Peel, squeeze, re­peat

Or­ange & Le­mons pre­fer to call their re­u­nion, a re­for­ma­tion. What­ever it is, hooray, they are ‘Abot Ka­may’ anew to loyal fans

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By REGINA MAE PARUNGAO

Or­ange & Le­mons prefers to call their re­u­nion, a re­for­ma­tion. What­ever it is, hooray, they are ‘Abot Ka­may’ anew to loyal fans

Many years ago, Or­ange & Le­mons supplied fresh mu­si­cal nour­ish­ment to lis­ten­ers un­til sour over­took sweet. They dis­banded – but it was not the end.

Ex­actly a decade since putting their mu­sic into what many deemed as per­ma­nent stor­age, Or­ange & Le­mons are back; this time as a trio namely Clem Cas­tro and broth­ers Ace and JM del Mundo.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Bul­letin En­ter­tain­ment, Clem said they will re­main faith­ful to retro fash­ion sense and that Bea­tles-es­que sound.

Or­ange & Le­mons are set to re­lease new song “Lovers Go, Lovers Come” this year. They will be do­ing a se­ries of shows till De­cem­ber.

Asked what else is ahead, Clem promised “new songs that are the worth the wait.”

At this point in their ca­reer, Or­ange & Le­mons no longer aim for com­mer­cial suc­cess de­spite hav­ing a dou­ble plat­inum award in the past.

“We want to be suc­cess­ful on our own terms not on any term na dic­tated by who­ever,” Clem noted.

The re­formed Or­ange & Le­mons pri­mar­ily want artis­tic ful­fill­ment.

“We are hob­by­ists,” the vo­cal­ist said. “But mu­sic is also a busi­ness and if things go well, let’s see, maybe we could also make busi­ness out of it. It’s not the pri­or­ity, though.”

Ace added, “To be hon­est, masarap din kas­ing gawin ang isang bagay na gusto mo at the same time, ku­mikita ka. Right now, pas­sion (project) namin itong banda but to sus­tain the pas­sion, we also have to think of the busi­ness as well. But kami, hindi kami nag­ma­madali, maram­ing plano. Let’s take it one at a time.”

Back in each other’s arms

When Or­ange & Le­mons broke up in 2007, Ace and JM be­came part of the band Kenyo while Clem formed his own group named The Cam­er­awalls. Clem then pur­sued a solo ca­reer and launched his al­bum, “Drag­on­fly Col­lec­tor.” He also em­barked on a whop­ping four-month, 44-city tour to pro­mote “The World Is Your Oys­ter.”

Well, as the say­ing goes, first love never dies which is why the three even­tu­ally re­united de­spite hav­ing suc­cess­ful ven­tures on their own.

It was Clem who wel­comed the idea of work­ing again with his for­mer band­mates.

“Isa lang na­man ang rea­son nam­ing la­hat, sa loob ng isang dekada (na pagkakahi­walay namin), so­brang na-miss namin gu­mawa ng mu­sic to­gether,” bassist JM said.

The re­u­nion was not that easy, though. Ace ad­mit­ted he hes­i­tated join­ing the group anew but tim­ing had a way of heal­ing old wounds.

The drum­mer shared, “Dati kasi tu­mawag na din si Clem pero that time hindi kami in­tere­sado kasi may kanya-kanya kam­ing banda. But then, it’s al­ready 10 years, at so­brang nakaka-miss na ka-tra­baho sila. From then, I said yes to his of­fer.”

Or­ange & Le­mons were re­spon­si­ble for the hits “She’s Leav­ing Home,” “Just Like A Splen­did Love Song,” “Kailan­gan Kita,” “A Be­gin­ning Of Some­thing Won­der­ful,” “Pi­noy Ako,” “Heaven Knows (This An­gel Has Flown),” “Abot Ka­may,” “Hang­gang Kailan,” among many oth­ers. The band also pro­duced three al­bums namely “Love In The Land Of Rub­ber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream,” “Strike Whilst The Iron Is Hot,” and “Moon­lane Gar­dens.”

Clem pointed out the main rea­son he pur­sued re­unit­ing the band is to be able “to pro­tect the legacy of the band” and con­tinue to roll where they left off.

“In the his­tory of Philip­pines mu­sic… ayaw namin mag­buhat ng sar­ili bangko, pero isa rin na­man kami sa mga naka­pag-con­trib­ute dito,” he said. “We’ve al­ways wanted to make world class songs, na kayang il­a­ban out­side (of the coun­try) and that’s we are aim­ing to do right now.”

Mi­nus one

No­tice­ably ab­sent in the band’s present lineup is found­ing mem­ber and rhythm gui­tarist Mcoy Fun­dales. In his place is sea­soned gui­tarist, Rain.

Clem has a sim­ple and straight­for­ward ex­pla­na­tion: “ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences.”

“Hindi ma­g­a­nda ’yung sepa­ra­tion namin, may­roon ta­la­gang rift be­tween us,” he ad­mit­ted. “I think, tinawa­gan din siya (to ask if he wants to join) but it seems like he’s not in­ter­ested. Ako, as much as pos­si­ble, ayoko nang i-bring up ’yung is­sue namin, I just want to fo­cus now on the band.”

It is no se­cret that a large per­cent of Or­ange & Le­mons’ songs were penned by Clem, him­self.

Ac­cord­ing to him, he is not the typ­i­cal song­writer who gets in­spi­ra­tion from heart­break.

“I un­der­stand na malak­ing trig­ger ang heart­break sa mil­len­ni­als but hindi na kami mil­len­ni­als eh,” he said, smil­ing. “Even­tu­ally, tu­matanda na kami at huma­hanap na kami ng ibang in­spi­rasyon. Ayaw na namin du’n sa cliché (na paraan ng pag­susu­lat).”

Most of the time, the 40-year-old band vo­cal­ist shared lyrics usu­ally comes first in his process but in gen­eral, he doesn’t have any rules in writ­ing.

Asked what makes a song beau­ti­ful, Clem said num­ber one is the melody.

“If the lyrics are crappy but the melody is su­perb? Malaki ang im­pact niyan. Ang isang awit, may lyrics man o wala song pa rin ’yan. So ang lyrics lag­ing se­condary lang iyan.”

OR­ANGE & LE­MONS (Photo by Chris­tian Carl Quides/Manila Bul­letin)

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