Before you go all grammar nazi on me about my title, here’s what I learned: nobody agrees on one thing about bands with plural names. But I will stick to this rule from erinwrightwriting.com because it makes the most sense to me.
ALRIGHT, now that we got that out of the way… I can start actually writing about my band, Cheats.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’d know that I’ve had a few short stints in the music scene.
US-2 EVIL-0 (2009)
Covered for Mich Dulce for about 2.5 months when she went abroad. I was SOOO shy, I didn’t do Mich justice at all. But thanks to Quark, Nix, Wincy and Bogs for having me.
Stepped in when Katwo Puertollano had to leave the country for work. She ended up not leaving, but they still made me stay on and it was fun. But Katwo finally had to leave for the States so Duster’s on hiatus for now.
A solo thing I tried out but I only made one song LOL. Music by my current Cheats bandmate Ernest Aguila.
How Cheats Came To Be
I just couldn’t find the right sound that I wanted to keep with me. I was dating my then-boyfriend Jim Bacarro who was in his own band, Ernville, and I had just started my gig prod with Candy called GRRRL SCOUT. The band wasn’t very happy with how they were doing so we said, “Quit your management and we’ll manage you instead.” Candy and I kept booking Ernville for gigs and we’d hang out at their drummer’s condo all the time. Their drummer, Cholo Hermosa, had just started his own band and said he wanted to focus on that first. Their guitarist Ernest was busy with law school so Jim and Manny Tanglao (bassist) decided to start something new. While they tried to make new songs, Candy and I were hanging around and Jim told us to sing a couple of high parts for a song that didn’t have any lyrics yet. It would later turn out to be our first single, Accidents. (Side note: Ern re-joined the band after a couple of months because he realized how much fun he was missing out on. HEHEHE.)
More beautifully put by music critic and our newest guitarist, Jason Caballa:
Cheats were born out of an idea in Jim Bacarro’s head, in the wake of his former band Ernville’s silent passing, to make upbeat, celebratory music in the vein of his heroes LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire. Longtime bassist and musical cohort Manny Tanglao was the first to enter the fold, and the pair began fiddling around with a drum machine and came up with some tunes. Their fledgling sound changed considerably when both Saab Magalona and Candy Gamos wanted in on the fun, adding lovely girl harmonies and Spice Girls-meets-riot grrl feistiness. Soon, other musician-friends got involved, and by May 2013, Cheats were ready to play their first show.
Making The Album
It was very hard at first to be two writers in a relationship. Jim would make songs, I would criticize the lyrics, we’d end up fighting. I would sing a melody, he’d say I’m off-key, we’d fight again. We just weren’t used to being critical of each other but that’s what has to happen when you’re bandmates. In the end, we learned to be boyfriend and girlfriend first but when writing songs, we are strictly bandmates and we don’t take anything personally anymore.❤️
We arranged a couple of songs (Sleepist and Triple Horn) with Raymund Marasigan, and it took us over a year recording our first album at The Bunker with Ely Buendia as our producer. We had WAY TOO MUCH FUN, obviously. You can see a couple of clips of us recording at Ely’s in the music video I made for Accidents.
But we had serious moments, too.
Pupil’s Dok Sergio and Jerome Velasco (not in photo) helped us out with mixing too!
Then we decided to finally set a date so we wouldn’t keep putting it off. We started putting a little pressure on ourselves and delegated tasks. Candy and I had the most fun job of conceptualizing the album packaging. We figured we’d make our album our favorite thing: PIZZA. Our in-lay was full of our favorite junk food, too. Candy’s boyfriend, Miggy Abesamis of Ballast Photography took the photos!
I also “helped out”
Shinji Tanaka of Soundcreation did the final mastering and we got GIGZILLA a.k.a. JP Cuison to make the awesome artwork for us. Et voila:
The launch at Saguijo was a huge success with record-breaking bar sales. I will never forget that night for as long as I live.
We got some of our favorite bands to play
The energy of the crowd turned Saguijo into a sauna, we barely had any space to move but it was okay because we didn’t want to move. Any sort of movement caused us to heavily perspire and it was getting hard to breathe. The number of people inside Saguijo was definitely beyond the allowed capacity. People were standing on chairs and on tables, jumping and singing their hearts out along to almost all the songs. Songs we hadn’t even released online! We didn’t expect it at all. It was a fire hazard but that’s rock & roll for you. Just another night in Saguijo.
The best part about being in Cheats, aside from getting to make music with my husband, is that I am always with my best friends.
We’re used to being overlooked by local music festivals, maybe they have never heard of us. I don’t know for sure but it’s never been a problem for us. All the Saguijo and Route 196 gigs have been our own little festivals — we give each and every performance our all even if only 10 people show up. We always say, out of those 10 people, we might make at least one person dance.
You can just imagine our surprise when we got an e-mail last month from Laneway Festival Singapore. I’ve been keeping it a secret for so long. Partly because the organizers had asked us not to reveal anything and also because we weren’t sure if these “organizers” were just pranksters pulling our leg. Now I’m finally happy to say, it’s legit.
I guess you could say this was all a beautiful ~*accident*~.