Last 2007, DALE MARQUEZ of PINOY INDIE-POP BAND "APPLE ORCHARD" was asked by TweeNet's Peter Hahndorf to write an article about the History Of Philippine Indie-Pop Scene. Last month (January, 2008), the said article was published on the TweeNet's Website although Dale considered it as incomplete I find it as a very concise and interesting overview of the whole Indie Scene here in the Philippines which he started on the 80s. GREAT REVIEW DALE!! Ayuz!! During the 70s, there were also a lot of Pinoy Bands which were in the scene but obviously went into oblivion because our Local Music Industry didn't supported these Artists and Bands. Sadly, same thing happened during the 80s like what Dale have also mentioned. SAYANG TALAGA!! It was only during the 90s that a lot of Pinoy Bands were signed up by our Local Record labels. Up to this time there are still a lot of PINOY Bands which are now in the music scene here in MANILA that are still unsigned.

Here's DALE's TweeNet Article:

A Short And Incomplete History Of Filipino Indiepop

Life in the gladhouse...

Back in the early-to-mid 1980's, the Philippines had a thriving underground music scene centralized in its capital city of Manila. Bands like Betrayed, Urban Bandits, Ethnic Faces, Dean's December, Violent Playground, Under Blue Skies, Strange Days, Charlotte Russe, Silos and a lot more were directly/ indirectly influenced by punk and new wave, still gigs were few and far between. Recordings have been real scarce, as well. Apart from the not-too-many and sporadic 7" singles and cassette releases, a compilation tape entitled Subterranean Romance went on a limited circulation and it pretty much summarized the whole scene: lo-fi and very DIY. Moreover and most importantly, it was inspired and awfully promising, with an intense fan-following. It's interesting to mention that a small number of the bands, like Charlotte Russe and the Silos had a penchant for pop. Sadly, only the Silos were able to release at least one song, which appeared on the above-mentioned Subterranean Romance compilation. One of Charlotte Russe’s live gigs meanwhile, was heard over the radio courtesy of the short-lived station, DWXB 102.7 FM. Known for its "dare to be different" tagline, XB 102 catered to non-mainstream listeners and integrated these bands onto their playlists along with the likes of The Pale Fountains, Aztec Camera, The Lotus Eaters, Care and Orange Juice. Even so, the radio station was shut down in 1987 and majority of the local groups faded into obscurity, while some have continued making music, although taking a different musical path.

Against perfection...

When the 1990's began, a few like-minded souls started musical projects in the shoegaze and dream pop spectra. Some were testing the waters of Teenage Fanclub-inspired pop fuzz. Others were starting to cover Wedding Present songs. Several of these bands gave birth to a lot of other outfits, sharing members most of the time. Examples: Dreamy pop quartet Fingernail Cocktail splintered into two: Archaster and Mono Workshop, which eventually became Colour Contest. Aspirin and Candyaudioline’s main songwriter, Allan Montero formed Soft Pillow Kisses with guitar help from AJ Domingo (of Colour Contest). Sonnet LVIII's Dale Marquez and his brother Ryan from Sodajerk gave way to Dorian Of Juniper Bells (along with Jojo Sarmiento of She Came To Stay/ The Violet Hour/ Joaquin Esquivel) and Apple Orchard. Carnival Park came to existence when Ryan and his old buddies from Ear Candy and Supergloo fell in love with the Acid House Kings, Moving Pictures and twee. There were also a rather infamous number of bands who had a very brief existence, a handful of which were one-gig wonders (Ciao!, Eliminator Jr., Her Handwriting, Cake Shop Collection, Sarah Sitting). Releases during this time were very rare; the only chance you'll get to hear their music was at gigs and events like Awakenings, No Zone and Buzz Nights. However, some shoddy live recordings of bands like the ultra-fun Wadaiko and its equally engaging offspring, Sarah Sitting have been floating about the world-wide-web for quite some time. Notwithstanding the hissy recording quality, you could imagine how fun the gigs were. And they were lots of fun indeed. Fanzines like Scenester and Nine attested to this, as both documented detailed accounts and views of what was then, the booming and distinctive ‘90’s Manila indie scene.

Rain of crystal spires...

The years from 1998 to 2003 were vital points in time. The bands were playing almost regularly at various venues around the metropolitan area; the scene was flourishing. The shows were very intimate. Everyone knew each other. It was like a small music convention because it wasn’t just about the bands playing at a particular night. For one, it became a venue for mix-tapes and cd swapping. In addition, continuing on with what Scenester and Nine did earlier in the 1990’s, new zines and newsletters like Taste Like Tea, Sometimes and the Buzz Night newsletter were spread around. One memorable instance that occurred during one of the Buzz Night shows was a mix-tape exchange between the bands playing and the people in the audience. Everyone became friends.Throughout this period, a good number of the bands and their non-indiepop associates had releases albeit with a limited number of copies: Dorian Of Juniper Bells, Carnival Park, Soft Pillow Kisses, Blue Stereo, Sodajerk, She Came To Stay, downboydown, Sonnet LVIII, Melody Wrench, Archaster, Kid Auto Races At Venice, among others. The Mutual Admiration Society compilation which had contributions from Colour Contest, Soft Pillow Kisses, Dorian Of Juniper Bells, Apple Orchard and The Fantasy Lights was issued in 2000 under Definition Records and was distributed in the US and Europe. Upon its release, people started taking notice, locally and abroad. American indiepop label Shelflife Records signed up Carnival Park and Spring Boutique (which also issued an album through Japan’s Quince Records) for their cd-r series. Italian imprint Best Kept Secret had Apple Orchard, Sodajerk and Under Shooting Stars on their roster. The Fantasy Lights contributed a song on the Hit Music Only compilation from Swedish indie Heavenly Pop Hits. Local major Universal signed up Soft Pillow Kisses to throw in a song to an indiepop compilation album entitled I’d Spend My Day With You that also featured Trembling Blue Stars, Club 8, The Fairways, Birdie and more. Valenzuela (a little town north of Manila) imprint Dorothy Records – owned by Carnival Park member and Taste Like Tea editor, Mike Dy - had a couple of really tasteful cd and cassette releases and was getting US and Canadian distribution courtesy of Poppolar. Another local indie, Factory Girl issued the Working Titles comp with songs from Sodajerk and Carnival Park. Someone from the indiepop-list (an online community of indiepop kids from all over) even said that the Philippines was the next Sweden.

Love's going out of fashion...

However, it slowed down after that. A few of the bands called it quits (like Carnival Park and Balloon Derby - only to reunite again in 2006), others didn't play that much anymore because of various reasons (Days Like Postcards, Dorian Of Juniper Bells, Archaster). Nevertheless, in the past couple of years, there has been somewhat of a resurgence. New bands began popping up from everywhere, like Farewell Isobel, Slumbook, Dewdrop Fountain, Sunday Picnic Love Affair, Grace Period, Outerhope, Lazy Lorelei, The Wentletraps, Golden Teardrops and Melody Style Apartment. Moscow Olympics (with former members of Colour Contest) has a single out on Fraction Disc and a forthcoming album under Lavender. The Fantasy Lights recently released a 3” single under Cloudberry. As mentioned before, Balloon Derby and Carnival Park reformed two years ago and are planning to go into recording soon. Apple Orchard on the other hand, are working on a full-length. There’s also news that Dorothy Records will return to the scene, probably with a different name and will produce albums by Carnival Park, Balloon Derby and Lazy Lorelei. It seems like in the next year or so, the Philippines’ indiepop scene will be abuzz once again.

Not The End

By Dale Marquez, California January 2008



Click here for the TweeNet Article: TweeNet-Philippines

No comments: