ateneo musicians’ RITES • • • • OF
Favorite sonGs • some lists


vol. iv issue i • november 2008


WHY tHis amp GiG seems to be tHe • “WHY HiGH croWD Favorite scHool musical 3 maDe me crY”

memories From amp circa 1996

more tHinGs to reaD on tHe internet otHer tHan pitcHFork anD stereoGum

up tHe


DoWn Yuzon

• •

lourD not




• Detroit rock citY • karaoke • erYkaH baDu • tHe love team • otHer tHinGs!

1. prayer 2. lists 3. a healthy dose of caffeine 4. fear of it not being printed 5. music

PETRA MAGNO, Doc & pub a.o. tube was painstakingly built on residual dreams we’ve had long before the cloak of censorship (i.e. accreditation) had befallen amp. if tube doesn’t get printed, i’m going to cut someone deep.




aka aWesomest people in tHe WorlD

Kaks Alampay • Kasey Albano • Ain Amor • Aussy Aportadera • Reggie Belmonte • Jason Caballa • Carin’ Karen • Lester Cruz • James Go • Abi Portillo • Butch Ramiro • Betti Roc • Trisha Tabia • people from the Internet whose pictures we stole (but credited properly). + Miko Galvez x infinity.

Peter Villarosa • Anika Ventura • Pia Lina • Aika Manliclic • Max Labrador • Evee Simon • Cams Hernandez • Jason Conanan • Abi Portillo • Steve Medalle • Bob Villanueva • Pau Ortega • Carla Villanueva • Carina Santos • Petra Magno • Chingkee Lim • Coopey Hermosisima • Rose Santos • Vernice Feleo • Kat Yam • Anton Magno • Trisha Tabia • Daniel Lim










rites oF passaGe

For a neW breeD oF superHeroes
aussY aportaDera pHotos • ain amor and kaseY albano

BEFORE the band itchyworms! was making their refreshing not-so-pop tunes, Jugs Jugueta – their bassist – was a member of the Ateneo Musicians Pool. In an early attempt to save the music, “Joey Odulio [Twisted Halo – guitarist] and I started Rites of Passage in 1997,” Jugs said, “I got it from a title of Alamat Comics’ Indigo Valley.”



The AMP Rites of Passage is the kick-off event of the newly re-accredited organization. Now it has become its most attended gig since conception almost 10 years ago. Back then, Jugs recounted, “We welcomed all [sorts of] musical groups. We had classical groups, acoustic groups, etc.” In the recent years, the main event has become a celebration of the fresh new batch of bands chosen to enter the AMP roster. But, “it’s still the basic concept,” Jugs commented. Crissy Tioseco, (III — AB Psych), was the project head of this year’s Rites. “I wanted it to be awesome and have a big impact on the AMP members, especially the new ones,” Crissy said. She came up with the idea to call it, “To the ((AMP)) mobile!” Strategically set on the same week as Batman: The Dark Knight’s Philippine cinema release, Crissy’s co-project head Paoie Minerales (II – AB COM) said it was an analogy to the role of the new bands of the roster as superheroes to save the music. Teenagers and musicians filled up Kampai Bar along the Katipunan Avenue Extension on July 19, 2008 to welcome the new breed. Among this year’s superheroes were Ataraxia, Nanay Mo, Kelbasa, Klieg Lights, Kuwago, Banana Nation, Monroe, Luna’s, Sickchased, and Tonight We Sleep. Due to 5

unfortunate circumstances, the funk rock band Sickchased could not make it. That was a first in Rites history, according to the head of the Artist Management department, Jason Conanan (III – BS ECE). The bands at the auditions had an evident hunger to play at Rites. Kuwago, a metalcore band, made their debut in the music scene at the auditions itself, officially formed on that day, June 29. Jason expressed that this year’s panel did not look solely for skill, but also chose to examine the capability of how AMP and the band could work together. “You can’t call them an AMP band if they’re already good and you weren’t able to lift a finger to help them,” he said in Tagalog, “diba?” Marb Sayson (III AB- IS), drummer of Kuwago, felt “happy to be a part of an established organization whose tagline is to ‘save the music.’” Rites is the first chance for collaboration between the organization and the bands, matching their eagerness to, as Crissy puts it, “showcase their talents and make known to the public who they are and what they are capable of doing as a band and for the org.” Enzo Cabayan (II – Music Production, DLSU-CSB), guitarist of Kuwago, said about Rites, “May gig agad ‘yung mga sariwang karne,” (There is immediately a gig for the

fresh meat) and continues in Tagalog, “In that way, they are readily recognized, thanks to just one gig.” There were many things that made Rites memorable. Up on stage, a Harry Potterclad Miko Galvez (IV-COMTech) and Jokerdressed Petra Magno (III-AB Literature) served as hosts for the night. It was the one gig, to Jason’s knowledge, that followed schedule. This was important, he said, especially for the artists who, in the music industry, will encounter many delays in set times, serving as a good sign to what a great gig the night turned out to be. “That night was just crazy for Kuwago because none of us were able to sleep the night before, and you know that even if you’re not a musician, that’s not a good thing,” Marb recounted. Kuwago, however, caused a little of a stir when Marb took his shirt off during their set. Pulling a stunt inspired by Travis Barker, his own musical hero, perhaps it was a celebratory act as Marb added, “Just seeing everyone watching us and headbanging to our tunes was an amazing experience. We felt like, ‘Hey, we are accepted [in the roster].’” Enzo also related that they also watched Batman before heading “to the ((AMP)) mobile,” hyping them for their performance. Rex Ferriols (II – BS HRIM, UP-Diliman),

bassist of alternative rock band Tonight We Sleep, said he would not forget that people asked for an encore. Argee Guerrero (DLSU BMG-Entrep, 2008), the vocalist and guitarist (also for Saranggola ni Pepe, AMP 2006), said that it was memorable that a lot of people went up to him saying they had been waiting for Tonight We Sleep to play. “Hindi sa pinagyayabang ko,” (Not that I’m bragging about it) he said and continued in Tagalog, but Rites “is the best gig of AMP and one gig that really had a lot of people.” “AMP’s Rites of Passage is always something to look forward to,” Marb added, “regardless if you’re a musician or an avid listener.” Rex’s sentiments were in tune as he said, “It’s very welcoming, even to non-Ateneans.” Jason said that Rites, being the first AMP event of the year, is “very promising.” “Doon mo makikita kung sino ‘yung mga sikat na banda five to ten years from now,” (That’s where you’ll see who the famous bands will be) he added, “Or sooner.” In the near future, then, when one looks up onstage at a gig, seeing one of the bands from this year’s Rites performing: no, it isn’t a bird nor is it a plane; it’s simply another product of the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool. *


DETROIT ROCK CITY vs. CARINA’S LIFE: a comparative analysis




pessimistic realizations on GettinG tHrouGH tHe so calleD pHilippine music scene
lester cruz pHoto • carina santos

Detroit Rock City is a 1999 cult film about four teenagers in a Kiss cover band who try to see their idols in Detroit in 1978.
things Jam, Hawk, trip and lex went through to see Gene simmons
01 Jam’s mom sets fire to KISS tickets. 02 Trip skips class to phone in a radio contest and wins tickets. 03 Hawk, Trip & Lex orchestrate a jailbreak & busts Jam out of Catholic school by giving the priest some shrooms in his pizza. 04 Gets into a fight with disco-loving “guidos” and “stellas” 05 Tickets from the radio contest. get forfeited because Trip accidentally hung up the phone without giving his details. 06 Lex’ mom’s car gets stolen. 07 Lex sneaks in backstage but gets found out 08 Hawk joins a strip contest and loses. Also pukes his brains out. 09 Hawk pimps himself out to an older woman. 10 Trip gets in a fight with a kid, gets bullied into stealing from the convenience store and inadvertently saves it from an actual burglar. 11 In a chance encounter, Jam loses his virginity to a classmate in a confessional. 12 Lex takes on the car thiefs with street dogs. 13 They beat themselves up. 14 They get tickets (miraculously!1) 7

things carina went through to see Gene simmons
01 Get off bus. 02 See long line outside 7-11. 03 Buy an energy drink & line up outside. 04 Wait five minutes. 05 Have a conversation. Gene SimmonS: So, where’s home? Carina: The Philippines. Gene SimmonS: Oh, Ma-nee-la!

You have finally established your dream band and you are ecstatic about bringing your music to a crowd. High on euphoria and a throbbing ego, it starts to kick at your brain as hard as it can: you’re trying to make a difference like everyone else! Why then, do you end up half-dead on the floor, screaming, “Why don’t people see it like we do?” in hopes of hearing your sound on high-scale radio frequencies. MYour supposedly kick-ass band is crap, and here’s why:
1. You think that CritiCs/Promoters
biased the are


2. Your

Promoter doesn’t reallY Care about You.

* I’m not a big KISS fan. In fact,

if asked what my favorite KISS song is, I’d probably say, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” not because it’s their best song ever, but because it’s the only song I know. I am, however, a big fan of Gene Simmons. Except maybe for his hair.

You must watch it for yourself because it is an incredible, loltastic film!

We’re all biased. There’s nothing wrong with that. One of the reasons these figures of authority don’t like your music is because they don’t fancy your sound in general. We all have our preferences and these preferences range from catering to acquaintances, musical commonalities, scorching hot aesthetics, and other shallow things. To some people, it’s not about music anymore. MHere are some reasons why some other band got the big gig, and yours didn’t: The drummer is the judge’s boyfriend. The lead guitarist is hotter than your lead guitarist. They played the worst RnB cover ever. But hey, keep telling yourself you’re better than them. MThis is also why people scream “Luto! Luto!” irrationally at inanimate objects.

We’ve seen productions who exploit bands and their money by imposing on them the wicked way of paying to play. People ask why this scheme is still in the book and they get responses like: “Oh, hey, we need to make money too, you know! That’s why we’re using your friends to pay for our reservations and beer!” MThing is, these big productions can still make money without forcing the bands themselves to sell tickets. Tickets are sold at the gates, so people who enter and watch are bound to pay. You can stick to these kinds of productions if you fancy the lies about possible exposure, discovery, and a catapult to rock and roll. No one really knows what rock and roll is nowadays. MThis is the reason why you’ve been losing money for the past few gigs. Your band 8

doesn’t have friends so you’ll end up paying for five tickets that no one will use anyway. And did you notice how everyone simply disappeared right before your band started setting up? MIn these instances, the people in the bar will only watch the band who invited them to the place, mainly because they have a connection. If you are lucky, they will watch the band before and after the band they were there for in the first place. And if they’re watching you, take note that the probability of them laughing at you is quite high. Good luck.

3. Your

ideas are intaCt but the exeCution seems to have killed the band

As you rant about how people don’t see the beauty in your music, you realize that the people listening to you try to make euphemisms about how your band sounds like, with a subtle remark on how awful your band is and how you really need to improve, without making you feel bad. You rave about your 27-note counterpoint harmonies and your ability to play that while singing, but you don’t realize is no one really gets what you’re doing, and it definitely isn’t going to sound great. (Don’t argue.) You rave about how your drummer syncopates everything as your lead shreds the whole place in 17/32 rhythm. Will it appeal to everyone? I don’t think so. Keep yourself composed. If ever you have absurd ideas, make sure you’re able to deliver it with confidence. Last but often forgotten, make it audible. MThis is the phase after your post-gig euphoria. MThis is why you keep sulking about “getting to where you want to be” and hoping that people will finally appreciate your music. For the record, people will only appreciate your music if they can hear it right. Audible vocals, perfectly mixed instruments, and synchronized time is probably what you need.

to get big so he can ride into fame with you. Maybe there’s someone who’s in the band because he wants to look cool and win the thousand virgins he had been promised. If it’s obvious that a band member is putting you on the last of his priorities, take him out. That member is pulling you down, but wait, hold on there, Hitler! Filling in doesn’t count, session members don’t count either. Being a a full-time member of a band, on the other hand, involves commitment, and without commitment, your band will crash down. Jam bands don’t really agree with this train of thought, cause it’s all about having fun. Well just so you know, everything comes with an almost invisible thread of commitment. Boohoo. MLong story short, make sure you talk to your colleagues about how they see the band, where they want it to go before you go all Autocrat on them. Please keep in mind that not everything will go your way, and to be realistic: things will never go your way. Be considerate and always be a listener. It will help with everything. Be kind to your band mates, just like that conventional message they give to couples before getting married.

where sharks eat small fishies, and where small fishies have a weird mentality of wanting to get chosen or ‘eaten’. MAlso, watch what you say, watch what you do, but not too much, you’re far from show biz and you aren’t show biz. So you must be wondering where this all came from. Let’s just say, I’ve seen a lot, been through a lot, laughed at lot, and mostly noticed a lot. Also You must’ve noticed that these life lessons revolve around

pretentiousness, conceitedness, false hope, and love. If you relate to this, good for you. If you’ve been through this, even better. If you don’t, then something must be wrong with you. The so called music scene in the Philippines is quite different, and that means you have to get used to rejection, prejudice, and fabrications. Whatever happens though, keep playing. I know that hard work rarely pays off in this scene but hey, there’s nothing to lose anyway. *


I bring forth a list of music websites that you should visit to get away from the up-to-date music blogs, which are starting to read like the dailies.
1. la blogothéque’s take-away shows •

5. someone else is watChing You

Armed with a videocamera, La Blogothéque, a French music blog, brings us a series of videos of invited musicians’ live sets, usually done on the streets of Paris. Grizzly Bear’s “Knife,” Bloc Party’s “This Modern Love” and Menomena’s “Wet and Rusting,” are a few favorites. Since its birth on April 2006, they have expanded their scope to places like Los Angeles, Seattle and Cincinnati.

4. a band member Just doesn’t seem to fit in.

Most people will tell you that a band is really a collective effort, and usually they will tell you that it’s somewhat like a marriage. It’s true. In order for a band to function well, everyone must fit in together. This means everyone must share the same vision in the band. That’s right, your band probably sucks cause there is a snake in the group. Maybe there’s someone who’s waiting for your band 9

As you sit and wait for your turn to play, you realize that you’ve been laughing and criticizing at all the bands you’re watching, and you feel bad cause you’ve been laughing more than criticizing. Straying away from being constructive, you start to notice their wardrobe and stereotype their sound based on their aesthetics. What’s fun though is getting that acknowledgement of how wise you are from yourself every time you get your guesses right. MThere are times though that you will find good bands that are in the same boat as you. Even if the chances of seeing that would be unlikely, you will find yourself quite amused when you see it. MAs you laugh or cringe at the bands you did not really choose to watch (since you’re thinking of nothing but your performance), you fail to notice that there are other people, or there will be people, who will laugh at you, criticize you, call you names like poseur, orc, loser, wannabe, or anything derogatory. MAnd what they don’t know is there will be someone doing the same thing to them. MAnd what those people don’t know that they don’t know- okay you get it. MIt’s a vicious cycle, and this doesn’t just happen in the field of music. It happens anywhere. The lesson here is, you’re one of them too. You’re all in one big area of water

2. Daytrotter • (Http://

Daytrotter Sessions invite musicians to play four songs for them, not wanting to just pass around alternate versions of songs (like normal music blogs!); they want to contribute to the music community. So, each week, five new artists are invited to play four songs to be distributed for free. Twenty new tracks each week. Doesn’t get any better than that. In the age of microblogging, it was only a matter of time before someone took it to the next level. Musebin dares to do so. An Internet community, Musebin users submit 140-character album and song reviews; Musebin is, essentially, Twitter for the musically inclined. It sounds promising, but be warned: whoever said “brevity is... wit,” obviously did not own a Twitter account. One-song performances by musicians and poets, filmed in a black cab driving around London, for the Internet’s consumption. Its tagline, “one song, one take, one cab,” explains it all. Idiomag is not your typical music magazine. It aggregates a list of your mostplayed artists (via Don’t have an account? Go get one now.) and the Internet for the latest news and features so that you don’t have to read about people you don’t care about. Best part? Idiomag sends daily issues to your e-mail so you can go back to them later.

3. musebin • (Http://

4. black cab sessions • (Http://

5. idiomag • (Http://

wOUld-HAVE-BEEN-A-TOP-FIVE: muxtape • (Http://


Favorite sonGs
the national’s “slow show”
kaks alampaY

pHoto • Justin visneskY

I couldn’t pick a favorite song if you held me at gunpoint, but should my life ever depend on shelling out a list enumerating the ones nearest and dearest to my heart, The National’s “Slow Show” would definitely be skyscraper-high on it. My initial appreciation for the song, a track off the band’s most recent album Boxer, centered mostly around the first line in the chorus. It goes, “I want to hurry home to you / put on a slow, dumb show for you / and crack you up;” without musical context to fill in the blanks, I know the lyrics potentially sound like an invitation for a lap dance, which (unfortunately?) it is not. In Matt Berninger’s somber baritone, the low-rumble-roll entreats one to “please consider the idea of you and me before the cars outside morph back into pumpkins, because I might choke on the magic in the air tonight and throw up all over your sneakers” – or something to that effect. Which, to me, is what the song is all about. Minus, perhaps, the puke. M& it isn’t just the vocals. The instrumentation is a sweet sort of beating-around-the-bush mix, what with an uncomplicated percussion complimenting an equally uncomplicated melody, and gaining weight upon entry of the first chorus, as if to point out to the listener how, despite nerves and meltdowns the emotional equivalent of icebergs in the face of global warming, this is where I want to be – at this precise moment in time. That’s right. With you. Then we have the inclusion of 29 Years towards the end, which rounds off the song beautifully as the drums drop down to a steady bass, its hand gentle on the waist of the keyboard bridge as if to lead it gently out onto an overpopulated dance floor. MThe thing is, if you’re a fan of awkward moments and conversations made up solely of the word, “okay,” you should know that “Slow Show” epitomizes exactly that feeling. It is the stuff of butterfly-stomach nights when all the butterflies bring all their little butterflies cousins to flap around in your gut as you wait up for a phone call; it’s the Do You Like Me Like I Like You conundrum, without the painful depetalling-a-daisy process. It’s the front porch confession minus the angst and jangling house keys; the midpoint between The Possibility Of and actually getting what you want; the moment leading up to right before you kiss someone you really, really like. The song is adrenalin kicking in just as you blurt out, “may I have this dance?” – possibly the dumbest thing you could have possibly said to anyone in the history of ever… M... except you’re stuck in the middle of a slow dance at prom, trying desperately not to step on your partner’s toes. And they smell like the moon at noon in freaking June, your brain’s that hopped up on perfume. And you’re loving all four minutes and fourteen seconds of it: nervous shuffling, clumsy limbs and all. *

a sonG in tHree parts
betti roc

breakinG “Him anD Her” DoWn:

“It might have been the music from next door.”
— “The Music Next Door,” The Lucksmiths

It is an awfully searing Monday morning in April, and she is hauling out a few days’ worth of slightly rancid-smelling trash from her apartment. Her hands are safely tucked into bright yellow rubber gloves, the kind that no matter what you did would make your palms sweat in a matter of a few minutes into wearing them, and she is barely breathing, afraid to inhale the possibly toxic fumes wafting from her own garbage. Holding the black garbage bag by a nifty knot she’d tied to close it, carefully and with admirable strength for a girl her size (she was just about 5’2”; however, she’d developed a habit of adding an inch to that height whenever prompted to for school documents), she manages to heave the offending stash to the sidewalk. MShe finally allows herself to breathe and, eyes closed, plops herself onto the small, lush lawn that made up her front yard. The grass tickles the back of her neck, but she doesn’t mind. Gingerly, she takes the rubber gloves off her hands and throws them away (they limply land just in front of the rosebushes beside the front door), wipes her palms on her flimsy pajamas, and she yawns a little, stretching her still-sleeping limbs. She takes in the sounds and smells of the morning,

relishing the raw, wonderful feeling of the sun’s warmth grazing her face. MA mild shower of water on her right arm causes her quite a start. She lets a little “Mmpf!” escape her, and opens her eyes, only to meet the harsh glare of the sunlight staring her back insistently. She sits up a little and finds her elderly neighbor watering the bushes separating both of their front yards from each other’s. Oh. MHer neighbor sees her and smiles. “Good morning, dear. Early day?” MShe cocks her head a little as a reply to the greeting, smiling the tiniest of smiles. Both of them know very well that she lives alone in her apartment and that Monday mornings were always early days. That is true for the elderly woman, as well. They are alike in that way, among others. They have the same solitary mornings and they both probably eat dinner alone in their many, many evenings. It is only their in-betweens which perhaps differ. But then again, no one really knows. MHer neighbor slowly walks to the other side of her yard and she resumes lying on her back in the sunlight. Within a few more minutes, an imminent shadow blocks her sun. Just how many nuisances can one morning contain? The question echoes around her head. MShe opens her eyes and finds him looking 12


down at her, his gaze twinkling with its usual amusement and vivacity. MI know your eyes in the morning sun.

There were many men who came and went, but no one was ever quite like him. MThey’d first met at a common friend’s birthday party. They were briefly introduced, and they’d barely even exchanged the simplest of polite nods and very, very tiny smiles between “Hi” and “Nice meeting you”. A few minutes more into the night, they’d already forgotten each other’s names. The morning after, not one of them remembered ever being introduced to the other person. MTwo months and eighteen days later, they’d encountered each other once more at the university library. He was the obnoxious guy mumbling to a friend lined up behind her at the reserved section, the same student the hawk-eyed (and sharp-eared) librarian shushed menacingly, much to her amusement. But she hadn’t laughed because of the librarian’s plight; even she was always tempted to run shouting inside the library just for the heck of it. She had been listening to him and his friend’s conversation all along, and she’d found it fascinating that the two were arguing about the merits of Buffy as a protagonist. Yes, Buffy as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. MShe’d snuck at look back at him then, just before she’d left to have her materials for her History class photocopied. Black-rimmed glasses, eyes just the perfect shade of milk chocolate brown, the bridge of his high nose, and those lips which just kept spouting off extremely intelligent arguments. She’d been enchanted, but she had never really acknowledged it until they formally met one another again. Back then, to her, he was simply a random stranger who’d made quite a strong impression on her (and yes, he just happened to be a little handsome). MBut they did meet each other once more, exactly two months and twenty-two days 13

after their first meeting, and even she could only describe it in such a way: one thing led to another. Their common greetings and introductions somehow did not get lost in the fray that time around. They had ended up talking, both of them throwing random personal information into the conversation, most of which they’d both ended up remembering afterwards. Like how she prefers writing in the crack of dawn, or how he could never sleep without music. Little tidbits of information which, a few days or maybe months later, would prove to be of extreme value. MAfter that, they went out once, twice, thrice—no one was counting. They found common breaks in their class schedules and they began to talk more often about all sorts of things: music, literature, the weather, everything. There was just always that mutual attraction between them, but neither one of them really addressed it. It hung in the air, noticed but untouched by either person, much like a forgotten shirt in the hidden corner of one’s closet. MShe was comfortable with him, and she liked how the both of them sometimes had very varied views on matters yet would never end up annoyed by each others’ arguments. He was rational, quirky, and generally likeable—she could never quite decide if she liked him or hated him for those qualities. He was different. He had something to him that just kept getting better every single day, and that something proved irresistible to her. She was charmed, but she was never really prepared to admit it. MBut he was. He was always ready to talk about his feelings towards her. He’d casually tell her, “I really like talking to you,” in the occasional silences during their many conversations and send her into an endless stream of confused thoughts. He’d lightly touch her arm, her hand, her hair, but he was always gentlemanly enough to notice how his actions unsettled her. MOne day, before she left for home, he awkwardly pulled her into a hug. Absently, her arms went about his waist. Within a few seconds, she realized this and quickly

dropped her arms to her side. But when he let her go, he smiled that meaningful smile of his and said “see you tomorrow,” quietly. All the way to her apartment, she could practically hear her heart pounding through her ribs. She hated him for driving her crazy, but she also hated him for being too polite. She hated herself for not knowing precisely what she wanted—or rather, for not being able to admit what it was that she knew she wanted. MI want to feel you in my arms again.

She tells him to come back that night, and he agrees, leaving her with a smile playing on his features, highlighted by the soft glow of the morning sun. MOnce he departs, she spends the rest of her Monday preparing for the night ahead. A nice homemade dinner, maybe a DVD (or an episode of the latest TV serial running on her favorite network) or two, conversation over dessert; nothing could possibly go wrong,

she thinks. It’ll be just like their usual time together. Still, she frets about every single thing she does the whole day. She’d always been one to stress over the tiniest things. MIn the house beside hers, her elderly neighbor is seated on her rocking chair by the window near the front door, and peacefully knitting what is beginning to look like a small tablecloth. The woman alternates between her needlework and short naps. MSix p.m. rolls around, and as promised, he is at her doorstep promptly. He rings the doorbell once, twice. She is actually behind the door the minute his car parks in front of her house, but she waits for him to ring the bell. On the third ring, she cracks open the door. They exchange polite smiles. “Come on in,” she says, barely keeping her voice (and her hands) from shaking. She waits for him to take five steps into her apartment before carefully closing the door. MA few minutes later, they have dinner. They slowly relax into their usual comfortable conversation. Precisely an hour and thirtyfour minutes after dinner, they are seated side by side on the sofa in her living room with a few inches of respectable distance

pHoto • tHe cobra snake


separating the two of them. There is nothing good on the TV, and he isn’t in the mood to watch DVD movies, so she switches the television off altogether. MHe carefully scoots towards her, closing the remaining few inches of dead air between them, and rests his head atop the backrest of the couch with a stifled yawn. She turns her head to look at him, and quickly realizes his nearness. She does not, however, look away. “Are you sleepy?” she asks him. MHe grins. “Not really. Tell me something.” M“Something…?” M“Something. Anything. Whatever you want.” MShe stares into his eyes, wondering what she could tell him. Her gaze drops to his hands folded lazily on his lap, and she stares further at his long fingers, wondering what they’d feel like against her cheek. She’s imagining the perfect scenario: under the pouring rain, he would gently cradle her face in those beautiful hands as he brought his head down, nearer to hers— MFrom next door, her neighbor puts on an old Bee Gees record in her player. A song she loves starts to play. MShe looks back at his face, and there it is, still: that perpetually expectant expression of glinting eyes and barely smiling lips. Only, she realizes, he is humming softly with the song from next door. As he hums along, hitting the higher notes in the chorus, she can only gaze at him. Soon, she whispers something and smiles. He returns the smile. He knows. MTwenty-one minutes later, he stands up to leave. He holds her by the shoulders and softly kisses her on her forehead. Her eyes flutter closed. Without any other words, she walks him to the front door and as she is closing it, through the gap, she smiles at him. MShe listens to the sound of his car as he drives off. She is preparing to go to sleep when she finds that she is humming the same song he was humming along to just a few moments ago. MWe belong to you and me. * 15

TOp 3 ROCk HOTTiES: 3.
Remember when mong and miggY of ChiCosCi had dreadlocks and wore really baggy clothes? They were still part of that whole nu metal craze that died right after all the mainstream bands became Lifehouse or The Calling Jr. I didn’t find them cute then... but I do now. I’m so glad they discovered emo and changed their look. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Miggy Chavez with his fingernails painted black, wearing eyeliner and tight capri pants in the video for “A Promise”. He looked like my friendster crush xeMoxanGeLx, except Pinoy. And Mong, he’s such a hipster. I love it. I saw him skateboarding at Bonifacio High Street in a tank top and he was sweating. So cute. I don’t listen to their music but I don’t have to to find them cute.

carin’ karen’s

so, that’s why it goes up and Down...
trisHa tabia
PHOTO • everYWHere We sHoot


sib – Wala lang, cute lang siya.

Have you seen riCo blanCo’s latest video? The way his mouth opens wide when he sings HEY YO WO-HOHO-HO! Grabe. I’m glad he went solo, his bandmates in Rivermaya were so not nice. Lumiyab ka, Rico, lumiyab ka!


mark abaYa is the only OPM rock star who can play without a shirt on. I want to eat my breakfast off of his abs and get pandesal crumbs stuck in his belly button. Mark Abaya is so hot. Not only is he the hottest singer ever in the history of Filipino music, he is the hottest actor too. Ligaw na Bulaklak has restored my faith in Filipino television. Mark Abaya will save OPM and Philippine cinema.

After successfully breaking into the airwaves in 2006 with their debut album Fragmented, garnering a number of awards from the NU and MYX music awards and recognitions from MTV and Time magazine, and getting people especially hooked on the upbeat tempo of “Maybe”, the mind-boggling video of “Pag-agos”, and the fiery and passionate lyrics of “Oo”, Up Dharma Down is back with their much-awaited second album “Bipolar.”


The launch was held at the RCBC Hexagon lounge last October 25, where the limited edition CD, with the DVD and some interesting additions, was first made available to the public. The promotion was not that extensive, but nevertheless fans rushed to the site and the room was in full capacity in no time, leaving a lot of people outside wishing that someone would exit the gate. Toti Dalmacion, the band’s manager and owner of their record label Terno Recordings, said “I didn’t think this much people would come.” That is how big this band, which is usually grouped under the genre “indie”, already is. But of course indie isn’t necessarily synonymous to “underground.” Up Dharma Down proved to be a band that has caught the attention of the country while maintaining their musical integrity and not opting to cater to mass appeal. MAs compared to the sound of the first album, which had more varying beats and tempos, Bipolar has a more cohesive overall sound. Of course their mix of elements are still present, like the use of different synthesizer sounds, numerous effects on the guitars, and pre-recorded loops, and their penchant for creating build-ups, which makes their music complex and affective, is still there, but it is evident that they have grown as artists and developed their art toward a unified direction. “Blessed” is a perfect song to start the album, with its elevating introduction and clash of sounds toward the end, leaving the listener wanting for more.

The contagious beats of “Clockwork” and “Taya” will surely make heads bop. “All Year Round”, “Unspoken Definites” and “Sana” gives senti music a whole new meaning, with the bands’ conspicuous talent for combining the right sounds with words. The more rocky “Two” and “Every First Second”, which is their first single off the album, and the bluesy “Silid” shows the bands’ varied musical influences from Minus the Bear to Portishead to David Sylvian. The last song “Sugarcoats and Heartbeats,” which the guitarist Carlos Castañada had been circulating through email to create anticipation before the launch, gives a good ender to the album with its mellow and ethereal sound. Like the first album, Bipolar includes instrumentals like “The Cold is Warmth” and “Furnace” which showcases the bands’ desire to express their music in a whole new level. MWith the package comes a DVD entitled “On Either Side: Documented Sound over Picture” which is a combination of Radiohead’s “Scotch Mist” and tour documentations of other bands. Also included are the music videos of We Give in Sometimes and Kaibigan, their rendition of one of APO Hiking Society’s songs which is included in the album Kami nAPO Muna. In addition to those, there are a few artworks laid as background to the lyric texts. Overall, the album was definitely worth every single moment figuring out what “dharma” means and dreaming of the next time they’ll come up with something fresh. *

aussY aportaDera

“Rainy season starts now. Summer failed us again… Hearts like statues trapped in teenage dreams, carved by the lies of who we should be.” “Statues,” by Sound

explosions in the sky’s

carina santos

Ten minutes & fourteen seconds of amazing instrumentation. Undulating at the right moments, swelling up to a point just about where your heart implodes. The music is just right, you anticipate the climax because it builds up so well. Very nice to put on loop, to listen to while doing homework, thinking about the past. Sometimes, about the future. MIt starts off slow and uncertain, adding on more and more as you go, heightens up to fake paramounts, slowing back down and it just goes in waves, really, sometimes fooling you into thinking that this is it, this is going to end right now, but it doesn’t and it goes on, each time passing by more beautifully and more gracefully than it had. And by the time that it is going to end, you just know that it is over, but you are stunned by how it exits. Not sad or regretful, but effortlessly fitting. MI am amazed every time I hear this song, with its fullness and the spaces between notes, the right amount of seconds between each moment, and the quiet and calmness, coupled with jarry percussions toward the end, right before it plunges into the embodiment of how life is like, really. MIf my life had a soundtrack, this is how I wish it’d go. * 17

If you hadn’t expressed your disappointment at the fact that I tried to keep my poise, and mostly my distance, I would have continued to drive around that hell of intersections with a less inebriated body. My friend -- she said you must be a romantic to have bought wine as we sat in the open trunk of the car I was driving (its unlimited gas taking us where we dared leave our trail) and later walked towards the open field from where we watched the stars. Is this too far, I had asked; no way, you had replied -- and later, as ee cummings would have said, I asked myself, Is this too far, as you pulled me closer and we whispered sighs and giggles through words wet with each other’s desire. Now, however, I wonder how deep-seated your desire was: I admit the restriction to explore you, and how the places we had found ourselves within each other’s lives tempted me to keep you. (Oh, but guilt left such a sweet taste in my mouth and I now water in my secrets about whether or not this torture will go on. Yes, S & M, as I said, is my fetish -- as yours are girls; you said that too.) I attempt to leave an imprint of the subtle ways you tried to hold back, the more blatant process of you giving in. (Now, this is weakness that I like. Like in the garden, the beautiful dirty garden where Original Sin was committed. That night too, or I should say morning, we had walls and rules and silent unseen guards checking that your eyes did not meet mine as we talked about the things that slowly undressed us of our pretensions, our formalities. I didn’t know you were so sensual, you said. At that I felt successful, because I like being a child; I like it when my naivete is perverted.) When

your fingers crawled past the darkness and the bushes, touching mine as they rested on the soil while my entire drunken self relied on the steady grip of the dirt under my fingernails, did you think I would fall if you held tighter? And when I did and you suggested I sober up, did you plan to breathe so deeply that you pulled me closer? Maybe now, in retrospect, I can slip in some regret as you -- or I? -- held your breath and the serpent of your mouth tested the air for safety only to find mine doing the same. MDriving back, behind the car I drove, as I sat in the passenger seat of yours, giggling through disbelief -- I have to say it is a very guilty pleasure of mine to laugh in the face of faith; I asked how much farther you had to go, but you shrugged it off and said it was your pleasure. Now, clearly, I just sit, still amused at the irony. (Maybe you were the most fun I’ve had in a while.) How unlikely and unexpected, but really, I think this is the reason why I write: how unlikely and unexpected? Fearlessly, I tell you, there is no need to feel obligated; only respectful. I have myself here a dancing fury of the giddy things a young girl’s heart contains. It would help if you were a romantic, and then I remember the wine. It would help if you meant it when you mocked my loathing of your kind with a little cockiness; I’d like it if you were pleased with yourself. It would help if my guilt is your guilt, my fear your fear, and my burning desire the sun that met your eyes as you drove away from me and you wanted nothing more of it as it told you that you were getting older and I was living just another day in my youth. *


enough. Here’s a tip: a few bottles of beer will help you find your courage, as well as your inner exhibitionist.

more fun that way, because you can take yourself less seriously, and more people enjoy it.

“daPat Pag karaoke, baduY. walang Pa-Cool.” – raimund marasigan

“nobodY likes an overaChiever.”

Rock the Mic Right
reGGie belmonte pHoto • carina santos

The most important truth about mindblowing karaoke is that it will never be cool. You can choose a song by the Arctic Monkeys or the Arcade Fire (if karaoke machines even have the Arcade Fire) or whatever obscure indie band it is you think is crazy awesome, but it will not salvage your reputation. If anything, it will make it more difficult for your audience to connect to you and you will be met by blank stares and “what the hell is that?” MSo throw the self-preservation out the window and pick a cheesy song that almost everyone in your audience will know and secretly love. Pick a song you wouldn’t be caught dead having on your playlist. Pick something that was written in the decade that you were born, a disco track from the glory days of your parents, or a sad, lovelorn pop ditty from the youth you deny. It’s just

People tend to forget that karaoke is entertainment. Good entertainment doesn’t have to be in tune. [[aMp]] alumnus Quark Henares (founder of Rockeoke at Mag:Net High Street) thinks you should be more concerned with getting the entertainment value to an all-time high. “Sometimes it helps to make up your own lyrics, scream a song, or accompany verbs with actions,” he says. (Hip-thrusting and gyrating motions are always fun!) It is often better if you don’t sing well, since “nobody likes an overachiever.” MFew people partake in karaoke expecting it to be vocally on par with the likes of Regine Velasquez or Celine Dion. Sometimes, the “bad” performances are the most memorable, as long as you rock the mic. But for those who are dead-set on kicking ass and are warned in advance of impending karaoke doom, there are always ways to improve your performance.

Face it. Karaoke is a fact of life. MIf you are even a thousandth Filipino, or know someone who is (and everyone is Filipino, come on), you cannot escape it. Language is not a barrier – the standard commercial karaokehan even has Chinese, Japanese, and Korean songs you can warble along to, and if you’d rather die than sing in dingy karaoke bars full of smelly, drunken strangers, the Magic Sing brings the kabaduyan straight to your TV, all in the name of convenient humiliation.

MWhether you like it or not, you will be forced to sing in front of a small audience at least once in your tragic existence. Arguments about how you have a sore throat, how the song selection sucks and everything on it is beneath your exceptional music taste, how you’re too shy to get up there, and how you can’t sing to save your life, all these will fall on deaf ears. You have to. You have no choice. People need something to laugh at. MYou have two options. The first is to drone in lifeless monotone, bore the crap out of your audience, and embarrass yourself. The second is to accept the fact that the embarrassment is inevitable: it’s either your mother gushing about how proud she is of you, or your friends making fun of your pathetic rendition of “Staying Alive,” and both are quite bad. So why not enjoy it? Why not own it? MAfter all, this could be your one and only chance to have a captive audience. You might never be a rock god. People wait lifetimes for moments like these. By virtue of your Filipino heritage and the national predilection for masochism masquerading as comedy, you get a shot at every family function, and at Rockeoke if you’re brave

petra’s top 10 of 2008:
10. Thursday Live in Manila 9. High School Musical 3 8. Mikko Quizon’s golden touch (http:// www.mySpaCe.Com/ mikkoq) 7. Rico Blanco going solo 6. Ang Banang Shirley’s Themesongs 5. Arigato, Hato! ties with Anneline Chua’s Despedida 4. Miko Galvez 3. WALL-E 2. Barack Obama 1. TV on the Radio, “Lover’s Day”

PraCtiCe, PraCtiCe, PraCtiCe.

It may be cheating, but if you know you’re going to be forced to sing, partyphile Tim Yap suggests that you make a secret trip to the karaoke joint a few hours before showtime. “Rehearse your songs and then come back later and pretend that it’s your first time to sing them!” he says. “A little warm up never hurt anyone, because practice makes perfect.” Hiring a vocal coach might be pushing it, though. MBut really, for those who are serious about their karaoke, it’s always good to vocalize in private and get your pipes ready for some mad belting. Listen to the song you might want to sing and take note of how the verses, choruses, and bridge sound, and how they transition, so you don’t get lost in the middle of the song. MIf you really want to sing “Staying Alive,” clench your ass for the falsetto. It helps, but if you’re trying to sing Coheed and Cambria, castration is probably the best route for you. MIn tune or out, it doesn’t really matter. The whole point of karaoke is to have fun. Your audience has fun at your expense, and you have fun getting them to actually listen to you subjecting them to sonic torture and making a fool of yourself for a few minutes. (Who are the bigger idiots, eh?) In that moment, you are the hero. Those minutes are yours – own them. * 20

anyone an ass.


They are the redefinition of music; they are an ultrapretentious hype machine. They create stunningly stripped landscapes of sound; they sound like paint drying. They are incredibly inventive; he mumbles. Their we-won’t-playwhat-you-want-to-hear stance sparked a revolution; their erratic creative progression, from dull pop to deconstructed art rock to displaced self-parody, is ridiculous. And their hardcore following is douchebaggy at best. What has not already been said about Radiohead?
I am not a writer, or even a reader, of material on hip music and its superscene scene; so I am disposing of the pomp and writing what I know about three citizens of Radioheaddom. These characters, with their annoying existence, have made my affection for the band very entertaining. I am using their real names. [Ed: No, Ain, you’re not. Audience, these names have been changed to protect the victims.] drums, like Moon married his drum kit or something. MIt is a drag talking to Kyle about Radiohead. He says things like “‘Let Down’ is a contrapuntal piece with a lower appoggiatura in a Phrygian mode.” Right. Kyle believes he is the only enlightened Radiohead fan. Whenever we argue about his precious Radiohead, he cuts me off with a succinct “I feel sorry for you.” MI know a good number of music snobs and Kyle could be their leader. When he met the humble Torquil Campbell – vocals of Stars and Broken Social Scene – Kyle told him “No offense, but your work has a short dick.” Kyle embraces his arrogance and even as sickening as it can get, it’s sometimes not so bad. Yes, it is hard to assert an opinion around Kyle; but he does what he does because he genuinely, completely, unconditionally loves Radiohead. And that kind of love can make

Tish is a compulsive liar with an air of forced superiority. She is the type who counts her pathetic Myspace comments, uses the word “sell-out” frequently, and misleadingly denies watching TRL because it is “too radio-friendly” for her “indie/proto-punk” style. She thinks knowing a band that no one else knows is enough to make her a better human being. If her favorite obscure band becomes famous, she claims to love them less, but despite loving them less, she proclaims herself the greater fan because she understood and loved the band first. Everyone else is a sheep. How moronic. MShe never cared about stuff like that before. I remember her six years ago when I gave her The Bends and she told me she did not know Radiohead had material before OK Computer, an album she absolutely cherished. Her story is different now. Apparently, she’s known Radiohead since their Pablo Honey days and she dismisses OK Computer as, in the most arbitrary sense, overrated. She now thinks that everyone who started listening to Radiohead after 1997 is not worthy of the band. I guess it is uncool to like a band after it hits big. Again, how moronic. MTish does not truly enjoy the music she claims to listen to. She lies and adjusts her music preferences to be in or hip or scene. She is so moronic.

tish, another sCenester

someone who spells Thom Yorke without the letters H and E. Pat channels Kyle’s people in the most idiotic way. MNonetheless, Pat is not so bad after a few drinks. She stops trying to impress people and becomes someone who does not resemble a giant parrot. It is quite unfortunate that music, any kind of music, is wasted on her sober poseur being. I have no intention of spreading some lame uplifting message; this is simply a picture of three rather messed up human beings. Despite my ranting, I do not tell them to change. I tell them to stay away. Ultimately, they are what they are. It is just amusing to note that Radiohead, who do not give a rip about them, has helped define their annoying existence. If the Kyles, Tishs and Pats of the world want to be stupid moronic a**holes, more superscene power to them. *

Pat, another loser

kYle, another snob

Kyle is the typical New York Coffeeshop A**hole. He constantly talks about underground crap no one else cares about and he measures acquaintances by their choice between The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Whenever he discusses musicians, he attaches the instrument they play to their name. For example: Keith John Moon21

I cannot stand Pat’s stupidity. I repeatedly tell her to stop bothering me in class. (If she bothers me again, I will give her a copy of TUBE.) When it comes to music, she does not seem to have an opinion. She absorbs my words and passes them off as hers, with exact quotes. She also pretends to know what she is talking about. She once insisted that Imogen Heap and the girl fronting Frou Frou are two different people. When I told her she was mistaken, she made up a story that “proved” she was correct. Listening to Pat is like listening to a collaboration of Nickelback and a sh*tty French rapper. It hurts like hell. MWe talked about Radiohead once: she asked me for my opinion about In Rainbows. When I said it was a weak Radiohead album, Pat gave me this mock-frustrated gasp and said, “If you don’t like it, you don’t get it.” I do not know what is more irritating: that that is the single most arrogant sentence I have ever heard or that it spewed out of the mouth of

03 04 05 01

cover TOP5 sonGs ever
ain amor

01 Jimi Hendrix All Along the Watchtower
(OriginAl: BOB DylAn)

02 The Clash i Fought the law
(OriginAl: THe CriCkeTs)

Jeff Buckley Hallelujah
(OriginAl: leOnArD COHen)

Placebo running Up That Hill
(OriginAl: kATe BUsH)

gary Jules Mad World
(OriginAl: TeArs FOr FeArs)

carina santos
elliott smith Thirteen
(OriginAl: Big sTAr)

The Bird & The Bee How Deep is your 02 love (OriginAl: Bee gees) Jeff Buckley Hallelujah 03 (OriginAl: leOnArD COHen) Mates of state These Days 04 (OriginAl: niCO / JACksOn BrOWne) My Morning Jacket Wonderful Tonight 05 (OriginAl: eriC ClAPTOn)


High School Musical 3 came out during the Lights! Revolving sets! Feather boas! Angsty semestral break, and during the semestral dance sequences in deserted school hallways! break, I was in another country. Guam is Cultural context only makes HSM3 cuter; this tiny beach-town between the Pacific you know just how these kids have grown up: Ocean and the South China Sea. The food is you’ve seen Zefron bulk up into gleaming excellent, the people are unbelievably nice, and chiseled man-candy, you’ve seen – and and by the end of my first week there I was if you haven’t yet, you’re going to Google bored to tears. Driven by a severe need to it soon enough – Baby V’s nudie pictures. do something other than lie in the sun and However, the thrill of HSM3 transcends its gain weight, I dragged my mother – with characters; everyone knows their role and whom I watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno the sticks to it, just because it’s a mad pleasure to next week – to see HSM3. I kept apologizing play someone in love with the world. It’s high to her throughout the school idealism idealized. first sequence, even I stumbled out of as Zefron’s gleaming the theatre, sniffling sweaty biceps loomed and red-eyed, and above us in the theatre. my mother decided to The first song began, I swing by Payless before said sorry again, Mum, heading home. In it’s a musical. She the fluorescent aisles, stared bemusedly at the wheeling a squeaky dance-slash-basketball shopping cart between petraFace sequence. Suddenly, sauces and tin cans, the song broke from its I wanted so badly to crescendo and Vanessa break into song, to skip Hudgens rises, rises!, down the aisles, to have like a spotlit angel out some gorgeous backup of the crowd to sing to dancer to lift me onto Zac Efron, who pauses a shopping cart and I in the middle of the would slide slide slide crucial basketball game right onto center stage. to sing back to her. For Who doesn’t want the love of God, time their life to be a stops for Disney! My musical? I’d want the mother stifled a giggle, stupid little victories yet I, to my great horror, – like being up in a tree felt my eyes begin to house for the first time fill with tears. Here -- to be immortalized I was, premenstrual, in exuberant song, homesick, and miles right up there with the away from Manila, and big triumphs: a first I was being bombarded dance, the last kiss, a with glittering teenage thousand-mile drive. emotions. Of course I Pure unadulterated pHoto • DisneY was going to cry. I stayed Disney magic imbues that way throughout the whole film – my everything in this movie, simply because eyes half-full even when I laughed, gamely the smallest things are celebrated with scrubbing my fist across my face whenever the an overblown score and dance sequence. tears threatened to overflow. A rain scene! A HSM3 makes you believe in the joy of small waltzing rain scene! Right after he asks her to things; it’s for anyone who’s ever had the prom! God, I was a wreck. urge to break out into song in the middle of As embarrassing as it is to admit, HSM3 was Accounting class, just because your longtime a polished, saccharine version of my ideals. crush finally looked your way. That’s the best Those who denounce this Disney mammoth thing about this movie: from the production as juvenile have never imagined – or at the value to the plot itself, it’s a celebration of very least, are severely embittered at the idea absolutely everything. You get your car fixed, of – a soundtrack to their lives. Anybody with you ask a girl to prom – and everybody plus a hint of idealism would be overjoyed at how your leading lady is in the background, the simplicity of HSM1 managed to explode cheering you on, the entire world is cheering into the bombastic production that is HSM3. you on. *



tHe spoken WorD
aussY aportaDera First appeared in COMMotion, Association of Communication Majors (ACOMM) Magazine, July 2008 issue.

IT isn’t unlikely for Lourd Ernest H. de Veyra to make the venue of an interview some hidden drinking place in Quezon City. The vocalist, multi-awarded writer, and RockED Philippines advocate sat at the second floor of Javi’s in Sikatuna, already drinking a beer. When asked how he preferred to be addressed, he replied, “Your Highness’ would be fine.” Dressed in a shirt and shorts, topped with a cap, the rock star welcomed us to his kingdom, where he lived a “puking distance” away.
The question many people would like to ask Lourd, especially those who know him for his music, most recently the Radioactive Sago Project album entitled “Tanginamo Ang Daming Nagugutom Sa Mundo Fashionista Ka Pa Rin,” is “Why are you so angry?” Calmly but obviously taken aback, he replies, “Talaga? (Really?) I don’t know. I’m sarcastic, but anger is different, eh… It takes tremendous amounts of energy if you’re angry, eh… Quite solemnly, I’m an extremely happy person.” With no sign of aggravation, the night wore on with good vibes as he spoke about art, even mentioning Johnny Depp. “[Sago] has this insanely huge crush on Johnny Depp,” he shares, “These are straight [men], pero (but) at the sight of Johnny Depp, [we say] ‘Pare, ang gwapo ni Johnny Depp dito ah!’” (Man, Johnny Depp looks really good here!) Asked whether they elicit the same response from their male fans, Lourd says, “We usually get the geeky kind of boys. We don’t get jocks. I suspect it’s [because of] my drop dead gorgeous looks.” He laughs this off, however, and talks about the reality that the band only has ten real fans, “Wala pa mga magulang namin.” (Not including our parents.) His mother, he says, has never even seen him play live, but after a pause, he realizes, “Nor would I want [her to].” Sago has released three albums since the mid-90’s. A genre all on its own, Lourd’s poetry and influences from Beat literature resonate in the Spoken Word that serve as lyrics to the jazz, funk, rock, and maybe even punk ensemble that is their band. Despite the praise that their last album received, Sago still experiences the sight of a distracted crowd during gigs. “I do not harbor this delusion that we demand this insanely huge following,” he says without angst, “Just last month, I went to this grocery. They were selling pirated discs. Nakita ko doon, (I saw there) all three albums of Radioactive Sago Project. Would you believe I was forced to buy the very first because I have no copy?” He wrote in his poem, “Free Design,” that “the gods, they speak to us in compact discs,” and despite piracy, he says, “It’s a compact disc, whichever way you choose to see it. When you see the first [album of Sago], go get it.” Lourd is frank and laid-back all throughout the night. He is armed with a skill for telling stories. Before he was the vocalist of Sago, Lourd had a punk band in college called, “Dead Ends.” “Shredder ako noon,” (I was a shredder then) he recounts. If they ever played in the original locations of Club Dredd, he says, “We [the punk band] were more underground than Dredd!” On the current music scene, he says, 24



“I’ve always been a big fan of Queso [and] itchyworms!” mentioning his guest performance in the recent itchyworms! single, “Freak Out Baby.” He continues the train of thought with a band “from Malabon, fairly new, they’re not really popular. The band is called Good Leaf. yes dub, dub na alam nila yung ginagawa nila.” (Really deep dub that knows what it’s about.) Lourd also speaks of the origin of his name. In French, it means, “heavy.” “Sumakay ako ng Air France noon,” (I once rode Air France) he tells, “Wow! Specialized lahat ng baggage tags. Ayun, bigat pala ako.” (Wow! The baggage tags were specialized, but it turns out I was just heavy.) The topic of blogs enters the conversation. “I could read 12 pages of you ranting on and on about that dead toenail of yours as long as it’s written well,” he says, sharing the sentiment of the late Nick Joaquin who once said, “There is no baduy subject matter; only baduy writers.” The debate of writing, he says, is driven by the question of using either form or content. For Lourd, though, it is all about style. He shares, “I think with the best artists, regardless of whether it’s music or visual arts, it’s as simple as this: If I wanted message, if I wanted content, I would much rather read Mao [Tse Tung]’s little Red Book or the Bible. I mean, the message is there, but you’re looking for something more than that eh.” Having once worked as a journalist for 6 years of his life, he despises the Public Relations driven course that journalism takes today. He argues that the politics of writing takes away the initial motivation of young writers. Objectivity, to him, is overrated. “Kasi kung facts lang, i-tetext lang sa akin ng (If I wanted facts, that can be SMS-ed to me by a) Globe update or Smart update,” he explains, “But to get the soul of the story, that’s a completely different matter altogether. Yun ang hindi kaya ikwento ng kahit ano sa isang paragraph lang.” (That’s what cannot be explained by one paragraph alone.) Working for the now defunct Today newspaper allowed Lourd to have traveled from Vienna to Vietnam. He still reads travel books for pleasure. He also has a passion for food, which he believes, is “a pinnacle of an evolved society.” Addicted to Anthony Bourdein of Discovery Channel’s “No Reservations,” he shares a love for the role food plays in culture. He shuns the time in his life when he was a vegetarian, saying, “I was young and stupid.” M“You should have seen me before. I had hair longer than yours. I was this scrawny 25

90-pound weakling,” he says. This image of a high school Lourd walked the halls of Letran. “Ayaw sa amin ng mga [taga] Assumption [at] Poveda, kasi makukulit daw kami,” (Girls from Assumption and Poveda didn’t like us because we were annoying) he recalls. His co-host on NU 107.5’s Sunday show RockED Radio, however, is an Assumptionista. “I would not have assumed for one second that Gang [Badoy] came from Assumption,” he says, “All my friends are untypical somethings.” Whether this circumstance expresses a mindset against the fashionistas the Sago album title curses, though, he says, “The title is just a desperate scream for attention. It’s not to be taken seriously. Like, I’ve been in Tim Yap’s car. Okay naman siya.” (He’s okay.) A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Lourd attempted to take a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines. He dropped it after one semester because UST offered him a scholarship for the same course. He dropped that, too, however, reasoning, “I’m lazy.” He expresses that laziness is a choice, having been a “goody-goody nerd before,” without negating that his current advocacy is education, “I am this close to applying for that public school in Anonas. I’ll teach anything.” This resonates with the ideals of RockED Philippines, a non-government organization which his radio co-host Gang Badoy founded, and in which Lourd actively participates. Geared towards alleviating some of the country’s most prevalent issues like illiteracy and poverty through alternative education, Lourd shares his dismay that in the provinces, “some families go to the extent of selling a carabao -- the beloved family carabao, just so yung anak nila makapag-college lang. (Just so their child can attend college.) Sometimes, yung college pa na pupuntahan nila are not really good colleges.” (Sometimes, those colleges aren’t even good colleges.) With Palanca Awards for Literature and two published poetry collections, among others, under his belt, he is also surprised that some literature teachers assign books such as Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series for their reports. “Nothing against those books,” he explains, “but if your concept of literature is limited to that, wow. Some classics are even available online. That you can spend hours on your Friendster and your Multiply accounts does not excuse you.” That isn’t anger from His Royal Highness; that, readers, is the Spoken Word. *

First Listen never Dies
butcH ramiro
(iv-ab leGal manaGement)

*Note: This first came out in the author’s blog: http://drty., hence the sensitive tone of the usually tough and mature senior. You fools better appreciate!

For music lovers, songs can be like lovers, recalling young, and happy love to be more specific. I’m sure most of us have experienced “love at first listen” when it comes to certain songs. When you first hear that certain special song, your heart might skip a beat, you might develop a crush and, as cheesy as it may sound, you might eventually fall in love. My significant first listens were Tonight We Sleep’s “Gabrielle” and Mayday Parade’s “I Hate To Be You.” Like with any crush you develop, you try to find out more about this song, like the title and the band. You ask your friends, search the net, sing the melody -- you’d do pretty much anything to find out more. You then download the song or you buy the record. Then you get to know the song more as you play it often. You get infatuated. It’s like seeing a pretty girl, and then asking your friends for her name -- or in this Facebook era, stalking her. Eventually, you’ll muster the courage to ask for her number to try and get closer to her. She may or may not reciprocate. She may or may not become your girlfriend. MHere lies the difference. The song you’re in love with will always reciprocate. MThe song doesn’t even have to answer a proposal. It’s instantly yours. It’s now your favorite song. You can listen to it anytime and as many times as you want. It’s just there when you have problems: quietly comforting you. It won’t fight back and it’s not high maintenance. MThe relationship doesn’t come without problems, though. Jealousy can arise especially when the song becomes uncontrollably popular, e.g. like Boys Like Girls’ “Great Escape.” You try to justify that you were first to hear it, and that the others are much less deserving of that song. It doesn’t make that much sense, though, because if you really believe that the song is beautiful then why not share it with others? Well, you can’t forbid your girlfriend from hanging out with your friends, and you can’t stop people from staring at her. It’s the same way with your favorite song. MThe saddest part, though, is when the infatuation elapses and the fire runs out. For some reason, you start playing your favorite song less, and when you listen to it, the effect just isn’t the same. You eventually move on to a new favorite song. MWhen you hear your ex-favorite song, you feel awkward because you know the lyrics and you know the tune but it doesn’t have the same effect on you. There’s a big possibility that you will forget it, that you will merely stuff it into your “All Time Greats,” -- that Hall of Fame for exes: a mere play list. You play this when you want to reminisce about the good times, or you might never play them because of some depressing memory it’s attached to. Worst of all - you simply outgrow these songs. But that one song is just there waiting for you. It’s not choosy. It’s forgiving. It’s always ready to be played. It’s like a true friend. MThe analogy can only go so far as you can’t really marry a song. But sometimes, songs don’t get their due credit. They were there during our infinite moments and, at one point or another, they’ve touched our lives in ways we can’t quite explain. Our favorite songs make up the soundtrack of our young lives and the young love that inevitably comes with it. That is why “25 Minutes” by Michael Learns to Rock, Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” or Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight” – the list goes on – all still manage to hit a nerve. Our favorite songs will always be there for us. All we have to do is press play.* 26

tHe love team
petra maGno pHotoGrapH • James Go

A promise of a cold beer and I got him talking. First asked were the boring questions that everybody asks a band: where did your name come from, who’s in the band, what do you guys like to listen to: The Love Team was a cult in the mid-60’s that worshiped Satan, but that’s just fine because in the Philippines, “loveteam” means something else entirely. This particular Love Team wanted a band name that Filipinos could relate to. They came up with a marketing ploy to hype the band up: posters and flyer featuring famous showbiz loveteams with Lucifer’s face, but they never got around to that. As of now, they’re thinking of changing the band name to something less stupid. The Love Team is composed of Julius, Diego, Idris, and Roman -- with an average age of 21. I asked them about their average weight, and learned that while Diego started working out, Idris and Roman still weigh about the same as the Olsen twins. Their music’s not for lightweights, though; it’s heavy, brohammers. Hebigatin. Julius is listed on their myspace as vocals/guitar, Idris as guitar/beats, Diego as bass, Roman as drums. Julius, Idris and Diego are like the Jonas Brothers, while Roman’s the fill-in drummer. They might just sound like the Jonas Brothers, too. With Charles Manson as their favorite pop culture icon, and a sound described as God queefing, what else does the Love Team have to prove? When I ventured the crap question about their influences, Julius considered namedropping all the best shit on earth because that’s what any band would do when pressured to sound cool, so up front he cited: The Velvet Undeground, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Dinosaur Jr. They all listen to a lot of stuff, he admits, but suddenly reminded of his audience, he offers the safe and silly white lie: Taken by Cars, Bloc Party, Steve Aoki, Coheed and Cambria. “That’s cool,” I say, “Ateneans appreciate recommendations.” I bet y’all love Steve Aoki anyway. Because I know nobody’s a saint when it comes to musical influence, I asked about the stuff they don’t think they should be listening to. Apparently, Diego listens to DMX in his car, as well as UFC entrance music. I take no offense at this because one day I plan to work for Viva films and score an entire movie soundtrack using remixes of UFC entrance songs. No one will ever know. People will love me. Idris used to listen to “dumb noise bands” like Neon Hunk, and Gravy Train, and the Locust. Julius backtracks on this, saying: The Locust is pretty cool. We should put them in our best influences. Lightning Bolt too. Roman and Julius, for the record, still listen to emo. I went off the track, being hungry, and asked about where they eat during gig nights. Brooklyn Pizza and Mini Stop when they play saGuijo, and King’s Kebab and Kopi Roti during Route196 nights. The free food isn’t that great. I took a chance on the fact that no one’s going to read this block of text and asked a bruiser of a question: “On a scale of one to ten, with ten being atmospherically stupid, how bad a shape do you think the Filipino music scene is in today?” Somebody giggles, a high-pitched teehee. “There’s a Filipino music scene?” Quick to recover: “Just kidding.” The scene, he says, is all right, but the gigs are lame. Why are the gigs lame? Because no one’s excited about the music anymore. No one gets excited about bands anymore. Why aren’t people excited about bands anymore? People only get excited about their friends who are in bands and they only go to the gigs where their friends are playing because it’s cool to know somebody in a band. So, I have to ask, not just the Love Team, but you people in general -- doesn’t that destroy the chance of discovering something new? Oh, the underground is new? So what about the underground? The Love Team says it straight: Just because a band is underground doesn’t mean it’s awesome. Most of these underground artists are underground because no one wants to listen to their crap in the first place. Julius rattles off an impassioned list, and I understand him. Too many bands do suck, and we’re not even talking about the ones that start with C and end with -allalily, because bands like those are part of a much bigger ideology: the show business, which asks you to sell out -- in the normative sense of the word -- right from Day One. Aren’t you penises being hypocritical, you must be asking by now; isn’t the Love Team underground, doesn’t that mean you probably suck as well? The truth is that the only reason you haven’t heard about them is because they don’t want you to hear about them. We do not, they say, want to be part of this stupid little scene where boring bands get on stage in some dingy bar, play five songs that no one cares about, and then leaves. Joke lang. Joke lang raw. The Love Team likes the scene they belong to; it’s pretty cool and everybody respects everybody else even if some bands suck. I stop Julius to say that you, brother, are ranting. “That Filipino music scene question makes me sad,” and I say, more like pissed. Sad and pissed. He thinks that the Philippines needs a real music venue; they’re sick of seeing bands play in bars or battles of the bands, or college parties. I respect this idea and I think it aligns with the loss of discovery, the element of surprise; if you go to a gig because your friend’s cousin’s classmate is playing in his sucky ragecore thrashpunk outfit, what’s stopping you from looking for something you actually like? If you like ragecore thrashpunk, though, I won’t take it against you. No, I will, because I just made that up and you’re probably pretending you do listen to whatever it is we tell you is cool. Stop it, you’re doing it wrong. I went from this train of thought to ask about the role music plays in life, not just for the Love Team, but for people in general, and Julius confirmed what it was that I was getting at: Music makes us snobs. You think you’ve found something gorgeous and pure and original but the scene and all that it entails will envelop and destroy it, because the Philippines has no real space for people who know what they’re doing even if the audience doesn’t. We changed topic as I presented a comment someone left on their myspace. Here it is in its full grammatical glory: “haha! lam nyu ba ung palabas sa tv5 na “rakista” about sa band na nagngangalang the love team??? nagulat nga po ako ng marinig ko eh...? haha! share ko lang??” What do they have to say about that? “We don’t care.” I had to ask, though. Kabanda niyo ba talaga si Carlo Aquino? Yes. He plays a flute in the shape of a penis. Another local celebrity in the Love Team is Victor, who’s credited on their myspace with “Misc.” Really, Victor helps out with the recording and he brings a lot of girls to their gigs. Not many people know this, but he’s actually a talented musician. Not only does he cover Chris Brown when he’s on ASAP, but he also plays covers of Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart. Indie heartthrob nga. Enough teasing. I pulled random questions out of Julius’ old man hat. Do you like Giant Drag? You can hear a bit of that in Glue Girl. Or so I think. “We like Giant Drag. Anne Hardy is a cutie.” What about country music? “We like country music. Well, some country music.” What about little girls? “We like little girls.” I like little girls too. The Love Team and I are going to get along fantastically if they don’t kill me about this article. Or if Kjwan doesn’t kill me about this article. Guys, tell us a Kjwan joke. “Which movie soundtrack did Kjwan recently contribute a song to?” Which one? “Kjwantum of Solace.” Lame. “Lame!” If you got this far without learning anything about the state of Philippine music today, as told up front by a humble honest homeboy, you’re lame. Visit their myspace at www. Shoutout to: arigato hato, the dorques, dong abay, eggboy, pedicab, monsterbot, ciudad, juan pablo dream, radioactive sago, ampon, turbulence, caliph8, and RJ underground radio - for keepin’ it right. *



if You Want to Go to Heaven, lay upon my breast:
abi “ann WriGHt” portillo pHoto • carina santos

everythinG StartS with a heartbeat. Life – because without a heartbeat, you would be nothing but a mass of cells; Love – because otherwise, you really are just friends; And this Erykah Badu song that I took a chance on and fell prey to that one steamy May night when I was not quite myself.
It’s called “I Want You.” The first 15 seconds is the steady lubb-dubb of a thumping heart. Then the bass drums come on and the pounding gets thicker and faster. The pulsation continues as she chants her helpless, bewildered confession in a delicate, unimposing voice: how “in the worst kind of way,” she wants you. It is more a plea for pleasure than it is a command. “So what (are) we gon’ do?” she asks, perplexed and powerless in the face of desire. The night I discovered this song, I was loose and craved a taste my palate could not dictate. My unstipulated hankerings have always been interpreted as a hunger for something new, and I can never resist the urge to satiate them. That night I let go of inhibition. I snuck out, ate out, made out, and it all played out oh, so deliciously. After all that, I felt in the mood to protract 29

the inhibited streak and decided to listen to something fresh yet friendly. My clickhappy fingers took a chance and hopped over to Worldwide Underground – that one Erykah Badu album I had never touched before. I was immediately impressed by the first few tracks, which were steady and groovy enough to keep a hormonal teenage boy happy for a few days. Then I came across “I Want You,” and it throbbed like a happy couple at 3 am on their wedding night. Everything else was enough to give your feet a good tapping exercise. My love for Erykah Badu’s music developed as a consequence of inhibition. Prior to that night, I dug deep into the flesh of Soul and the Blues, but I had barely touched hip-hop in eight years. Though I touched upon the Soul- and Blues-oriented parts of her discography, I always managed to skip those that weren’t just because I was never in the mood for them. For a long time, I was the staunchest rock fan, which in music elitism meant that I did not even think about touching anything of the R&B variety because it wasn’t bad-ass. Then suddenly, I wasn’t as bad-ass either. That was about the time I started dipping my fingers into the smorgasbord of flavors that music had to offer me. I mean, I like to think that I’m the music aficionado of my social circles, because I have always grazed the width of the music spectrum as far as influences are concerned; many thanks to my own personal discovery skills coupled with exposure to my father’s music. However, I never deviated so far away from rock music. I had never immersed myself so deep into other genres, as I allow myself to do so now.

MOne of the things I’m proudest of is my CD collection. I used to memorize in which order I bought my CDs, but then I started having to spend my money on other things besides CDs. Plus with the miracle of peerto-peer music file sharing, my album buying significantly decreased. (I present with my confession a disclaimer: Yes, I admit that I am guilty of acquiring music without paying for it, but I do still buy CDs, regardless of how much I am sometimes unable to afford them.) MThe point that I mean to drive at is this: being a thinker whose thought processes have a propensity for chronology, romanticism and flashbulb memory, I tend to keep my recollections in check with the music that I listen to and how they felt at a certain point in my life. MIt happens two ways: one – I listen to music to mull over a certain memory, like I do with any Backstreet Boys or Spice Girls track, and how I was a frizzy-haired, awkward, prepubescent girl who begged her mother for platform shoes. I listen to a Hanson song and remember how I cried when Taylor Hanson allegedly “cheated” on me when he married the woman that eventually bore him three children (and there’s another on the way). Just the other day, I was killing time with a friend and a guitar, singing songs by the Destiny’s Child of yore, when Beyoncé was just Beyoncé, before she let everybody know that what she really does when she is alone in her bathroom is watch herself in the mirror dance like a dervish, and thinking of porn actress names for her alter ego. MOn other occasions, it is the sensory trigger that plays the musical memory. Now I hear Avril Lavigne’s “Fall to Pieces” whenever I am at the library, secretly singing “I don’t want to fall to pieces, I just want to sit and stare at you… because I’m in love with you” under my breath, to the table next to me where my freshman love used to sit (don’t think I’m not trying to suffocate myself with a pillow after saying that, because I am). Wet, salted skin, hair everywhere and epileptic light rays, regardless of where I am, remind me of Café saGuijo, where my best girlfriends and I have danced (or flailed our limbs aimlessly, rather) to many a Pedicab and Sandwich song in the highest of heels and in the thickest of eyeliner. On late night drives on a deserted road, sitting beside myself, is a Coldplay song. MOver the years meanings change, and your perspective on certain music reflects where you are now. I recently rediscovered an old Prince song called “I Could Never Take the

Place of Your Man.” In the 6th grade, it seemed to me that it was written by a man who felt helpless because the woman he has feelings for clearly cannot forget a previous relationship. Hearing it again, now it seems like he cannot take that ideal lover’s place not because she can’t get over it, but because he just doesn’t want to. It’s the same song I heard almost a decade ago, but twelve is an age when you are obviously more idealistic; when you’re twenty-one, you’re just more open to the ways of the world. The music does not change, but you certainly do. MI never listen just for the sake of listening. To any song that I feed into my head is an accompanying purpose that is triggered by an experience. Music and experience complement and crystallize each other, and the fact that music goes straight to my hips makes me all the more receptive to the experience of it. Every song is an exhilarating needle prick, creating tattoos that immortalize where I am, musically, at certain points in my life. Being composed is this intricate musical design that time and experience has drawn out for me. MWhen I fell in love with “I Want You,” I fell in love all the more with Erykah Badu – her wit, her provocative rhythm, her genius rhymes, and how she can articulate experiences that we rarely experience, let alone get inspiration from. The situation is simple, and so are her words: tormented and helpless in the face of desire, she keeps her phrases breathy, concise and distracted, but all the while still honest. She reads a book, tries some yoga, turns up the sauna and downs a jar of water – nothing works. All she knows is that she wants him. MWhen I fell in love with “I Want You,” I rediscovered excitement in darkness and peace in noise. I put this on, switch off all my bedroom lights, close my eyes for absolute seclusion, and just zone out. However, fully appreciate this song a rather high level of concentration is required. It is layered and complex, worthy of all the attention you have to give. If you let it, it can penetrate so deep inside of you that you won’t even know which of yourself is body and which is spirit. When I fell in love with “I Want You,” I fell in love with a new world that was entirely different from mine and Mizz Badu here – bless her – makes living vicariously appealing and accessible. MWhen I fell in love with “I Want You,” my then-dwindling love for music jumped right back on its feet. It happened to be in the backseat of somebody’s car; it started with a heartbeat. * 30

( OTHER ) yuzon
aussY aportaDera


“HI, Kuya Yael’s sister!” (Kuya refers to “big brother”) is posted on Ysabel Yrastorza Yuzon’s Facebook page’s comments wall. “I have a name,” she posted as a reply. Apparently, it came from a fan of Spongecola, her brother Yael’s band, in which he is the front man. “I mean, I added you already, at least call me by my name,” she reasoned with irk, referring to the incident. This isn’t the first time this has happened to her. Going around the mall with her family, she had to get used to staying an extra five minutes at every store to accommodate the fans who wanted to get autographs from Yael and Yani – who is the currently vocalist for the band Archipelago, and guitarist for Pupil, where he plays with Eraserheads icon Ely Buendia. “This is the other Yuzon,” Yani used to joke, “but he didn’t say it in a degrading way.”

MThe nineteen-year-old Ysab, as she is called, is the youngest girl in their family but she shares she had a sister. Born between Yani, who is thirty now, and Yael, who is twenty-four, Yazmin is the real “other Yuzon,” she says. Yazmin died at the age of four and Ysab never got to meet her. Her mom really wanted to have a daughter so her parents followed the fertility table to ensure Ysab was born. “My dad actually wanted the name Yvonne,” she says, “but my mom went to a high school called Sta. Isabela. Buti na lang!” (Good for that!) M“I think I would have been a different person if my name was Yvonne,” she adds. As herself, though, Ysab is a staunch lover of the arts. She is currently taking up Humanities at the Ateneo de Manila University with the tracks History and Creative Writing. She had no choice but to go to Ateneo, coming from a family of Ateneans. She had recommendations to take up courses like Political Science and Theater Arts, but she read the description of Humanities and chose that for herself. “I’m not interested in a particular field in general, I just really like the arts,” she says. Ysab points out that she is an observer more than a creator. History allows her to explore the subject of great men and their relationship with great events while Creative Writing helps her get back to an endeavor she has pursued as a child. She used to write short stories and poetry but she struggles with the process of creation, which is why she is more inclined to writing non-fiction. MThis is also why she enjoys being backstage during Tanghalang Ateneo productions, which she – like Yani before her – is a part of. “I act but I really like seeing that after sleepless nights and countless fights, the production is successful.” Even after acting in a number of productions by TA, Ysab still considers herself shy. She has learned not to mind the audience when she performs, though, choosing to let her director down, as well as respecting all the work the production team has done in order to make the show happen. MWhen she was nine years old, though, Yani circumvented Ysab’s shyness on his own volition. He auditioned Ysab for a music video without letting her know it was an audition. Mark Villena, the brother of Yani’s friend Ryan, was the director of the video so she was comfortable in front of the camera. Weeks later, (and it is still viewed by many music lovers today) Ysab

was in the video of the Eraserheads’ “With A Smile.” More recently, she was in Chicosci’s “Chicosci Vampire Social Club” video, and she joined the production team of Callalily’s latest video. M“Music was a great influence [while] I was growing up,” she says, and shares that it also played a role in her close relationship to her brothers. While she claims to be the one among her siblings who doesn’t have any musical talent, (“I can’t sing for crap,” she says) as an 11-year-old, she would sit in their living room while Yani jammed with his old band to songs by Gin Blossoms and Eagle Eye Cherry. One year, Ysab went to a gig that Yani and Yael’s bands shared. It was her sixteenth birthday and she was only in the crowd, but they all sang “Happy Birthday” for her. MAt one point, though, she had angst towards Yani and Yael, who seemed were getting closer and leaving her out. Sensing this, Yani wrote Ysab a letter for her high school retreat that said, “I can’t wait for you to be an adult so that I can have these kinds of conversations [the ones he and Yael were having] with you.” True enough, Ysab now speaks affectionately about her brothers, often in the context of experiences like drinking, quirks, and even problems. Her relationships, too, have grown for each brother, “I have Yani for surfing and I have Yael to watch One Tree Hill.” MYsab’s love for her brothers is as evident as her love for the arts. She cannot see herself having any strict career after college but she dreams of putting up a school for the Humanities. The students do not even have to be talented, she says, they just have to possess a love for learning. “I’m friends with my friends and I’m close to my family because we all don’t settle for what we just have,” she says, “We’re the type to always want more.” MYsab doesn’t only want more, she also knows how to give and love. She requested her final words be plugs for her brothers’ bands and upcoming TA productions, “Support Filipino artists,” she says, “because they’re all very amazing people.” * This interview was conducted in August 2008. Since this article was written, Ysab has pursued another endeavor as an organizer for Mary Moon Productions, where she is the artist manager of Tonight We Sleep, Pascalene, and Kuwago. 34


on amp’s early days

When I was in college, I didn’t know how to play Extreme’s “More Than Words,” as most of my guitarplaying (and even non-guitar-playing) peers did. Instead, I would pluck the intro of Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough,” and wait for any of my female friends who happened to be nearby to recognize the tune and sing along to it. I think I got more girls that way; besides, I couldn’t sing like Gary Cherone to save my life, and if some dude sat next to me and did, that would look kind of gay.
Seriously, it feels quite peculiar to look back at the earliest years of the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool, of which I had been a part of, considering where I, as well as my other more successful then-orgmates, are now, being part of the local music industry, so to speak. But the truth is, I never really set out to be a professional musician, nor do I consider myself to be one, despite the fact that I do make money out of performing and making music. In high school, I already knew I wanted to be a writer of some kind, be it in journalism or advertising. I promptly put down “AB Communication Arts” on my college application form, and got in. During my freshman year, I joined the Guidon as a features writer, as I had been in the high school paper as well, and there seemed to be no other student organization then that suited my interests. MBut I had always been a music fan, so I lobbied for the opportunity to write an article about the Ateneo-based metal band Backdraft as one of my first assignments for the college paper. In 1995, they were the only predominantly Atenean band with a 35 major-label record deal, and personally, as far as local heavy music went, I thought they were better than Wolfgang. And they were friends of a mutual friend, while their bassist was dating my first cousin (they’re married with two kids and living in Jersey now, by the way), so it wasn’t difficult to schedule an interview with them. MThe article didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to (i.e. it was heavily edited), but that experience gave me the first (if only indirect) taste of what it was like to be in an active band, performing in dives like Club Dredd (the one in EDSA), Kampo (now Metro Bar, a showband/gay comedian joint), and Mayric’s (yes, the place is that old, so don’t dis the sound system, yo). But unlike you lot, I wasn’t really allowed to watch gigs during my early college years (even on weekends, mind you), so having to interview Backdraft gave me an excuse to go to a few, not only to see them live or hang out with them, but also to witness the local band scene firsthand. Months later I had my own band (with current Itchyworms guitarist Chino Singson), and we were asked to open

for my future cousin-in-law’s band a couple of times at Club Dredd. But none of this happened before a new student organization that interestingly had the acronym “AMP” was formed. MAMP – which later became [amp], and currently, ((aMp)) – first made its presence known via a weeklong secondhand CD sale held at the Kostka Extension during the second semester of my freshman year. As this was the pre-iPod age, it attracted quite a number of music buffs, including myself. I immediately put my name and contact info (which, back then, really just consisted of my home phone number) on the signup sheet, and even volunteered to look after the booth during my free time, in the hope of intercepting new stocks as they arrived. My perseverance paid off, as I got to purchase unscratched copies of Sonic Youth’s Goo and Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love for P150 each, as well as an unopened copy of Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, to replace the old one I lent to the editor-in-chief of the high school paper more than a year before, because I wrote a review of the album, and because the Internet was next to nonexistent in 1994, he had to scan the CD cover and he never returned it again. MAMP experienced its first full schoolyear in SY 1996-1997, and its roster then, save for Backdraft and Indio I, consisted mostly of fledgling groups like Brownman Revival (which, in turn, consisted of past members of Indio I and future members of the Milagros Dancehall Collective), Mike Elgar’s virtuoso acid jazz quintet Juice (which, at the time, also had Ateneo’s best drummer, Dex Aguila, now with the Chillitees), a male vocal group (the term “boy band” hadn’t been coined yet) called Reverse (they later disbanded under the name “Release,” and Mike Constantino moved on to DJ and form Mike’s Apartment), as well as other acts that time mostly forgot. But it wasn’t until the following schoolyear that AMP began to feel the “community” vibe, probably because the organization had already been accredited by then, and it had its own org room and tambayan to speak of. MBut I think it was mostly because of the new bands that entered the roster. The Itchyworms had already been attending college in Ateneo the year before, but it was only before their sophomore year that their band began to take form. And I had previously seen Ciudad at a high school band competition, after which I promptly introduced myself as a fanboy and told them to join AMP next year when they entered college. And then there were

interesting people like Quark Henares and Marie Jamora, who later made names for themselves as filmmakers, but joined AMP as two of the biggest music fans I have had the pleasure of meeting. MAs such, I recall many, many things that occurred during AMP’s first three years; I couldn’t possibly put them all here. I could list a few, like the day the Itchyworms – who used to be a Beatles cover band that even played “That Thing You Do” during the ’97 OrSem – wrote “Happy Birthday,” inspired by the fact that no one greeted a certain, notso-well-liked AMP officer on his birthday (said officer even dropped by the AMP room many times that day, and no one seemed to care). Or the day I interviewed Marie for AMP, and based on the favorite bands she listed on her application form, I began to have a little discussion on indie rock with her. Years later, she told me that she was intimidated by me, even if I didn’t mean to. MOf course, the DIY, full-electric gigs we held at venues like the Colayco lobby (Blast Ople’s first gig), the Gonzaga Hall auditorium (Sandwich’s surprise set at [amp] Camp), and the Rizal Mini Theater are also worth mentioning as being the org’s lifeblood, it was the day-to-day hanging out I miss the most about AMP. Every day there was something new in the logbook, and if the beat-up “AMP guitar” wasn’t being played by a certain angst-ridden kid named Marc Abaya, a new Itchyworms or Ciudad original was being written with it. I still remember the code names we gave to some pretty Glee Club members we shared our room with, the annoying, desperately-trying-to-becool nerds we regularly picked on (yes, we had those, too), and the sight of black-clad H.I.V. frontman Milo Felipe reading Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible outside Colayco, clearly visible to all the Jesuits who pass by on the way to their classes. MI guess what makes looking back at all these seem peculiar is that back then, we didn’t have a clue that most of us would become serious recording artists (or in the case of Quark and Marie, music video directors) someday. Although we did acknowledge each other’s talent (in my case, mostly theirs) early on, we were kids who played music mainly for fun, and made sure we graduated without a hitch. Then again, there were meta-humans among us, as Marie graduated with honors, while Chino, the AMP president during our senior year, successfully completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Computer Engineering. But there were surely moments during which I thought my 36

friends deserved to be huge recording stars, like the first time I heard the Itchyworms’ “Mellow Carousel” live at the Music Museum and thought, “This is pure genius.” MWe all know that both the Itchyworms and Ciudad ended up getting signed to major labels for (at least) their debut albums, both of which were recorded while most of them were still in college. While neither Little Monsters Under Your Bed or Hello How Are You Mico The Happy Bear ended up being commercially successful, the fact that both albums managed to be completed (and promoted) by both bands while most of them were on the verge of graduating is a feat in itself. And they were damn good records at that. MFast forward to 2008. The Itchyworms are still signed; they’ve also released one of the greatest local albums ever made (that’s Noontime Show, dimwit), and are enjoying the most successful phase of their career. Ciudad have released their last two albums independently (a new one may be out by the time this gets published), and possesses the most loyal fanbase I have seen of any band, ever. Even I managed to score one with Pedicab, and hopefully another with our second album. And Quark and Marie’s efforts comprise about fifty percent of the local video playlists of both MYX and MTV. But in the midst all these, we’ve gone through different day jobs and other sources of income (most of us still rely on them), while some of us have gotten married and started families. On the surface, many things have changed. But we still go to each other’s gigs (if we don’t play at the same ones), invite each other to our (or our kids’) birthday parties, and basically hang out like we used to. We still rave about our favorite movies and comic books, indulge in “guitarspeak,” and make fun of the same people. MMy student number starts with “95.” It’s been over a decade since, and I still don’t know how to play “More Than Words,” and will probably never learn to. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I quit the Guidon after my junior year, having written my dream article about “alternative rock.” Now I write for a music magazine. Perhaps, then, things haven’t really changed. The first three years of AMP may not have been the org’s definitive years (that distinction probably goes to the subsequent Chicosci/Sponge Cola/Dicta License batch), but nevertheless we were, and still are, a tight group of friends that continues to cross each other’s paths, thanks mostly to our love of music. And commercial success has absolutely nothing to do with that. * 37

Petra’s top 5 songs for a slow dance prom scene in an alternative teen movie:
5. Cat Power, “Dreams” 4. Neko Case, “Lion’s Jaws” 3. The Mountain Goats, “Thank You Mario but Our Princess is in Another Castle” 2. Bobby Baby, “Loves to Dance” 1. TV on the Radio, “Stork & Owl”

Favorite sonGs
IT’S ALL ABOUT HOMECOMING elton John’s “tiny Dancer”
betti roc

sonGs to listen to, WHile takinG a Walk in tHe park:
“Walk in the Park,” Oh no! Oh My! if it is a particularly good walk. “Just (you Do it to yourself),” radiohead, if it is somewhat nihilistic. “Where is My Mind?,” Pixies, if it is (curiously) apocalyptic. “This Modern love,” Bloc Party, if you feel like taking a skip, instead of a walk. “start a War,” The national, if you’re feeling mellow. “if you’re Feeling sinister,” Belle and sebastian, if you’re feeling sinister. “like a rolling stone,” Bob Dylan, if you feel like mouthing the words to rolling stone magazine’s #1 song of all time.

There are certain qualities in a song which make audiences either appreciate or dislike it. Some people take the lyrics and melody of songs into consideration. Others may sometimes find themselves prejudiced towards certain artists and swayed by the differing opinions of certain musical “authorities”. In the end, though, appreciation of music, or a song to be specific, comes down to the individual listeners’ set standards. Personally, I see songs as books, or simply, literature. I look for beginnings, climaxes, endings, metaphors, personas, and stories in and behind songs I listen to. I tend to divide songs into parts (and I have my favourite ones), examine lyrics along with their music, and sometimes even try to find the context. In my mind, songs have to be coherent and must impart something, however shallow or profound these messages may be. As for specific standards, a part of me is also drawn towards certain melodies (piano or solo instrument intros are always a plus for me), accompanied by beautiful words. MAll my aforementioned biases might explain why, currently, my favourite song is Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Aside from the fact that the movie which gave this song most justice (Almost Famous) is one of my favourite movies of all time, “Tiny Dancer” is simply one of those songs I can’t imagine getting tired of listening to. Whether on the commute home, while walking in a jam-packed mall on a Sunday evening, or that lull between awake and slumber, hearing those immortal lyrics speaking of homecoming gives me an overwhelming feeling of familiarity—one which I love and embrace. There’s something in this song that makes me feel a myriad of emotions all at the same time. Perhaps the cathartic experience comes from the beautiful imagery contained within the lyrics of this song. The words, coupled with the beautiful musical arrangement, spark a million different images within my consciousness, all of which having their own significant meanings. My favourite part in this song, aside from the piano intro, would be the bridge, the part where the drums kick in and music crescendos into a breathtaking, goosebumpsinducing arrangement, and Elton John croons, “But oh how it feels so real, lying here with no one near; only you and you can hear me when I say softly, slowly...” and that three-second pause for breath before he goes on to sing, “Hold me closer, tiny dancer...” Along with all the lyrical and melodic merits of this song, the way Elton John sings it is simply enchanting. MIn the movie Almost Famous, in that famed scene inside the bus wherein the band and their groupies (or rather, Band-Aids) were singing along to “Tiny Dancer,” Penny Lane pronounces three infamous words to a confused William Miller: “You are home.” To me, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” is the song behind those three words, the reason behind the emphasis on the word “are” in the statement. The song has a simplicity to it that renders it to be elegant in my mind. Listening to it has become an experience of homecoming, not only in the literal sense, but also in so many other aspects of the word. For a person constantly thrust into a busy, frenzied world, there must be some things he or she can come home to—and perhaps, to me, “Tiny Dancer” is just one of those things. *




t he

I wanna live with a musician. She’d write songs at home and ask me what I thought of them, and maybe even include one of our little private jokes in the liner notes. (High Fidelity)