Mayonnaise’s Monty Macalino on Making Music, Being in a Band, and His Undying Love for His Craft
Jun 2, 2018
It was in 2002 when an alternative rock band named in honor of a Smashing Pumpkins track was born. Two years later, the rising rockers called Mayonnaise helmed by vocalist-guitarist Monty Macalino, would go on to win the prestigious battle for up-and-coming local bands, Muziklaban.
Despite the number of line-up changes they would face throughout their career, the band has become a well-respected fixture in the country’s music circuit. They have gifted OPM lovers with hits such as “Jopay,” “Tayo Na Lang Dalawa,” and “Synesthesia.”
However, Macalino’s passion for music wouldn’t just be confined in recording songs and performing live together with his bandmates.
The year 2013 was a turning point for the artist distinguished for his mad vocals and no-nonsense insights on the art of music. Mayonnaise, at that time, already having had their fifth album in their hands, was still unsigned by any of the major record labels. What he resorted to — which was to produce it on their own — led to the founding of Yellow Room Music Philippines, an independent record label that also functions as “a rehearsal studio and music school for both professional and amateur musicians.”
Now, he serves not only as the main man of Mayonnaise. He also provides home to rookie bands and artists, whose existence, he considers, is the very reason why the local music scene continues to thrive.
Three-time Wish Bus visitor Mayonnaise performed “Bakit Part 2,” Porta,” “Paraan,” and “Kung ‘Di Rin Ikaw” during their guesting on the program “The Roadshow” last May 22.
For Macalino, music “is something he wanted to do for the rest of [his] life,” as how he dauntlessly declared during their debut Wish 107.5 Bus gig back in 2016. Almost two years after — when he and his band recently returned to the musical vehicle to perform a couple of tracks from their catalog — his commitment for his craft resonated just the same as he talked about writing music, being in a band and more in a Wishclusive radio interview with DJ Robin and DJ Faye.
How’s your writing process?
One thing that’s constant every time I write, I listen to the old stuff I used to listen to. I tend to listen to what’s happening now, but I go back to the music I’ve indulged in before I write. From there, I pick up inspirations.
I also see to it that there’s coherence. Maybe I’d write something with a different arrangement, but it has to be with the guitar, it has to have drums. It has to be something OPM. It should sound like it’s a song from a band. Despite all trends, despite all the changes in music, I try to keep it as simple as that.
You’re known for writing with simplicity. What’s the reason for this?
I really can’t explain why but my musical influences are like that — Rico Blanco, Ely Buendia. They can write a song about anything at all. They can use even the simplest of language, the everyday words. It can be something about “antukin (sleepyhead).” I don’t really try to think deep words just to convey my message. It doesn’t always have to be metaphoric.
Are you working on new music?
We’ve been writing since 2016 or 2017. It’s the digital age, the trimming age, the playlist age. But we’d still like to keep our vow of releasing an album. However, the difference with this album we’ve been writing for more than a year now [is that] we do not go to the studio and force ourselves to record nine or 10 songs. We go to studio during our off time — like off tour — and record two songs. We go back the next month and record one song.
Was there a time when you’ve lost your motivation to write?
It’s not about losing the drive to write. It’s kind of different when you’re writing a song just because you want to. If you’re a full-time musician, there are times when you have to be patient because you don’t want to write the same song, the same story. Still, you have to wait and write. There are also times when you’d have a mental block or writer’s block. Still, you need to overcome it. Hopefully, time won’t come that I won’t be able to write music anymore.
What’s the difference between being in a band now from before?
Before in the early 2000s, there are information from the label or from the management that wouldn’t be readily available to you. Nowadays, people can just search online. Kids nowadays know about publishing, and the business side of being in a band. When we were beginning, we didn’t know all that. We were just told to do this, or that. You can’t even upload your music.
Also, now, it is the label who will come to the kids and ask them about signing them for, example, a nine-single deal. Before, the bands are the ones who would give demos.
I can’t say it’s a negative or a positive, but definitely, there has been a change.
Can you give a word of advice to aspiring musicians?
We’re approaching our 16th year. We’ve seen a lot of things. What I can say is, don’t get high with the high’s, don’t get low with the low’s. There will be gigs where there will be no audience.
Realistically speaking, if you want to play, just play. If you have a dream about being really successful, there are going to be a lot of sacrifices to be made.
Watch Macalino and company perform their newest supercharged Wishclusive, “Bakit Part 2,” below: