tandems ‘ 91
ORIGINALLY A BEDROOM PROJECT started by Aaron Cruz, what was once an online solo project turned into a dynamic trio spurred by an invitation to play live. “One day, Chris from Revolver Productions contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play in a gig. I said sure, why not?” He agreed despite not being prepared, so he enlisted the help of Ignacio Cuyegkeng and JR Jader, longtime friends and bandmates he’s known since high school, and everything fell into place.
Tandems ‘91 is part-electronic, part-disco, and part-frantic energy. Even without the help of loud backing tracks or the chance to stop and restart, they deliver a solid performance every damn time. Despite not being signed (not that they have any plans to), they have still managed to gather a steady following, from concert-going teens to enthusiastic titas with their hypothetical dancing shoes on.
But as well-received as they are, their future as Tandems ‘91 is still up in the air. Many have been asking about a new record and Aaron can only shrug in response. “I’ve been telling people that there will be one but I can’t nish it. There is one but I don’t know when it’ll be done. I don’t know how to release it either,” he said. “We’re just doing this for fun. It’s very liberating. There really are no goals.
How would you describe your sound? And who are your biggest influences?
Aaron: Our sound is very disco but also very new. Modern disco. That’s the type of music my dad listens to so I was in uenced by that. I don’t usually listen to disco music but I’ve been hearing it before so it carried over to my music now.
What’s your songwriting process like?
A: It depends per song. Sometimes the lyrics come rst then the melody follows eventually. But I usually just work around whatever pops up. I’ll make an arrangement to complement the melody and the lyrics but for some songs, the arrangement comes rst then I just gure out what melody and lyrics t. Usually for arrangements, I have a notebook. I came from a band so the methods we have there is what I do.
Ignacio: Everything that you hear in the recorded aspect is by Aaron. Live performances are where JR & I come into the picture.
How about lyrics? Do you have a certain feel in mind before getting started?
A: Yeah, it’s something like that (having a feeling in mind when writing a song). It’s more like a concept for me because the feelings are more in the lyrics. Of course there’s a constant effort to make it sound a little bit old or reminiscent of the disco era but aside from that, I just go with the ow, with how I pictured it in my mind. I just translate it using the software. Of course there’s a concept or idea in my head and then the only challenge for me is how to put these things inside the computer.
Tandems ‘91 sounds incredibly different live compared to the mellow recordings you get on Soundcloud.
JR: What you hear now, everything began when we started getting bored playing just the songs. In the beginning, we tried to be faithful to the record, especially during the rst gig.
A: I gave them guidelines. They basically started as sessionistas.
J: Even then, we kept on looking for ways to entertain ourselves rst before the crowd so when we end up not being too entertained with a certain piece anymore, we try to add something. Basically, we rst covered his songs but after the songs, we covered the set. We just keep on covering and covering, adding stuff, adding more weirdness into it.
Oh, so things get pretty random, then? How do you prepare for it?
A: At a coffee shop. We hang out at Starbucks and just talk. We don’t use “real” instruments so it’s very easy for us to jam and brainstorm. We