Pop-alternative band Orange and Lemons, who was phenomenal in the early 2000, is back with a bang. The resurgent band retained its core members minus Mccoy Fundales. It is presently composed of a trio lead by chief songwriter and lead singer Clem Castro along with bassist Ace Del Mudo and drummer JM Del Mundo. Within the 10-year hiatus period, ONL members took their paths separately. Former vocalist Macoy collaborated with Ace and JM to form a new group Kenyo, while Clem created the band The Camerawalls, after which he went solo in his exploratory project Dragonfly Collector.
Personally, Orange and Lemons is one of the bands I admired so much because the way they created their masterpieces is exceptional. The outstanding manner of traversing several genres is something other aspiring musicians should look into. What I like more about this band is that aside from generating impressive lyrics of each of the songs they produce, the performance always connotes fulfilment, making emotion a vital component to their music.
I first knew Clem in 2015 during his Philippine Tour for Dragonfly Collector where he had a cultural tour in the highlands of barangay Tibolo, Sta. Cruz. From then on I learned that most of the songs in all the groups he had been into are product of his varied imagination. Clem parades commendable level of fineness in creating music, and he is also a tremendous performer.
On August 18, 2018 I met Clem once again, this time along with his bandmates Ace and JM as they performed a concert for a cause in Digos City. As usual there was the wit and charisma of their performance, but this time Clem implanted a new element in their identity. The very first song was “Hanggang Kailan”, which made us all in awe because of the nostalgia the song had brought. And then Clem sang “A Beginning of Something Wonderful”, to me just a common love song but the tune reminded me of Eraserheads’ “Poor Man’s Grave”. The 18 songs in their line up were a mix of compositions from their previous albums “Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream” and “Strikst while the Iron is Hot”.
Just before the concert started I was able to talk to Clem in the backstage and asked him several questions about this effort to revive the group. He said it just came the normal way, nothing more intricate. “We (Gian and JM) just decided to play music together and luckily it worked.” The way Clem describe this renaissance I recognized they are all upbeat with what is at stake in the coming days. Perhaps the move is not just about picking up the pieces again but to re-introduce an unprecedented perspective of Pinoy music, something that is not being distinguished by today’s generation.
“Penetrating the millennial market,” Clem said when I asked him of their biggest challenge in forming the band. Which to me a real scenario. The band’s first project now is to record the old album “Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream”. My personal thought of this move is to somehow steal a quick attention from the millennials, something that is really sort of a trial-and-error thing because today’s music audience does not seem to care about the scale or value of their choice of music and everything that they listened to. Which is why the present status of music industry is sagging.
If there is one person extremely happy of this resurgence of Orange and Lemons it is definitely me. As I have been saying in my previous articles about music my personal choice of songs now is in backward direction because I refuse to snoop into the new bunch of tunes that are at times even more irritating rather than pleasant to my hearing buds. Thank you very much ONL, especially Clem Castro for always creating good music.
P.S. Shout out to my good friend Harry Chester Camoro for informing me of the concert and for always considering me whenever concerts like this are in the offing. It surely deserves a portion of our busy time just so we can watch our favourite performer and listen to them once in a while.