It would be a foolhardy decision to take a break from music when your career is reasonably peaking. Miguel Escueta did just that. He had two major-label albums under his belt (2007’s I Am M.E. plus its repackaged 2CD edition and the mostly-covers Now It Starts), an EP, plus a stint in GMA7’s (now-defunct) Party Pilipinas. As The Morning Episodes, he released an album Never Felt So Alive in 2013.

The song “Now It Starts” actually made significant inroads in college airplay charts in the US and used for a pair of TV shows: Brazil’s Malhação and long-running The Young and The Restless in the US. The song “Never Felt So Alive” was used for ABC’s Switched At Birth.

So, why stop?

Miguel Escueta in Frank&Dean which he co-owns

The singer/songwriter/guitarist felt that there were bigger challenges in life, and decided to try his hand in the restobar business. The results: the pub Pablo’s which has been in operation for four years and the cafe Frank&Dean which has open for two.

He also got married, has a baby, and is finishing his Masters in Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

A fool Escueta was not, clearly. In the interview below, he explains his decisions, and yep, how painful it was to step away from the music scene:

The entrance of Frank&Dean’s club area; outside is the al fresco area. “People keep stealing the handsets of the telephones!” jokes Escueta

The break from music was interrupted with “Until The Sunrise” where Escueta as The Morning Episodes collaborated with Solenn Heusaff.

With the pub and cafe running well, he decided the time was right to return to music full-time as The Morning Episodes and recently released the single “Devil” (nope, it’s not satanic) which features guests Leanne of Leanne & Naara, and Curtismith. 

Co-produced with John Pope along with long-time production partner/TME collaborator Juni Devecais (ex-guitarist for Mr. Bones & The Boneyard Circus), “Devil” is a marked departure from Escueta’s guitar-driven pop-rock. The atmospheric late-night feel is a result of being exposed to hip-hop and electronica from the pub Pablo’s; Escueta says, “It happened organically.”

Creatively then, his extra-curricular non-musical ventures actually influenced his new output.

Miguel Escueta ponders the marketing connection between The Morning Episodes and Cold Drip Coffee

Prior to the interviews, Escueta hands over a sample of his company’s signature Cold Drip coffee and explains, “I’ll probably release another single, and maybe shoot for an EP. I’ll take my time and not rush anything.”