Featured in FHM’s October issue is three-piece indie pioneer Ciudad fronted by Mikey Amistoso, Mitch Singson on drums, and Justin Sunico handling guitar duties. The band has just released a new record, Follow The Leader, their fifth, which we described as “deceptively simple and unabashedly loopy” yet always “loads of fun.”
In the record, the band retains its quirky pop sensibilities, giving way to something that is catchy, melodic and at times, dreamy and calm. Or something like that. All we know is listening to it feels like you’re in a carnival filled with all these colorful things, cotton candies, and fluffy animals calling for your attention, and you’re more than happy to oblige.
You can listen to the first single off the album below:
In an interview, the soft-crooning Mikey Amistoso, who recently won Cinemalaya accolades for scoring Marie Jamora’s Ang Nawawala together with Diego Mapa, and Jazz Nicolas was more than glad to share with us how the song-making process has changed, and about winning that award. Below are a few choice bits from that chat.
Were there any changes after coming from a temporary break?
Mikey Naiba siguro yung approach. Kasi before, nung hindi pa ako nagtra-trabaho dito [Liquidpost], lahat kami busy sa trabaho, so yung previous albums like Bring Your Friends and Is That Ciudad? Parang ang sistema mag-practice kami sa bahay ni Mitch, then aalamin yung kanta, then practice sa studio then record ng kanta. With Follow The Leader, iba na yung process, nasa studio na ko eh, nandito na ko araw-araw and mas madami na akong idle time. Mas nakakaisip ako ng kanta.
Ilalagay ko lang sa Garageband, kahit idea pa lang, then tatawagan ko sila na pumunta dito, lagyan niyo ng parts then unti-unti nang nabubuo yung song, hanggang sa ready na siya. So, yun yung process for almost two years na. May demo ako then tawagan ko sila, lagyan ng parts ng drums then guitar, si Justin nga parang mga three sessions lang siya pumunta. Parang buo na halos half nung album then doon pa lang niya nilagyan yun parts ng gitara.
One of the songs included in the album, There's a Lonely Road to Sunday Night, was featured in the the Cinemalaya entry Ang Nawawala. Can you tell us more about it?
Mikey: Sinulat ko siya around December, alam mo yung feeling ng kapag grade school ka tapos Sunday night at alam mong may pasok na naman kinabukasan ng umaga, yung feeling na yun. So, that's the story behind sa writing niya.
Tapos, si Marie Jamora,director ng Ang Nawawala,hinatid niya ako sa bahay ko kasi late na yata nun, then pinarinig ko sa kanya yung mga work in progress ng new album then nag-stick sa kanya yung song na yun, parang yung trip back to my house to her house talagang she really listened to it on repeat, mga 20 times na niya daw pinakinggan and hindi pa talaga siya bumababa ng kotse and she decided na isali yun sa film na which is yung Ang Nawawala.
What can you say about your younger listeners?
Mikey: 10 years ago wala pang masyadong social media, wala pang Youtube, wala pang Tumblr, iba pa talaga yung generation nun eh. Ang bilis talaga ng change, even with the DIY bands, mga indie, parang pinaka gathering place pa nga sa Cubao pa. Then nagkaroon ng huge transition sa internet, so na-maximize yung mga taste ng tao, naging mas accesible yung mga indie na bands, naging parang hit sila. Yung mga re-blogs.
Siguro yung younger generation, nung bata pala talaga sila narinig na nila yung Ciudad, then since sila yung rabid talaga sa internet. Actually, nagulat din kami na after we released Bring Your Friends, biglang nandoon na lang sila, napakarami nila sa gig. kinakanta nila out loud yung mga songs habang tinutugtog namin. Nagulat talaga kami. Sabi nga ni Justin, nasaan sila 10 years ago noong kailangan namin ng pera.
Any particular artists or bands that you can say that influence you on how you make your songs?