When I made that album cover for Japs Sergio’s “JAPSUKI” project “Monologue Whispers” last year, part of the contents of the album said: Coming Soon: Peso Movement. I asked what it was and Japs said that it was going to be his ‘rock’ project, an opposite to the steady stuff he came up with in Monologue Whispers.
But as the master of balance, which how I’d describe Japs to be (he can be really serious to extremely funny… and corny, as well) Japs dives into all levels of the spectrum of sound and describes Peso Movement‘s music as DIRTY ROCK, which honestly makes me chuckle a bit not knowing if Japs is exaggerating or kidding — or both. Just as brilliant as his steady work as Japsuki, this new rock venture definitely grasps both sides of the coin.
The music can be described as really loud and heavy but not to the point of sounding metal. It’s not loud because most of them rehearse to deafening decibels that the last few rehearsals I beg-off attending or would just rather stay outside the studio, but regardless of volume it’s got that those in-your-face brutally honest themes. I call Japs the ‘dark horse of Rivermaya’. The bass player in bands has always been stereotyped as the mysterious one, but we all knew he always thought left of center and wasn’t afraid to point them out. One of the songs he wrote in Rivermaya called, “Sugal Ng Kapalaran” is a favorite of mine, not because I styled that video, but the words cut across and the riffs, especially the ones in the chorus were unnaturally bent yet right on the dot intuitive. Asking him lyrics for the songs in Monologue Whispers, I remember cursing him on BBM on how brilliant his words were and I think he’s a criminally underrated songwriter.
The band includes Francis Brew on guitars, Macky Macaventa on bass and Kurt Floresca on drums. They’ve been rehearsing extensively since February and one day, during downtime at the KJWAN Video shoot, I made Jorel Corpus (KJWAN’s former guitarist) listen to one of the songs and being a student of Berklee School of Music and vacationing here in Manila, asked if he could produce one of the songs.
From recording the first single Pwersa ng Iisa in Love One Another studios, they decided to do another song called “Bawal Simangot”. The day this second song was being recorded was actually on my birthday and the line, “Sabi ng pahayagan, maulan sa iyong kaarawan” and funnily in the middle of summer it was cold and raining which explains the “cold weather outfits” in some of the photos. So now it’s one of my favorites, haha.
Japs does double duties on guitar and vocals, after having played the bass for most part of his career has been geeking out on guitars the past few weeks, has changed to .11 gauge strings and is selling his bass guitars to fund his search for a vintage telecaster. The only guitar he has was a Fender Squire Telecaster that’s a spitting image of George Harrison’s Tele, previously owned by Francis Brew and was bought in Hong Kong in 2006.
Francis, on the otherhand bought a vintage Japan Fender Stratocaster because “there’s no other guitar that’ll be perfect for Peso Movement’s sound” which Japs agreed on and found himself a Mexico Fender Strat with a cool green color.
One of the things I realized was that when Francis produced the 1st album of Chicosci, Jorel, yet unfamiliar to the production world started talking loudly in the studio and Francis asked him to get out. HAHAHA.
Later during recording Francis started goofing around and Jorel threatened to throw us out because we were rowdy.
I’m pretty certain I’ll be following this band around a lot. Japs is one of the musicians I’ve known the longest in the industry and I know he trusts me when it comes to the visual aspect of music. Hey, I managed to coerce him into buying a silver jacket a few years ago when he was drunk and when he saw the jacket the next day he thought I gave it to him as a gift. I still owe him PhP200 peso change for that until now. Haha.
I just know this is going to be one fun band. Jorel is currently working on the recording mixes in Boston (and we miss him dearly) so expect to hear the final ones on-air anywhere anytime soon.
If ever any of you just feel the need to rock out, check out Peso Movement’s facebook page and maybe one of these days they’ll get tired of rehearsing and finally play a gig.
P.S. Francis also talks about Japs in his latest Yahoo! Blog entry here
P.S.S. All Photos taken using the FUJI X100