.C. DJ-producer Manila Killa released "Youth," a breezy but propulsive bit of electronica that's a microcosm of his sound — singalong melody, windswept synthesizers, EDM pulse. The song features breathy vocalist Satica, whose "is this really real?" is less a lovesick lyric than a rhetorical question about Manila Killa's recent ascendance.
The 24-year-old musician (a.k.a. Chris Gavino) was born in the Philippines and grew up there, in Indonesia and in Washington. Like many of his peers in the electronic dance music world, Gavino taught himself Ableton and started producing tracks and uploading them online. His twinkling, buoyant dance remixes of such artists as Lana Del Rey and Tegan and Sara garnered hundreds of thousands of plays, and he soon started playing clubs and festivals around the world, all while studying at George Mason University (he graduated in December).
Finding success in the music world requires talent, luck and hard work. To the latter point, Gavino hasn't been content to make music only as Manila Killa. He co-founded a global art and fashion collective — the anime-inspired Moving Castle — and scored SoundCloud hits as half of Hotel Garuda alongside friend Aseem Mangaokar, who produces under the name Candle Weather. In just a few short years, Gavino has created his own dreamlike world in the limitless land of EDM. And it is really real.
Show: With Robotaki and Seba Yuri on Friday at 10:30 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. 202-588-1889. ustreetmusichall.com. $12.