"Against the wave..."
That’s the path the local rock band Sandwich has been taking these days.
And the result of their new direction is an album aptly titled Contra Tiempo, the group’s sixth studio album since bursting into the rock music scene in 1998.
"We had several songwriting sessions na nag-fail. Nauwi sa swimming, tambay, ’tsaka kain...And finally, nagka-bagyo [referring to Tropical Storm Ondoy that devastated the country in September 2009], nakasulat kami ng mga kantang brownout," relates rhythm guitarist Diego Castillo on how the dark nights helped them pen the songs for their album, which was launched at the Eastwood Central Plaza last Friday, March 4.
Diego adds, "Yung mga nag-work for us live, yun yung mga nakasali sa album."
Contra Tiempo, a follow-up to Marks The Spot (2008), contains radio-ready rockers underscoring wide variety of musical elements and styles by lead vocalist/keyboardist Raimund Marasigan, bassist Myrene Academia, guitarist Mong Alcaraz, drummer Mike Dizon, and Castillo.
EXPLORING THEIR EXPERIENCES. Ten years since they formed Sandwich, the members have done a great deal of exploring.
"That’s the good thing about music, marami kang puwedeng puntahan. Puwede mong i-explore yung rhythm, puwedeng mong i-explore yung melody, puwede mong i-explore yung lyrics," explains Diego.
He says some of the tracks were parallel to some of their past experiences.
"Kasi merong kanta sa album na ’Stranded Sa Airport’. Yung totoong part nung story, naipit talaga sila Mike, Diego at Mong, naiwan ng eroplano sa airport. So 17 hours silang nagkukuwentuhan at hindi natulog... Kung sinulat yung kuwento na na-stranded sila sa airport, tatlong lalaki, baduy.
"So ginawan namin ng parang twist, babae yung kasama nilang na-stranded ’tapos ayaw pang umuwi. Pero sila, gustung gusto na nilang umuwi," he narrates.
The story could have been retold in their previous albums, but "we never have played out of the country in ’98-’99, kung kailan kami nabuo," says Diego. "So yung subject matter na yun, hindi namin magagawa, pero ngayon, I guess after ng tenure namin, mas iba, mas magiging broad yung subject matter."
The topic shifts to changing their genre, and this is when the lead vocals finally joined the conversation. Raymund interjects, "Nag-iiba rin yung taste mo. In the last two years, nahilig kami sa alternative bands, sa American music, although ang pinakabago sa tunog namin ngayon is country music."
Diego adds that they began experimenting on new instruments as well, "Si Raimund, nag-harmonica. Yung mga ibang instrumento na siguro wala sa dating album... Hindi pa namin maiisipan yun nung araw, dati ayaw namin nung harmonica, ngayon gusto na namin."
MARCHING FORWARD. "Lakad", the kick-off single, tackles the benefits of walking, and signifies the never-done-before step of the group for this album. The song, backed by a music video directed by Jason Magbanua, has topped the charts of local radio stations.
"Pera Pera," a brand-new radio hit single, is about the band members’ unified desire in life. "Gusto naming magkapera," Raimund muses. "Ganun, e... Parang pera-pera lang yan, tungkol sa pera. Pera-pera, wow! Pera pera lang yan!"
"Putik," which the band initially released in December 2009, was meant to inspire the victims of super typhoon Ondoy.
What else can Sandwich fanatics expect from this latest offering?
With much enthusiasm, Diego says, "Hopefully, we’re getting better as musicians. We’re trying to get better, we’re trying to sing better, we’re trying to play better, and hopefully, better songwriters."
Contra Tiempo is available in CDs under PolyEast Records.
1. Lapit! Lapit! Lapit!
5. Pera Pera
11. Stranded Sa Airport