by Mary Ann Bardinas
Definitely, gone are the days when there were those who blatantly say that Original Pinoy Music is already dead because at the present, the industry continues rising to a crescendo, as attested by the relentlessly burgeoning number of musical talents entering the local music scene through the years.
Thus, in their pursuit of continuously championing OPM, Spotify recently launched on their official Facebook page a three-part Pinoy rock video series dubbed “On The Raks: Conversations on Pinoy Rock”, featuring six of the most popular seasoned and up-and-rising bands in the country – Callalily, Hale, Sponge Cola, December Avenue, I Belong To The Zoo, and This Band – wherein they discussed their music, experiences, and the past, present, and future of the local music scene.
Being the top bands since early 2000s, Sponge Cola, Hale, Callalily did not forget to pay homage to those who came before them, such as iconic rock bands Parokya Ni Edgar, Eraserheads, and Rivermaya, for being their constant inspiration ever since and paving the path they’ve been treading on.
Callalily, meanwhile, is also all praises for young musicians because of how incredibly talented and amazingly meticulous they are in their music creation process.
On the meaning of “alt-rock”
Certainly, it’s primarily important to define first what “Alt Rock” is before moving on to the next portions of their convos. Thus, they asked one another regarding their own interpretation of the precious term.
While Argee Guerrero (a.k.a. I Belong To The Zoo), Callalily, December Avenue, and Hale focused their definitions on how the genre typically sounds for them, This Band and Sponge Cola arguably nailed the most vivid description.
For This Band, alt rock is “alternatibong pamamaraan para ma-express mo ‘yong music mo na kayang-kayang maintindihan ng tao”, and invokes “saktong lungkot na may galit”.
It was supported by Sponge Cola by stating, “Minsan may konting saya rin e. Pero ‘yong saya na hindi ‘party’ saya. ‘Yong saya na handa ring masaktan ulit.”
On their best releases yet
Their huddle seemed to get a bit sentimental as they exchanged about the songs they released which they think are the best for them.
Sponge Cola frontman Yael Yuzon imparted that it would be “Jeepney” for him, saying, “I think it embodies who we are. We’re very sentimental people”. For Callalily, they all agreed that it would be their 2006 hit “Magbalik” because of how “life-changing” it was, while Hale related that it would be their 2005 hit “The Day You Said Goodnight” as it also tremendously changed their lives, jesting that “they had to stop school” just to keep up with their series of gigs during that time.
Despite the continuous success of “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na”, This Band vocalist Andrea Manzano imparted that it wasn’t actually the best for her as it’s their underrated song “Tampisaw”, which she composed alongside bandmate Euwi Von Loria and is the happiest song among all their releases according to her.
The same goes with I Belong To The Zoo, who noted that it’s a song from his first album titled “Never Me”, which he wrote while he was still in the United States and was also the reason why he came back here in the Philippines and gave him the push to write his phenomenal track “Sana”.
On the significance of music streaming apps
Noting the differences of how they distribute and promote their albums and songs then and now, all of them agreed that the current process is more convenient and cost-effective with the advent of technology and music streaming apps.
“Before, for you to be able to release something, it has to be part of an album. Itu-tour mo ‘yon hanggang sa’n ka umabot na mag-tour ng album na ‘yon. Pero ngayon kasi, mag-release ka ng kanta, ang layo ng mileage kaagad because of Spotify,” Callalily conveyed.
Just like Callalily, I Belong To The Zoo and Sponge Cola were also grateful for music streaming platforms like Spotify because aside from “having playlists and being able to create your own playlist”, it helps them track the status of their songs and albums easily and it is a great way as well for artists to be heard.
As Hale recalled how traditional it was back then, imparting that artists highly needed “to be signed by a big label” because it was very expensive to produce, December Avenue divulged that it’s actually one of the reasons why they remained independent.
First of all, wala kaming pera to produce. Wala kaming label e so wala kaming radio presence, wala kaming TV presence. Kailangan naming mag-resort sa mga tools na available lang sa’min, like the internet. Sobrang laking tulong ng Spotify actually. Parang ‘yon na ‘yong naging form of distribution namin.
With their wisdom and wit combined, the two bands cramped up in one room – Sponge Cola and This Band, Callalily and I Belong To The Zoo, and Hale and December Avenue – truly had an insightful and fun “collab”.
Check out their interviews and other videos uploaded on the official Facebook page of Spotify and don’t forget to stream their songs and the other freshest local music on Spotify’s “Tatak Pinoy” playlist.