Earlier this year, Raymund Marasigan shared a video teaser for SQUID9's new album, Circuit Shorts. SQUID9, Marasigan's electronic project, is set to release the new album this September. For the follow-up to 2016's Weld, Marasigan has enlisted the services of frequent SQUID9 collaborator and sound engineer Shinji Tanaka, as well as For You Insidious's Daren Lim (also the co-founder of D&D Guitars).
Bandwagon sat down with the trio at the Circuit Shorts album listening party held last Tuesday (09/18) at Post Gallery in Cubao X as they shared the stories behind the making of the album, the importance of physical music formats, and setting parameters for themselves in a world of endless choices and possibilities.
One of your previous albums was a USB card inside a tin can and it came out in a vending machine with squid snacks; this time it’s a cassette. How important is the physical format of music and design to you? Why did you choose the cassette for this album?
Kasi lumaki kami sa panahon na may physical format yung music, parang cassette and records. So gusto namin laging meron, kahit papaano, parang pwede naman i-release digitally. It’s cheaper, but we also like design. Plus we’re trying to do this thing live na parang medyo ganito, that one is what Joey is using, a Modulus. Sa'min, may kasamang cassette that we’re playing back - the voices that we use sa conversation on the album. Sa live, it’s going through those things. So kasama sa kwento yung cassette talaga.
What was the easiest track to finish? Longest track to complete?
They were all made… all at once eh. We’ll start with an idea and then sabay-sabay ginagawa. On some days, we’re cutting up samples, on some days we’re programming synthesizers. Some days, we’re laying in drum tracks. So halos sabay-sabay lahat.
We’re all gathering stuff, like machines to use and samples to cut. Tapos we spend a day doing just that. Separate days on gathering, then assembling… working on things. [For example,] today is drum day, today is synthesizer day, today is melodies day. Today is just mixing. It’s staggered.
Can you tell us an anecdote about each track?
Yun nga eh, dahil sabay-sabay, nangyari siya sa period na medyo malungkot. Kasi yun yung period na yun na matanda na yung tatay ni Shinji, yun yung period na binibisita nya yung Daddy nya sa Japan, who’s also close to us, to me. Tapos kinakausap niya sa phone, hanggang nung tumawag yung tita nya na to tell him na wala na, wala na si Lolo. Pero, through all of that, yung conversations, naka-record. And it’s in the songs. But it’s not about it, it’s just, yung lang yung mga nangyyari nung panahon na yun. But the songs or the conversations are not exactly about it. Parang, you don’t have to understand Japanese, but yun lang yung pangyayari noong panahon na 'yon.
At the same time, we’re learning new equipment, we have ah, anong tawag dun, yung "eto lang gagamitin natin, wala tayong gagamitin na iba! " What do you call that? Yung meron kang parameters lang. Because ngayon, parang, you can use anything. We have so much, we have so much gear - digital, analog, hardware, software. But we have, anong tawag dun? I need a word.
Restrictions to use several pieces of key equipment, so we can use it live.
Manual yung pag-gawa ng sound?
Yeah! Parang ganun! Pero we all mixed it in computers, of course, mixed it and mastered it. But how we made it was physical. So we can play it live, there’s a lot of trial and error. A lot of going to YouTube, how do we do that? Kasi sa computer madali lang eh, but physically, how do you do that with a sequencer?
With all your bands and musical projects, how do you decide which song is a SQUID9 song?
Ah that depends on who I’m working with. If I’m with these guys, it’s a SQUID9 song. If I’m with Sandwich, it’s a Sandwich song. Whoever I’m working with, at that time, that’s gonna be that band’s project.
Circuit Shorts Tracklist:
1. forever few
2. sakura leaves
3. sea port
4. i am milk
1. frog rest
3. asthma tax
4. tape measures
Here's a sneak peek into the new album with 'forever few':
Check out more photos from the listening party here:
SQUID9's Circuit Shorts is slated for release on September 27, 2018 at Route 196.
Limited edition cassettes will be available for 300 PHP at SQUID9 gigs, Crazy Katsu, and Suez & Zapote.
Special thanks to Locked Down Entertainment.