Kinse Kalibre, Slapshock’s new album under Polyeast Records, is out in the market in time for the band’s 15th anniversary in the music industry.
The 12-track album, featuring the first single "Ngayon Na," comes after the commercial success of their last album Cariño Brutal, which was released in 2009.
The band, composed of Jamir Garcia on vocals, Lee Nadela on bass, Lean Ansing on guitars and Chi Evora on drums were asked, after 15 years, what is Slapshock’s caliber now?
Jamir replied, "Well, I guess, we can honestly, walk on every show na we know na nakacontribute naman kami sa music industry for the past 15 years,
"Eh...medyo na-crush na namin yung image namin before na parang may date na banda kung kelan matatapos."
The band started in 1997 and is showing no signs of slowing down at this point.
"We were a fad. That’s why everybody says na...a fad [doesn’t] last for 15 years.
"Masarap na maglakad ngayon papunta sa gig na alam namin na, for the past 15 years hindi kami sumell-out or hindi kami gumawa ng mga things na beyond sa gusto naming gawin.
The band has remained true to their style despite many other bands from their generation experimenting on other genre, particularly pop music, just to achieve greater commercial success.
"Kaya naming humarap sa kahit kaninong musikero."
The band also keeps away from the limelight when it has nothing to do with their music.
"For the past 15 years, you hear us. Pero, I’m pretty sure you don’t know everything about us. Parang ganun,
"You’re still mystified, meron pa ring mystery na beyond sa Slapshock [you don’t know anything about us]. You hear about us, through music lang," Jamir expounded.
IN BETWEEN. Their last album was widely-acclaimed by many listeners and was played on air even by popular radio stations. Is mainstream popularity a measure of success or do they shy away from that?
Lee Nadela answered that they are in a good position in between.
"Kasi ano kami, kumbaga, underground band talaga kami per se. Pero operating... nasa gitna kami nung thin line ng commercial and sa mainstream,
"So parang ganun yung naging formula namin na medyo... underground kami kung tutuusin. Yung sound eh, kasi maingay, hindi siya maaaccept sa talagang radyo-radyo, diba...
"Pero yung following namin ganun siya kaiinit, diba. Kasi nasa gitna kami,"he said.
They enjoy being in a position where they do not compromise their taste in music and yet, still have many loyal listeners and followers.
"Kasi, para samin, hindi talaga, hindi kami takot na... Kasi para samin, siguardo kami sa sarili namin na eto yung music namin, eto yung gusto namin na...
"Wala pa kaming ginagawa na hindi namin gusto," Lee, added.
If they had their way, would they rather be popular or still have a niche as listeners? Lee was quick to answer.
"Para sa ’min, hindi namin dinidictate na, sino lang [ang pwedeng makinig], e.
"Pero kung choice namin, maganda yung niche pero strong kesa yung talagang maraming-marami pero hindi naman talaga nakikisama,
"Alam mo yung mga bandwagon [rider] lang...Yung, Uy! Eto yung uso ngayon, sama tayo d’yan...di ba?
"Mas gugustuhin na namin na yung talagang nakikinig samin na ano...15 years ng nakikinig samin. Mas gusto namin yung ganun.
But at the same time, they cannot dismiss potential followers.
"Pero as an artist, hindi namin pwede i-limit yun. Kunwari, hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na, uy, hindi kayo pwedeng makinig sa ’min, kayong mga nakikisama lang, di ba?
"Hindi mo pwedeng [gawin] yun. Kami, as much as possible, gusto namin na maraming makinig sa ’min.
"From there, kung sino talaga yung gusto sa music namin, matitira."
Jamir affirms that constancy has been the name of the game for them.
"I think ayun na yung naging formula namin why we lasted 15 years.
"We have the same group, same member, same sponsors, same label for the past 15 years.
"Ang naging goal namin is... We could have made it even bigger kahit dati kung ginrab namin yung mga commercial na inooffer sa ’min.
The band has opted to keep it steady by declining offers that, for them, goes beyond their call of duty. They did not want to be commercialized.
"But we wanted to stay in the middle of everything. We don’t wanna be so popular, we didn’t wanna be so down [either] na banda," Jamir said.
So far, this formula has apparently worked for them.
RESPECT. They’ve been together for 15 years, how do they check their egos?
According to Lee: "Samin talaga, ano lang, e, respect. Yung spaces ng each member, respect mo yung attitude, yung temper ng bawat isa.
"So alam ko pag ginawa ko ’to maiinis siya. So bakit ko pa gagawin? We respect na ganun siya. So samin, may respeto talaga, kilala na namin yung isa’t isa," he said.
They also make sure that in terms of decision-making, it is always a majority decision.
"Ano, talaga, majority votes," they all agreed.
They also show their respect by not being involved in other bands, even without an outright agreement.
"Like, for example, isang common scene na pinag-aawayan ng mga banda, pag yung kabanda mo nag-sideband," Jamir illustrated.
"15 years wala pang nagsideband sa ’min. Pero pwede naman," he said.
Lee interjected, "Pwede naman. Pero hindi nila ginagawa, so bakit ako magsa-sideband?"
"Pero never namin napag-usapan na bawal yun," Chi added.
"Tantiyahan lang talaga lagi, na sa tingin mo ba magiging okay ’to for everyone," Lee said further.
EVOLUTION. Has their music evolved over the past 15 years?
The soft-spoken in the group, Chi answered, "Oo naman. Kasi, sa dami ng pinakinggan namin, sa dami ng bandang nag-inspire samin from time to time,
"Kumbaga, kung ano yung input, yun yung magiging output namin. Nagbabago talaga," he said.
Jamir also noted, "Nagbabago yung improvement sa skills namin,
"Syempre, labinlimang taon yan...iba na yung playing niyo from 1997 up to 2010,
"Kumbaga marami na kaming natutunan, within that [period].
"Siyempre, yung personal experiences and yung attitude, maturity, songwriting, ganun. Yun nag-evolve talaga.
"Yung technology din. Kasi mga effects, mga gitara. Kasi, isipin mo, 15 years, kung elementary ka nun, graduate ka na, di ba?"
Jamir shared that he came across people who were in highschool when they first followed the band.
To further exemplify how long ago15 years was, in some gigs they played, children were only at two or three years old when, as Jamir recalled, he wrote Agent Orange, one of their trademark singles.
"So kung talagang ang tinatanong mo yung evolution, malaki,
"Even our looks. Makikita mo puro baggy pants noon. Ngayon, pasikipan," said Lee.
"Ang lilinis ng mga braso namin [noon]," as Jamir compared his heavily-tatooed arms today.
"May kulay buhok ko [noon]," Lee recalled.
Their frontman also recalled how he could only think of writing songs with a lot of cuss words back then.
"Ngayon, tamang...wait, baka maririnig ng anak ko ’to, sandali...
"Alam mo yun. Dapat responsible," he said.
They even refused an offer to endorse a brand of tobacco, which, according to them, they would have accepted when they were younger.
Throughout their 15-year-stay, Slapshock has evolved and will remain.
1. Kinse Kalibre Intro
2. Ngayon Na
5. Asal Demonyo
6. Burn In Hell
7. In The Line Of Fire
9. Under The Needle
12. All Hope Is Gone