On the Spot: 10 Questions for The Purplechickens, on their new album Haláng

The must-have album of the year (so far)

The Purplechickens from Revolver: Ang Lahat ng Iyong Ginawang Karimarimarim at Saguijo

 

(SPOT.ph) National Language Month is about to conclude. There really isn’t anything remarkably festive about it and even with the threat of Filipino classes being removed from the college curriculum, the amount of people who care about this is best described with the vague quantifier "not a lot." The Facebook page "Tanggol Wika"-a group that has steadily opposed the removal of Filipino from tertiary education-has a meager following of a little over four thousand. An abysmal number like that prompts people to think somewhere along the lines of the love for language is dying or maybe even dead...which was also the tune people some people were singing about Original Pilipino Music a few years back.

 

But here we are in 2014, listing 10 great albums and EPs released by local artists...with two records containing predominantly Tagalog tracks. Not a great number either but it’s not an excuse to be cynical, especially after two more bands released albums filled with songs in the local vernacular on July 5.

 

 

First, the Radioactive Sago Project came out with Ang Itlog at ang Demonyo. Second, The Purplechickens finally released Haláng, a record that was on Vandals on the Wall’s list of highly anticipated albums for two consecutive years (they were dropped in 2013...for reasons). The wait was long-seven years for both, a lifetime in the insta-everything age-but better a well-done steak than E. coli. Poor metaphors aside, Ang Itlog at ang Demonyo and Haláng should be on your music players right now. Legally procured, por favor.

 

The Chickens were Artist of the Month on Amplify two months prior to the release and they dutifully teased people with "Dayami" in Radio Republic. And when it finally dropped, Haláng topped the list of Vandals’ 10 Essential Pinoy Albums of 2014 So Far, beating out Sago’s Itlog. You need to listen to the album exactly once to understand why.

 

Reviews of the album have been extremely generous with praise (all deserved, we think) but to the more common listener-the listeners that The Purplechickens haven’t courted yet with their previous albums-this one is really for you. Not because it’s simpler, but it’s just so very...Pinoy. Haláng is not just written in Filipino, it contains Filipino sensibilities. The baduy tendency is present in "Bumbero," a catchy track that plays on the concept of hotness and feeling feverish in the presence of such hotness. Anthemic tracks against tyranny and corruption are present. There’s a song inspired by Gabby Concepcion ("Casanova"). We’ve not heard anyone brooding about the lack of bread in the morning in a while ("Wala"). Of course, they also sound remarkable but we’ll not pretend to understand the technicals of it.

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We’d still be blinking back confusion if they explained it to us, so instead, we decided to ask them hard-hitting questions about their new songs. Super serious ones. Very, very. This is SPOT.ph after all.

 

Left to Right: Mikey Abola, Marco Harder, Aldus Santos, and Zig Rabara

 

1. On "Casanova": On the scale of 1 to 10 (10 being Rico J. Puno), sa tingin niyo, gaano kalakas ang alindog niyo?

Aldus Santos: I've got to request a different metric, because Rico J. Puno is just in an entirely different league altogether. Gawin nalang nating 10 si Marco Sison, tapos 'asa 6.25 ako. Biro lang.

Marco Harder: 10, because confidence is half the battle. Kayo na bahala sa arithmetic.

Zig Rabara: Siguro 6. Maganda ang asawa ako (medyo out of my league nga eh), gusto ko sanang isipin na nabihagni siya sa alindog ko. Pero mas malamang na natawa lang siya sa akin hanggang minahal na niya ako. ’Yung mga kabanda ko malamang mas mataasang rating sa sarili. Alam na nila ibig sabihin ko dun hahahahahaha.

Mikey Abola: Ang limiting naman (at gendered pa nga) ng pamantayan natin. Pinagkakamalan pa rin akong Aiza Seguerra eh. Hindi ako siguro pwede maging Rico J. Puno (o kahit Randy Santiago lang). Pero sigurado ako, kahit isang tao, 10 ang turing sa akin base sa kanilang pamantayan. Marahil, ’yung taong ’yun madalas ma-inlab sa mga lady-guard nila sa apartment. O sa mga trip si Arnold Clavio.

 

"Casanova" from the Haláng album launch at Route 196

 

2. On "Wala": Ano ang pinaka-okay na pamalit sa mantikilya?

Aldus: Cheez Whiz?

Marco: For toast, peanut butter.

Zig: Nutella. That shit is awesome.

Mikey: Star Margarine. O kaya poot.  Minsan masarap ngang ipalaman ang poot.

 

3. On "Bumbero": Sinong local hunk o ’di kaya ay makisig na historical figure ang gusto niyong dumating para patayin ang sunog ng nagbabagang pag-ibig? (Kung ang nagbabagang pag-ibig ay nakakasama na sa isang tao.)

Aldus: Jestoni Alarcon circa Seiko Films. I think that counts as "historical."

Marco: Si Robin Padilla, I think.

Zig: Si John Lloyd. Lahat kaya niyang gawin. Pati magpatubo ng abs. At dahil sinabi niyang, "Ingat," dun sa commercial ng gamot, masasabi nating iniisip niya ang kapakanan nating lahat.

Mikey: Eh di syempre, ang makisig kong kabanda, si Marco Harder. Apelyido pa lang, ulam na. Kaunting dilig lang ang kailangan.

 

 

4. On "Telluria": Ano ang saysay o may saysay ba ang pag-ibig na walang katuturan?

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Aldus: Ang pag-ibig na tabingi o paling o imbalanced ay pag-ibig na totoo. Habang may incongruity at may tension, may katuturan.

Marco: Wala.

Zig: Pwedeng wala, pwedeng meron. Nasa sa iyo na ’yun.

Mikey: ...Para makapagsulat ng napakabigat ngunit nakakagaan na kanta, na may pulso’t ritmo na magpapabuhay ng diwang patay, dahil nga sa pag-ibig na walang saysay? Kita mo, lahat ng bagay, may dahilan. It all works out in the end. God is good. God is great. Don’t you just love life?  *Tear*

 

5. On "Mujon": Ilan ang banyo ng bahay na walang mujon/muhon?

Aldus: Isa. Pero walang kusina. Pero doon masarap ang pansit. Joke lang.

Marco: Apat, kasi may bahay man na walang mujon, walang bahayang walang pader.

Zig: Kapag ang bahay mo ay walang muhon, banyo mo ang buong mundo.

Mikey: Depende. Ano ba ibig mong sabihin sa "banyo"? Mitch Hedberg cracked a joke similar to this once.  "This two-bedroom apartment has as many bedrooms I want...One bedroom has a stove and sink in it.  It’s like a kitchen.  One bedroom is really, really narrow.  Some people call it a hallway."

 

6. On "25": Parang ang lungkot naman ng kwento ng anak na inalila ng magulang na pinagkakautangan natin ng halagang hindi mababayaran. Pahingi naman ng motivational quote para hindi kami malugmok sa lusak.

Aldus: Wala akong maitutulong d'yan. In fact, bibigyan kita ng isang Woody Allen quote nasalungat sa request mo: "Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering-and it's all over much too soon."

Marco:"You choose your future regrets" ang parati kong iniisip.

Zig: Time is gold. Always be polite.

Mikey: "Kasalanan siguro nila kung bakit ka may issues...pero hindi nila kasalanan nanawawaldas buhay mo sa Internet. Maligo ka naman, tonto."

 

7. On "Ang Landas ng Walang Kapatawaran": Kaninong mukha ang nakikita niyo kapag inaawit niyo ang linyang "Ang lahat ng iyong ginawang karimarimarim ay hindi mo na maari pang ulitin"?

Aldus: Ako kay Enrile.

Marco: Marami. Ang ilan sa kanila nasa holding / detention cells, 'yung iba nasa laya pa.

Zig: Hahahahaha kay Marco. Bumibilis kasi kami sa chorus n’yang kantang ’yan. Para hatakin ko ’yung tyempo, iniisip ko nanahihirapan siyang kantahin habang nag-gi-gitara.

Mikey: Si Satan.  Kasi bad siya.

 

"Dayami" from  Pinoy Tuner, a track featured in 10 Tunes to Listen to this August (2014)

 

8. On "Dayami": Bakit dayami? Anong meron sa dayami?

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Aldus: Sa dayami nandoon ang "The Yummy." Sorry.

Marco: Madali siyang masunog, at madali ring kumalat ang apoy. Parang mga lihim: kapag nagsimula na ang pagsambulat, tuloy-tuloy na 'yan.

Zig: Baka-baka. Kumakain.

Mikey: Kasi may symbolism siya.

 

9. On "Rotonda": Kung magising ka isang araw at ipinganganak ka na mayaman, may ma-mi-miss ka ba sa pagiging mahirap?

Aldus: 'Yung mabababang presyong bilihin (lalo na ang beer at extra rice) sa mga unpretentious na lugar?

Marco: Hindi ko alam, pero 'yung kanta ni Gary Granada ["Kahit ako'y mahiraplang"] ang pinaka magandang pagtalakay sa paksang 'yan.

Zig: Siguro ang pag-score ng mumurahing branded na t-shirt sa ukay-ukay.

Mikey: Ayaw kong makisawsaw sa tanong ito.  Baka magalitsi Papa Karl Marx sa akin.

 

10. On "Himapapawid": May kinalaman ba dito ang "Alapaap" ng Eraserheads? (Ituloy na natin sa tanong na: anong mga kantang Tagalog ang nagustuhan niyo dahil makathang pag-gamit ng wika?)

Aldus: Oddly enough, isang beses may fiction issue ang isang magazine na in-e-edit noon nina Erwin Romulo at Luis Katigbak. Naatasan akong gumawa ng review ng isang fictional na unreleased album ng Eraserheads post-Carbon Stereoxide. For good measure, itinambal nila ako with Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, na nag-design noon ng art ng Fruitcake. Tinawag ko 'tong Waltz This Knee, tapos sa pekeng tracklist, may isang kanta na tinawag kong "Himpapawid." Tapos-and I don't remember if I was able to pitch this or not-I wanted to record this fictional Eraserheads song, in 'Heads fashion, as an audio teaser. I actually made a demo where I'm trying my desperate best to sound like Ely. The idea died, naturally, but we had an extra song for this record.

Ano na nga uli 'yung tanong? Ah, no, wala siyang kinalaman sa "Alapaap" pero medyo tangentially may kinalaman siya sa 'Heads. As for "makathang pag-gamit ng wika," ang lupit ni Ely magsulat, specifically sa Stereoxide-lalo 'yung "Hula" at "Palamig"-'di lang masyadong pinansin ng mas maraming tao.

Marco: "Pers Lab II (Sana’y Maganda Ako)" ng Hotdog.

Zig: Fan ako ni Francis Magalona nung bata ako. Gusto ko ’yung pag-gamit niyang Filipino sa rap.

Mikey: "Nakalimutan ng Diyos" ng The Wuds ang unang kong naisip.

 

Haláng is available in Uno Morato, Crazy Katsu (Maginhawa), and via heartfelt fanmail to the band through their official Facebook and Twitter accounts. Official band photos from The Purplechickens’ Facebook page.

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