*inhale* Doooon’t drift away!!!
Change can be a good thing. If you compare Lions and Acrobats latest full-length “Mundane” to their first album “Points & Perspectives,” there’s a kind of distance, a gap in which a lot of growing and decision-making took place. “Points & Perspectives” is perhaps more aggressive, more brimming with the energy of getting a thousand points across all at once. “Mundane” on the other hand, knows when to let loose and when to hold back, and is a little more careful with its moves. What you get is an album confident in its sense of style and structure, and that, more often than not, makes for a f*cking good listen.
We sat down with the boys of Lions and Acrobats (Icoy Rapadas on vocals, Jim Lopez, Andrew Son and Ling Lava on guitars, Oteph Tumambing on bass and Pedro Ferrer on drums) during their album launch at Social House, and talked about the motivations behind the changes they made.
It’s been three years since “Points & Perspectives.” Tell me what the creative process looked like in the three years you were working on the album.
Icoy: We were putting [the album] together consciously. The concept wasn’t there yet from the very beginning though. Like before making “Mundane,” wala pa ‘yun. We experimented with what sound we were going for. In fact we had a couple of songs na hindi kasama sa album, as in na-una siya, and then we scrapped [them], because it’s not what we were going for. Parang sa Orange and Car tayo nag-decide —
Ling: What sound we like.
Jim: Gusto namin na marining si Icoy. Kasi nagkaroon kami ng problem dati na ‘di kami makapag-translate ng message sa audience. So ginawa namin for this album, mas madali siyang maintindihan.
Icoy: I think yung mismong sound na ginagawa namin, ginawa namin mas digestible. So it’s shorter, more straight to the point, walang masyadong ek-ek, parang mas straightforward na. Mas listener-oriented yung album, to sum it up. Less masturbatory.
You guys have also worked with Nick Lazaro for this album. Can you tell me what working with Nick in the studio is like?
Ling: What was the most useful in the album [recording process] was that when he thinks that one part is not nice, he will tell you. But he won’t just say that, he’ll also give suggestions of how to make it better. It’s very refreshing to see how someone else would view our music and how he thinks it could sound better. Like what we said, we were trying to make it sound more listener-oriented, so he made it more listener-oriented.
Icoy: Mas may pop sensibilities siya kaysa sa atin. So nag-work. Tapos maganda naman, tasteful naman, hindi naman siya cheesy. Well, yun naman yung gusto rin namin iwasan.
Andrew: It also helps that we spoke the same language in terms of music. Nag-aral din ng music [si Nick]. Eh lahat kami music prod students din. So, more or less, madali kami mag-communicate.
Your old work evidently has its roots in post-hardcore, but it seems to be that “Mundane” is a little sonically different from your old work. Was it a deliberate thing, changing up your sound? Why did you wanna change up your sound?
Jim: Feel ko kasama sa conscious effort, na gusto namin mag-”less is more.” Kasama siya doon, not necessarily na gusto namin ibahin completely yung sound. I guess doon lang siya pumunta.
Icoy: Parang ang nangyari din, palit rin yung trip namin. Dati, kumbaga, kung ano yung ginawa naming music before, that was more or less what we were listening to din. Tapos now, after that album, nag-agree din kami, we don’t wanna repeat the same album, so we gotta change up the sound. It’s not necessarily to go away from post-hardcore or to be lighter, but we just wanted it to be different.
Judging from the singles Orange and Cloud, “Mundane” seems to be about the drama of the everyday. Icoy, can you tell me how you approached that as a lyricist?
Icoy: Ang turo sa akin, write what you know. So what I knew was, yun lang. Kasi yun yung pinagdaanan ko. Hindi mabigat yung nangyayari sa life ko masyado, so doon ko rin ako naisip na maybe, these mundane things, they deserve stories as well. Whatever you feel, and whatever you make out of it, they’re still valid, and they’re still stories that can be told, and people can still relate to that. Lyrically, I was also very much influenced by Frank Ocean and a lot of midwest emo pop punk bands. Tapos yung lyrics nila, literal siya, parang nag-dedescribe lang siya ng scene, and then sasabihin niya exactly kung ano yung nangyayari. It’s more focused on imagery. And that to me stood out. Mas lalo kong na-picture yung like, how these mundane things, they paint a picture and they tell a story. There’s more than just the mundane. Basically the album is challenging that word.