We think the initial question everybody’s itching to ask is why did you leave Rivermaya?
I’ve been with Rivermaya for 14 long years, almost half my life. I had fun, had the time of my life, and I’m very proud of all our achievements. The time came for me to take a break, which we initially all agreed on.
But eventually some people changed their minds, and unfortunately events happened that made it not possible for me to stay in the band any longer, so I took my vacation, and that’s that.
Is there a big difference between the Rico Blanco in Rivermaya and the solo artist that you are now, musically?
I am just making music again, so for me it is a clean slate. Because there was a point when I told myself that I had already closed the door on this career, which I’ve realized was more a reaction to the events leading to the breakup.
Going back into the music thing as a solo artist, I cared less about all the details, stopped second-guessing myself, I just did what I had to do at the time I was recording.
I think with this album [Your Universe], it wasn’t that I wasn’t in a band anymore that gave me a clean slate, it was more that I didn’t really care about all this other stuff. I just wanted to make music again.
Say you were a critic reviewing Your Universe, how would you say this guy Rico Blanco is doing on his “comeback” stint?
First of all, I’ve been asked to review music for years now, something I’m very uncomfortable doing because I’m a musician myself, and when you know what goes into producing an album, you will simply have more respect for every single piece of music everyone puts out.
Having said that, I guess Your Universe is sort of like a...it could be a story with many chapters, start to finish you just go to different places, or it could be a painting, and your eyes, they wander around, you discover many things...and that’s that.
Is it for the most part cynical or optimistic, though?
I never thought of it as optimistic or cynical, I just wrote and recorded songs. I think it’s an enjoyable album; I wouldn’t give any more credit beyond that. But that’s just me, and fans can certainly agree or disagree.
Are you aiming for another career high?
I think [playing music] it’s an all-time high, the appreciation that I feel when I go onstage, when I walk down the street and people tell me how much they appreciate my music.
I don’t know what happened, but it’s like since I left the band there’s been a tremendous appreciation for my work and it oftentimes made me want to hit myself in the head, and say, what was I thinking? You know, wanting to close the doors permanently on this.
Closing the door on music must mean getting a different job, but what kind?
I had seriously considered that. Probably something more quiet. It certainly would be nice if I could do something to give back, if I can put something that can help the country as well, or the world.
Ano lang naman, pangarap lang naman di ba? Ha ha! Libre namang mangarap. But on a more reasonable note, maybe a corporate job—I could be an employee of somebody’s company or run my own business.
The stereotype with rock stars is for the most part they have huge egos. Does it bother you if people were to call you, say a man-diva?
I don’t care. I mean, certainly I care if it bothers and affects my family and loved ones, but it’s not up to me. Maybe it’s from lack of familiarity, but a lot of people who know me know that I’m the same person that I was before I came into this thing.
That’s why I go home to my hometown in San Pedro every Sunday, I hear mass in the same church, and my old friends come see me and say hello. Nothing’s changed.