Moments before their blistering set at Hood Bar & Cafe for TROPOS 1.0 by ATMOS, I was able to have quick chat with instrumental rock trio, Earthmover, on their music, the Filipino music scene and why every music loving person should give the Doom Jazz genre a listen.
F: Having known each other since childhood, what is it like now that you have a band and you get to tour and travel together?
Gerald: It’s the best really.
Daniel: It’s very easy. We know each other so well. And everyone’s funny in their own way. They’re both funny. I think I’m funny.
Dru: Since we were little we have been dreaming of going overseas and playing, touring, becoming famous.
Gerald: Yeah, we used to daydream about this a whole lot.
Daniel: I expect that if it’s a non-stop tour of Europe or North America it’s going to be hard. But coming to a place like Singapore… sometimes it feels like we’re on holiday.
F: I’m very sure touring in the Philippines is just as fun.
Gerald: Oh yes. Sometimes we play outside the city, but most of our gigs are within the city.
Dru: Yes, within Metro Manila. It’s usually a bar tour.
Daniel: And we have a community there. Of course when you’re first starting out, it’s a little hard because you need to go out there and prove something. But if you play nicely and are friendly, it gets easier. Naturally.
F: Can you name some Filipino acts for us to check out?
Daniel: Surrogate Prey, a sludge band. Doom Sludge actually.
Gerald: My brother has a band. They’re called Tonight We Sleep and play pretty regularly back home. I’d say they’re an emotional rock band. Not emo, but emotional rock – music makes you feel all sorts of feelings.
Dru: I feel that there are just so many good bands! If you like instrumental rock, listen to tide/edit or Sound Architects. If you’re into screamo check out Lions & Acrobats. If you’re into pop music that makes you dance there’s also Autotelic. We work with some of these bands because Dan works in a recording studio. So we get to meet them as they make their albums. Or sometimes we meet bands when we play or watch gigs.
Daniel: Yeah making records is actually really fun because you get to know the members of these bands personally because you spend lots of hours, drunk hours, late hours at the studio.
F: And you guys will soon be spending a lot of time in the studio yourselves. Aren’t you planning to release an album?
Dru: Yes, we’re in the middle of recording our next album. We’re just finalising and polishing our new songs now. Then, we’ll start to camp in the studio. We want to start recording in April or May. And hopefully we’ll have the album out by August or September this year. It’s going to be a lot more heavy.
Daniel: Oh yes, we want to make it heavier and darker. So far there’s a dark, somewhat sinister feel to it.
F: If you had to name one memorable gig – just one out of the many you’ve had – what will it be?
Gerald: For me it was when we opened for Caspian.
Daniel: Oh yeah.
Gerald: It was a dream come true. Playing for a band we idolise and having really good sound on stage. It was really memorable.
Daniel: We played and even sounded flawless that night. And we were opening for two great bands – And So I Watch You From Afar and Caspian. After the show we were still buzzing with excitement, we couldn’t really believe it.
F: I can tell that Caspian is definitely a band that inspires and influences you guys. What other bands influence your sound and your music?
Daniel: Deftones. They are our biggest influence. We grew up listening to them, way back in high school. You can hear it in our sound. It’s never left us.
Dru: People who listen to Deftones can relate to us very easily.
Daniel: We don’t try to copy or duplicate them though. It’s just natural and hardwired in us. We don’t plan it.
Gerald: I’m proud of it though. We’re all proud of it. I mean we can now say that we sound like Deftones.
Dru: Yeah, we like saying that.
Gerald: Dru and I also like This Will Destroy You. We caught them in Hong Kong. Amazing set.
Dru: Yeah bands like This Will Destroy You and 65daysofstatic are really great.
Gerald: We also like bands like Meshuggah, Silverchair, Mae and a whole lot of heavy metal, shoegaze, and also pop bands. So many influences.
F: Those are some nice influences, is there anything in particular that you are listening right now?
Gerald: I recently got some songs from Dru and I’ve listening to D’Angelo’s music and listening to Pino Palladino’s basslines.
Dru: I’ve been listening to Tame Impala recently. Really love them and how they combine their synths and guitars. Also electronic music, like Aphex Twin. Another band I really like is Hiatus Kaiyote.
Daniel: Sometimes I’ll just listen to one album for three months. Currently I’m into Bohren & der Club of Gore. Everyone should listen to them. They play this blend of doom, dark, noir jazz. Listening to them, I go into a different world.
F: Isn’t that the best way to enjoy instrumental or even post-rock music?
Daniel: Yeah, most instrumental music is a personal experience anyway. You get into it and just float away.
Earthmover is an instrumental rock trio from the Philippines.
They are set to release an album in the later half of this year. Follow them on Facebook.
Special thanks to ATMOS for helping to make this interview possible.
I’m finding it hard to hide my amusement as the three male members of Ellipsis describe their female drummer’s outfits. “She’s always in these psychedelic pants”, explains vocalist, Zhengping as Japheth earnestly chimes in. “It’s actually quite amazing… because her pants are never the same!”
I can sense Yenhui, the female subject of our conversation, getting steadfastly redder by the minute as she laughs her embarrassment off. Perhaps it was time to switch the subject. Continue Reading…
Midway through my interview with the boys of Silhouette, the tables had turned and I found them interviewing me instead. While drummer, Hafiz and guitarist, Ahmad drilled me about the who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s of my life – bassist, Mahfuz was trying his best not to snort into his pasta. Vocalist, Shahrizal however, had a knowing smile plastered on his face. Just minutes earlier, he boldly declared that the band was practically a second religion – a part of him he could not imagine himself living without. His declaration was met with nods of agreement from the rest – signalling that they too, shared the same faith in Silhouette.
The band is currently finalising and putting the finishing touches on their upcoming full-length album, due for release later this year. The album took several years to make as the band struggled to find time in between commitments such as National Service and the fact that they were starting to have full-time work commitments. The long process of making the album however gave room for the band to explore different genres and incorporate elements from various influences in their music.
There was never a dull moment during the interview – the band would burst into giggling fits, crack jokes and tease each other throughout. They were also surprisingly honest in their responses. Yes, the following interview might be lengthy – but I assure you, it is pretty entertaining.