To know Munimuni is to understand majesty. Majesty to them is marilag — hopeful, resilient. Or as they sing on Marilag: “Hindi maitatago, hindi maikukubli / ang mundo ay binabalot / ng iyong pagbangon muli.” They call their music “Makata Pop” — think The Oh Hellos mixed with a touch of The Strokes, lyrics reminiscent of Huseng Batute and the book of Psalms. Their songs are at once wakeful and serene, restful and filled with anxious contemplation. Its members navigate these sentiments with ease.
We catch up with Munimuni members AJ Jiao, TJ de Ocampo, John Owen Castro, and Red Calayan to talk about their origins, their futures, their influences, and all that traverses between.
To start things off, do tell us about how Munimuni was formed.
TJ: Well, simply put, in the beginning there were three guys: AJ, Moses, and Red. Never met Moses because he moved to Tuguegarao. I join the band when I transferred to UP Diliman around 2012-13. We start writing songs together. I leave for Japan in 2014. It’s around this time that Owen comes along, starts playing for the band, and eventually becomes a member. They [Red, Owen, and AJ] start playing songs together. I come back 2015, then we start playing together as a four piece band, with a session bassist. Our first four piece gig together [AJ, TJ, Owen, Red] was in Enderun. And then we played together for a couple more months, before recording our EP in 2016, and releasing it March 2017.
Red: We all came from UP and church, and started jamming in dorms and boarding houses and AJ’s super masculine indie-film quality apartment —
AJ: Na sobrang grainy!
Red: And people came and went, and our sound just kept growing to where it is now.