On the Spot: Marcus Adoro on his book, Greems

The Eraserheads lead guitarist talks pink guitars, online identity, and how a mistake created a book.

(SPOT.ph) Let's get it out of the way: Marcus Adoro is best known for being the lead guitarist of that band Eraserheads. You may have heard of them. Since then though, Adoro has been all around and everywhere doing things like surfing in La Union, working on his own album, playing his own gigs, and making his own songs.

 

So sans the association with arguably the greatest Pinoy band from 90s, Adoro has an identity all on his own. But what is identity? He gets to musing about what that means now that phrases like "logging in" and "logging off" has become commonplace. Greems (a typo of the original typo Greams when he meant to say Dreams) is a documentation of these ideas that tumble about underneath Adoro’s hat.

 

 

How did you go about writing the book?

May sinundan akong spark ng idea. Isang laro sa gitara, ginaya ko yung anak ko kasi mayroon siyang lessons. May G-C-D siyang alam tapos sabi ko kapag natutunan niya yung Am-Em, bibilhan ko siya ng bagong gitara kasi gusto niya pink!

 

So nung natuto na siya, kumuha ako ng pink. Tapos napansin ko, kapag nag-gigitara siya, kapag nag-cha-change siya ng chord, mamayamaya pa. Kung sa pang-apat na bilang dapat lilipat, sa next one siya at paulit-ulit siyang ganun. Sabi ko, okay na exercise yun, subukan ko nga.

 

Tapos, nagbabasa ako ng Art of War nun at may nakita akong nagustuhan kong line and then I recorded sa Garage Band. Sa umpisa nung recording, may na-capture pa na wangwang na sound. Madaling araw na nun, for some reason naalala ko yung New York. And then tiningnan ko yung 57 seconds tapos naisip kong gumawa pa ng isang 57 second song with the same chord. Tapos mamaya yung concept lumaki na sa utak ko at naisip kong "paano kaya kung gumawa ako ng 100 na ganito?"

 

So it became a challenge?

Oo parang ganun! Na-remind ako ng UP Fine Arts. Mayroon silang exercise kapag freshman ka, yung 100 paintings. Isang painting paulit-ulit mong gagawinSa simula kalokokohan lang tapos naging magandang challenge siya for a songwriter, combining melodies and words. Tinuluytuloy ko lang hanggang sa kumawala na ako sa exercise na late ang lipat. Nag-branch out na yung melodies.

 

At araw-araw ko siyang ginagawa dahil hinatid ko yung maliit ko sa school.

 

Continuously, every day?

Oo, yun yung routine ko araw-araw. Kuha ako ng idea kapag mayroon na, susulat ko, pag-aralan ko and try ko tugtugin. I-re-record ko and then i-u-upload ko. Part ng process yung upload, so documented.

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In your website for this book, there's a write-up which reads the book as a self-portrait. Was this at all an intention?

At some point, parang nag-sha-shadow boxing ako. Sarili ko kausap ko, sarili ko yung critic. Sa ibang aspects, I was foreseeing anong sasabihin sa akin ng critic. Kasi by the time na tinuluytuloy ko na, naisip kong this is something unique. Wala pang gumagawa nitoHindi naman sa sinasabi kong ganito ako (laughs) pero yung idea, yung ganitong exercise tapos i-u-upload mo, iba siya. Yung internet kasi naging character na siya, naging theme na siya.

 

You also mention this in your write-up, about online identity?

Ito yung mga bagong problema ngayon. Pagdating ng panahon, paano ka ma-identify? Sa cellphone ba? Paano kapag digital na lahat?

 

Identity crisis?

Oo, yun (laughs).

 

 


 

How hands-on where you in designing the book itself?

Yung idea na i-present siya sa papel is to further emphasize the online nature of things, plus yung digital versus analog. Naisip ko mas magiging interesting siya kung ma-illustrate yung nasa utak ko.

 

Mayroon akong initial illustrations kung ano yung gusto ko. Yung cover, idea ko yan. May notebook ako ng mga doodles. Si Apol [Sta. Maria], matagal ko nang gustong maka-collaborate. Naghanap ako ng mga taong na maglalaan ng oras kasi gusto ko kung ano yung gusto ko, yun talaga. So naghanap ako ng tropang pwede kong hilahin at pwede kong ikulong sa kwarto ng tatlong araw. Tapos siya pwede.

Hindi nangyari yun, ayaw ko siyang kulitin at tinuloy ko yung doodles ko.

 

Were you making your illustrations along with the songs?

Tapos na yung 100 songs nun. Gusto ko na ring tapusin yung illustrations kahit yung skeleton lang. Nung tapos na ako at iniwan ko na lang yung madaling gawin. Kailangan ko ng kausapin si Sophia, yung editor, kasi gusto ko ng ipakita sa kanya. Same day, nag-text si Apol, tapos na raw niya. So wow, may dalawang version!

 

Hindi na siya collaboration in a sense na kung ano yung gusto ko yun yung masusunod, collaboration na siya in a sense na interpretations niyaPero yung iba diyan, like yung cover, yan yung gusto kong cover. Idea ko yung thinking man, na nakaupo sa bato or sa kubeta or something. May maskara, may sombrero, may gitara. Mismong yan, idea ko. Pero kung paano niya pinresent, siya na yun.


Yung illustration ng fundamental difference idea ko din yun. May dalawang tao, pareho lang tinitingnan nila, yung isa sasabihin "pangit!" at yung isa sasabihin "maganda!" pero isa lang yung tintingnan nila. Isa ’to sa mga ideas ko.

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How varied are the themes in the book?

Yung iba mga paborito kong topics, like the hippie speak at konting zen. Plus yung kung ano yung nangyayari nung panahon na yun, like yung SOPA. Mga hackers, social networks. Minsan mag-bui-build ako sa isang phrase na maganda, mamumulot ako from interactions at ire-recycle ko at gagawin ko something else.

 

Tapos mabilis lang, kapag may nakita ako, mayamaya lang iu-upload ko na.

 

Are there pieces that stand out to you?

Yung mga ayaw ko (laughs). Ok siya basahin, pero minsan kapag pinapakinggan ko alam kong pinabayaan ko at nag-cri-cringe ako. But I took care of that in one number, yung Cringe Maker.

 

Self-referencing!

Oo! Inassure niyang, "ok lang yan chong!" kasi may ok naman na iba. Hindi ka naman pwedeng gumawa ng 100 pieces na maganda lahat. Anong point kung lahat ng gagawin mo maganda?

 

Do you think people will be surprised when they read Greems?

Kung bibigyan nila ng panahon para i-dig nila, bigyan lang nila ng chance kung ano siya, as one burst of energy. May accompanying MP3, kasama sa concept yung ipapamigay yung 100 na recordings plus yung pang presentation niya at may illustrations. Pwede nilang hindi pansinin, ok lang. Wala tayong magagawa dun. Hindi naman pwedeng "Nganga! Libre ito, nganga!"

 

Photos by Marco Harder.

For more information on Greems, visit Adoro’s website and check out his soundcloud for the accompanying music.

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