As Manila Killa, Chris Gavino produces a variety of summery EDM tracks ranging from tropical house to trap to chilled-out dance-pop. He initially attracted attention for his remixes, recorded solo as well as part of the duo Hotel Garuda, and he co-founded the international artist collective Moving Castle. After releasing well-received original singles such as "I'm OK" and "Tonight," Manila Killa issued 1993, his debut EP, in 2019.
Gavino was born in the capital city of the Philippines (hence his moniker), but his family constantly relocated, so he also grew up in the United States and Indonesia. He learned to play cello at a young age, but he didn't take music-making seriously until he started getting into electronic music when he was in high school. Initially inspired by artists such as Daft Punk and Justice, Gavino taught himself to use production software and started making dance music on his laptop. While attending college in the Washington, D.C. area, he formed a duo called Hotel Garuda along with Los Angeles-based producer Candle Weather, and co-founded the larger Moving Castle collective, which also includes AObeats, Robokid, and Hunt for the Breeze, among others. He also remixed songs by the likes of Lana Del Rey, London Grammar, and Dawn Golden, some of which received millions of streams on SoundCloud.
Manila Killa's remix of the M Machine's "Don't Speak" was officially released by Skrillex's OWSLA label in 2015. By that point, he had become a successful touring artist, performing worldwide at dance clubs as well as major festivals such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival. He began releasing original dance-pop singles in 2015, with the 2016 singles "All That's Left" (featuring Joni Fatora) and "Youth" (featuring Satica) receiving significant play. "I'm OK" (featuring Shaylen), "I Want You" (featuring Matthew John Kurz), and "Tonight" (with Kidswaste) followed in 2017. After "Everyday, Everyday" (with Nevve) appeared in 2018, Manila Killa's debut EP, 1993, arrived in 2019, featuring collaborations with Mansionair and Sara Skinner. ~ Paul Simpson