December 10, 2012 Jethro Sandico

Sweet Retribution

Oddly Even

It’s been 4 years since Even bagged the much-coveted Muziklaban Finals Crown, and the hard-hitting electronica inspired outfit shows no signs of slowing down. With a new album under their belt, the band is once again moving some tectonic plates with their signature sound. In this interview, I invited vocalist Dyanne Licudine and guitar player Jam Bumanlag to shed some light on their latest effort.

*How do you usually write lyrics, what inspires you etc.

DYANNE: Well most of the time I write my lyrics about everyday things, what happens around me and to the people around me. It usually takes me a day to write lyrics for a song, and I sit on it until it gets done. I just let the song “write” itself.

*How does Even usually create these awesome songs? describe the process

JAM: Madalas the music riffs and idea starts out with me, I basically map out the structure of the song. Way back (circa 2008) we used to be very experimental (that’s the way i hear it, like the song Red & Green) lalo na sa verse/refrain/chorus format. We wanted to stay away from the usual, I admit noon we were so into that oddtime/weird arrangements, but lately, and I must say sa new album RETRIBUTION mas madaling ma-absorb ng casual listener ung structures, not that we’re not experimenting anymore but this time around it just felt right. Madalas irerecord ko na sa laptop ko (using Ableton Live) ung chords and beats that way > won’t forget it. Then ipaparinig ko kay Coco and he will write and stamp his own style sa song, in a way nagiging producer mode din ako like sa note choices but in the end we contribute as a group talaga. Then sa drums it’s me and Jerich and nagcocolaborate talaga ng one on one coz we do think we’re a groove based band na madalas riff based and after all that we present it to Dyanne na almost finished minus one track na. I’ll tell her choose what theme or what i feel about sa music and she expresses it lyrically. After all that, it’s officially an EVEN song! and if it feels right we jam and rehearse it!

*What are the adjustments that you guys made since Ghe and Jeric left the group?

JAM: Mejo mahirap talaga ung band to lose its members lalo na Jerich and Ghe have playing styles na mahirap ireplace. Me, Dyanne and Coco were really determined to push through it kahit na mawala sila. We took that as a challenge to be more tight musically, lyrically and as a group of friends. kasi tatatlo na lang kami eh di ba. Naging challenge din sakin un kung paano namin maiduduplicate ung mga electronica sampled parts pag live so noon I tried to use my laptop live but that was really a pain in the a$$ to setup! sound was great but playing guitar with fx and a computer was too much for me i guess, so I decided to just use samplers and ipod that way setup time is faster and more convenient. Sa drums naman, We were very fortunate to have Dan Allan of 2nd Squad/GivetakeGive as our sessionist drummer. Mabigat pumalo at madaling maka-adapt si Dan eh and napaka-down to earth. =)

*Any new gears that you added to your arsenal?

JAM: Ako im always on the look out for new fx pedals and gears. last ko nascore is ung Mooer Pitchbox (i have a 20minute video demo of it on youtube! just search Nineworkz Mooer Pitchbox), I’m really addicted to effects talaga eversince. Si Coco, I think he got the Sansamp VT preamp which sounds like Mudvayne hahaha that’s what I hear when he stomps on that pedal. Dyanne just got a Senheisser vocal mic and a Boss VE-20 vocal processor! Pretty cool! =)

*How was the recording process? where were the parts recorded and mixed? who took care of mixing and mastering?

JAM: Naging challenge din samin ung recording process pero it was really a departure from our first (Viva produced) album. This time around we went to Shock Sounds Recording Studio and we have Lean Ansing (Slapshock) as our producer. Once in a while Kuya Jamir, Lee and Chi would drop by and listen to the mixes and would give pointers and suggestions sa mix and that really helped us a lot. Ako, Coco and Dyanne, the way I think and feel about it is we’re really into the recording and tech gears! We love the whole process, the challenge, the new ideas that just pop out when the record button is pushed! Nakakaexcite kasi new music to eh for us so we put a lot of time, effort and passion to make this all work out!

Mixing was done by Lean. We trust him and of course ung experience doing all those stuff about that is great. He’s a veteran when it comes to sounds and he’s not genre specific, nakaka-adapt siya whether pop, electronica or metal ung tugtugan. Malaki din ung contribution niya sa pag buo ng album namin kasi iba talaga pag may Producer ka on your back, ung bang magsasabi sayo kapag ngrerecord ka na and he will say Yo! that part was great! whereas pag you’re producing on your own eh you will labor that part over and over and you’ll just get frustrated knowing na mas marami ka pang magagawang mas maganda. Producers know when you hit the spot talaga eh limiter kumbaga. Sobrang laki ng tulong niya samin from the start to finish ng album, lalong lalo na sa mga vocal comping and melodies with Dyanne and ung pag push niya kay Dyanne to give her pinaka-best on the songs. =)

Sa Mastering it was all done by Ferdie Marquez (known as one of the original members of Truefaith, marami na din shang prinoduce at minaster na OPM songs and it’s too many to mention! from Kyla, to Sarah to Slap to Christian to A – Z) His Mastering Studio is at Freq Studios, Timog QC

*Tell me about your decision to go Indie instead of opting to sign with a major label. How did it go? How satisfying it is to be independent, etc.

JAM: We’re proudly independent! Actually it’s everybody’s (EVEN and management) decision to go independent regarding our album. Mas nagwowork pa nga samin yun that way kasi direct lahat. Mas nararamdaman namin ung support na binibigay ng supporters talaga. And we’re very thankful for that. =)

Check these pages and of course Even’s “Retribution” music video