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Bringing Out A Strong Unique Factor

by Patrick Mabilog
The News Today (Iloilo) | March 1, 2011

“To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”, and none could ever describe death more beautiful that how Steven Patrick Morrissey put it.

If you’ve ever heard of The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, Smashing Pumpking and The Cure, you would know how great the year they flourished in was.  The 80s was a good year for music. Many of the greatest songs of all time were created during the decade, and we have to be very thankful to the bands that preserved the sound and groove of this time — To bands like The Camerawalls.

ORIGINS. Formed in Manila during 2007, The Camerawalls is an indie band from which sophisticated music emanates. The band is made up  the trio of Clementine, Law Santiago and Joseph Rudica.

The name Camerawalls came from Clem’s fondness of playing with words by creating anagrams. Camerawalls stood out in a list of possible names because of what the band would like to see as a strong unique factor.

During the period between 1999 – 2007, Clem was once a member of the the band Orange and Lemons, with whom he had released three albums. Shortly after the band broke up, he formed his current band, The Camearawalls.

It isn’t likely that one will find a band that has had a set genre from the beginning. The Camerawalls are one of the very few Filipino bands that knew its sound from the beginning. “It’s very important for me to find members who are in tune with my musicality and influences,” Clem admitted. “And I was lucky enough to find people who I know likes what I like, digs what I dig. We all have the same values.”

Law (bassist) and Clem (vocals/guitar) knew each other through Orange and Lemons. Law had played for the band for a short period before leaving early in the band’s career. Given their long history as band mates and good friends, it wasn’t that hard for the two to jive their passions and create the sound they presently carry. Joseph, or Bachie as many would call him, came in 2010.

Missing the band when you come across them is virtually impossible since their image is a very notable one. Often, the three-piece musical sensation dress in vintage attire – skinny slacks, leather shoes and round shades – that would remind you of the likes of The Beatles.

WHAT THEY SOUND LIKE. The band’s influences include The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, and of course, The Beatles. Their performances are electric as Clem openly admits that they can be quite “wild” when on stage. And true to this, they are very expressive when performing, holding none of their feelings back.

Their songs have a wide range of themes, from love and relationships to clinical dilemmas, from deaths of loved ones to political issues. One of the band’s more popularly known songs “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours” was based from a true story of someone who died (but not really for sixteen hours) and came back to life. The message of the song comes clear in the end when Clem says “that we won’t realize what we have till we lose them.”

Most of their songs come from true experiences, which pretty much explains all the colorful stories of the songs since the individual lives of the band are pretty interesting by themselves. Clem is the owner of the recording company that the band is signed under, Lilystars Records, which is also home to many other great indie artists in Manila. Law does freelance work as a videographer for various companies. Joseph has been into scale aircraft piloting for many years.

“Lahat ng kanta namin malalaman mo na Camerawalls pero hindi siya magkapareho ng shape,” as Joseph would put it when asked to described their sound. “Gusto ko yung simple and relaxed pero consistent.” The band admits that they are not “magaling“, but invested a lot of time into their material.

GOING AROUND THE WORLD. On August 20, 2010, Clem and his crew found themselves flying to Singapore to perform in Baybeats, a musical event that they had not even auditioned for but were still chosen to perform nonetheless. The band found this as a great opportunity and said ‘yes’ without hesitation. Little did they know that this would be an open doorway to more plugs and reviews from other places such as Japan and Malaysia, and also a featured podcast in Flights, a highly acclaimed radio program featuring new music and words form artists by IATP (I Am The Programmer).

In the three years that the band has been in existence they have had three releases: “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld”, “The Sight Of Love” and “Bread and Circuses”.

Their latest creation “Bread and Circuses” is an EP album that was just recently launched on December 11, 2010. It was named after one of the tracks in the album that is a political song inspired by a Roman poet’s take on the fake entertainment created by politicians to cover up their flaws. The band admits that it was one of their more spontaneously prepared but also more naturally beautiful songs. With their current fan base and popularity strength, The Camerawalls seeks to create a healthy pop scene and become the ‘Labrador Records’ of the Philippines that will promote bands that share the same genre as they do. Nothing is more important to them than musicality, not even sales and popularity, which, as humble as the band has been, they have been getting plenty as of a result of their hardwork and good attitude towards the craft.

Some of the band’s future plans include two music videos to be aired within the next month (for their songs “A Gentle Persuasion” and “Bread and Circuses”), an extended national tour that will bring them to places like Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Davao, and strategizing to get their regional tour (probably in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand), hopefully a U.S. tour going, and a new record within the year. The Camerawalls also has Ian Zafra of Sheila and the Insects play a few sessions with them every now and then.

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