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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

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