An inside look at the IV of Spades ‘CLAPCLAPCLAP!’ listening party

Photos by Gian Nicdao

 

We’re two months past mercurially rising synth pop rock outfit IV of Spades’ debut album “CLAPCLAPCLAP!”, and the nation has yet to see most of their new hits live. Rest assured it’s all for good measure, good friends, as they’ve given the release some time to breathe while they prepare for their upcoming Sweet Shadow tour this year. They play in Iloilo and Bacolod in April, and wherever else in the months to come.

Before they take off, they held a Listening Party in partnership with Myx, where 100 super fans who sent in their covers of either Dulo ng Hangganan, or Bawat Kaluluwa were invited to the intimate event. We got first taste of their new songs performed live.

“CLAPCLAPCLAP!” is clearly a realization of the sound the band had circa 2016, exemplified by Ilaw Sa Daan and Mundo. The arena-filling synth-inflected rock is an ambitious sound that IVOS, as you will all witness in their gigs to come, pulls off with a reassured swagger and invigorated energy.

Young STAR: How does CLAPCLAPCLAP! fit into your sound from before, and moving onward? This is given how the album sounds likes what you would’ve done if you kept with Ilaw Sa Daan with all the new production tools and resources you have now.

Zild: Siguro subconsciously siya nangyayari lahat. Bukod sa pagiging nostalgic namin, ang goal parin namin lagi ay ang future. So after [this album], we’re still thinking of creating new music. Kung may napapansin yung ibang tao [about the sound], di kami conscious kung bakit ganun. Pero yun yung magic siguro.

How was the process of recording the album? Did it start with a vision of coming up with an album, or did you just keep working on songs until you had it?

Blaster: Na-inspire kami na ituloy na yung gumawa kami ng album dahil sa single na na-release, similar sa Arctic Monkeys.  Nasasayangan lang kami sa oras kung di gumawa ng album.

 

Who are your influences behind the recently introduced synth rock aspect to your sound?

Zild: The Killers, Tame Impala, pero sa synth pop pa rin ako nanggaling, parang Duran Duran.

Blaster: Foster The People!

 

What’s your favorite track in the album right now?

Badjao: In My Prison. Ganda ng pagka-arrange ni Zild eh.

Zild: Come Inside of My Heart. Para siyang kakagising ko lang lagi.

Blaster: I Ain’t Perfect. Kasi kung yung Come Inside of My Heart parang pag gising, ito parang patulog na.

 

What did you have most fun recording?

Zild, Blaster and Badjao in unison: Take That Man.

Badjao: Parang di kami nagwo-work, parang laro-laro lang [sa shoot].

 

What comes first when writing songs? Lyrics? Melody? Instrumentation?

Zild: Iba-iba eh, pero based sa album, bigay kami isa-isa. Ang In My Prison, instruments ang nag-inspire. Bass and drums sa simula. (*beatboxes the intro*)

Blaster: Sa lyrics… yung Butterfly. Months or weeks yung pagitan ng paglagay ng melody sa lyrics [ng kanta]. Come Inside [of My Heart] naman, melody yung nauna. Chorus yung unang-una, tapos yung verse, ‘tas tsaka inarrange sa studio.

 

What about CLAPCLAPCLAP!, the intro track? Where’d you get the idea to feature simple clapping to start the album?

Blaster: Nauna yung title kaya naisipan naming gumawa ng start na ‘clap clap clap’.

 

Who was the one recorded clapping in it?

Zild: Secret!

 IV of Spades performed songs from their latest album, CLAPCLAPCLAP, with a reassured swagger and invigorated energy.

After the interview, the band headed backstage to dress up, and prepare for the set. Dozens of playthroughs past the release of the album, I was definitely intrigued with how they’d translate their big sound to the live stage. As they stepped on stage and opened with a sweeping landscape of synths to precede a live performance of their opening CLAPCLAPCLAP! track, it was clear that their vision of a vibrant, synth-driven rock sound was one built sturdily on their ambitions to develop their musical identity.

They played most of the bangers on the album, such as Dulo ng Hangganan, Bawat Kaluluwa, In My Prison, Bata, Dahan-Dahan! and Take That Man. It was easy to see how they’ve settled into their firmly established synth outfit. Badjao’s banging, powerful drumlines backed the blend of Zild alternating between keys and bass not just between, but within songs, and Blaster’s ever-present frenetic riffing and shredding on the guitar. The use of backing tracks was beautifully executed in replicating the album’s arena-filling tone live.

Stay tuned for their Sweet Shadow tour, with many more dates and locations to follow. In the meantime, check out their latest music video here.


For tour info and more, visit the IV of Spades website.

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