Meeting Marasigan

6:50:00 AM

A photo posted by Danielle (@awsmchos) on

So Kidlat Festival 2013 for Philippine advertising wrapped up two weeks ago. Two long days of extensive (read: exhaustive, demanding), "real-time" coverage compensated (sort of) by the convenient location of Sofitel to my place, awesome hotel food (aka overflowing coffee), crazy teammates and a few good, insightful speakers.

This is the part of my job that I enjoy most. Never mind the parties and the free stuff (err, okay, maybe the latter comes in really close second lol) but I'd always look forward to almost every conference penciled in our calendar. I really believe that eagerness to learn (and re-learn) is one of the most effective ways to keep oneself from burning out in any kind of work. Especially hearing from people who have been in the field for an unbelievable number of years - how they keep from getting bored and continue to rock in what they do.

That sometimes it happens to be someone who's work (and basically overall person) you've been following (not the stalking kind) since like, forever - say, your favorite Eraserhead - is just icing on the cake.

A generous cumulus cloud of buttercream icing on a red velvet cake.

I die. Raimund Marasigan is an OPM authority. Aside from being a quarter of the defunct, iconic, era-defining Eraserheads, he is one of the few Filipino music legends who never stops evolving and contributing to the scene. Though the roots of all the music he makes are quite noticeable, there is still a bit of newness or uniqueness when he shifts from being Sandwich's frontman to playing synth for Pedicab, drums for Cambio, bass for Gaijin, etc etc.

Though I'm not a fan of some of his stuff (I had a Sandwich phase, but I might still check out the new stuff), it's just not natural to disassociate Marasigan from his Eraserheads days. Most music fans have a favorite Beatle (never was interested *docks from flying keyboards*), I have a favorite Ehead.

I hope I'm not being too much though. To be fair, it's not an I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABY!!! kind of crush. (That would be Mong Alcaraz.) I just really look up to him. He's like, my dream drum teacher. (Although I did learn a lot from our church drummer Greg, like seriously - just in case by some cosmic intervention he happens to stumble upon this post. :>)

I had the most unforgettable, unexpected opportunity to catch Marasigan and Buddy Zabala play their old songs live at Saguijo sometime in 2011. It is exhilarating to sing a medley of Pare Ko, Overdrive and Ligaya (to name a few) along with the audience and have the two of them within arm's reach. It', so many emotions.

Again, I hope I'm not being too much - if being "too much" does not mean seven paragraphs (or with this, make it eight) worth of digression. Bear with me. My feelings are not the main point of this post, just an introduction haha.


Touted as the Philippines' "busiest musician", Marasigan somehow found time to address a roomful of admen. He talked about his early years in music, the organ as his first instrument taking Yamaha lessons as a kid. He moved on with the guitar when he saw his organ teacher playing it one time to his surprise, opening his mind to the idea that it's all the same.

He was also part of a church choir and at one point, he even tried breakdancing. He was into different kinds of music (regretting now that I did not take note of all the bands he mentioned) before making a huge library of his own from when the 'heads formed sometime in college. From 1989 up to when they disbanded in 2002, the 'heads gifted OPM with timeless tracks like Pare Ko, Ligaya, Minsan (personal favorite), Alapaap, With a Smile, Harana, Toyang, Overdrive, Magasin and who could ever forget, Ang Huling El Bimbo.

But the group itself wouldn't last forever. The breakup was personal - both for the band and the fans. While it broke the hearts of many, it may as well be the best thing that happened in his life, Marasigan quipped. “I had to find a job, a real job,” he recalls. He has a family, a newborn daughter, that he needed to support.

Soon after, he found a day job at Liquid Post arranging music for advertising. The pay was good, the people were great but he had clients that did not understand music and its process. “They asked me to do a 30-second piece of music and work my ass for two weeks. They would wake me up to make revisions for the wrong reasons. Because they were trying to guess what the superiors would like. That’s not how we create music. That’s not how my friends create music. We just take it from the gut, from research, from the heart. We don’t create music [like] ‘I’m gonna make a song today, I hope my manager likes it’.”

So he quit and decided to translate all his energy into his bands, which involved pulling all kinds of resources to create better music. After all, it’s not enough to just be smart or creative. “You have to put in the work.”

Pretty much the very core of success: hard work. A top quality, coupled by a few other important elements, still valued by someone who could (arguably) already be considered a legend in the industry. "I still rehearse daily. I rehearse because I love it. I like to keep my job. I also want to stress the value of teamwork, of friendship."

And to keep interested - ears and eyes open for the up and coming. "We're big fans of music. We're always, always watching bands. We're very, very excited to find new bands that are really inspiring. We go out of our way to catch Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Pepper, Bjork, Cure, Nine Inch Nails - all of these bands they know the future eh."

Most recently, Sandwich released its seventh studio album Fat, Salt and Flame. I'm yet to give it a try. Based on reviews, there are a few highlights to look out for. Apparently, it was the first album that Sandwich recorded live. Alcaraz and bassist Myrene Academia did some vocals, and there is an electric solo by Razorback's Tirso Ripoll. Fat, Salt and Flame presents a varied menu of music styles packaged with a title that basically describes the group's "other love": food. 

 Read my official report on Marasigan's stint at the Kidlat Festival here.

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