Six hundred words of ‘chos. This was the very first thing that came to my mind when infotech editor Jing Garcia told me that I needed to come up with a 600-word article—my first piece for a regular information technology column here at Interaksyon.com.
I was actually excited about the gig but was also worried that I might not be able to provide any kind of useful information about technology in my articles. I’ve never really considered myself a technojunkie. I’m more of what you can call an occasional techie, buying cool (and really unnecessary) gadgets only when my budget allows. And, believe me, my budget doesn’t allow for much.
Then, I realized that technology has actually played an important role in my life — as a professor, a writer, a PR practitioner, and, of course, an independent musician and songwriter. Even if I just write about how technology helped me in these highly diverse fields, I would be able to come up with quite a few interesting articles. So I guess I might be able to pull this one off, after all. Now, here I am.
When we were starting out as punk musicians back in the day, one of our problems was how to spread the music to as many people as possible. We were young and we didn’t have money so we didn’t really know what to do. We only knew that we wanted to play punk rock and ram our music down the throats of those who would stand in our way. Luckily, there was Tommy Tanchangco who helped our band (and other previously unknown bands) record our material and release our albums under his Twisted Red Cross label.
There was also radio, particularly DZRJ-AM, which was supportive of the burgeoning punk movement back then. DZRJ used to play demos and album cuts from local punk bands, including those from my band Dead Ends, and conducted on-air interviews with punk rock personalities.
Then there was Jingle Magazine, which extensively featured articles about the local punk scene and published reviews of independently released albums by then-unknown punk acts like Urban Bandits, Betrayed, Wuds, Private Stock (which was actually a punkabilly outfit), and, uhm, Dead Ends.
These were instrumental in giving the local punk rock movement the exposure, attention and recognition it deserved. Sadly, the party didn’t quite last as long as we had wanted. DZRJ was reclaimed by the Jacintos and eventually reformatted and Tommy started focusing his efforts on Introvoys. Pretty soon, Jingle Magazine no longer had anything, well, punk to write about.
With these, and the fact that punk concerts back then had become too messy and violent for comfort, the punk movement suddenly found itself with very few supporters. Without any form of help from the media and without any kind of sponsors, local punk rock eventually went into limbo. No, it didn’t die. It just sort of went into an extended state of suspended animation.
So, we were left on our own. We were young, we were pissed, and we were figuratively and literally left to our own devices. We had no choice but to lie low.
This was in the late 80s, the time when personal computing was just starting to gain a foothold in these shores, even as it had already begun to change the lives of millions of people all over the world. Back then, computers had started to make things easier for people. However, it still took years for technology, particularly PC recording technology, to start making a difference in independent musicians’ lives.
Although hardware and software for hard disk recording had already been developed in the early 90s, it wasn’t until the late 90s and the turn of the millennium, when more powerful PC systems and more optimized recording tools and programs came out, that hard disk recording started to become a real option for serious independent musicians here in the Philippines.
Multi-track recording, which used to be possible only in analog recording studios, could already be done using personal computers. This technological development was a definite boon for underground punk musicians like us who never really had regular access to actual recording studios, unless we shelled out good money.
Although it may seem like an antithesis to the concept of punk rock, still, the advent of personal recording technology helped in keeping the underground scene, particularly local punk rock and hardcore, alive and well.
Yes, punk’s not dead. Not by a long shot.
(To be continued)
Al Dimalanta is a writer, professor, musician, photographer, marketing communicator and as he said – an occasional techie. He is a freelance PR consultant, works as a content editor and writer, and heads a punk band named THROW. Email Al at firstname.lastname@example.org