Members: Bong Banal (Vocals), Mads Cabalona (Keyboards/Vocals), Archie Verano (Rhythm Guitars), Gerald Agapay (Lead Guitar), Ramses Banal (Drums), Joey Haguimit (Bass)
DYSTOCIA CURVE was formed sometime in 2004.
Bong Banal, a thirty-something music obsessive/artist,
got the name from his girlfriend's medical papers (she's an OB-Gyne).
DYSTOCIA means "hard labor" and Bong found it apt for his own brand
of music, excruciatingly honest yet cathartic.
While Bong loved to put words and melodies together, Mads knew how to play the piano. She also had a cellphone which could record tunes.
And so as not to forget his compositions, Bong would call Mads during the night and would sing his tunes over the phone while Mads would play on the other end and record the "sessions" in her Nokia.
Soon, they got Bong's friend Archie to play some guitars over the tunes. Later, they got Derek Ileto, an accomplished sessionist (e.g. Rage, Virgin Hunters), to play bass. Derek works with Bong in an ad agency. Ramses Banal, a cousin, also came aboard as drummer for the group.
They began practice sessions in Bong's apartment in project 4, with decent results,
sparked by healthy dosages of Adobo & Tang orange juice.
With no one to tell them they sucked, they eagerly proceeded to record their songs.
They came across Sound Creations' Shinji Tanaka, who liked their demo and offered to record them in his studio. Desperate to accomplish a lot, and with zero experience in recording, the band marched on.
But Shinji found them a bit too eager and unpolished for his comfort: cramming four songs in a night, recording the songs simultaneously as opposed to per track, writing songs that last for 7 minutes, etc. He politely told the group that the quality of music was below par and that it wasn't a good way to record songs.
Rejected but undeterred, Dystocia Curve thanked Shinji and searched for a new place to breed their music. Enter Pink Noise in Roces Ave., a place that didn't really care much about what kind of music the band played just so long as they played music. And that they paid well.
Fast forward to 2008, 3 years and 60 plus songs later. The band is a lot smarter, the songs are way shorter, and the sessions more focused.
The songs are mostly in tagalog, 'mas tagos sa puso", as Bong would put it.
They are surprisingly melodic, even danceable at times, anthemic, quiet and loud at the same time. The sound is unique, with sweet voices and pianos and acoustic guitars weaving through walls of guitar feedback, thumping bass, pounding drums, and screaming vocals. Think 10,000 maniacs meets Green Day, meets Basil Valdez, meets E-Heads, meets The Cure, meets Nirvana. The melodies are instantly hummable, while the lyrics are easily memorable. The words can be funny, bitter, and sweet at the same time.
The songs deal about life, love, and most especially, loss as these songs were mostly inspired by a huge break-up between Bong and a girl he worshipped back in 2001. It's all cool with Mads. In fact, she wrote some songs in reaction to everything that was happening at that time. Later on, the songs became some sort of a dialogue between Bong and Mads. Tackling their fears, their doubts, and their dreams. After expressing much of their personal torments, they now have the clarity to look outward and to make songs for people who matter to them. (i.e., Bong's sister, Mads' late mom, Archie's sister, Ramses wedding.)
The band has recorded more than enough material for an album, yet they don't want to stop recording because believe it or not, the songs are still coming in.
"It'll stop when it 's time to stop", Bong says."Besides, the joy of music is in creating it."
The Pink Noise Staff have become quiet supporters of the band, recomending improvements here and there, even looking for sessionists for the band. All of Pink Noise's three engineers have helped record Dystocia Curve's unique brand of Pinoy Rock. They have urged Bong & Co. however to start mixing the songs, fearing that the band may never finish the album.
In between this period, the band has played to a rapturous audience in Freedom Bar
and participated in the Katha Artists' Night in Conspiracy Bar. They have also circulated rough samples of their CD among friends and music-lovers. Bong and Mads got married during this time, Bong proposing to her after an evening of recording.
They have relocated practice sessions to Proj. 8, where Bong & Mads now live.
Archie and his wife Sher are expecting their firstborn this year and lives in Makati.
Ramses has taken leave from the band after getting married in 2007. Sessionist Romy Roces, is now the band's drummer. Derek Ileto is still a part-time member, as his other band Virgin Hunters get busy. He has also proposed to his long-time girlfriend Pinky, and are soon to be married.
The band hopes to share their music to more people in the future.
They're also having a hard time deciding if it's gonna be a triple album or an album of ten songs. "It's hard to choose because each song is like your baby", says Bong.
But he knows that there are more decisions to make. Going for a record label or releasing their album through the internet is one choice that may determine their album's fortune. "No label in his right mind would release a triple CD from an unknown band". On the other hand, the band longs for the wide reach that the labels can give them. Even if it means releasing an album of only ten songs. But even if a label deal materializes, this does not guarantee anything. "These days kasi, mababa ang sales ng CDs over-all. Minsan, 'di mo na alam kung may bumibili pa ng CDs."
So should they go internet then? "There is easier access on the internet and this gives bands the freedom to release their material anytime."
For now though, "what's important is that we're still enjoying making the songs", says Bong. "pero sana mas may-oras pa kami, para tapusin ang album, at para mailabas na namin siya."
Dystocia Curve: Bong-vox, Mads-Piano & vox, Archie-Rhythm Guitar, Joey-Bass, Ramses-Drums, Gerald-Lead Guitar