Callalily

More than just 'pogi rock'

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Text by Margaret Rose B. Maranan and Raydon L. Reyes; Photos by Josa Camille A. Bassig and Lorenze Andrew A. Buenaventura

CALLALILY may be having the time of their lives with their chart-topping hits and booming record sales, but sometimes misery accompanies prosperity. And for Callalily, critics have called their music “pogi rock”.

“Pogi rock” loosely relates to any rock band where claim to fame is not great music, but the members’ good looks. Callalily’s five members–vocalist Kean Cipriano, lead guitarist Alden Acosta, bassist Aaron Ricafrente, drummer Lemuel “Lem” Belaro, and rhythm guitarist Andrew “Tatsi” Jamnague–contest this label.

“’Pogi Rock’ is a definition of something visual,” Alden told the Varsitarian. “Music and rock are audio. People who are bringing that up and judging us by how we look are the ones who are shallow.”

Kean said it is unfair to judge the band merely by the looks of its members. He disagreed with critics who said it is not Callalily’s music that earned the band recognition in the music industry.

“Listen to our music without looking at any of our pictures. How can you say and defend that we’re ‘pogi’ rock?” Kean added.

Lem, on the other hand, said he can take criticisms.

“It’s okay because all of us have our own opinions. But they should say it to us in a good way,” said Lem, a Guitar major in the Conservatory of Music.

The criticisms, however, only strengthened Callalily’s determination to hold their ground.

“Just continue doing what you want do,” Alden said. “Don’t do it because you think you’re going to be famous. Do it because it’s an outlet of your own expression. Success isn’t meant for those who easily give up.”

Miscommunication

Forming a rock band was hardly a part of their plans when the Callalily’s members first entered college. In fact, it all started with a miscommunication with a professor.

“Tatsi’s professor in FEU asked his class if there was anyone who played in a band,” said Alden, a Percussion major who eventually became the lead guitarist. “Tatsi raised his hand even though his original band was already defunct. His professor then gave him a gig at Mayric’s Bar [in España Blvd.]”

In panic, Tatsi called Kean and Aaron from UST to form a band for a ticket-selling event. After finding Alden and Lem, Callalily was born. The band’s name was taken from a brand name of Kean’s favorite snack. That fateful night at Mayric’s Bar seemed to strike gold for Callalily as they landed a record deal with Sony Music Philippines in 2006 for their debut album Destination XYZ.

Number-one hit “Stars,” their first single, rocketed to the top spot of hit charts of famous radio stations, and even MYX music video channel. “Take My Hand” and “Magbalik” also followed suit until Destination XYZ became a platinum record, bragging 30,000 records sold. This was followed by their sophomore collection in 2008 titled Fisheye.

“We never thought we would go this far. It was supposed to be a one-time gig at Mayric’s, but it just happened,” Alden said.

“When we had our first album, we have no idea what’s going to happen next,” Kean said. “We were still 17 or 18 years old then and all we cared about was producing a record. Fortunately, blessings started pouring down and we worked extra hard.

Their latest album–Callalily–was released last October by Sony Music. The album’s first single, “Nananaginip,” is a slow, melodramatic song about longing for a past love as if in a dream.

Love for music

The members of the band discovered their individual inclinations toward music long before they found each other. Kean was actually part of a garage band in highschool.

“It never entered my mind that I would take playing the band seriously,” Kean said. “It was a cool thing to be part of a band in high school.” Lem said his father nurtured his interest in music at a young age leading him to be a Guitar Major at UST.

“When it comes to playing music, you don’t just use your hands. Your heart should be in it,” he said about his musical philosophy.

Kean describes Callalily’s creative process as a “collective free flow” that is not tied to any schedule. His muse for writing lyrics usually comes first thing in the morning and the other members would soon join in and come up with a melody for his verses.

“If you know you play music with a heart, you love what you do, there’s nothing they can do about it. Take care of your music above everything else.” Alden added. “We were given this wonderful opportunity and we’re going to ride it out as far as we can.” Tomasino