Words by Cris O. Ramos Jr.
Independent soul-jazz fusion band Farewell Fair Weather recently released their new single “Blank Pages” online. The single distributed online by Ditto Music is included in their much-awaited full-length 15-track debut album with newly-established independent record label Offshore Music. The six-piece band is currently composed of keyboardist Gani Palabyab, lead guitarist Kim Hue Jin, bassist Ethan Muriel, drummer Mark Villena, sound engineer Leng Guerrero, and frontwoman Mic-Mic Manalo.
Farewell Fair Weather was founded in 2012 at the University of Sto. Tomas Conservatory of Music. Since then, they are one of the bands that helped kickstart the now-growing trend of independent musicians crossing over to the mainstream, mostly on the strength of their self-released 2013 EP Rough Skies. The band was selected as the “Chosen One” of Jack Daniel’s On Stage Music Program, besting over twenty acts, many of whom have also been making waves for the past few years. Farewell Fair Weather also represented the country in Music Matters 2015 held in Singapore, which is where key artists and music industry people gather annually in Asia. The band is known mostly for songs such as “Rough Skies,” “Beyond,” and “Sakali.”
Offshore Music is an independent record label co-founded by Ely Buendia that aims not just to set the bar, but to be the bar for artists who desire to have creative control. Other acts in the label currently include Buendia’s big soul band Apartel, The Itchyworms, post-punk goth band The Late Isabel and legendary blues musician Jun Lopito, among others.
The band tried out for Offshore after reading an article featuring Ely Buendia on FHM Philippines. After a series of meetings, Farewell Fair Weather formally joined the label and are set to release a 15-track album featuring mostly re-recorded tracks from Rough Skies and new songs recorded in different studios with over-all producer Francis Reyes and Gabby Alipe, who produced one track. The album will be entitled Blank Pages. Ditto Music is a U.K.-based label that is setting up shop here in the Philippines.
“I can say that our old sound from the EP has matured. I think as a band musically we’ve matured a lot. It doesn’t sound rushed anymore, so we’re taking our time. We’ve been recording since July 2016,” Gani bared. “I’m really excited for people to hear what we’ve been working on. I just want to see how people would react, bad or good to this because we’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. As long as we get a reaction no matter how it is, I’m really looking forward to that.”
“For the past few years, we’ve been jangling (many things) and hustling. Madami nang pinagdaanan ‘yung banda, tapos madami ding frustrations, pati na din nawalang mga tao by choice and by chance,” Mic-Mic said. “We would like to turn negative into positive through our music.”
“This album is a whole new beginning. We’re gonna start fresh,” Gani promised. “Well, I think basically our basis for going with the label was the article, and I guess stories from (artists from) other labels. I don’t know, we just wanted to try something different from what everyone else was doing and I think looking at Offshore I think we would have fitted well marketing-wise and the whole vibe with the people that are involved.”
Listen to “Blank Pages” here: