For every great band, there are always their humble beginnings and how they got their start. These were the thoughts in my mind as we were on our way to cover the album launch “B-sides and Rarities” by Mayonnaise at Saguijo on the night of Nov.10, 2012.
Saguijo has become a haven for young talent, established musicians, and bands to look out for since its inception. One of those bands which have semi-regularly performed there is the alternative-rock band Mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise have become stalwarts and fixtures of the local scene for 10 years now and counting. While some of their contemporaries have either disbanded or called it quits to chase different professions, they are still making music together and going strong.
As we approached Saguijo, I could already see the kids standing outside the venue and the crowd was building up. I was warmly approached and greeted by the road manager- Edwin Joseph U. Laquindanum of Mayonnaise, who happens to be a familiar face from my area. I never realized that he was part of Mayonnaise and he was their road manager.
As I was talking to him, I thought he fits the role perfectly, efficient and accommodating as he was in answering my queries. Neither did he have any problem giving me information I needed.
He discussed with me the importance of this night to Mayonnaise, what it means to him personally and also how he had started out with the band, which was in the very beginning.
I realized that Mayonnaise is not only a tightly knit group of musicians—from their road manager, the manager and the road crew– they are real friends. These guys practically grew up with each other from having gone to the same school all the way to putting up a band. While other bands would have changing faces when it comes to the people who have managed them, in the case of Mayonnaise it was more or less the same people from the beginning who over time have been given roles and shared similar responsibilities with each other. It was more like a family of people with the same passion and doing things together that they love.
As I was chatting with the road manager I realized these things which got me more amped up to see these guys perform live again since it has been a few years since I last saw them.
But to get to that final act was some wait. This event was a long one in terms of the warm-up acts and opening bands because there were 7 bands scheduled to open up for Mayonnaise.
As I was watching these 20-something young adults perform I couldn’t but help think that years ago Mayonnaise was in the position before; they have certainly paid their “dues”. Mayonnaise, over the years, have established and built their careers from the bottom up.
Undoubtedly, last Nov.10 was their night! Mayonnaise was given the proper due acknowledgment they deserve as a band that has reached making music together for 10 years. This was their night also to thank their loyal fans who have supported them.
One by one, as the warm up and opening acts finished their sets, the preparation of the finale act was underway. As soon as I saw their equipment being set up, I rushed in to the performance area of Saguijo and took my spot in the crowded and standing-room space. They performed a ripping set of songs from their earlier releases, crowd favorites and a couple of songs from their independently released album – “B-sides and Rarites”.
Frontman Monty Macalino certainly knew how to interact with the crowd and to keep things interesting. An enjoyable set that didn’t drag which a lot of people came to see and waited for. Not at all disappointing, these guys still have the same energy they had years ago.
As soon as the set was over, it was time for the interview. I finally got the chance to talk to the band with the presence of their manager and road manager. Here is my interview with Mayonnaise:
Q. How do you feel now that you guys have been making music together for 10 years?
A. Monty: Yun nga, originally we were coming in. Kumbaga wala talaga kaming definite plans. Parang ang tingin namin special yung nagawa namin ng 10 years. I mean, actually we’re more than 10 years na. Ako and Paga… I have known him since grade school, so that was a long time ago. Haha.. and then Poch was also from the same grade school, high school, college and same environment. Parang wala lang , pero malaki achievement. So parang gusto lang naming yun end namin ang taon with a purpose. Parang ganun. So ang dami naming old songs na hindi naging single.. so kumbaga mga demo song na naging part 2 , mga rare songs ng mga kinanta ng previous bassist, previous members, yung mga luma kanta na re-record namin.
Q. Speaking of recent members, how many line-up changes has Mayonnaise had?
A. Poch: There were three line-up changes, three line changes kasi sumali na ako.
A. Monty: Mayonnaise was a high school band that played. I was looking for a fourth member… I was in fourth year high school then, Paga was still in second year. Tapos yung graduation party namin, tumugtog kami. I think that was the first time tumugtog kami. He was the first member of Mayonnaise. After that it kinda died down, the relationship. Kasi we were playing and I was playing for a different band and then eventually nung pumasok si—– that was the first line-up change nung pumasok si Poch nung college.. nung third year college.. I was in the same band when I met Poch and that was the second line up change.. Ako, Poch, Shan, Paga and Lee. Now after six years.. six to seven years.. umalis si Lee, tapos pumasok si Poch. Si Poch naman yung dating roadee namin, so kumbaga. familiar na kami sa isa’t-isa.
Q. How did winning the Muziklaban competition affect your careers? What did it bring to the table? What are the benefits?
A. Monty: feeling ko, it instilled discipline kasi it was constant pressure from other people to… Actually, we don’t really care about the pressure naming.. eh. Kumbaga wala kami , kumbaga minsan practice kami. Pero tawa-tawa lang, parang being kids. Alam mo yun? Pero yung discipline is more important than anything else.
Q. How do you address people who criticize you as being a“one-hit-wonder” because of “Jopay”?
A. Monty: A very good question. Ah, basically hindi sila musikero or hindi sila into bands then. Maybe into popular music lang sila.. kasi kunwari may mga singles from other bands na trip nila . Baka yung mga ibang mga tao hindi lang sila into it also. May mga kanya-kanyang trip lang talaga sila!
A. Poch: Siguro following din lang ng trend. They listen to what other people listen to only. So basically siguro, hindi lahat ng album namin may mga ganun na single na gusto nila, eh.
A. Monty: Nangyari yan sa single linabas ng Mayonnaise at that time. Yung “Jopay”. Tapos linalabas yung “Bakit, Part 2”
A. Poch: Pero at that time wala pa naman ako.
A. Monty: It was actually a blessing and a curse at the same time. Kung walang “Jopay”, wala kasi siguro kami makukuhang fans! It is impossible not to get criticism. Kahit ano ka pa, meron talaga mga aspect. Ah.. any trabaho, ako kahit gawa ko, gawa mo, may mga magsasabi they are better than you. You have to accept that criticism kasi definitely may mga magsasabi na mas magaling sila sayo. Pero kumbaga, kami naming eh… yun nga kaya namin ginagawa to’ para sa mga kumikinig talaga sa amin.
A. (Manager) Luanne: I think kasi the case that you can expound on is Creative Freedom!
A. Monty: Yeah, I am pertaining to the issue of “OPM is dead?” For me, hindi siya puwede mamatay kasi hindi siya tao. Pero at the same time, yun scene sometimes,it is a very, very heavy scene in terms of sales, in terms of productivity. Pero minsan hindi kumbaga, like sinasabi ko sa interviews, may mga times nandun tayo, bida, pero pangit kasi siguro yung ginagawa ng foreign bands nga. Pero iikot din yan. What I am saying is in our perspective, hindi kami kasi umaasa dun and nun linabas namin yung”Jopay”, never naming inisip na ‘Boom!’ Kasi it came from a simple crush sa isang TV personality na yun. So nung kinanta, bigla nandiyan na yung kami and nagulat kami. Honestly, nagulat kami. The first time nagulat ako when we sang the song at UP Fair 2005, I think, or 2004. People were actually singing to the song! So wow, okay nandun kami, tayo. And kahit yan na lang maging hit namin the next ten years, okay lang ako dun dahil sa isang kanta na yun, may trabaho kami.
Q. At nakilala kayo dun. Monty, kumbaga, that was the start of your recognition sa UP College Fair?
A. Monty: Actually for the longest time, we were trying to figure out how… I don’t want to say to go back to mainstream, pero you don’t necessarily have to be there all the time. You just have to get one hit and then you maintain it. Kami ni Luanne, gusto namin ginagawa namin, its like a family. Hindi kami yun tipong banda na “Boom! sobrang sikat ka” and then mamatay agad. Kami medyo ganun pero kumbaga parang music lang, may okay na kanta. And to begin with, ako talaga tinanong sa amin ni Mylene ba? Yung panel sa Muziklaban kung “Ano gusto niyo ma achieve in 5 years?” Ako, fan kasi ako ng Teeth. Kasi yung gusto ko sa Teeth, alam nila lahat ng “Laklak”, alam nila lahat ng “Prinsesa” at ganun. Pero hindi talaga alam nila na si Mike Dizon was the drummer nun, no disrespect to Mike pero… alam mo yun.. kumbaga, parang passion na lang sino yung gitarista, parang ganun. Kami sa banda ko, kami kumakanta kami. Nakakapunta kami sa Jollibee; Nakakain kami sa Paris; Mga ganyan. May gig , at bigla may sisigaw: “Oh, my God!..“ Ayus yun, pero sinasabi na lang namin na, ”Okay, okay! Ma-appreciate nila sana.” Yun lang. Trabaho kasi turing namin ‘to na masaya, kahit hindi naman ata mataas yung expectations.
A. Poch: Yun response sa amin na lang, bonus. Pero mas masaya na kami may mga nakikinig.
A. Monty: Si Poch, may indie band. Yun drummer, may Stone Free din siya. Alam mo yun.. ano siya.. may mga parang. Feeling ko kasi , magagaling kami sa ginagawa namin. So, why not do it? Alam mo yun? On a daily basis, on a 24-hour.. of your day, ginagawa mo.. Kami ni Luanne.. ginagawa namin yun. ‘Eto, independent release naming. Kami na lang lahat nagaasikaso, kumbaga. Actually, mas okay siya. Kumbaga, proud pa ako sa ginagawa namin. Kasi, kumbaga, parang.. kung suave, ayos! Kung hindi siya masaya, ayos lang. Kasi laro-laro lang ‘to kasi masarap mag ka banda na okay kasama. Masaya kami!
Q. A number of your contemporaries have already disbanded or called it quits to do some other professions. What has kept Mayonnaise going this long, for 10years or maybe ten years more?
A. Monty: Yun nga, mas madali mag banda pag magkaibigan kayo. Lalo na kung kaibigan mo manager mo, kaibigan mo mga tech, kaibigan mo yung road crew , yung mga driver, kaibigan mo yung mga nagbibigay ng tour date.
A. Poch: Nag celebrate kami ng ten-year anniversary sa Hongkong. And then, ang ginawa na lang namin dun, kumain lang kami, hindi kami…
A. Monty: Hindi kami sosyal, pero wala kami kasi mga intinerary.
Parang ano lang.. hindi kami college kid sa Mcdo na: “Let’s order this; Let’s wear black today.” Baka napansin mo, baka ngayon mo lang kami nakita magkasama. Alam mo yun..
ako kalat. Kalat ako, entertaining some friends. Kasi parang once pinipilit mo yung isang bagay, dun nag d-disband.
A: Poch: Yun ‘ata yun, eh.
A. Monty: Hindi naming pinag-uusapan. Kumbaga, gusto niyo magpahinga? Puwede. Kung gusto niyo umalis? Ayos lang. Kung gusto mo umalis? Ayos lang din. Alam mo yung ganun.. ? Every member, meron sila right gawin ang gusto nila gawin. We are very democratic. Kaya nanin ginawa talaga ‘to parang naghahanap kami sa kumikinig talaga sa amin. Going back to the question being said, we are one-hit-wonders, ang daming nangyari.. Ang daming nangyari after the first album. I mean, mag 3-30 na ako next year, impossible walang nangyari. Alam mo yun, mga na-una naming out-of-town gigs, mga out-of-the-country trips, mga late-night na kain, mga chicks na nawala-dumating- bumalik. Mga ganun, alam mo yun, hindi nawawala yun, kumbaga, imposibleng walang mangyari. Hindi mo na mapipilit yung listener na kumapit sa inyo, kung ayaw nila. That whole stretch–yun sampung tao–hindi mo mapipilit ang isang tao na kumapit.
Q. Pero tingin ko, yun band mo, Monty has gained respect. Kasi before, yun ranking.. when you ask people: What do you think of other bands? This band? And that band? Yun Mayonnaise people will say: they respect the band; we like the band; a fun band. But since you guys are already a decade in this business, you have accomplished not only longevity but you proved that no matter what the changing scene in music might be, you guys are still here! Even if you don’t have all the venues because a number of venues have already closed down the last couple of years, you’re still performing.
A. Monty: Definitely, it’s the thing we love to do the most! Lahat kami may mga side trips . Mahilig kami mag video games; mahilig kami tumugtog; mahilig kami mag football; mag Frisbee; mahilig kami mag ultimate-Frisbee; whatever, mahilig kami . As long as you respect yung mga trip ng member mo, respetuhin ka din. Kumbaga, hindi mo mapipilit lagi. Ang sinasabi ko parang, basta nandun na kami sa stage, kami na yun. Ang sarap nun!
Q. What is the message to your fans who have supported you for ten years?
A. Monty: Thank you, thank you. I was extremely surprised that so many people would come to this gig kanina. I was expecting a lot na kaibigan, kasi sinabi ko na yan sa isang interview . Wala kaming mga die-hard fans. Alam mo bakit? Kasi lahat sila mga kaibigan namin, kumbaga parang.. “Kaibigan lang naming, ayaw namin manuod”. Parang ganun. Pero, ok lang yun. Kumbaga, parang nagulat kami, may mga tao ditto; may mga puti. Pero hindi ko kilala yung puti, hehe.. So alam mo yun, it’s a nice experience. It’s such a privilege to be able to do that. I mean, hindi kami nag-isip na mag-celebrate na sobrang okay kung hindi namin kaya!
At the conclusion of the interview, I now see why they have reached the 10-year mark. It is not only the band chemistry they have with each other, but the respect they show for one another. Throughout this interview, Monty provided some interesting tidbits to the road they have travelled, some of the challenges they have faced, and how they view and consider themselves as musicians.
He spoke his mind and whatever he felt at the moment. That is great because that is the kind of interviews that are spontaneous and are very real. For now I don’t see anything really worth criticizing about band.
They have proven their worth and are continuing to make a name for themselves. People may still have mixed opinions towards the band, but there is no denying that they wouldn’t have lasted this long if these four individuals didn’t share the same passion and believe in the connection of the band to their fans, friends and families. How can anyone not respect that, at the very least? They have mine.
I would just like to thank the staff of Saguijo café + bar for attending to us. Thank you to the (road manager) of Mayonnaise – Edwin Joseph U. Laquindanum and (manager) – Luanne Manlapaz for letting the interview to take place.
The current line-up of Mayonnaise is composed of: Monty Macalino on Vocals, Lead guitar; Paga Manikan on Guitar, Vocals; Poch Villalon on Bass, Vocals; and Shan Regalado on Drums.