Same banana: Parokya ni Edgar makes a triumphant return

In 1993, a group of six boys went from private jam sessions to opening for the Eraserheads, effectively jumpstarting their musical careers. Now, 23 years later, Parokya ni Edgar remains a household name — a legend in the Filipino music scene. This week, the nation’s favorite neighborhood barkada is set to release their latest studio album, the much-anticipated “Pogi Years Old.”

“We’re always excited naman whenever we come up with a new album,” said Chito Miranda. “Medyonerve-wracking din kasi we’re not sure kung paano magrereact yung mga tao sa Ashes. But we’re really excited because we’re very happy about the songs.”

When asked about the inspiration behind their latest album, band members joked it wasn’t inspiration that drove them, but necessity. “We weren’t inspired, we just had to,” Chito chuckled. It’s been six years since their last studio album, “Middle-Aged Juvenile Novelty Pop Rockers.” They quipped that it was either they come up with new songs, or settle for performing “the same old sh*t” for five more years.

Jokes aside, the six agreed that they’re still working with the same tools and sticking to the classic sound they’ve become famous for. That’s exactly what their fans should expect from this album. “Same banana,” they said, laughing. Gab Chee Kee shared that rather than the album itself, what made this experience unique was the process of making it. “The journey that we went through to finish the album was the biggest part of it. It took a while to get there,” he explained.

Scene stealers: Screencaps from Parokya Ni Edgar’s latest music video for Lagi Mong Tandaan, a single from their new album.

Thankfully, after working with each other for more than two decades, they’ve become what Vinci Montaner describes as a “well-oiled machine.” If, in the past, it took the band five days to record a song, and a full day to record the drum tracks, now they can do all that within a single day, no producer required.

Though their struggles are continuous, Chito says there are three main reasons why Parokya ni Edgar has managed to stay together for as long as they have. The first, he said, is their mutual love of money, causing the other members to guffaw, nodding their heads in agreement. The second is on a more serious note: Parokya lacks the musical differences that often lead to a band’s eventual demise. They’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to the sound they’re going for, so they never fought about what they wanted for their new album. The last is their relationship: the six of them have known each other all their lives, and they’ve grown to embrace all their individual differences. “Naeenjoy na namin yung nuances kada tao,” he explained.

The strength of their relationship is what helps them power through all the difficulties thrown at them and survive for as long as they have as a band. They likened their journey to a video game: every level gets harder, but they know that, no matter how difficult it gets, they can overcome each level until they’ve beaten the game and they’re ready to do it all over again.

As for what they want their fans to feel when they listen to this album, the band has continued to do what they’ve always done — taking it easy without overthinking and simply focusing on creating something that they like and would want to listen to. “We just want them to enjoy the album, that’s it.”

The easygoing air Parokya Ni Edgar has about them is what makes them transcend generation gaps. Someone once tried explained to them why they stood out from the rest of the music industry. He said that, before, people used to see them as the neighborhood barkada, and now, kids look at them like the cool, “bad influence” titos, which the band fervently agreed with. The allure of Parokya ni Edgar has gone beyond their songs and even past the whole idea of a band. The barkada that people watched grow from kids to men has also become one of their major selling points.

Having been part of the music industry’s shift from analog recording to digital, Parokya ni Edgar is excited about using Spotify and other social media platforms to make their music more accessible to the public. “Sobrang saya ng music scene ngayon,” Chito said. Where before, artists were dependent on mainstream radio to popularize their music, now all a musician needs is a laptop and a stable WiFi connection. To them, it’s all about adjusting to the new things and avoiding worrying too much about the small things. The important things to them are recording, composing new songs, and performing to the best of their abilities.

Parokya ni Edgar’s new album “Pogi Years Old” will be available on Spotify and other digital platforms starting Oct. 17.


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