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Posts tagged ‘turbo goth’

Loud Concert, Quiet Anniversary

June 10, 2010


I’m still hungover over Club 8’s visit to the Philippines even after weeks since the conclusion of the shows we co-produced plus the fact that Lilystars has already turned two years old last May.

I cannot recall including concert production on a large scale as part of our plan of activities. Lilystars as I heard a friend say (after I told him how we got the Club 8 gig) is a “happenstance producer.” Managing bands, producing and selling records and small event productions are already very challenging tasks sometimes fulfilling and sometimes disappointing especially for a start-up non-commercial indie label with very limited time and resources and still in the process of learning and growing.

What my team and I have are big dreams and good intentions and the means to afford “creative freedom.” Creative freedom means a lot and it means different things to different people. But above all, it gives me and the other artists we bring on board, the freedom to explore new worlds in their music, take chances, and boldly try out to new blends, instruments and musical themes. I believe this is where genuine artistic growth happens and we are ready to stick our necks out with any artist we support and believes in us. We enjoy the thrill, the excitement and the danger of being on the cutting edge of what is new and progressive and we embrace the risks and the losses in terms of time and money simply because we love good music, we love what we do and the fact that building a musical career does not take overnight.

A week ago Ian Zafra (Sheila & The Insects) shared a blog entry from Seth Godin entitled 16 Questions For Free Agents and the first two questions I think is the most important:

  1. Who are you trying to please?
  2. Are you trying to make a living, make a difference, or leave a legacy?

We perfectly know the answer to these. And till now, after two years, the answers are still the same. We quietly celebrated our anniversary on a hot Monday afternoon over pizza delivered from Shakey’s looking back at the year that has passed and assessing short and long term goals. That same afternoon Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes expressed their desire to continue their careers on their own prompting us to recalibrate our plans.

To summarize the year that has passed, we were able to accomplish the following:

  1. Released a repackaged version of The Camerawalls’ debut album “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld.”
  2. Released CD Singles of Turbo Goth and The Bernadettes. It comes with excellent remixes by Jonathan Ong of Sonicstate Audio both recognized for Best Remix category in the recently concluded AVIMA music awards. “Morning Swim” entered the charts of JAM 88.3 as well.
  3. Co-Produced Scottish musician Ally Kerr’s mini shows in Manila backed up by The Camerawalls.
  4. Project Ondoy: participated and produced shows as part of relief drive for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.
  5. Produced and released “The Sight Of Love” by The Camerawalls – a digital single originally released for free download. It became number #1 for several weeks on Jam 88.3 weekly charts. Produced and released a music video as well directed by Wincy Ong.
  6. Co-Produced Swedish band Club 8’s first Philippine visit and major concert in SMX Convention Center in Manila and in Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
  7. Produced more than a dozen shows for The POP Shoppe! in Manila and paid tribute to the following artists Paul Weller, The Beatles, Morrissey, Blur, and Club 8.
  8. Produced The POP Shoppe! events in Baguio and Cebu.

On the other hand, these are what we failed to complete within the year:

  1. Release The POP Shoppe! Vol. 1 – a compilation album featuring two new songs each from The Camerawalls, The Bernadettes, Turbo Goth, Patience Dear Juggernaut, Your Imaginary Friends and The Gentle Isolation. 80% done recording the project which began September of 2009 (before Ondoy hit the country). The release was postponed to June 2010 to accomodate the Club 8 concert but eventually pulled the plug on the project.
  2. Release the full length albums of The Bernadettes and Turbo Goth.

As with any goal there is always a risk of a plan not coming together, dynamic decision making and adjustments to changing times and even calamities not to mention adhering to the indie label’s shortcomings and most specially a change of heart.

But in general there is nothing like being in the presence of like-minded people. When you are with your band you expect they all have the same values, the same approach to music and career. But it is more than that. You expect they understand the musical vision and speak the same language. Lilystars takes that sense of shared community and makes it into a business that can promote those shared goals and protect the community we share. A kind of teamwork more times than not makes a plan come together.

That being said, we welcome a new year with open arms and an open mind to face new  challenges with the same passion and integrity. To my colleagues in Lilystars, Antonette and Denise, I take this opportunity to thank both of you for your unconditional love and support and for standing by me all this years. To newcomer Valerie, we are grateful for the contribution you have given in a short amount of time. We  welcome you in the team with open arms.

To our current roster —The Camerawalls, The Gentle Isolation and Your Imaginary Friends—we are excited for your upcoming releases and hope you develop the courage to lose sight of the shore but remember the path and treasure the journey. To our former artists, we wish you all the best in your musical careers and thank you all for being once part of our label.

To everyone who supported Lilystars, our artists, our projects in ways big or small; to everyone who believed in our cause and in the music we champion; our hearts are full and we will give you back the love by continuing what we have started and offer more significant projects and releases in the future.

Happy Anniversary to Lilystars!

We Couldn’t Stop Dreaming (of Club 8 in the Philippines)

May 10, 2010

Denise Atas

When Clementine broke the news that he & Perz Baltazar of Cebu-based Modern Rock Bureau were liaising with Johan Angergård to discuss the possibility of Club 8 doing a couple of shows in the Philippines, I was just floored. I didn’t think it possible, but the moment I got dibs on their exchanges over e-mail (proof!), I had to ask someone to stop me from pinching myself silly.

If by some chance you had read my last entry about the Kings of Convenience gig here in Manila held at the NBC Tent last March 31, then you might remember that I mentioned Club 8 there too. What did I tell you about the water they’ve been drinking in Europe…? That the excellent duo that is the subject of this piece hails from that fair part of the world called Sweden, is again, no great surprise anymore. Club 8, who are Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård, began their career in 1995 and have not stopped making their signature brilliant music since. Each of the seven albums they have released is testimony to Karolina and Johan’s mastery of their talent, the band’s evolution and the refinement of their sound. They make for an interesting study in the life of the pop sensation that they have become.

Club 8: Karolina Komstedt + Johan Angergård

Most people will agree with me that Club 8’s music is very ear-friendly. If you are inclined to music that’s passed off as ‘easy listening,’ I guarantee that you can take almost any Club 8 song, fit it into this category, and exert no effort in liking it for certain. But if there is anything that I find striking about their music, I’d say it would have to be [for lack of another term] their “diplomacy” in songwriting. Take the song “Those Charming Men,” from their debut album, Nouvelle (1996), for instance:

If you’re like me who’s not very keen on lyrics the first time around, would you have guessed that this song is about feeling naïve and longing or waiting in vain even after some thinking… (because that’s what “Those Charming Men” is about)? I was humming to this song with my invented lyrics for too long already before I thought of looking up its real lyrics on a random day, only to discover that the song wasn’t at all as happy as its melody had suggested:

Those Charming Men

Club 8

Stupid girl
Those charming men won’t look at me
I’m not blond enough and I still believe in love

How could I be so wrong it wasn’t my turn
To be fooled by him
Loved and left alone

I was the one who always
Waited for something
And just some loving in the morning
Wouldn’t help
To make my world seem alright

Here I am
And I don’t think you were right the time
You were my friend and you told me to
Wrap my arms around him

I’ve thought of this song differently ever since I learned the correct lyrics to it, but even with knowing, its melody still makes waiting in vain sound like it’s the best feeling in the world. Now if THAT isn’t diplomacy, then I wouldn’t know what is.

I am of the opinion that Club 8’s music is easy to embrace. The few and far in between write-ups and reviews I’ve read of the band and their music often have the writer characterizing their sound as warm and fuzzy or hazy and they always seem to be related to perfect summers (or something just as pleasant) for some reason. So here I go again, saying I don’t recall having ever come across a negative commentary about them. Either that or my bias is blocking any negativity that exists about them.

Last May 01, Lilystars gathered six fantastic bands to play at The POP Shoppe! in Club Dredd at Gweilos in Eastwood to pay tribute to Club 8 and their music.

* illustration by Sarah Gaugler; layout by Angelo Maniquis

I came in rather late, together with Tonet and our good friend, Val, but just in time to catch The Gentle Isolation who opened the gig, already mid-set. Apart from their own songs, we also caught their renditions of “Heaven” and “Everlasting Love” from Club 8’s album, The Friend I Once Had (1998).

The Gentle Isolation absolutely prepped the listening set for more Club 8 covers that were anticipated that night. The brother-sister act of Mike and Micaela Benedicto, known as Outerhope, came on next and suddenly, the room stood still—Micaela’s steady, soothing voice put everyone under a spell. Their Club 8 covers of “This Is The Morning” (from Strangely Beautiful (2003)) and “Before I Came,” left almost nothing to be desired. I personally would have asked them to do ten more songs, but then remembered that they were only the second of six artists playing that night.

Your Imaginary Friends, as with those who played before them, felt generous and also indulged the crowd with two covers: “I Guess I Was Wrong” and “Look Out!,” both from Nouvelle.

Turbo Goth gave the crowd “Missing You” (The Friend I Once Had (1998)), a cover especially requested by Clem for Turbo Goth to do that night, and which quite suited them. Sorry, we didn’t get to take videos of Turbo Goth’s [and The Camerawalls’] Club 8 covers because Clem’s Flip decided to… well… flip.

And just because we wanted to sustain the energy that Turbo Goth infused into the room, we lined up Us-2 Evil-0 immediately after them. Mich and Quark’s antics never fail to leave any crowd in stitches or maybe gasping for breath (they put Tigger to shame with all the bouncing around onstage). Their cover of “My Heart Won’t Break” was both fun and funny after Quark thwarted his own attempt at the keyboard accompaniment. Very Us-2 Evil-0 🙂

The Camerawalls closed the gig with everyone bopping their heads to the song from which the tribute night took its title, “Saturday Night Engine” (Strangely Beautiful).

Arigato, Hato! would have joined in the fun, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it at the last minute. Being one band short was probably a good thing since it was already well past 2 in the morning when the house lights went on and the good-sized crowd began filing out of the second floor. I think it safe to say that the tribute night did its job of whetting everyone’s appetites for the real big gig on May 14 and 15. I may be mistaken, but considering only me, I can hardly wait.

If I were put in charge of Club 8’s set list for the May 14 concert in Manila, what people would hear are these: “Spring Came, Rain Fell,” (from Spring Came, Rain Fell, (2002)), “You & Me,” “What Shall We Do Next” from 2003’s Strangely Beautiful, “The Friend I Once Had,” “Whatever You Want” from The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Dreaming released in 2007, and their entire self-titled album, released in 2001. Actually, if I really did have my way, I’d have them play all the music they’ve made spanning the entire 15 years they’ve been making it! But then even I think that that would just be too much.

I am not one for being so easily star-stricken, but the mere thought of seeing Club 8 in the flesh already has me dazed and somewhat tongue-tied. I’m afraid to imagine how I might act if I may be so lucky to experience the pleasure of shaking hands with either Karolina or Johan. My hands would be cold and clammy in the least for sure. In my wilder dreams, I’d probably have enough guts to ask to have a photo taken with them… and in my wildest dreams, I’d probably get a hug from them both * swoon * I love this band so much, I’d never live it down if anything embarrassing happened to me while they’re around… never mind that I’ve been drawing sticks on my whiteboard to count down the days until May 14 comes, that’s something they won’t see—pardon the girl who just couldn’t stop dreaming.

With the concert days just a few winks away, I foresee Lilystars Records and everyone concerned to be a giant bundle of nerves. We are very excited to welcome Club 8 to the Philippines for the first time. To be sure, this is one pop event that many of us will remember for years to come. And while we must continue to embrace homegrown music, it is also high time that we open our arms to music from foreign shores, and in this instance [and for those who are yet to], Club 8 is surely a good start.

Their latest release, The People’s Record, carrying the single “Western Hospitality” [now getting airtime on the radio], is out in stores now, courtesy of Universal Records. Grab a copy and see what all this fuss is about.  🙂

See you on May 14 and 15!



Thanks to Denise Roco for this post!

Dated interview by Indonesian music webzine, Deathrockstar: