Or should I say the anatomy of a low-budget, independently produced, do-it-yourself, Pinoy punk album? Anyway, it’s that time again when my band Throw has to set everything aside and focus on coming up with a new album.
It’s been two years since the release of our last full-length album Believe and around a year and a half since our six-song extended play (EP), so we figured we should come up with a new project, pronto. We actually could have started the album last year but we decided that we should let our last releases air out first before we come up with something new.
The deadline that we’ve set for ourselves is August or September of this year. Hopefully, by that time, unless the North Koreans wipe us out in one fell swoop with their damned rockets, the album will have been released already. We actually have a theme for the album, something that we had already decided on even before the release of our EP. But I’m not telling just yet. You’ll find out soon enough. Suffice it to say that this new album will be a tad different from our previous releases, and it’s something that we haven’t really totally done yet. Even back in my Dead Ends days, I had always wanted each successive album to be different from the last. I hate doing the same thing twice in a row.
As of this writing, we already have three songs in the drawer. They aren’t final yet because as far as our recordings go, no song of ours is final until it is actually, well, recorded. Even then, sometimes we implement last-minute changes or make eleventh-hour additions or adjustments. At any rate, we need to write at least seven more songs before we start officially laying down the tracks.
There will be some new elements in this project. For one thing, it will be our first full-length album with our new guitar player Alan Roldan. He’s actually been with us for almost two years now, but has only been featured in our interim EP. I’m pretty excited about this because Alan brings a new dimension to our sound. He’s more of an old-school-metal-cum-thrash kind of guitar player and his style jibes well with Throw’s metal-influenced punk sound.
We also have some new gear that we haven’t used in an album project yet, like our new M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8Raudio recording interface. This baby didn’t come cheap but we really saved up for this piece of hardware because of the possibilities it offers. The Fast Track Ultra 8R will allow us to record eight tracks simultaneously, something we weren’t able to do in the past.
In our last album, we recorded the drums in a pro recording studio and then laid down the other instruments using our own meager equipment. This time around, we will do everything on our own. This project will therefore be our first totally DIY effort in recording a full-length album. The control freaks that we are, we want total control over everything in our albums (and this is the very reason I never went mainstream).
Our efforts at recording our own drum tracks actually started during the production of our EP. Back then, our gear could only take four tracks at a time so what we did was to record the drums using only four mic inputs. We then recorded all the other instruments as well as the vocals afterwards, one at a time. We actually made do with that setup and the result was “Wag Kalimutan ang Ingay,” a raw but furious six-song EP we released in the last quarter of 2010.
We did the EP as a way of thanking our friends who have supported us all these years. As such, we gave away the EP for free and made it available as a free download. You may grab it here, if you’re interested. Some words of caution, though. It’s punk. It’s hardcore. It’s loud. It’s fast. It’s the kind of music that parents have always hated.
Anyway, we’re all set up for our fourth album. As soon as we finish writing the songs, which is actually the longest part of the whole creative process, we can already start recording.
My bandmates Dennis Maniego, one of the meanest bass players around, underground and above, and a cool brother-in-law, too; Spyk Maniego, my nephew and one of the best young drummers in the underground scene today; and guitarist Alan have been busy writing their own material as well. Much like in all our past releases, the fourth album will be a group effort with everyone in the band pitching in. In fact, many of Throw’s more popular songs, at least in the local punk scene, are those that I wrote in collaboration with my bandmates.
Now, in one of my earlier columns, I wrote about how to come up with independently produced albums and discussed briefly the hardware and software one would need to do the job. Every now and then, though, I’ll write about how our ongoing DIY album project is progressing and probably offer sample tracks, too.
Our past albums have always been exercises in independent production, although as time went on we were able to acquire better equipment and, I guess, developed better skills in audio production. The music has remained the same through the years, though, and it will remain the same even as young Kim’s phallic symbols start falling from the sky.
Al Dimalanta is a writer, musician, professor, photographer, marketing communicator and as he said – an occasional techie. He is a freelance PR consultant, works as a QA Manager and content editor, and heads a punk band named THROW. Email Al at firstname.lastname@example.org