It took a moment before Rivermaya’s founding band member Mark Escueta could think of the right word to describe his feelings about releasing a new album after four years.
“Parang ngayon medyo overwhelmed pa kami sa mga nangyari,” the 37-year-old musician told the media during the press launch of their 12-track album, Panatang Makabanda, last Wednesday, March 20.
Rivermaya was previously a contract artist of Warner Music. In November 2012, the band signed up with Universal Records, which also has Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Sponge Cola, and Callalily among its roster of talents.
Mark says Rivermaya is grateful to be given the opportunity to reach a wider audience. This makes Panatang Makabanda their first album in four years and their first with Universal Records.
Mark recalled, “Throughout the most part of 2012, ready na kaming mag-indie all the way.
“Naglabas na kami ng two singles online.
“Kaya noong na-sign kami ng Universal [Records] noong November na, talagang nagulat kami at natuwa kasi hindi lang distribution deal, gusto nilang maglabas ng album.
“Nandoon pa kami sa stage na sobra kaming thankful.”
With this new record deal, Mark said, “Nabuhayan kami ng sobra na mukhang marami pang ibubuga ang Rivermaya starting this year.”
PLEDGE TO FANS. Titled as Panatang Makabanda, Rivermaya’s 12th album was also a way for Rivermaya to thank their avid followers who showed their support throughout the years.
“Ito ‘yong pagbibigay namin ng importansya sa mga taong sumuporta sa amin,” stated Mark.
“Since 1994 hanggang ngayon, ang daming nangyari sa banda.
“Ang daming lineup changes and sa industry side naman, ang dami ring nagbabago.
“Pero ‘yong mga tao, isa lang ang tanong nila, ‘Kailan kayo maglalabas ng album ulit?’
“Natuwa kami doon kasi parang, [sinasabi nila], ‘Sige, gawa lang kayo ng kanta kasi nakaka-relate kami sa kanta ninyo.’
“Ito na ‘yong panata namin sa kanila na ‘yong banda ay tuluy-tuloy lang ang paggawa ng music.”
CALL FOR UNITY. From this album, Rivermaya chose a timely song titled “Pilipinas, Kailan Ka Gigising?” to create awareness among Filipinos about society.
Explaining their first single, Mark told the media, “For the past five to eight years, tinatawag tayong ‘Sleeping Tiger of Asia.’ Sabi ko nga, ‘Gaano katagal ba matulog ang isang tiger?’
“Ano ang pumipigil sa atin para umangat muli ang Pilipinas tulad kung nasaan tayo noong ‘60s and ‘70s.
“One of the main things kasi minsan is ‘yong selective nationalism.
“Like, kapag may laban si Pacquiao, game tayo diyan.
“Pero kapag may other important things, nandiyan ‘yong disunity, ‘yong sinasabing crab mentality and selfishness ng mga Pilipino.
“Minsan, uunahin mo ang sarili mo, not thinking ahead na kapag ginawa mo pala ‘yon, mas long term ‘yong magiging problema.”
This mentality prompted Mark to write this line in the song: “Pilipinas kailan ka magigising? Kapag inuna ang sarili, nasa huli ang pagsisisi.”
Rivermaya will officially launch Panatang Makabanda tonight, March 22, at 8 p.m. at the Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City.