Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Lola Amour declares maturity in self-titled debut album

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman
Lola Amour declares maturity in self-titled debut album
Lola Amour

CEBU, Philippines — When the Cebu media talked to Lola Amour September of last year, they said that they were supposed to release their debut studio album at that point. But because of their single “Raining in Manila”, which made the band a household name, the members decided to give it the promotion it deserved.

Fast-forward to April 2024: the group from Muntinlupa City finally released their self-titled album on music platforms, and they were in Cebu to promote it through a sold-out album launch concert at Draft Punk.

“We have a lot of fans in Cebu. Every time we come here, the venue is always full,” lead vocalist Pio Dumayas said during a press conference at lyf Cebu City Hotel before their concert.

“The crowd here is so crazy and wild,” keyboardist David Yuhico added. “Our engineer said that Pio’s voice is already at maximum volume in the mixer, but he is still softer than the crowd.”

While the band tried to find a bigger venue to accommodate the demand, they felt like performing at Draft Punk gave that intimate vibe they were looking for.

“Our stage is not that far away from the audience, so we can feel their energy more,” said Yuhico.

Expanding their sound

Released on April 10 by Warner Music Philippines, the debut album consists of nine tracks including “Raining in Manila” which sits comfortably as the record’s fifth song.

While listeners can expect the usual sound from Lola Amour, the band used the album to showcase new sides to themselves by incorporating influences from alternative rock, punk rock, and gospel.

“We never made a body of work where there were this many songs in one go. It gave us an opportunity to explore other sounds. We treated it like a playground and we experimented,” Dumayas said.

“If you listen to the album, you’ll notice that it starts with ‘Umiinit’ which is high energy, and ‘Saan Kakapit’ is a response to ‘Raining in Manila’ with lyrics calling back to the song. Then it sort of goes down in energy but the themes start to get more complex, serious, and sad like ‘If I Ever Come Back’, which is a lot deeper than the usual love song,” he added.

The “Lola Amour” album is also a declaration of their maturity as a band, which was formed in 2013 during high school. They were originally two separate bands: Sinigang Na Baboy, and Decaf.

“It was our way of showing people that we can tackle these deeper topics. Some thought ‘Raining in Manila’ was a love song, but it was really about your friends leaving the country. If you compare our first EP ‘Don’t Look Back’ to now, it’s different,” Dumayas explained.

In a few songs, Lola Amour learned to put down their signature trumpets and saxophones for newer instruments to expand their sound.

“Creatively, we matured. We don’t need everyone to play the [same] instruments all the time. There are some songs that have no trumpets or saxophones. That’s why ‘This Ain’t Love’ is more stripped back and harmonica and flutes are playing. It shows our growth in our process,” Yuhico added.

There was a point that the collection of songs they made in 2019 was going to serve as their debut studio album before the pandemic forced the band to recalibrate their plans – which included releasing “Fallen” in 2021 as a standalone single when they originally wanted to include it in their debut album.

In 2023, they looked back at those songs made four years earlier and decided to abandon some.

“I am sure there were about 10 songs we had to scrap. When we looked back at them in 2023, those songs are not us anymore and it didn’t sound like us anymore, especially with the line-up changes,” Dumayas continued.

Drummer Raffy Perez added, “Essentially, we want the fans to know that Lola Amour matured creatively. We want to show the fans that we are still Lola Amour despite the line-up changes and we will continue to grow.”

Long-term plans

Lola Amour’s recent Cebu gig is also their first show after former bassist Raymond King left the band to pursue his long-term plans. Pio’s brother, Manu Dumayas, filled in King’s spot.

In a statement by King posted by the band last March on their social media platforms, he stated, “The band was just a hobby when we were starting out. So we’ve always had other long-term plans for ourselves. And while I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved, my plans stayed the same. Sadly, the band isn’t part of it.”

Asked by The FREEMAN of these long-term plans before the band’s success, Dumayas, a Film Studies graduate, was first to share that he wanted to make movies.

Some worked in corporate, like trumpet player Tim Cruz who still has his day job, while guitarist Zoe Gonzales quit being a forex trader for a bank last December.

Others still stayed in the realm of music, like Yuhico who is also a freelance composer, and saxophonist Jeff Abueg who originally wanted to become a theater musician.

After the release of their first album, Lola Amour remains committed to experimenting with their sound and exploring other genres.

“It’s very hard to group songs into one genre only. We don’t chase a sound, we make songs depending on what we are listening to,” Dumayas remarked.

Added Yuhico, “It’s like a clash of what everyone is listening to, what they like, and finding a common ground. Our sound will always change because everyone is changing and we are so open to exploring other genres.”

“Our next single…” Gonzales deadpanned, “will probably be death metal.” — (FREEMAN)

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