July 3, 2012

PINNED: Lampara

Photo courtesy of Carlo Reyes
We can’t begin to describe how glad we are to finally hear the new album from Manila-based band Lampara. And we’re not saying all of this just to keep you all hot excited. It’s surprisingly a keeper record that professes the band’s love for 80s pop sensibilities and new wave ‘dos, all tied up with modern rock swag built for arenas. Like bolt coming out from nowhere, we got the chance to interview the post-punk bandits about the recording process that went through their four-years-in-the-making CD, their follow-up single to the catchy and quite enjoyable “Pepe Le Pew,” and the decision to launch the album in the same date as fellow indie heavyweights, Ciudad and J-Hoon.

Q: Three important local albums will be launched on June 7, Saturday: Ciudad’s fourth album, J-Hoon Balbuena’s Noodle, and of course, your self-titled debut album. If you’re going to work on a sales pitch aimed to attract music enthusiasts to go to your launch, how are you going to approach it? I mean you’re battling it out with fellow indie heavyweights.
Well, in terms of having hardcore fans, we're definitely at a disadvantage. Ciudad and J-Hoon have been in the industry while we were still in highschool! But if people want to experience an event where a relatively new band gives light to the forgotten 80's new wave/synth-pop genre, then they are definitely in for a treat. Plus, we made preparations so that this album launch would not sound just like our regular gigs. So if any music enthusiasts want to listen to something new, discover new music that their friends have probably never heard of, then Cafe Saguijo on July 7 is the place to be!

Q: Why did it take you two years to release an album?
It actually took us longer than that. This current lineup has been together since 2009 and releasing a record was always our top priority. But all the members of the band were caught up with corporate duties that it was very difficult to squeeze recording sessions in between deadlines and overtimes. The songs were ready to be recorded. It just so happened that there were bigger responsibilities to handle. There was a time last year when we were all very anxious to finish the record because everybody was starting to get real busy and finding time to finish it was becoming burdensome. After two long years, it's definitely a monkey of our backs. We're ecstatic that the record is finally here and ready to be released. We can finally move on and start on our next record.

Photo courtesy of Carlo Reyes
Q: On initial listens, your new record sounds like a love letter to 80s post-punk and synth-pop. Is there a conscious effort to capture the feel of that era or it just came out naturally?
In a way, yes! When we started the band back in 2005, the whole emo/pop-punk phase was in full swing. Every other band was either emo or playing some incarnation of punk music. We wanted to sound very different but at the same time, enjoyable and accessible. All of us, despite of the differences in musical backgrounds and influences, enjoyed listening to those 80's new wave pop songs. So when it was time to write our own songs, we all kind of gravitated towards that kind of music. We started channelling more The Cure, New Order, and Bloc Party in our songs while retaining our individual tastes in rock music. We made sure to bring a new approach to the genres we love, 80's new wave/synth pop included. It was refreshing because it set our band apart from our contemporaries back then, and it was also made us accessible to both young and old audiences. Probably when we were starting out, there was a conscious effort to sound like those lost 80's new wave/ synth-pop bands, but right now, it just comes off naturally.

Q: So there’s one track penned in Tagalog and it does sound different from the rest of the songs in the album. What inspired you to record the song “Kalapati?”
"Kalapati" was actually the very first song we wrote. There's a funny story behind that song: Our vocalist, drummer, and guitar player were stuck in traffic on their way to rehearsal when they started listening to Wolfgang. When they got to the studio, they took the whole experience of that soundtrip to our songwriting session. So instead of coming up with a well thought of first song, we ended up with a fun, metal sounding one. The earlier version of that song was more hard rocking with more screaming. At that time, I guess we just wanted to get that "writing our first song experience" out of the way which is why we rolled with the punches and just had fun with it. When we managed to write more songs, we decided to tweak "Kalapati" to sound like our other songs so we'll have a more consistent set list. "Kalapati" is an evidence of our "identity crisis" back then, when we were still finding our sound as a band. I don't think we'll write another song like that. Unless one of us gets stuck in traffic again with another metal band on the radio.

Photo courtesy of Carlo Reyes
Q: How does it feel like working with producer Joey Santos? Lately, everything he touches seemed to turn into gold. (e.g. The Strangeness, Top Junk etc.)
It was great! Working with Joey and the Love One Another Studios crew was actually refreshing because they understood the sound we wanted to achieve. This being our first record, we wanted someone who will listen to our songs objectively and tell us what we need to work on. Joey made sure that the identity of the songs would be preserved (in the tracking, mixing, mastering aspect) but at the same time, he did make sure that we make the necessary adjustments to improve the consistency of the different parts of the song. He "proof-read" our songs so that it would be more presentable. He saw those nuances that we overlooked. We couldn't ask for better mentors for our first record than those guys in Love One Another Studios.

Q: Any new indie/mainstream acts in the Philippines you’d like to jam and work with in the near future?
Bagetsafonik, Sheila and the Insects, Up Dharma Down to name a few. YOSHA, so we'll get schooled on how to properly play our instruments. And probably an all girl band who can give a much needed new perspective in our songwriting sessions. And to also find out if our overly cheesy love songs work with the ladies. (LOL!)

Q: Any plans of releasing the follow-up single to “Pepe Le Pew” anytime soon?
YES! The next single is Bursting Fete. We're releasing it VERY soon. Hopefully, it gets more air time than Pepe Le Pew.

Lampara will be launching their self-titled album this June 7, Saturday at Café Saguijo featuring guest performances by Techy Romantics, The Pin-Ups, Encounters With A Yeti, The Oemons and more. Come celebrate with them for a night of fun and great music. Like their Facebook page here for more details.

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