Cowboy Country Club masters sunny harmonies and quirky guitar-playing

Cowboy Country Club masters sunny harmonies and quirky guitar-playing

“I think we would always want to keep writing the music we want to write, and I would never want to be boring as a band and be self-aware about it at the same time.”

My favorite thing about the local music scene here is that there’s always an act that’s bound to surprise you when you least expect it. These unique artists can often lay tucked away in their respective corners, never to see the light of day, while more established acts would occupy most of the limited space that’s left in the attention spans of regular local music fans — or at least here in Manila. And hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some artists just don’t care about becoming the hottest act around, and that’s perfectly fine. I guess being a fan of these artists, it’s hard to watch them go sorely underappreciated. 

Introducing indie/folk-rock outfit Cowboy Country Club, a trio consisting of the Palomares brothers, Sean and Patrick, and their cousin Ryan Jacob who hail from the southern — and lesser exposed — end of Metro Manila. Fresh off releasing their single, Cowboy’s Back (Do What You Do), Young STAR talked to the three guys about the band itself, their future plans, and their favorite artists.

 

Young STAR: How did the project start? How long have you known each other?

Ryan Jacob: Sean and Patch are brothers, we’re first cousins on our moms’ side. Growing up, we took on a lot of different hobbies together — basketball, home films, ultimate frisbee, skateboarding, so many things. We still do a bit of all that but it’s music that really stuck with us as something we can do the rest of our lives. We started playing instruments maybe 2008 and then tried out covers together some time in high school in 2012. Afterwards, we ventured on to our own different music projects but in the summer of 2016 we met up and started making Cowboy songs. We realized that as family and life constants to that point, there were a lot of things we wanted to say, materialize, and immortalize together. Out the Water, On the Way was then born a year later.

 

Where did the band’s name come from?

Patrick Palomares: “Cowboy Country Club” was actually only a stand-in name for the band. We couldn’t really think of anything else when the time came to pick a real one, so we just went with it. It was sort of a jokey-play on how many popular indie bands that we’re fans of had their names ending with the word “Club.”

 

What’s the songwriting dynamic of the band? Who usually takes the lead?

Ryan: Usually though, it’s Sean and/or Patrick who start something then show it to me when we meet up or through a demo sent online. A couple of songs on the other hand have started out as an instrumental jam between me and Patrick while Sean is not with us. Sometimes it’s all three of us in the same room over a sleepover. We switch up who plays what, and we’ve all contributed to the lyrics. There’s really no set template, we’re still open and exploring what makes a Cowboy song. Ultimately, it’s having known each other our whole lives that becomes the bedrock of both the content and the process. We’re very honest with each other and make sure all three of us are on the same boat when finalizing ideas. 

“We would always want to keep writing the music we want to write, and would never want to be boring as a band and be self-aware about it at the same time.”

Not a lot of people know that a number of notable acts in the scene come from the south of Metro Manila (EAZYHEAD, Mellow Fellow, etc.) and there’s definitely a distinct vibe to the sound. How does where you live affect the way you guys make or even think about music?

Patrick: Lots of airplanes pass by where we live. Some have even found their way into some of our songs if you can pick them out. (laughs)

Ryan: Not to be that annoying guy who champions the south by saying it’s chill all the time, but there’s some truth. The quiet and fresh air helps.

Sean Palomares: A lot of those guys are our friends. Does our camaraderie add a vibe to our collective sound? Possibly. If it does, I can’t pinpoint what that vibe is. South Superwave? (laughs) I just hope it’s exciting. I’d usually describe our earlier sounds as Underwater but that’s because we were all still learning how to mix. We’re all doing a bit better now.

 

What’s an album or artist the band always goes back to for inspiration?

Patrick: Stornoway – Beachcomber’s Windowsill is an absolute diamond in the rough. 

Ryan: Fleet Foxes gets our juices going.

Sean: Golden Silvers- True Romance. We found them through WLT (watchlistentell). We spent nights together trying to master that acoustic/acapella version of Magic Touch. That was 2010 and we still ain’t got it quite down. They disbanded after one album and their drummer started touring with The Kooks. I mentioned this cause The Kooks were in Wanderland this year. I would’ve just wanted to see him.

 

Any collaborations you want to do in the future?

Ryan: Dreaming big: the Philippine Philharmonic.

Sean: Well, we’d want The Chainsmokers to do a remix of Kalmba.

 

As a band, what is your philosophy?

Patrick: I think we would always want to keep writing the music we want to write, and I would never want to be boring as a band and be self-aware about it at the same time.

Sean: Philosophy? I don’t know. Of course we’d want to be seen and heard and we’d wanna do it in our own way. Somewhere in the middle of that is probably where the songs and the vision is but we don’t think too much about that either. Right now it’s all DIY but we’re constantly trying to put out songs and albums as if we’re already there.

 

The “present” for any band these days sure can feel like a ticking time bomb with the Internet and all. We’re all artists and musicians so at the end of the day we’d still be writing songs anyway or something so we do our best to nurture that. No pun intended, it’s what we do.

 

Favorite song of yours?

Patrick: Kalmba is my favorite song from our discography so far. It was during that two month period of meeting constantly wherein we acquired our first legit synthesiser from an OLX deal and I learned how to play a little piano on it. I haven’t improved much since then, but my limited skills were good enough to make that song happen. 

Ryan: So far, it’s From My House. I remember when Patrick first sent me the demo with his first verse. I cried when I listened to it because it brought back our memories of growing up. That was the fastest I’d ever written a verse. The song kind of became our special time capsule, we’re not getting any younger. Also, it’s really fun to play live.

Sean: The new single, Cowboy’s Back (Do What You Do).

 

How do you see your sound evolving? Future plans?

Patrick: I think our sound will evolve directly proportional with our ability to put out better recordings and mixes. We recorded the first record in our home studios, and many people classified Out the Water/On the Way as lo-fi, but it only ended up sounding like that because we were pretty naive about the recording and mixing process. Now that we’ve accumulated better recording equipment and more knowledge on how to use them, I can only imagine the songs sounding different by default.

Sean: I don’t know how the sound would evolve per se but we’d want to be doing this for a long while. The “present” for any band these days sure can feel like a ticking time bomb with the Internet and all. We’re all artists and musicians so at the end of the day we’d still be writing songs anyway or something so we do our best to nurture that. No pun intended, it’s what we do.

Watch the music video of Cowboy’s Back (Do What You Do) below: 

Get to know the boys of Cowboy Country Club with these trading cards:

Follow Cowboy Country Club on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Facebook.

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#culture #music #profile

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