For most of you, this article will be merely an introduction, but for those of you have ever heard the music of the Philippines' Daydream Cycle, then a lot of this will strike an emotional chord.
Daydream Cycle is a band I only heard about a few years back, but their unique dreamy pop instantly enveloped me with it's beauty, largely due to soothing vocals of Kathy Meneses layered on top of the shoegazey guitar and electronic beats. Their DIY (Do It Yourself) approach to how they created and recorded their music made them truly indie, and their impact on the scene is legendary and inspiring to their fans.
see below video of "Avenue", off of their 2nd release, Underwater Kite
I always listened to their music with a thought in my head that life is fleeting, and that things can end at any moment. You see, Daydream Cycle was essentially defunct for many years. It was always a dream for me to someday experience their music live, but I never thought they would ever reunite on stage.
Needless to say, when I heard they recently performed a reunion gig I was pumped to share the story, and after reaching out to Daydream Cycle member, Japs Sergio (Guitarist), I'm glad that I can.
BW: First, could you give me some backstory on when Daydream Cycle last performed prior to the reunion show, and what ultimately lead to you guys parting ways several years ago?
JS: If I remember correctly, I wasn't even in the last DDC gig. I had a thing with my other band then. It may have been just Kathy, Dok & Jerome. As to when, hmm...5, 6 years ago? I have a f*cked up memory, sorry. :s
We never really "disbanded", we were just on a long "hiatus". Why? Life happened. Everybody had their own thing. DDC was and still is a passion-based, underground, DIY band. It never really earned money to commit to such passion. We just wanted to play our music. As we grew older, priorities changed. To get the 5 of us together in one room became a challenging task. So, yeah... that's pretty much it.
BW: I've been a big fan of Daydream Cycle since I first heard of you a few years back, only to find out that you were no longer performing as a band shortly after. So needless to say, I was very excited to hear that you guys performed a reunion gig recently at the Ang Nawawalang Vinyl release party. How did that come about?
JS: Our friend, Marie Jamora, the director of the Ang Nawawala, sent me a text with a longshot request of having DDC play at this new venue in Pasig for their OST vinyl launch. It just so happened that Bogs, who actually is part of the film's cast, was also part of the Strike, Back, Attack! team in charge of the event. I asked him if he had time to do the basic beats, sequences, since he no longer has the "DDC machines" we used before, and the back-up files of the 2 albums are uhm...well...missing. He said yes. I texted the others and everyone was on board. We had a few rehearsals to shake the rust off...lots of rust...and, voila! Insta-gig!
BW: What was it like to perform again with the entire Daydream Cycle gang?
JS: It was definitely great! Besides the technical problems, we enjoyed every bit of it. It's been a while. It was like the title of one of our songs (hahah), "Sunday Surreal" (we played after midnight).
- In The Flow
- My Luscious Star
- In My Dark
- Winter's Gone
- Roses and Cadillacs
BW: Did you have a favorite moment during the set?
JS: Seriously, every bit of that night was a favorite moment...not just our set, but the other bands' sets, the people, the vibe, the new place! It was a great night. It was a reunion not just of the band, but of the small scene that we were in a decade ago.
BW: You mentioned a new place. Where was the performance?
JS: It was outside the new Heima branch in Three Brixton St, Kapitolyo.
BW: How was the reception from the fans who attended?
JS: It was amazing! It overwhelmed us. I mean, we're just an underground, for-your-ears-only lulla-band who played obscure bars with a handful of people.
For some reason, we gained some kind of a cult following. We probably influenced some of those people who watched/listened to us back then to eventually form their own bands. We also worked with other people in other fields (video, shirts, album design) who, at that time, were just starting out and now are all very successful in their fields. And the shocker, for me, were the younger ones in the crowd who found out about us just from surfing the virtual waves I guess. There was this one who even said something like, "I love your music and too bad I was too young then to watch you play, but I'm excited to watch you for the first time." Not having played for years...talk about pressure, eh? (haha) But yeah, to see these people actually wait for us and just be happy that we're playing again was truly an overwhelming feeling.
BW: Any future plans to perform together again?
JS: I think we're doing an acquaintance's birthday gig/event next month. And yeah, there have been other people asking/inquiring about a DDC gig so, we'll see. As I've said, we never really disbanded, we just got busy with our other stuff.
Not speaking for the band as a whole, but I honestly would prefer just playing a few shows every now and then. It really is quite an effort to go out of our way and fix our schedules, get together, rehearse, and perform. It's not really like 10yrs ago, so yeah hehe.
BW: Do you have a favorite Daydream Cycle song and why?
JS: Hmm..."fave songs, albums, etc" are always tough for me to answer especially when it comes to our babies.
From the first album, "Slow Return" would definitely be in my Top 3. I was soundtripping a lot of Cocteau Twins the time that I made the music for that one. It's a good mix of the classic DDC dreamy, distorted, electronic, mood swing pop...whatever that means.
"Indica" is another. That song would've been better if it were released at the time the disco beats ruled the band music scene years after. (hehe)
From the 2nd one, "Roses and Cadillacs". It sounds New Order-y to me so, yeah.
I like our version of The Shermans' "Lousy Judge Of Character" since it's a total departure from the original version and it's great that the band, and our ex-short term label, Shelflife Records, liked what we did to it.
I like the "Daisy Tongues" riff. (hehe)
"Avenue" is a classic daydreampop song. I can go on and on with this. (teehee)
BW: For those that are interested in hearing the Daydream Cycle material, how can listeners find it? I know I had to scour the web to find your albums.
JS: The 2001 self-titled album album is actually available for free download here.
I'm not really in favor of giving away a whole album for free, but the reason we're giving this one away is 'cos we don't have copies of the CD anymore and we lost the master files of both albums. This is so rare that no one in the band has a copy.
BUT, since we met someone that night who lent us his CD, I'm thinking of ripping that and probably end the "free download" streak soon so, eat it while it's free. We still have copies of the "Underwater Kite" CD album, though.
BW: Are you working on any new personal projects? How can listeners hear your material?
JS: DDC actually has an unreleased, roughly mixed, 5-yr old 3rd album. Yes, it's probably the oldest, unreleased, new album in local music history. Don't ask! (haha) It may or may not be released soon. With the unpredictable nature of this band's recent activities, we'll just have to wait and see.
As for personal projects, I released a passion-project solo album in December 2011. This project, Japsuki, is closer to the DDC sound. A steady vibe going on in there. You can listen to it, or buy the digital album here.
If anyone is still into CDs, you can order (anywhere in the world) by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. I also formed a new band early last year called Peso Movement. It's nowhere near the DDC sound. I like to call our music "dirty rock". If anyone is interested in that kind of sh*t, please do check us out too!
Below is a video of them performing one of my favorite tracks, "Roses & Cadillacs" (off of their 2nd release, Underwater Kite), expertly shot by Bel Certeza, a resident expert of the Indie scene of Metro Manila (check out her YouTube Channel). I hope to some day see Daydream Cycle perform myself, but I guess until then I'll just "Daydream...". Enjoy!