Photos: Patrick Lasanas of Patparazzi PH
Another great milestone
In every way, Sponge Cola is who you think they are. Not much has changed for the charming and talented foursome since their self-titled Sponge Cola album launched them into stardom in 2003. At every gig, they are still giving their proverbial blood, sweat and tears into every song and for every single person in the audience.
The band—vocalist Yael Yuzon, bassist Gosh Dilay, guitarist Armo Armovit, and drummer Tedmark Cruz—has kept the mindset of their humble and true-blue beginning even after they earned a Diamond Record Award for the band’s EP Tambay, spawning numerous hits with sold-out concerts and tours, and multi-platinum albums. Just recently, the band has reached another milestone after they successfully launched their double EPs at Teatrino in Greenhills, San Juan.
Sponge Cola performed a 16-song set during the intimate show, much to the satisfaction of their avid supporters. The pop-rock band sang their past and present hits, including “Pasubali,” “Pag-ibig,” “Weakness,” “Makapiling Ka,” “Bahaghari,” “Sa Bingit Ng Isang Paalam,” “Coda,” “Di Na Mababawi,” “Butterflies,” Bitiw,” “Gemini,” “Tuliro,” “Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay,” and “Jeepney.” And now that the double EPs (the band’s fourth and fifth albums) are finally out, Yael takes some time to discuss Sponge Cola’s Sinag and Tala, and dissect it track by track.
You’ve been a musician for many years. How has your musical and artistic vision changed since you guys started out as a band?
It’s pretty much the same, commitment to truth, mimesis, that sort of thing. It’s nice to have been guided by Ateneo at such a young age. I felt that we were encouraged to be original and be ourselves and kind of just hope that people adhere to your artistic sincerity. I guess if there’s a difference though, these days, I try to avoid being “poetic.” I’m trying to be more casual. Some people might not like it, but after years of resounding metaphors and carving out highly emotional images, I’m going for simple, straightforward and chill.
When you guys started working on your double EP, what was your vision for Sinag and Tala?
We were really just recording songs. Vision was on a per song basis. Eventually, we decided on contrasting EPs.
There are 11 songs on Sinag and Tala. How many songs did you actually write for Sinag and Tala? What happens now to the other songs?
There are unfinished songs, I think 3. Next EP yo! Episode 3!
Who determined the running order of the songs? Did you experiment by shuffling the songs around before settling on the final order?
We met and met and met. Eventually we had dinner. I remember it being Italian. We wrote down individual track lists, justified the decisions and there, a track list. [Smiles.]
Let’s talk about specific songs, starting with track one “Ang Saya.” Is there a story behind it?
It’s actually an old song, written around the time of Ultrablessed. We recorded it in my parent’s house aka The Three Studios where we recorded Palabas.
Tell us more about “Pag-ibig.”
It’s one of two songs written by someone outside the band. Written by Simon Tan, it was Dangwa‘s theme song. People love it to bits and we do too.
Then we have the song “Pasukan Na Naman.”
We miss being students. I’m actually thinking of going back to school pursue further studies. If only I had time with all the gigs! Hehe.
Next up is “Butterflies.” When did you know it would be your next single?
Things just fell into place. And a lot of people really really like it.
Tell us more about track five “Bisita.”
It’s a playful little thank you song. We encounter a lot of organizers and crowds all over and they are always nice and welcoming.
And the acoustic “Bahaghari,” which happens to be my favorite song on the album.
You might want to refer to the musical my wife and I wrote for Showtime. This was originally sung by Jhong Hilario. It’s a love song from the perspective of an outsider looking in.
Let’s move on to “Coda.”
Gosh wrote it. He says it’s a post breakup song. He’s very secretive. I honestly think it’s a song about guarding Steph Curry or someone just as agile and quick, constantly moving.
Is there a story behind “One and Only Weakness”?
It’s from a new age girl’s perspective, a song about the politics of desire.
Tell us about track nine, “Pagtungo.”
It’s an inspirational song written by my inspirational brother. Follow him online and you’ll learn so much stuff. Yan Yuzon.
And that brings us to the final track “Sabay Tayo.”
Wrote it with Frank Magalona and my wife, K. I love songs about sports. Man.
What was the writing process like for Sinag and Tala?
Over the course of a year, staggered, we would write and stop, write and stop, record and stop.
With the double EPs finally released, is the rest of 2016 mapped out for Sponge Cola?
Gigs all over. All over the planet. [Smiles.]
Finally, how has your definition of success changed over the course of your rides in the music industry?
It’s still based on loving what we do and the people around us. [Smiles.]
What’s your favorite song on Sinag and Tala? Let us know in the comments!