The Camerawalls
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The Camerawalls

Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines | INDIE

Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines | INDIE
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by Nerisa Almo - Philippine Entertainment Portal, 7/08/2008

"I always challenge myself so it's gonna be different," says Clementine "Clem" Castro about his new indie band called The Camerawalls.

The group is composed of two former Orange and Lemons (ONL) members—vocalist Clem and bassist Law Santiago—while their third member is Ian Sarabia who handles the drumming for The Camerawalls. This indie band gave the press a sample of their music at the album launch of their 10-track debut album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld. The said event took place at Club Dredd, Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City last July 3.

The songs sounded a lot like British pop mixed with the musical style of The Beatles, which were actually two of the band's influences in making their music. "Nandoon pa rin 'yong British pop influence but we inject Filipino sensibilities sa mga songs," explained Clem.

The Camerawalls vocalist admitted that although they did not intend to sound different from his previous band, listeners might notice some changes with their music. "I try to be different this time. It's not the usual theme of love and sex, not your typical concepts. We're writing songs about moving on and changing jobs, about the bad people in the world; about medical wonders and reincarnation."

These changes, according to Clem, were done because, "We felt that there are so many interesting things we could write about. We want to be socially relevant. At the same time, we felt our music should be more personal."

GOING BACK TO INDIE. Aside from forming a new band, Clem also established his own independent record label, Lilystars Records, to support the debut album of The Camerawalls. This prompted the vocalist to describe the launch of their album as, "Everything is D.I.Y, do-it-yourself."

This move to become more independent seems to have stemmed from the breakup of the band Orange and Lemons. Aside from citing musical differences, Clem pointed out that a shift in musical direction also caused the split up of ONL, which became known for creating the Pinoy Big Brother theme song "Pinoy Ako."

He explained, "They [former bandmates] were not happy with the direction I'm taking Orange and Lemons at that time. We started indie, di ba, then, we went mainstream with the major labels. Then, I think, that affected how they think. The mindset of an artist when you get into major labels and they got consumed by it. Money was coming in so it's inevitable that we would have a clash because of commercialism and direction."

Now that The Camerawalls has released its album under an independent label, Clem hopes that other people won't be able to unduly influence them regarding the music that they want to create. He said, "I don't want to experience again the same thing that I experienced with record labels. I [have] nothing against them kasi I've been told na, 'We need a 'masa' song, can you add a 'masa' song in this line up?' It's really difficult for me to work that way."

Ian agreed with Clem by saying, "Because you put your name on it. It's not like selling glasses. It's also selling your art and personality. You put your name on it, you don't wanna be named as that. We just want to have control over what we're known for, without being tainted by the money."

The band's drummer added, "It's all one-dimensional. It's all about bands being used as a vehicle to sell products or they start out with all the right intention but then they get controlled because the label lends them money and now, 'You're mine, you have to do this for extra money.' So, the people really suffer because I mean, we could always buy things in other places."

With their new album, the group said that they did not have any expectations especially when they formed together as a band.

"No expectations," said Ian, who also works as the finance director of Vivian Sarabia Optical Corporation. "Hopefully people can dig [our music], you know, but we can't really control what people like."

"As long as we're doing what we wanna do and we're not cheating ourselves or anybody else by making songs just so they sell. I think it'll work out fine, you know. Maybe other bands or other people see it and follow through."

TRACK LISTING.

1. Markers Of Beautiful Memories
2. Clinically Dead For 16 Hours
3. Lord Of The Flies
4. I Love You, Natalie
5. Changing Horses Midstream
6. Ignore My Weakness, Don't Ignore Me
7. Canto De Maria Clara
8. The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner
9. Solitary North Star
10. Lizards Hiding Under Rocks

Right now, the 10-track album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld is available in all Music One outlets in Metro Manila. They also sell their records globally by mail-order through their website, www.thecamerawalls.com or www.lilystars-records.com. This indie band is also currently working on ways to sell their music digitally.


Source link: http://www.pep.ph/guide/2202/Indie-band-The-Camerawalls-releases-debut-album - by Nerisa Almo - Philippine Entertainment Portal, 7/08/2008


by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times 7/08/2008

The Camerawalls release their debut album Pocket Guide To The Otherworld

At The Camerawalls' album launch last week, frontman Clementine started the set with an excerpt from "A Beginning Of Something Wonderful" – a song from his old band Orange And Lemons' first album.

Of course, the irony is not lost on those who were there; Clementine refers to himself as the "unwanted one" in his old group, and that he chose to open with a song from his old band speaks volumes of how he has already come to terms with what happened and that he is now ready to move on with his life. Well, that and the fact that the song itself speaking of the promise of brighter things ahead.

Pocket Guide To The Otherworld is the title of The Camerawalls' debut album. The band is a three-piece composed of Clementine, guitarist and chief songwriter, bassist Law Santiago, who incidentally is also Orange And Lemons' original bassist, and drummer Ian Sarabia. The band was formed soon after the dissolution of ONL, ostensibly due to major creative differences.

It's not surprising that Clementine, who many say was the driving force behind the music of ONL before, would bounce back after the whole sordid episode with his new band. It's not easy to bring down a man with his music in his veins. His father was a rondalla instructor and made him and his siblings play, before he discovered the guitar early in his teens. ONL was a success story, a band that started out as an independent group and was launched to superstardom within a few short years. But afterward, it was Clementine's desire to keep making music, the kind that he loves and is passionate about, that made him trudge on ahead.

After finding the right people to work with, Clementine immediately hunkered down and started writing songs for his new band. "The major difference now is the songwriting," he says. "I try to be different this time. It's not the usual theme of love and sex, not your typical concepts. We're writing songs about moving on and changing jobs, about the bad people in the world; about medical wonders, and reincarnation. We felt there are so many interesting things we could write about. We want to be socially relevant. At the same time, we felt that our music should be more personal."

Ian says their music is an amalgam of all their primary influences injected with their own Pinoy sensibilities. "It's impossible to describe. It's got a bit of rock, a bit of blues. Something going back to New Wave. It's got all them sounds put together."

The product of "nine months of writing and recording, mixing and testing," Pocket Guide reflects the band's extensive musical palate. At the launch last week, friends and fans, both old and new, crowded around Club Dredd to hear the band play songs off the album, plus a few covers from The Smiths and their primary influence, The Beatles. It was a vindication of sorts for Clementine, who saw his old cohorts regroup to form the new band Kenyo and release a debut album of safe, middle-of-the-road covers of 80s songs.

The Camerawalls strikes us as the band with the sound that ONL might have had if they had continued on and Clementine had had his way. But things rarely ever work out the way people plan them, and for now, with Kenyo enjoying mainstream success and The Camerawalls paying to a far smaller, more fastidious audience, we'd like to think that everybody is happy everything turned out just as it should be.

The Camerawalls' debut album, Pocket Guide To The Otherworld, under Clementine's own Lilystars Records and is now available through the band's MySpace Music account at www.myspace.com/thecamerawalls and their official website at www.thecamerawalls.com - by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times 7/08/2008


by Ricardo Lo - The Philippine Star, 6/13/2008

Lord of the Flies
How many will suffer with your lies
Lord of the Flies
Everyone sees right through your disguise
A million watering eyes live to tell the tale
Of how ambition burned their sails
— from Lord Of The Flies

We are at Annabel's Restaurant (Quezon City) and, over snacks of pan de sal with kesong puti and tsokolate, listening to the sampler of Pocket Guide To The Otherworld, the debut album of the new three-man band Camerawalls, set to be launched on July 3 at the Club Dredd in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

The one singing is Clementine "Clem" Castro, known to young music fans as the organizer of Orange & Lemons which disbanded last year after 10 years of making solid albums, and he sounds intriguingly like John Lennon. It's not surprising because the Beatles happens to be, according to Clem, "one of our great influences" which also include Morrissey & The Smiths, Paul Weller & The Jam, XTC, The Stone Roses, The Cure, The Pale Fountains, and Echo & The Bunnymen.

I wonder why Orange & Lemons, one of the country's most successful bands, split up after 10 good years of making beautiful music together, formed in 1999 by Clem who was the band's guitarist and songwriter, whose music caught the fancy of foreign enthusiasts (from Japan, Germany, the USA and the UK)?

"Due to creative differences," says Clem, an HRM (Hotel & Restaurant Management) graduate. He doesn't elaborate.

The truth is that Clem's ground-breaking and brooding work, Moonlane Gardens precipitated the break-up because "the bandmates, the management and the label couldn't handle the sudden unpredictable change," resulting in "a battle between creativity and commercialism." Then, the falling-out. Ironically, Moonlane Gardens was named Album of the Year (2007) by the NU 107 Rock Awards.

"That was my vindication," adds Clem.


Your face is a welcome interlude
Like a lift back into school
It's all hearts and flowers

Love's umpire called time
You have taken root in my mind
Like a heavenly infection
Taking leave of my senses
— from Markers
Of Beautiful Memories


Hardly losing time, Clem gathered his two friends to form Camerawalls in September last year, even before the formal announcement of the Orange & Lemons' break-up could be made — Bryan "Ian" Sarabia (son of Vivian Sarabia, The Eyewear Specialist of the Stars) as drummer and Lawrence "Law" Santiago, originally with Orange & Lemons, who left the group in 2003 and worked as an MTV cameraman.

"So I lured him back to where he should be," says Clem. "Law is one of the finest bassists around. I met Ian four years ago during my Orange & Lemons days."

"I was then managing Amoeba (a music bar in Eastwood City)," volunteers Ian whose main job is director of finance of the century-old family-owned Vivian Sarabia Optical. "I would audition bands every now and then. I play drums as a hobby."

If they are songwriters and not camera bugs, why call their group Camerawalls?

"Well," explains Clem, "originally, the name was supposed to be an anagram of our first names — Clem, Ian and Law. Cinemawall, initially. But when I texted the name to them, I misspelled it; I typed Camerawalls. They liked it. It sounds better, so..."

Like Clem's former band, Camerawalls specializes in indie, pop and rock, a different band that sounds familiar. Well and good.


Hundreds of years ago when emperors rule
The most beautiful girl was torn apart
An honour to her family but death to her heart
A mistress she will be, the emperor's concubine.
— from The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner


With Orange & Lemons, Clem and Mcoy Fundales were both vocalists, forming a duo like that of Lennon and MacCartney, with Mcoy getting the singles, leaving Clem as the "unknown" (better?) half. If Lennon and MacCartney would part ways due to "creative" and other "differences," it could happen to other tandems, couldn't it? The remaining Orange & Lemons guys have formed their own new band called Kenyo. With Camerawalls, Clem and Ian are the new "Lennon and MacCartney."

Clem and Ian collaborated on two of the three songs quoted above, Lord and Markers. The album carries seven other songs: Ignore My Weakness, Don't Ignore Me (by Clem), Solitary North Star (Clem), Lizards Hiding Under Rocks (Clem and Ian), Changing Horses Midstream (Clem and Ian), Clinically Dead For 16 Hours (Clem), I Love You, Natalie (Clem), and Canto de Maria Clara (Dr. Jose Rizal and Clem), the only Spanish item on the album.

Pocket Guide To The Otherworld sounds good between bites of pan de sal with kesong puti. It's not the kind of noisy music most bands today are notorious for. It's easy-listening pleasure. Grab a copy once it is released. You will enjoy it.

- by Ricardo Lo - The Philippine Star, 6/13/2008


Album review by Jason Caballa, PULP Magazine (Dec 2008-Jan 2009)

One of the many ways to tell if I like a local band is if I actually wished I were in it. Over the years I’ve said that about a lot of bands that don’t necessarily sound alike, from Ciudad to Monsterbot to the Purplechickens to Taken By Cars. More often than not I would catch the band live, appreciate their songs and overall sound, and make that particular kind of judgment. But unlike Janet Weiss, who saw Sleater-Kinney live before becoming the drummer of the acclaimed all-female punk trio and decided she wanted to join the band because she knew she can make them sound better, I wouldn’t dare tinker with a band’s sonic formula because I usually like the way they sound off the bat.

Such is not exactly the case for The Camerawalls, singer-guitarist-songwriter Clementine Castro’s post-Orange & Lemons outfit, because I really admit that at the time of this writing, I have not seen the band perform live since the release of their debut album, Pocket Guide To The Otherworld. I have seen them more than a few times, though, and while I have long been a fan of Castro’s songwriting, the stripped-down trio of Castro on vocals and acoustic guitar, Law Santiago on bass, and Ian Sarabia on drums couldn’t quite do it for me initially, having greatly admired the lush orchestration of O&L’s last album, Moonlane Gardens, and most of all, Castro’s melodic, Johnny Marr-esque guitar playing, which he has all but completely shed with his current three-piece lineup. I could tell that his new band’s songs had potential, though, especially “Lord Of The Flies,” which the singer-guitarist used to introduce with a scathing indictment of certain people he used to work with. But that’s none of our business.

As expected – and thankfully – Castro’s flair for arrangement and production surfaces on Pocket Guide To The Otherworld, as he embellishes every song with flourishes of banduria and octavina, as well as clean, subtly modulated electric guitar lines to good effect. “Markers Of Beautiful Memories” opens the album with Sarabia’s sparse beats and beautifully tremolo-ed guitar notes, until Castro enters with a familiar voice O&L fans have missed hearing on disc since the previous year. The song even features a nicely plucked acoustic guitar solo during its final seconds, further reinforcing my fandom for the guy’s innate but understated skill with the instrument. Pocket Guide’s first single, “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours,” stands out immediately with its, um, immediate catchiness, but I’m guessing the song probably suffers a bit live without a fourth pair of hands to do its lovely banduria leads. The aforementioned “Lord Of The Flies” swings with an Oasis-like (or mid-period Smiths, if you prefer) swagger. It’s The Camerawalls most rocking number, though in the band’s own terms. Still I could imagine it would sound good just as good with fuzzy electric guitars, though Castro adds a pinch of dirt on some tasty blues licks.

Pretty much every track on Pocket Guide To The Otherworld does exactly that – the songs make one imagine how they would sound given the full rock band treatment. But that’s not the point. Obviously, songcraft is being highlighted here, and there is probably no stronger example of Castro’s gift on this record than “I Love You, Natalie,” which is as perfect as guitar driven pop can get. Sure, it can be argued that The Camerawalls’ debut, like much of O&L’s material for that matter, was made to appeal to more Anglophilic ears, give Castro’s (unintentional?) accent and the new wave bounce of tracks like “Changing Horses Midstream” and “Lizards Hiding Under Rocks.” But as straightforward and stripped-down as they are, it’s not difficult for anyone to like these songs, with their tasteful chord changes, subtle hooks, and strong, accessible melodies. And a song like “Canto De Maria Clara” (a Rizal poem set to the band’s music) could not have been rendered any way but as how it appears on the album, given its Hispanic/romantic motif.

Many have said that a good song’s brilliance truly shines through when performed with just the voice and an acoustic instrument, like a guitar or piano. If that is the case, The Camerawalls have proven their potential over the span of ten tracks, with some effective embellishments here and there. Perhaps I should try watching them live again, and maybe I’ll no longer want to join the band. I might screw everything up.

Rating: 4 Apples - Album review by Jason Caballa, PULP Magazine (Dec 2008-Jan 2009)


by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times | February 23, 2010

There have been doubts expressed about the viability of sticking to a certain genre of music, especially in today’s inescapable pop landscape. Sooner or later, groups will either have to bend, adapt or assimilate and experiment with whatever’s in style in order to appeal to the often-fickle tastes of the music-consuming public.

It’s therefore refreshing to hear about artists who stubbornly refuse to compromise. It’s about finding their unique voice amidst a landscape filled with poseurs and “second-rate, trying hard copycats.” It’s about artists sticking to their guns despite the odds, not letting shifting musical preferences dictate their own musical directions.

The Camerawalls is one such group. Guided by the tenacious and slightly off-kilter Clementine, the group has been a steady force in the local pop music scene (And by pop, I don’t mean the kind regurgitated by variety show divas). Since their formation, the band has remained true to their indie pop roots. Their debut album “Pocket Guide to the Otherworld” may not be some people’s idea of a slam-bang, tear-your-hair-out classic, but it has become a landmark release that showed people what happens when contemporary indie pop meets good old Filipino sensibilities.

Yesterday, Clementine and company—drummer Ian Sarabia, bassist Law Santiago and new member Pao Peralta—released a brand new single in cyberspace called The Sight of Love. Clementine gets some help in the vocals department from Sarah Gaugler, who sings with Peralta in the trendy, electro-pop outfit Turbo Goth. The single picks up where the band left off in the album; it’s a lush, dreamy ditty that skillfully melds Clementine’s whimsical singing with Gaugler’s equally quirky vocals. I was reminded of the Wannadies and to a certain extent, Club 8. And yet, there’s no mistaking this is The Camerawalls. The most high-profile of the normally under-the-radar assembly of local indie pop stalwarts, the band has succeeded in crafting a song that not only loudly proclaims who they are as a band, but also in providing a glimpse of where they’re headed as artists. If this is the first single of a future album, I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

The single is available only in digital format and may be downloaded for free from the following official websites: http://www.jam883.fm, http://lilystars-records.com and http://thecamerawalls.com. - by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times, 2/23/2010


by Kap Maceda Aguila, The Philippine Star | March 4, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - The voice on the other end of the line was familiar, and declared shortly without preamble: “Pare, nag-reunite na Orange and Lemons!”

I managed to mutter a “Huh?” before he started laughing. Clementine — the driving force behind the aforementioned later lamented band that had the Philippines singing (and dancing) to the Pinoy Big Brother anthem Pinoy Ako — was joking, of course.

Clem had some news — or, more correctly, a song — to share. He said his post O&L band the Camerawalls released a free track via the Internet last Feb. 22. Titled The Sight of Love, the single is released solely in digital format via the following sites: www.jam883.fm, lilystars-records.com, and thecamerawalls.com. Yes, you can legally download it and queue it up in your iPod playlist.

Officially, this is the band’s fourth single, the previous three all on the debut album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld released under Clementine’s very own Lilystars music label.

The new single marks an official return to the recording studios, and the addition of a new member, guitarist Pao Peralta, for the indie act that is widely seen to have soldiered on with the original vision of the Orange and Lemons. The Sight of Love also features another artist from the Lilystars stable — vocalist Sarah Gaugler of electro pop Turbo Goth.

The track is an easygoing, lightweight pop showcase of Clementine’s songwriting ability. The happiness is unmistakable, perhaps harking pack to the heady early days of O&L. It’s tempting to draw conclusions hinting to Clem’s state of mind these days. He has probably really moved, flexing his wings and taking us all for another giddy ride to the land of rubber shoes and dirty ice cream.

“We released this song as a token of our appreciation to the people who have supported not just the Camerawalls, but our indie label as well,” said the front man.

Clementine’s Lilystars label follows a non-traditional paradigm that takes advantage of the Internet to offer music outside the Philippines. “This enables us to reach a listenership that would otherwise be clueless about the music scene in our country,” he explained.

The label is set to release a physical (CD) compilation dubbed The POP Shoppe Vol. 1 this summer that would carry this single as well as choice tracks from other Lilystars acts. The Camerawalls also slates a video to premiere this summer, along with a provincial tour.

The Camerawalls formally launched its single on Feb. 24 via The POP Shoppe! At Route 196 (Blue Ridge, Katipunan) with performances by the complete roster of Lilystars artists. A limited number of CD-R’s of The Sight Of Love were given away to guests for free. - by Kap Maceda Aguila, The Philippine Star | March 4, 2010


by Johanna Poblete, Senior Reporter, Business World | December 9, 2010

INDIE tends to be one genre of music packed with diversity, and Bread and Circuses is a prime example of how post-punk euro-pop circa the 1980s and ’90s can morph into an experimental contemporary sound that’s easily melodic (ergo, listener-friendly), rhythmically complex, with elegant vocals and ponderous lyrics that pull at the emotions.

The EP is the The Camerawalls’ sophomore effort, coming two years after its first album Pocket Guide To The Otherworld (2008), and months after the release of the single “The Sight Of Love,” which featured Sarah Gaugler of electro pop band Turbo Goth, which was released in February.

There’s been a change in the band lineup, with bandleader and vocalist-guitarist Clementine “Clem” Castro and bassist Law Santiago welcoming Joseph “Bachie” Rudica into the fold after their former drummer resigned.

“Embracing a more able drummer who listens to the same music as I do with similar sensibilities in style and preference, not to mention [who is] down-to-earth, there’s no better choice. We are now solidly a Bulacan-based outfit. We easily communicate with each other and instantly gelled during jamming sessions while arranging the tracks in the EP,” Mr. Castro told BusinessWorld.

Mr. Rudica had been a sessionist for the band in between his duties as drummer to The Gentle Isolation (TGI), which is under the same Lilystars Records label managed by Mr. Castro. Given that the two bands are “under the same roof” so to speak, Mr. Rudica says that there is no conflict as far as belonging to two bands is concerned, merely management of schedules so that he could be allowed to play for both.

“TGI is very supportive; actually they really want me to be part of The Camerawalls. We get along well… we’re family because we’re under the same label,” Mr. Rudica told BusinessWorld via SMS.

“Clementine influenced and inspired me and the rest of TGI to be a full musician… I just love playing for both my bands and that gives me self-fulfilment in expressing my musicality,” he added.

Happy-go-lucky Mr. Rudica has a tendency to jump in and ad-lib his way through a composition, and is inventive with his drum patterns (his first gig with The Camerawalls was playing at the Club 8 Live concert, sans rehearsal). And while Mr, Castro comes in with the bones of the melody laid out, he’d contribute by winding his way through “free-ins.”

“We don’t have glitches and complications, so we can focus more on making good music to cater to our followers,” said Mr. Rudica.

Back to square one?

Listening to Bread and Circuses, one is eased into the EP with alluringly warm and mellow tunes.

“A Gentle Persuasion” is a bubbly rush of sound characteristic of indie that evokes a vague feeling of nostalgia (in my case, the first track made me dig out The Cardigans and indulge in “Carnival”). For his die-hard fans, this harks back to the kind of songs Mr. Castro used to write back when he was the “orange” in Orange and Lemons.

Immediately following is piano/keyboard-driven “My Life’s Arithmetic Means” which recruits the jaunty Kate Torralba for a tap-dance-worthy collaboration (a bonus track in the EP is her instrumental solo of this).

Both catchy songs are suited to the subject matter of love (and romanticized lovemaking).

Then we’ve got the backwash of new wave, as the EP transitions into an edgier, vaguely moody explosion of sound. “Longevity” is a gem of a song that recalls The Smiths, and their ilk, if such were inclined to guitar solos (Francis Reyes, formerly of The Dawn, having a guitar-shredding blast here). The highly melodic angst here is proof yet again that heartbreak makes for a great song.

Insomnia meanwhile takes a productive bent in “Birthday Wishes,” a lovely haunting tune, powerful in its Lennon-like lyricism. It has the gravitas of a prayer and the bittersweet insights of a songwriter on the eve of his birthday, reflecting on his life and then-current events (he refers to a female President). The violins in the background (contributed by Aussie musicians Dan Shepherd and Perrin Walker) add a romantic ambiguity anchored by his calm vocal delivery.

But if truth be told, it’s the last, the titular song, “Bread and Circuses” that encapsulates what The Camerawalls is known for. Fans of the first album will look to this for their fix, as it starts on a slow buildup to — borrowing Mr. Rudica’s descriptive — epic proportions, a perfect blend of instrumentation as backdrop of a concept that summarizes the indie musician’s dilemma: We are cooks and crooks with empty plates to fill / Serving dishes for our peers in vaudeville/ We dread for their reaction / They get no satisfaction/ Their palates’ dulled and burned with misery.

If you want something on repeat, the last song would be it, and when it ends abruptly, there’s that feeling of disappointment — bitin — as your pleasure is cut short, this bein - by Johanna Poblete, Senior Reporter, Business World | December 9, 2010


by Kevin Matthews, powerofpop.com | December 18, 2010

Simply put, this EP is one of the most accomplished pure pop music that South East Asia has produced in 2010. Composed of Clementine (vocals/guitars), Law Santiago (bass) and Joseph Rudica (drums), The Camerawalls is a Philippine band that has been around for about three years and this EP contains five strong reasons why classic pop fans need to sit up and take notice.

Not only are tracks like A Gentle Persuasion and My Life’s Arithmetic Means possessed of impossibly catchy melodies but on songs like the vibrant Longevity, the baroque Birthday Wishes and the breezy title track, The Camerawalls display the breadth of its mature songwriting technique and instrumental excellence – the guitar work on Longevity is breath-taking, the atmospheric nuance of Birthday Wishes is spine-tingling and the wondrously crafted title track recalls the heavenly majesty of The Smiths and Aztec Camera.

Highly recommended! - by Kevin Matthews, powerofpop.com | December 18, 2010


by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times | January 14, 2011

WITH the birthing pains of his band The Camerawalls now behind them, artist and musician Clementine and longtime partner and bassist Law Santiago, have now set their sights firmly on the future.

There may have been momentary bumps in the otherwise smoothly paved road to musical recognition and respect, but The Camerawalls are trudging on in their mission to offer that distinct Filipino twist to the classic indie pop sound.

After the almost universal critical acclaim for their debut album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld, the marquee artist of rising independent label Lilystars Records is releasing a follow-up EP called Bread and Circuses.

“The whole EP was recorded and mastered between September to November 2010,” Clementine says.

“This is a modest collection of songs I’ve written since last year.” The prolific songwriter and musician admits the record was originally a full-length sophomore release, but was reduced to an EP “for the lack of more compelling materials, not to mention budget concerns.”

Bread and Circuses is noteworthy enough for its collection of whimsical, lighthearted tunes that pack a mean punch when fully digested, but it also features the bow of replacement drummer Joseph Rudica, who most followers of the local indie-pop music scene will recognize from sister band The Gentle Isolation.

“It was easy to embrace a more able drummer who listens to the same music as I do with similar sensibilities in style and preference, not to mention down to earth,” Clementine explains. “There’s no better choice. We are now solidly a Bulacan-based outfit. We easily communicate with each other and instantly gelled during jamming sessions while arranging the tracks in the EP.”

The new record also marks a significant attempt for diversity and experimentation as well as collaboration for The Camerawalls. Musician-fashion designer and all-around artistic ingenue Kate Torralba contributed piano and keyboard sections on “My Life’s Arithmetic Means,” while Francis Reyes (ex-guitarist of The Dawn) contributed guitar solos on “Longevity.”

“An Australian friend named Dan Shepherd who studies music in Sydney, together with his friend Perrin Walker, wrote and contributed violin tracks through email ‘Birthday Wishes’,” Clementine adds. “Any other instruments and orchestrations you will hear in the record are contributions by one of our producers Jonathan Ong.”

The other man behind the sound is frequent collaborator Robert Javier.

There is a glimpse of Clementine’s current fascination with indie-pop, specifically ‘80s twee and post-punk during the initial sampling of the EP. However, repeated listenings will uncover an unmistakable evolution into folk, rock and alternative territory— something not entirely unfamiliar considering the frontman’s experiences with old band Orange and Lemons.

“There are other sounds there that even we can’t categorize!” he says. Set to head-bopping, toe-tapping jangly guitars, the title track speaks of breaking out of a dull existence, questioning the status quo and a desire for something more. There are traces of the decadence of ‘70s disco and ‘80s synth pop in “A Gentle Persuasion,” while the rest of the tracks are what you would imagine playing in the background of a hipster’s enclave; novel yet familiar, pleasant and comforting.

The ghosts of The Smiths and The Beatles, the band’s primary influences, permeate Bread and Circuses, which, incidentally, is a term coined in ancient Roman Times by the poet Juvenal. It refers to entertainment or offerings intended to foil discontent or distract attention from a situation. For Clementine and his cohorts, who push on to create music worlds different from what the mainstream feeds us despite the incredible odds, it is an apt description.

Plans to release a double album—one purely Tagalog, and another a collection of songs written in English—may seem lofty, given the current state of recorded music, but for Clementine and his Camerawalls, the satisfaction is in the attempt, and any rewards that come after is just icing on the proverbial cake. They are also working on bringing their act around Southeast Asia as well as the United States this year.

At the close of one year and the beginning of another, The Camerawalls are at the perfect juncture to look back at past successes and release an EP that would reintroduce them as the preeminent name in Pinoy indie pop. - by Paul John Cana, The Manila Times | January 14, 2011


Excerpt from Sound Advice, People Asia Magazine | Feb-Mar 2011

A surprising selection of songs bitter and sweet, the sophomore release of The Camerawalls, which is the brainchild of Clementine (vocals and guitars) captivates not with predominant satirical lyrics in contrast to their first album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld but with a sound reflecting moody extremes.

The sugary serenades of “A Gentle Persuasion” and “My Life’s Arithmetic Means” complements the heavier tracks — “Longevity,” (with guest guitarist Francis Reyes, former member of The Dawn), and the contemplative “Birthday Wishes” with violin samples highlighting drama then followed by the title track.

The album delivers a new facet and concludes on a whimsical note in a hidden track with fashion designer-musician Kate Torralba free-styling on the piano for the second track. - Excerpt from Sound Advice, People Asia Magazine | Feb-Mar 2011


by Jason Caballa, PULP Magazine | Feb-Mar Issue 2011

The Camerawalls’ 2009 full-length debut, Pocket Guide To The Otherword, may have demonstrated that perhaps, singer and guitarist Clem “Clementine” Castro, had been the real songwriting genius in Orange & Lemons, but the record’s overpowering Anglophilic flavor (okay fine, it’s mostly the way he sings with a British accent) may also suggest that his former cohort in O&L was responsible for the local (read: masa) appeal of his former band’s more successful radio singles. But that’s a bit of an over-analysis though.

Besides, Pocket Guide To The Otherworld was a fine record, with excellent cuts like “The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner,” “I Love You, Natalie,” and of course, “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours,” that even our metalhead editor-in-chief admitted to liking at one point. At the same time, I couldn’t care less for that other band that resulted from O&L’s split.

Likewise, I am a firm believer that good music shouldn’t be defined by race, region, or nationality. If some bloke from Bulacan wants to sing with a British accent, as long as his songs are good, then let him. Besides, white people have been rapping for over two decades now, and one of the best dub/reggae bands I’ve heard is from Cebu. (Then again, the worst reggae band I know is Pinoy, too, but let’s not get into that.)


The Camerawalls (From L-R: Joseph Rudica, Law Santiago and Clementine)
The Camerawalls are back with a new record, the six-track (including an unlisted piano instrumental at the end) Bread And Circuses EP. Some fans may expect a variation in sound, as the trio did go through some significant changes in the past year or so. Original drummer Ian Sarabia has left the fold, replaced by Joseph “Bachie” Rudica of Lilystars labelmates The Gentle Isolation. They’ve also had a second live guitar player for a considerable period, but he also left the same time Sarabia bailed.

The first thing one may n0tice, then, on opening track “A Gentle Persuasion,” are the beats. Rudica provides a funkier, more agile touch behind the kit, and, along with keyboards and string orchestrations provided by co-producer Jonathan Ong, makes the song more akin to indie pop acts like Club 8 and Camera Obscura than the English jangle-pop and new wave Castro seemingly drew heavily from on their first release.

Piano courtesy of musician/fashion designer Kate Torralba gives “My Life’s Arithmetic Means” a gentle pub-rock bounce, while ex-The Dawn axeman Francis Reyes provides welcome electricity to the sublime “Longevity.” “Birthday Wishes” is probably Castro at his most Lennon-esque. Not only does he sound like the late ex-Beatle, but with lyrics like “I wish for peace and love / a better country / and a happy coexistence” and “Never cease believing / dreams do come true,” it could very well be his own “Imagine.”

While all these songs are certainly more than decent, it’s the title track Bread and Circuses” that definitely makes this EP worth the purchase. Plainly put, it’s Castro’s best song since “Clinically Dead For 16 Hours,” and with its deft beats, subtle flourishes of strings, keys and tremolo’ed guitars, and Law Santiago’s walking bassline, it could even be the band’s finest moment yet. Splendid work, mates. - by Jason Caballa, PULP Magazine | Feb-Mar Issue 2011


by Kap Maceda Aguila, The Philippine Star | March 22, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The first time I heard Bread and Circuses, the banner track from the new Camerawalls album of the same name, it was at an obscure rehearsal studio in the bowels of Cubao. The drum kit was a little ratty; the room old and tried — certainly not the kind of establishment you’d expect a name band like the Camerawalls to practice.

After a cup of coffee at the mini-store out front, bandleader Clem “Clementine” Castro let me sit in for a couple of songs on the drummer’s throne (and I did so nervously) to jam with him and bassist Law Santiago. Later, new drummer Joseph Rudica took over and the three-piece began to practice in earnest for a gig the next day.

Bread and Circuses has a period, almost epic feel to it — all three minutes, eight seconds of it. The writing is vintage Clementine — catchy and with a pop sensibility by way of ‘80s new wave.

I’m tired of being fed with bread and circuses. This world, it seems so incredibly conservative. With passion like mine, will you gravely read my stone when I should die?

If there was any worry that the second Camerawalls effort would suffer from the dreaded sophomore curse, the Bread and Circuses EP should put that to rest.

Perhaps the only thing you could lament about this effort is just that it’s only an EP. Six songs long (actually, the sixth is merely a piano version of second track My Life’s Arithmetic Means.

Still you could glean an evolution of the Camerawalls sound — or production.

When prodded for the concept, Clementine says there was no overarching concept. “We simply relied on materials we pulled out of our sleeves, with the hope that they would fit together in an album.”

Well, to be honest, the songs do, and the lushness of the tracks show a growth that distinguishes this from the first album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld. “The richer production came in naturally during the recording process when I told my producers we were willing to experiment.”

It also helps to have friends; Clementine rustled up some musician friends such as former Dawn guitarist Francis Reyes to session — adding layers and counterpoints to the material that make it more engaging and more of an earful to listen to.

As for the length, well it’s cheaper to release five songs than 10, right? Economics aside, the new EP is a steal.

To promote the new release, Clementine says Camerawalls is making plans for “local and regional tours to reach more music fans.” While they’re at it, Clementine reveals, that plans are afoot to come up with an “ambitious” double album this year. “One would be in Filipino; the other in English,” he said.

Here’s wishing the double album would materialize — and soon. - by Kap Maceda Aguila, The Philippine Star | March 22, 2011


by Xiomara Glindmeyer, Sun Star Cebu | April 3, 2011

The Camerawalls is the proverbial phoenix rising from its ashes for singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Clemen Castro or simply Clementine, the new moniker he goes by. The unceremonious departure from the now-defunct band Orange and Lemons resulted in the emergence of The Camerawalls. Almost like karmic retribution, the band wasted no time garnering laud and laurels amongst peers and discerning listeners after an internet release of their first single, “Markers of Beautiful Memories.” The subsequent release of their debut album, “Pocket Guide to the Otherworld” and the live events allowed the band to widen their fan base. It wasn’t a stretch for Clementine, having been the impetus of his successful erstwhile band.

Released in December of last year, the second album is an EP titled “Bread and Circuses.” It opens with the summery track “A Gentle Persuasion” evocative of 60s pop sound. It is an artfully seductive yet genteel song. Clementine crooning the lines “Tonight I’m in spades of light in my heart. Please indulge me. Don’t stop me. Oh gentle persuasion…” almost reads like an anachronistic Arthurian romantic verse. The song is followed by the equally peppy “My Life’s Arithmetic Means” with piano tracks by the accomplished and sublime Kate Torralba. The listener finds a song about trust and the relevance you give to a person. “Like a bubble at a touch I won’t let you break. I won’t even pretend ‘cause you’re the value of my life’s arithmetic means.”

Listen to these songs when you feel that the world is against you. I promise you, that same world will now be awash with sunshine and life will be beautiful again. The next track has a more somber message in spite of its upbeat tune. “Longevity” sings about the harsh reality that love can die for no apparent reason except that it has reached its zenith and can go no further. Painfully wrought in these lines “Your longevity in my heart now appear as a handicap. I can’t function no more”. “Birthday Wishes” is a quiet song of maturity. If one listens carefully, there is (almost) another voice track that is singing the verses in a whisper. It’s a perfect milieu for exploring the realization that it’s the things that you can’t touch that matter. “And in this fog I use my heart as a compass and in the darkness my faith is my lamp and in depression I learn the real value of living…” Those lines speak wisely that it is human connection that makes us go on. “All these years I think of nothing, no one but myself in birthday wishes. Now I think of you.” Finally, the title track “Bread and Circuse” with these lines “We choose what we have and sometimes lose more than our bread.

You’ve given life your trust and it’s been thrown back at your face…” laments ruefully about how life is at times, not fair.

Regardless of the absence of the rondalla-type instrumentation characteristic of their past songs, with Clementine’s signature androgynous voice, this album is still nevertheless distinctively, The Camerawalls. Extolling the virtues of Clementine’s lyric writing is not an arduous task. It is plain to hear that all the songs are well-written and erudite but devoid of any esoteric thus, making it is easier to relate to.

While most songwriters employ fillers, a quatrain of “yeah’s” and “ohh’s” and “aahh’s” if you will, the band is guiltless in this instance. Although some themes may have been sung countless times, their songs are eloquently riddled with idioms that may be familiar but never encountered in song. One rarely hears the same overused, unimaginative lines. Bread and Circuses is an honest soulful imagery of human nature whether in doubt, in woe, in disenchantment and in love.

The collective of Clementine, Law Santiago and Joseph “Bachie” Rudica (bassist and drummer respectively) and their fusion of sophisticatedly arranged music and the brilliantly penned poetic lyrics have established themselves as a band to be reckoned with. While the airwaves are teeming with inane songs with paltry songwriting, they urge you to listen not just with your ears but with your heart and mind. To real musicians, their job is done when their music evoke that catharsis. The Camerawalls easily surpassed that a thousandfold. - by Xiomara Glindmeyer, Sun Star Cebu | April 3, 2011


Discography

BREAD AND CIRCUSES (CD EP)
Release Date: December, 2010
Label: Lilystars Records
Tracklist:
1. A Gentle Persuasion
2. My Life's Arithmetic Means
3. Longevity
4. Birthday Wishes
5. Bread and Circuses

THE SIGHT OF LOVE (Digital Single)
Release Date: February, 2010
Label: Lilystars Records

POCKET GUIDE TO THE OTHERWORLD (CD Album)
Release Date: July 2008
Label: Lilystars Records
Tracklist:
1. Markers Of Beautiful Memories
2. Clinically Dead For 16 Hours
3. Lord Of The Flies
4. I Love You, Natalie
5. Changing Horses Midstream
6. Ignore My Weakness, Don't Ignore Me
7. Canto De Maria Clara
8. The Emperor, The Concubine & The Commoner
9. Solitary North Star
10. Lizards Hiding Under Rocks

Listen to our full discography: http://thecamerawalls.com/recordings

Photos

Bio

Formed in Manila, Philippines in 2007, The Camerawalls is an indie band with a “reinventionist” take on pop/rock and indie influences from various eras, more often than not 1960s rock and 1980s new wave.

The Camerawalls’ debut album “Pocket Guide To The Otherworld” in July 2008 was met with critical success. This was followed by a February 2010 release of the digital single, “The Sight Of Love,” and the EP “Bread and Circuses” later in December. Both releases also garnered favorable reviews.

Often transcendent of the usual labels, their sound is characterized by a lyricism and melodic sensibility largely shaped by singer-songwriter and guitarist Clementine (formerly of Orange & Lemons), together with guitarist George Carillo, bassist Law Santiago (the other remaining member from the original line-up), and drummer Bach Rudica.

The Camerawalls’ music is a sonic tapestry of jangly acoustic and driving electric guitars, elegantly restrained drumming, with occasional flourishes, such as incorporating native Rondalla (traditional Philippine folk music) and other classical instrumentations in their recordings.

The band members share similar influences, such as The Beatles, The Smiths, John Lennon, Morrissey, XTC, Belle & Sebastian, The Pale Fountains, The Lightning Seeds, Trash Can Sinatras, among others.

“If there is one word to describe me and my band it’s REINVENTIONISTS. In the words of Irine Buchine – ‘One that is willing to explore, willing to transcend, thus able to transform.’ I like how my records seem timeless. Listen to it now and listen to it again after five years and it will still sound fresh. I like how we crossover and steadily grow our market in and out of the country basically by sheer discovery and word of mouth alone.” – Clementine

AWARDS / RECOGNITION

Grand Prize Winner (for the song "Birthday Wishes")
The John Lennon 71st Birthday Songwriting Contest
November 2011

Semi-Finalist (for the song "Bread and Circuses")
2011 International Songwriting Competition

"The Sight Of Love" nominated for Feel Good Song of the Year
2nd Asia Pacific Voice Independed Music Awards
April 2010

Nominated as Best New Artist
2008 NU Rock Awards

NOTABLE GIGS | CONCERTS & FESTIVALS

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Concert (Manila)
Opening Act, February 29, 2012

Timbre @ The Substation (Singapore)
September 13-14, 2011

China Crisis Concert (Manila)
Opening Act, January 22, 2011

Ayala Museum (Makati)
Bread & Circuses Album Launch, December 11, 2010

BAYBEATS FESTIVAL (Singapore)
Esplanade, August 21, 2010

Club 8 Live in the Philippines (Manila & Cebu)
Opening Act, May 14, 2010 (SMX) | May 15, 2010 (CICC)