There seems to be a newfound appreciation for a mélange of throwback sounds: the funkadelic vibe of James Brown and George Clinton, the captivating spirit of Motown and old school soul, the cabaret-infused acid jazz of Brand New Heavies and Incognito. A lot of young, music-schooled bands have embraced such sonic stew and made it sound artificially syrupy and clean, more palatable to Millennial speak to a degree. Imagine hugot lyrics over a swinging, suwabe groove or sexual innuendos sung atop slickly produced, jukebox revival. Most, if not all who thread the same path, lack the courage to dive into murkier waters and explore bold, stylistic choices. Pleasing their demographic has become the top priority, leaving people who saw promise in their early material shaking their heads in disappointment.
It’s refreshing to hear a band like Apartel break out of the trend by association and conflate the best years of the ‘70s and early ‘80s music into seamless retro gold. Their demos which were available for streaming for a limited time, challenges the audience while not alienating their sensibilities: there’s the soulful gospel perfection of “On The Other Side,” the sensual and smooth “Sala Sa Init” and the infectious first single “Is It Hip.” These songs are marked by inevitably high expectations given the roster of talents who lent their expertise in this project, but with thespians Ely Buendia and Jay Ortega in charge of the creative wheel, expect nothing but romance and life wisdom on a churchly level.
The band takes artistry to uncharted territories with the upcoming music video release of debut single “Is It Hip,” which Apartel claims to be “one of, if not the most expensive and elaborate music videos ever shot in the country.” Acclaimed director Marie Jamora is at the helm of this masterful pursuit, responsible for making it look like a slick short film. “We thought that she would do justice with the song and we’re pretty happy with our decision,” Ely Buendia shares. Jay Ortega also has nothing but nice words about the Ang Nawawala director. “Her first co-directing job was in one of the Eraserheads songs where Ely was also a director.” It turns out “Maskara” off their seventh studio album, Carbon Stereoxide, is the song he’s talking about.
To celebrate the release of the music video, Apartel will be holding a music video launch at Victoria Court, Malate on September 17 at 6pm, with guest performances by Farewell Fair Weather and Mean Jay. “It’s something different. It’s very thematic with regards to the name of the band, where we’re holding it, the theme of the single,” Ortega jokingly tells Vandals. “I think it all ties up together.”
RSVP here for more details about the Is It Hip? Music Video Launch. Special thanks to Pat Sarabia for interviewing Apartel for Vandals On The Wall.
Watch the teaser: