There's nothing more liberating than being able to say exactly what you want to say without ever worrying about what others might think of you. It's a privilege not too many people are afforded.
Musicians, it is safe to say, have that kind of liberty readily available at their disposal. All they have to do is pick up that option to include in their creative arsenal.
LC De Leon unwittingly recognized this when he set out to form his own band back in 2007. During this time in his life, LC was fueled by unkempt emotions.
"I was mad, pare. I was angry. I was just pissed... I was getting into fights. I had so much tension in my body that I didn't know how to release," says the outspoken singer/guitarist.
It was a good enough reason for him to push through with forming his own band, but it was not the only reason why he did so. LC further revealed that the jobs he maintained at the time contributed to his ultimate decision to dive in to the fray of the music scene.
"I was working for (now-defunct) Urge Magazine as the editor-in-chief. At the same time, I was also a session player for bands like Mojofly, Brownbeat All-Stars and some other bands. So I was covering bands, I was supporting bands. There came a point when I said, 'Gaddemet! Naiinggit ako! I should be doing that. I think I can do that. Mukhang kaya ko naman if I tried. I don't wanna be in the background anymore.'"
The combination of these two factors proved to be the proper catalysts for LC to pursue playing in his own band. "I just woke up one day and I just went, 'fuck it all. I'm just quitting everything.' I quit my job, pare. I quit my other session work and started my own band," he recounts.
Flanked by drummer Ciro “Zero” De Leon (LC's brother) and original bassist Miguel Dayanghirang, LC furiously worked on what would become Reklamo's 2008 debut album, Bitch For Change.
What followed after the completion and release of the band's first opus was a rollercoaster of a run that would bring Reklamo's music to a wider audience. During this time (which included the entry of another De Leon brother, Marco, to replace Dayanghirang midway in the run), Reklamo received considerable airplay on radio and made some appearances on TV, as well as earned accolades like the Guitarist Of The Year award for LC at the 2008 NU107 Rock Awards, and winning the Philippine leg of the 2008 World Battle Of The Bands. In the truest sense, Reklamo was steamrolling through the consciousness of the listening public.
And then, just as quickly as they generated buzz, they went off the radar.
"I was happy for a time," LC says, chuckling. "I was kinda content and happy. I kinda lost things to complain about." It took four whole years before that primal urge within LC came back a-howling. And just like it was the first time around, the creative process was triggered by pretty much the same thing.
"I got hurt, pare," says LC with a laugh and continues, "I went into a deep depression last year... then, all of a sudden, I got angry again. I started writing again, came up with a riff [and eventually] came up with [the song] 'Never Tayo, Ikaw Kabit (Magastos Magmahal)'."
From that point, the brothers de Leon did all the necessary legwork and came up with their second opus, the four-track Best Served Cold, a collection of songs that comprise what LC describes as a "bitter album."
The sophomore effort stays true to the band's abrasive yet entertaining style of social commentary. And just like their debut release Bitch for Change, Best Served Cold is a blitzkrieg – running from start to finish in a little under 12 minutes.
"It fits the theme na A.D.D. band kami. Our songs are two minutes (long). We figured, why not make an album of four songs or five songs? ‘Yun talaga ‘yung goal namin. Kasi, chances are, if you have an album of whatever artist, you only like four or five songs. Eto, you'll like them all, kasi kaunti lang eh," explains Zero.
"This is a lot more melodic," LC follows up to support his brother's hypothesis. "Song-based talaga. There are chords talaga. Kasi, Bitch For Change is more Primus-like if you think about it. Riff-based."
"Plus, the guitar solos are longer," says Zero. "We actually showcased the guitar solo more here in this album. Kasi sa first album, ang A.D.D. ng guitar solos eh. Parang, 'Uy! Tapos na kaagad!' Dito, [what happened was], ‘Tara! Gawin pa natin (‘yung solos)!' So, nakakatuwa."
This band of brothers is definitely prepped up after the release of its sophomore effort last year. At the time the interview for this piece was done, the band had a relatively busy schedule ahead of it. But despite the reinvigorated stance of Reklamo, the de Leon brothers aren't done serving up newer material just yet. In fact, the band is just getting started as it is currently working on yet another album which the members bill to call This Time It's Personal.
"It's a funny album. It's really personal," says Zero.
"It's really gonna be more personal," elaborates LC. "Siguro ipapasok na namin yung ibang influences namin [like] Foo Fighters – a little bit more of that. Mas accessible [‘yung magiging approach]."
"We're gonna make it really personal," emphasizes Zero. "Our thoughts are in there. Our baby pictures will be used there, everything. Really, a lot of personal shit. The fans are really gonna know us. Like, how are we growing up, how are we on the awkward stages... it's really in depth. They're really gonna pick on our brains. Solid talaga. Even our personal shit. We're gonna post our gear, everything. Okay talaga. Makikita mo mga pics ng mga kaibigan, kamag-anak..."
"...mga pics ng mga naging syota namin." LC candidly added.
"May idea ako," bassist Marco De Leon chimes in. "May kanta ako, may kanta si Ciro, may kanta si LC. Mas marami kay LC, pero tig-isa siguro kami ni Ciro. Para personal talaga. Tapos kami rin yung kakanta. Para nakakatawa talaga."
"Basta, (sometime between) September to November we'll release it na," declares LC.
Things are looking up for the trio as they begin treading familiar endeavors as Reklamo again. Based on the plans the three are piecing together in their war room, it seems that they're hell-bent on riding the momentum they already had after initially going back to the business of expressing their rants their way. And boy, will we get a hefty serving of it.
Photo by Yin Quintin.