MANILA, Philippines — Online piracy may have rendered the traditional music business all but extinct, yet this has not stopped new generations of sonic hopefuls from embarking on a rock ‘n’ roll career — recording contract optional.
It certainly has not discouraged the unsigned quartet of twentysomethings who comprise Jcab, a two-year-old Pinoy band with Red Dela Peña on vocals and rhythm guitar, Nardz Bereber on lead guitar, his brother Rey Bereber on bass and Rayman Malaluan on drums.
Coming from separate cover bands, Jcab’s four noisemen converged to take the reins of the outfit founded by former member Jano Catalina, who’s now an apparel and real estate entrepreneur.
Catalina, whom the band describes as “our galactic friend from outer space,” initially wrote the early Jcab tunes — songs that are Filipino-made but meant to be universal in appeal.
“The name ‘Jcab’ is a reflection of us being a local band producing an international sound,” says Dela Peña—a former “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” researcher who also utilizes his distinctive voice as a call center agent.
The band’s sound also takes off from the members’ diverse influences, including the Eraserheads and international acts ranging from geezers (the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Van Halen) to relative youngsters (Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Jcab’s essentially pop-rock repertoire sounds as fitting in a huge arena as in the bars in the metropolis and out of town where the band has gigged.
As a testament to the band’s tenacity, Jcab’s recently released 10-song debut CD, “Open Your Mind,” is being marketed in DIY fashion or “do-it-ourselves” in this quartet’s case.
The discs are for sale at the band’s shows. Yet the recording is far from completely DIY: serving as its producer is industry veteran Rhany Torres, a former A&R (artist and repertoire) executive at a succession of record labels who also played bass for alternative rock darlings Ethnic Faces and Brownbeat All Stars.
“I think the band sounds different,” Torres says of the Jcab album, which features the ruminative title track, the bombastic “Loving in the Morning” and the grittier likes of “Manang” and “Gun Friend.”
“Not one of a kind, but different compared to the many young rock bands around. They’re commercial in their own way,” Torres says.
Here is the music video for Jcab’s “Open Your Mind”:
Indeed, the band’s loud, solid, confident sound makes them alternative rock in the same way that The Dawn was iconic to the ’80s and ’90s: not lowest-common-denominator in sensibility but not against mass appeal either.
“We are influenced heavily by the big stadium sonic sphere of classic rock heroes such as Queen and AC/DC,” Dela Peña says. “But we are also aware of having grown up in the crazy ’90s, which had Boyz II Men and Slipknot, Usher and Aegis, Nirvana and the E-heads. All of these, in big or minute ways, have affected how we generate songs and riffs.”
While their rock fortunes are far from assured, Jcab is anything but unsure of where to set their sights.
“I think there is a conscious effort to make our songs and themes sound mature, grand and decadent as we can,” Dela Peña says. “We want our output to be penetrating, lasting and real.” – Rappler.com
Jcab’s debut album is available for sale at the band’s gigs. For details and updates, visit the Jcab Facebook fan page.