INTERVIEW: Lou E. Albano
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Weng Barleta of Edge of Light
First, the name.
That’s my real name: Isagani D’Bayan, Junior. Ganun talaga ang spelling. Dati kasi, Dalawang Bayan yun. But when the Spaniards required people to have Spanish sounding names, ginawa ng lolo ko, instead of adopting names like Cruz or Santos, pinagdikit nalang niya—D’ Bayan. Ayun, it passed. It was his way of being nationalistic, defying what he was ordered to do. Kaya D’Bayan. Wish I was that nationalistic. Ha!
A lot of folks want your job. How did you get that gig?
I started writing about music, kasi during high school, I couldn’t find articles that talked to me, that talked about my life. Predominantly, it was all pop music: Michael Jackson, Madonna. Meron lang cult reads like Jingle that was about rock music. I got inspired.
Who then encouraged you to go all out with music writing? Who do you read?
I started writing music with Pulp. Syempre si Millet Mananquil. Before writing about music, I was writing about business. It was drudgery. Para akong si Dilbert, trapped in a cubicle writing about stuff that doesn’t mean anything to me. So pagdating ng chance to write about music, parang Manna from heaven. I read the Jingle writers. Juaniyo Arecellena, one of the best music writers around. Scott Garceau. Krip Yuson, when he wrote about Cream before, ang galing ng insights niya. I get inspired by what they write. Also si Bert Sulat ng Jingle magazine. Ang gagaling ng mga yun. If I can just have 10% of their talent, masaya na ako. Si Lourd de Veyra, when he wrote about music, fearless yun. Magaling yun.
Do you still get star-stuck?
The last time I got star-struck was when I ran into Thom Yorke of Radiohead at the lobby of a Tokyo Hotel. Oddly, we didn’t talk about music that much. We shared laundry tips, though. It was also great to have a conversation with Noel Gallagher of Oasis about why The Beatles will always
be greater than the Stones.
As a music writer, you have access to everything, good and bad. Do you ever get tired of it?
Madalas. Before, when I started the music column in Star, gusto ko isulat lahat ng pinapadala. Since they sent it to me, they want my opinion about it heard diba? Eventually, through the years, I gained so much enemies because of what I’m doing. So sabi ko, pipiliin ko na lang kung ano isusulat ko.
You mentioned enemies. Do you remember the first time you made one with your writing?
Nung una maraming inis-inis lang. But this particular band, talagang nagalit. When I interviewed them, from the port area, I went to Ortigas. Di ba, parang tinahak ko isang planeta nun. Nag-commute ako, nag-FX, parang light years away yun, di ba? The band was in a studio—it was a rap metal band, di ba uso nun rap metal. When I got there, alam naman nila they were to be interviewed. But they were giving pa-cute answers. I respect their music. I was made to choose between them and another more popular band. I chose them kasi for me, mas valid yung ginagawa nila.
But when I talked to them, kung anu-anong mga stupidities ang mga sinasabi nila. So sabi ko, from then on, I’m gonna write the moment, not just the music. So I wrote everything that happened in the studio. When it came out, as is, may pagka-gonzo pa, ayun. Naka-away ko na sila. I heard from this particular person na bad trip daw sa kin yung band. Pag nakikita ko sila sa events, kulang nalang gulpihin ako. Which was perfectly fine with me. Si Nick Kent, inaway ni Sid Vicious. That’s a badge of honor for a journalist. Pero kasi dito, lahat pinu-puri mo pag journalist ka.
Were you threatened at the very least?
Feeling ko lang, I was doing my job. I was asked to write about this band. That was my impression about that band, so I wrote about it, diba? Hindi naman ako natakot, pero hindi rin ako natuwa. Trabaho lang, eh. I was just being honest and unmerciful. Ha ha!
And the hecklers that call you ugly names like ‘poseur’…
Maraming tumatawag sa akin ng ganyan. Before, I used to validate myself point per point when I get hate mail. Pero okay lang, opinion nila yun eh. I express my opinion, sila they’re just expressing their opinions in turn. Maraming geniuses sa mundo so status quo lang. You hate me and I ignore you, everything’s fine with the universe.
You’re an artist. And your paintings are…what are they about again?
Dati it was crudeness and spontaneity. Ngayon, mas refined na siya, mas graceful na ang forms ko. Filipino painters kasi, lahat ng magaganda nilalagay nila sa paintings nila. Ako naman, lahat ng pinagdaan ko, nilalagay ko sa canvas. I try to express them in a graceful manner now, with brighter colors. Blue phase ko ngayon.
And lastly, do you believe that the end is near?
The end is always near. Imagine, the people living in the middle ages, they had the black plague, they had the war, and then the invaders. Tapos may eclipse pa. We are no different from them. We’re waiting for the end of the world. Thankfully it has not happened yet.
For the full interview, read the August 2006 issue of FHM