“Isn’t it nice to jam without arguing?” That pretty much summed it up. Jerros made the comment after almost two hours of jamming with none of us picking a fight with another or raising his voice which is what usually happens every time we work on new songs.
We were working on the arrangements to a new song tentatively titled “My love”. Cheesy, I know. We will have to change that, definitely. The ending to the song has stumped us. We know we have the basic arrangement pat but the closing and climax isn’t there yet. Plus, maybe I should think of a different chorus line, something with more punch.
Another pattern I’m beginning to notice with how the band works is that what usually happens now is in the beginning of a project, we’d play around a lot and experiment like crazy but end up paring away the flourishes down to the barest minimum. Like when I tried to experiment using different effects sounds. After a while of playing around with combinations of rarely used effects, I ended up going back to the basic mix I’ve been using. Same with Jerros. He usually tries out very technical approaches to the drum parts but after repeated jamming will usually end up just using 2 basic patterns.
Its not that we’ve lost our free-spirited approach and recklessness, which isn’t actually bad per se. Or that we’ve become lazy. I take this as a case of us becoming more mature in our approach to songwriting. We’ve become more patient with our arrangement and more disciplined.
Even our volume settings have come down significantly. When before I’d crank up the volume to my amp at the 12 o’clock position, now it’s usually only around 9 o’clock. “Let’s keep our levels steady, guys”, Boobop likes to remind everyone. We find it a lot easier on our collective ears. Plus it’s easier to hear the nuances of our arrangements that we would have totally missed had we cranked everything up.
Last week I went in the studio early and sat in on the practice session of Left of Center, one of Cebu’s punk pioneers. I remember thinking I was sure my ears would bleed. After they had left, I looked at the amp settings and couldn’t believe they had actually maxed the volumes. Then again it’s a totally different attitude, playing punk.
Unconsciously or otherwise, the band is now drifting towards a simpler sound. More pop, less fizz. Still a potent drink though. Maybe even more so.
Less is more. That’s our new attitude, more or less.