The Take Off: The ButcherCons

Tattoos and stylishly disheveled hair aside, The ButcherCons may very well be the most unassuming rockers we've met so far. Our first encounter with this gang of four felt like a bunch of college chums hanging out and gushing over all the artists we like (gushing portion c/o the Two Difficult Girls, obviously). Over mouthfuls of tacos and steak, the boys talked about surfing, conspiracy theories and their DIY approach to making music.

(Disclaimer: Although the actual interview lasted an hour and a half, we had to sift through chunks of audio recording where TDG were just mostly fangirling over The Strokes.)

First off, can you tell us the story behind the band name? It's got a really nice ring to it.
Neil: Nanonood kami ng movie. Medyo favourite naming yung Gangs of New York, yung part na "the killing of the Butcher". The Butchers lang dapat kaso lang meron nang bandang ganun. Napag-isipan din naming, ano kaya kung The Cons? Parang hindi nagfifit yung pangalan kaya The ButcherCons na lang. Actually, wala namang meaning yan. Weirdo lang. 
[We were watching a movie. Gangs of New York is one of our favorites, and that part called "the killing of the Butcher". We were supposed to be called just The Butchers but there was another band with that name already. We also thought, "how about The Cons"? But the name didn't seem to fit, so we ended up with The ButcherCons. Actually, it doesn't have any meaning. It's just weird.]

How did you form the band? How did you guys get together?
Neil: Saktuhan lang yun. Tambay. Marami na ring naging ButcherCons, pero nakakajam pa rin naman hanggang ngayon. Ito (Paolo) nakilala ko to sa party ng mga surfers. Familia yun. Basta grupo siya ng mga skaters, surfers, artists and photographers. Dinala ako ng kaibigan ko sa party na yun. Nakita ko to may kakwentuhan siya tungkol sa mga conspiracies.
[It was just right timing. Hanging out. There have been many people who used to be [part of] ButcherCons, but we still get to jam with them even today. This guy (Paolo), I met him at a surfers' party. It was called Familia. It's a group of skaters, surfers, artists and photographers. I was brought by a friend to that party. I saw him talking to someone about conspiracies.]

Paolo: Conspiracy ng China. True enough, nangyayari na eh. Sila na nagmamay-ari ng lahat. Na-weirdohan to (Neil). 
[China's conspiracies. True enough, it' already happening. They now own everything. He (Neil) got weirded out.]

Neil: Buo ko na yung mga kanta nun. Inupload ko na sa MySpace. Nung nakilala ko to (Paolo), nagjajam na kami tsaka yung Hilera. 
[The songs were already finished at that time. I've uploaded them to MySpace. When I met him (Paolo), we were already jamming with Hilera.]

So the songs came before the band?
Neil: Oo, tapos dumating na lang to (Jose). Si Jose tumatambay sa tattoo shop malapit sa TK (Tomatokick) sa Maginhawa. Sabi ni Pao, "May kakilala akong pwedeng gitarista."
[Yes, then this guy (Jose) came along . Jose used to hang out at the tattoo shop near TK (Tomatokick) along Maginhawa. Pao told me, "I know someone who can be our guitarist".]

Paolo: Nung papunta kami ng studio, tinawagan ko si Jose. Sabi niya, "Ok na ko. Wag na kayong maghanap ng gitarista."
[On our way to the studio, I called Jose. He said, "OK. Don't go looking for a guitarist anymore."]

What was your goal when you started this band?
Neil: Wala lang. Pure [music] lang. Wala kaming ineexpect na fame. Lahat naman ng banda, yun yung sasabihin (laughs) pero kasi ganito lang talaga yung gusto naming gawin...yung DIY album.
[Nothing. Just pure [music]. We're not expecting any fame. All bands would say that (laughs), but this is really just what we want to do...the DIY album.]

Jose: Maraming nakakaisip, pero kami ginawa talaga namin.
[A lot of people have thought of it, but we really pushed through with it.]

Paolo: Ito yung idea ng banda, yung music dapat i-share mo na lang yan. Kung gusto nila bumili, gagawan namin sila ng CD. Parang calling card na lang yan ngayon eh. Tsaka isang way din yun para mameet nila (fans) yung artists.
[This is the band's idea, music is meant to be shared. If they want to buy it, we can make them a CD. It's just like a calling card nowadays. And it's also one way for them (fans) to meet artists.]

Jose: Nagulat din kami sa dami ng taong natuwa at tumulong [sa album].
[We were also surprised with the number of people who liked and helped [with the album].

So you never tried to get signed, at all?
Paolo: Wala eh. Diba dati ganun yung mindset? Kung dumating lang (yung opportunity). Ang expectation lang namin ngayon, makagawa ng maraming-maraming album at makapag-gig. Dati yung gigs namin, meron lang kaming 20 na kakilala, yun na yun. Masaya na kami dun. Yung proseso kasi ng nasa label, nagiging boring na eh. Ako kasi sa Moonstar88, si Bobby naman sa Hilera. Though ang daming perks. Kasi dati, susunduin kami, may pagkain, pag-akyat namin ng stage naka set-up na. Masaya rin. 
[No. That was the mindset before, yeah? If it (the opportunity) comes. Our expectation right now, to be able to make a lot of albums and to play gigs. During our gigs before, if we have 20 people we know, then that's it. We were already happy with that. The process of being with a label eventually gets boring. I'm with Moonstar88 and Bobby is with Hilera. It has a lot of perks, though. Before, they'd fetch us, we have food, we go on stage and everything's already set up. It was fun too.]

You already have more than 7,000 fans on Facebook. That's really cool, especially fon an unsigned band!
Paolo: Recent lang yan. Around 3,000 fans lang kami dati tapos tumugtog kami sa Pulp Summer Slam. Kami yung first band. Natuwa naman sila kasi may bago silang napakinggan.
[That's just recently. We used to have only around 3,000 fans and then we played Pulp Summer Slam. We were the first band. They liked it because they heard something new.]

What was it like playing at Pulp Summer Slam?
Paolo: Ayos naman. Ayos yung response. Nagulat kami na kami yung unang tutugtog.
[It was good. The response was good. We were surprised that we were the first to play.] 

Can you tell us about your musical influences?
Jose: From East to West, lahat pinapakinggan ko eh. Sa American Bands, una talaga, The Strokes. Tapos nakikinig din kami ng Japanese bands.
[From East to West, I listen to everything. Among American bands, first off, The Strokes. We also listen to Japanese bands.]
Bobby: Kahit ano. Lahat. (Someone yells, "Public Enemy!") Public Enemy.
[Anything. Everything. (Someone yells, "Public Enemy!") Public Enemy.]
Jose to Neil: Influences mo raw?
[What are your influences?]
Neil: Lahat from Punk to... (Someone yells, "Drugs!")
[Everything from Punk to... (Someone yells, "Drugs!")
Jose: Albert Hammond Jr.! Favorite namin yung Spooky Couch.
[Albert Hammond Jr.! Spooky Couch is our favorite.]

Do you do covers of your favorite artists?
Paolo: Hindi kami marunong. (Laughs)
[We don't know how to. (Laughs)]

Neil: Yung yung kahinaan namin. Minsan nagcover kami ng Nirvana song.
[That's our weakness. One time we covered a Nirvana song.]

Hit or miss?
Paolo: OK naman...
[It was OK...]

Neil: Nakalimutan ko yung ano (lyrics)... Nag-rap na lang ako (deadpns).
[I forgot the (lyrics)... I just rapped (deadpans).]

What's your dream gig? Sky's the limit!
Neil: Kahit dito lang sa Tomatokick. OK na, ito na yun eh. Kahit tatlong tao lang nandito.
[Tomatokick is fine with me. This is it. I'm fine even just with three people here.]

Jose: Ultimate gig siguro sa New York, sa Brooklyn. Or sa Glastonbury o kaya Leeds and Reading Festival. OK dun kasi kahit anong tugtog mo, pagbibigyan ka nila. 
[The Ultimate gig, maybe in New York, in Brooklyn. Or in Glastonbury or Leeds and Reading Festival. It great there because they give you a chance to play no matter what kind of music you do.]

With their frenetic guitar-playing, manic drum beats and yes, Neil's faux British accent, we can only imagine the mayhem they'll be cooking up for that dream Leeds and Reading gig. For now though, they remain to be some of the most easy-going and approachable musicians we've hung out with. The rest of the "interview session" felt like a night out with old buds where we quizzed each other on foreign acts we want to bring to the Philippines (The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys for TDG and Blur for Neil) and exchanged lists of artists worth checking out. It felt just like the quintessential College drinking night, except that we had work to deal with the next day. 

Over at the office the next afternoon, while irately deleting client emails, I kept on hearing the same line in my head over and over again. "Yeah if you want it like this, I'll give you what you want." That's how infectious The ButcherCons' music is. Play Coalesce twice, and you're hooked for life! That's effective DIY  for you.

Read about TDG's favorite tracks from The ButcherCons' debut album here. Special thanks goes out to our talented friend Dana Picazo for all the amazing photos in this feature!  

No comments:

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template 'Morning Drink' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP