There were murmurs—days, weeks, months before, of another Eraserheads reunion.
We shrugged them off, thinking it was impossible. For one thing, we knew that Ely Buendia, Raymund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala and Marcus Adoro are restricted from performing together in the Philippines for a few more years, due to a clause in their contract with a corporate sponsor. And for another, in our heads (and our hearts), they’ve already been kind of back—since those unforgettable reunion concerts in 2008 and 2009. (INQSnap this page to read Inquirer Super’s 2008 interviews with Raymund, Buddy and Marcus.)
They’ve had other bands for years: Ely has Pupil and the Oktaves; Raymund has Sandwich, Pedicab, Squid9 and Assembly Generals; Marcus has Markus Highway; Buddy has The Dawn.
But all four regrouped as the Eraserheads for a US tour, and also did shows in London and Dubai. In our book, that’s kind of “back.”
Then the news broke. The band was releasing a CD of two new songs, “1995” and ”Sabado,” with the September issue of Esquire Philippines. We stopped shrugging. This was huge.
The response to the release has been “tremendous,” according to the magazine’s senior features editor Jerome Gomez. He said, “We’ve added thousands to our online followers overnight. Fans are asking us, asking the band members, which stores to go to. In some stores, ubos na yung first delivery. The staff has been besieged with requests from friends to reserve them a copy, but all we have really are our personal copies. It’s all very exciting.”
This isn’t a permanent thing. There is no promise of forever. But for the loyal, unwavering and perpetually passionate fans of the country’s greatest band, this was a gift and a glimmer of hope.
And, while hoping, they can do what they’ve done all these years: listen to the songs.
“The songs say it all, I think: the sentiments, the nostalgia, the pining for momentary escape which is a big Eraserheads theme. It took a lot to get to the point where they can actually record again as a band, and it took a lot to make. Just enjoy them, I guess, because who knows, it might not happen again,” said Jerome.
Super talked to Raymund and the band’s No. 1 fan Aidon Panlaqui, about the new singles.
Clues from Instagram
Three months before the big announcement, Raymund Instagrammed a photo of him with the rest of the band with the caption, “sinful dinner and good wine with these cats.”
Earlier this week, another post: a photo of a CD in Raymund’s hand, with the caption, “now playing.”
The two photos were clues to what was coming—two new songs and more speculations about the future of the Eraserheads.
What made you say yes to releasing new songs with the Eraserheads?
It sounded like a cool idea and there was no talk about record companies or selling units or anything else. Just record a couple of songs.
What role did Esquire’s editor in chief Erwin Romulo play in convincing you guys to do it again?
Erwin is a close personal friend to all of us and we trust him. His intentions are pure and he reconnected everyone to make the project happen.
How do you feel about the songs being released with the magazine’s latest issue?
I’m really pleased with how it handled the whole thing. There’s a good story inside with different layers and intersections. The pictures by Jake Verzosa are excellent. The cover is superb! It was also good to work with Cynthia Bauzon Arre on the CD design.
There are two music videos coming out, directed by Erik Matti, as well as limited-edition vinyl versions.
What was the songwriting process like? Did anything change from the last time you were writing songs?
A few old songs were considered. “Sabado” was rewritten and rearranged. “1995” is a brand new song as far as I know. We exchanged ideas and arrangements through e-mail, haha.
Where were the songs recorded? What was it like recording with the rest of the Eraserheads again?
The guides were demoed at Buddy’s home studio. Drums and bass were recorded on a Sunday night at Shinji Tanaka’s Sound Creation studios. Guitars and vocals were recorded the next day at the Bunker, Ely’s home studio. More guitars, percussion, keyboards and backup vocals were recorded back at Shinji’s.
Recording was super laid-back. We had superb Thai food and good wine. I guess we are all better with recording and using the studio, so it was relatively easy.
How hard was it to keep the new songs a secret? Who knew from the start?
It was not a big secret. All our friends kinda knew. We just refrained from posting on social media.
What was the video shoot like?
We did it at Erik Matti’s studio. He directed both videos. It was painless. Ayoko ng video shoots eh, nabo-bore ako. But we had 20 cameras going on at the same time. He had a plan. We were in and out in five hours. For two songs ha. Wow, grabe.
How crazy has the reaction of the fans been?
It’s always overwhelming. But I try not to get stressed about it.
What else can fans expect from the Eraserheads in the near future?
The unexpected, haha.
Does the release of the new songs mean the possibility of more songs?
The band’s No. 1 fan speaks up
If there’s a search for the Eraserheads’ No. 1 fan, there’s no doubt about it—Aidon Panlaqui would win.
An associate creative director at Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, Aidon has loved the band since he was in high school and he took his fandom to the next level two years ago, when he flew to the United States to follow the Eraserheads on its North American Tour. (INQSnap this page to read Super’s article about Aidon’s adventures in Alapaap.)
When we heard about the release, one of our first thoughts was, “Oh wow, what will Aidon think?”
He tells us in this interview.
How did you first hear about #EsquireEheads?
When they individually posted recording session hints through their Instagram accounts. Also that one steak dinner post a few months ago. I figured they were up to something.
What was your reaction?
Have you gotten your copy yet?
I went to Fully Booked High Street last night but there was none yet. This morning I looked for copies in other bookstores but unfortunately I wasn’t that lucky enough to score. And then I had to work. So I had to play cool and focus on the work to be done for the day. But deep inside, sh*t. Haha.
I heard some fans are hoarding copies so they can kind of reserve for their circles. I’m getting mine later through Rody, the organizer of our annual Eheads Circus Night, which just happened a few weeks ago.
Have you listened to the songs yet?
Yes, a few days ago from a source. It was hard to contain my emotions because I had to lie to friends asking me if I’ve heard them na. It was like that time when I heard about the brewing first reunion and I couldn’t tell anyone about it.
Where were you when you first listened to them?
In my apartment. I woke up with an e-mail. It was recorded from a radio, I think. Played both songs repeatedly, as if it were a cassette tape switching from Side A to B after each song. The entire day.
What do you think about the new songs?
Back in the day, the first thing that I would only pay attention to was Ely—his melody and lyrics. This time around, inisa-isa ko talagang pakinggan ang bawat instrumento. I miss hearing Buddy’s bass lines singing along with the vocals. Raims’ (Raymund’s) beats, where you can just feel his energy on every “palo.” But the thing I missed the most was Marcus’ dirty guitar sound. For “1995,” in particular, I love how he had his glorious moment toward the ending.
I knew I shouldn’t be looking for “Ligaya” or “Ha Ha Ha” or “Maskara.” I never wanted them to release new material. They have individual sounds na na-establish post-Eheads, and the idea of new songs bring me back to “Natin99” and “Carbon Stereoxide” where there were new great songs, but people just looked for “Overdrives” and “Pare Kos.”
The Eheads, with two new songs. I mean, what would they write about, ’di ba? The generation who grew up with them are now working, have family lives, have become single parents, gone abroad, etc.
But I guess that’s the magic of the ’Heads e. Gugulatin ka talaga nila—craft-wise and the way they would release songs.
Who would’ve imagined them releasing new songs through magazine insets? Astig.
Listening to them makes you feel like nakatulog ka nang lampas isang dekada tapos paggising mo, eto ang tunog ng ’Heads.
“1995” brought me back to the Ely era I’ve always admired, the “Sticker Happy” days.
Yung “Sabado,” classic Raims. I love how they’ve included one song na kaya mo ulit kaskasin sa gitara ’pag brownout, o inuman.
Yung dalawang kanta… sakto sa title. Para akong binalik sa saya ng year 1995 kung saan ang mundo ay puro Eheads lang. Tapos, ’yung nararamdaman mong excitement ’pag Sabado na.
How many times have you listened to the songs?
Let’s just say na hindi ko pa ino-open at all ang Spotify ko since I got hold of the songs, hehe.
Who will you be with at the launch?
The Eraserheads, hehehe. Seriously, ako lang. Please allow me to thank Marcus for the personal invite. Nakuha ko siya sa gabing medyo may pinagdadaanan ako at hindi ako makatulog. He sent me a message at 3 a.m. Tapos hindi na rin ulit ako nakatulog hanggang mag-umaga, hehe.
What does the release mean to you as a fan?
I’ve always thought of the ’Heads as parang si Voltes V.
I mean, they’re talented and great as individuals, pero pag pinagsama-sama mo, gumagawa siya ng isang larger-than-life, kick-ass robot na titingalain mo lang habang gumagawa ng moves.
Anyway, this release only meant that nothing is impossible. Gusto ko pang mag-expect ng kung ano pa ang susunod.
But the thing with ’Heads, I think, is you shouldn’t just expect at all. Never demand, or predict what’s next. They will just throw you awesomeness nang hindi mo ine-expect. That’s why they’re the Eraserheads.
Ang Muling El Bimbo
And at the Esquire launch at Dusit Thani Manila last Thursday, fans did get the unexpected—Raymund, Ely, Buddy and Marcus jammed onstage and they got to hear three hits, “Sembreak,” “Alapaap” and the very apt “Magasin.”