The “Rumbling” is about to begin. While the term actually signals the end in a different universe (particularly the fabled anime Attack On Titan), it is only the beginning for P-pop boy group Alamat in the Philippines.
Here, the band is getting ready to make waves with Dagundong (Rumbling), which is the name of both its first album’s opening track and upcoming first solo concert.
This choice of name is by no means coincidental. It holds greater meaning for the members, Tomás, R-Ji, Taneo, Alas, Mo, and Jao — who are not even halfway done in showing the country and the rest of the world what Alamat is all about.
The legend continues with Billboard Philippines prepared to unearth Alamat’s grand plans with Dagundong through an exclusive interview.
Taking ‘IsaPuso’ to heart
Alamat dropped their first full-length album release IsaPuso on November 4. The music video for “Dagundong” also came out the day prior.
The group’s leader, Taneo, said music production and recording for the album’s eight songs took around a year altogether.
“Wala kasing specific na standard operating procedure talaga [There is no specific standard operating procedure to begin with]… For instance, for one song, iba naman ‘yung ginawa namin [we did a different process]. ‘Dagundong’ itself, actually the demo was sent to us by Thyro [Alfaro]… We studied our parts and all that. We recorded it. But on some songs, parang hindi ganon din ‘yung process, parang iba-iba po sila [the process was different for each one of them].”
IsaPuso saw heightened participation from the members, with Mo taking on songwriting, Alas and R-Ji putting their producer hats on, and Jao choreographing with Taneo.
The album’s title references its objective to bring Alamat and Magiliw [Alamat’s fans] together as one figurative heart feeling the same sensations.
“Gusto naming makiisa [we want to be one] with each other, with our listeners, with everyone, with the audience in this album. We want our listeners to evoke an emotion… The goal is for them to relate with the message. For them to become one with the music, with us, with everyone,” Taneo explained.
This explains the themes and accompanying art for the IsaPuso tracklist consisting of “Dagundong,” “Day And Night,” “Dayang,” “Dong-Dong-Ay,” “Manila Dreams,” “Multo,” “Noli,” and “Walang Hanggan.” Colored illustrations used in teasers even included local culture such as a mermaid, ghost, and the Rizal Monument.
“Wala naman po talaga siyang eksakto na kung ano talaga ‘yung pinaka tema niya. Kung ano ‘yung message ng kanta, kung ano ‘yung emotion ng kanta, ‘yun ‘yung nafi-feel ng listeners. ‘Yun din ‘yung gusto naming ipa-feel sa kanila. Ganon din naman ‘yung nafi-feel namin kapag pinapakinggan namin ‘yung songs [There is really no exact theme behind the album. Rather, the message and emotion behind each songs are what listeners feel. That’s what we want them to feel, because that’s what we also feel listening to the songs.],” Mo reflects.
Rather than telling a straightforward story, IsaPuso gives off a certain vibe of relatability, sharing the bigger picture of Filipino culture to the world.
“Ang gusto talaga namin dito is maka-connect kami sa mga tao doon na nararamadaman din namin itong mga ganitong klaseng heartbreak, ‘yung mga love na ganitong na sa kanta namin… Kasi IsaPuso, isang puso, sinasapuso ‘yung kanta [What we sought to do is connect with others about how we feel the same heartbreak and love in our songs. Because IsaPuso, one heart, taking the song to heart.],” Tomas analyzes.
Ready to rumble with ‘Dagundong’
Meanwhile, Magiliw have a lot to look forward to in the boys’ first solo concert on December 1.
Alamat is set to perform their songs as never seen or heard before, according to Taneo. Each member will also perform as solo acts throughout Dagundong.
“‘Yung ibang kanta namin, iibahin ‘yung areglo. Automatic, merong vibe na ibibigay [The arrangement will be modified for some of our songs. This will automatically provide a certain vibe.],” Tomas teased.
The group said it is their first concert that will set the stage for Alamat to venture further into the Philippine regions and the globe. So far, they have toured the likes of Bacolod, Baguio, Bicol, Davao, Pampanga, and Zambales.
R-Ji, who hails from Eastern Samar’s Borongan, said they have yet to visit the Visayas island of Samar for now. This means Alamat can look forward to covering more ground including its members’ hometowns.
For now, the band takes a moment to realize how far they have come. Among their proudest achievements is performing for the FIBA World Cup 2023.
“For performances, siguro [maybe] FIBA. Kasi ‘yun ‘yung once-in-a-lifetime tapos pipiliin pa ‘yung country na magho-host [That was that once-in-a-lifetime moment that involved choosing a host country]. I think ‘90s pa ata tayo nag-host ng [was the last time we hosted] FIBA. Bumalik ‘yung FIBA dito 2023 and isa kami sa mga nag-perform worldwide [FIBA returned here in 2023 and we were one of those that performed worldwide],” Alas cheers.
Alamat likewise remembered to thank the people who got them to where they are now, namely Magiliw and their creative director, Jason Paul Laxamana.
“Bago pa kami magsimula, and kami habang na sa daan papunta dito sa kung na saan kami ngayon, nagri-research siya. Walang katapusang pagri-research about kung paano magbuo ng boy band. ‘Yung mga pino-produce namin na kanta, paano ‘yung mga kwento doon na about sa Philippines, Philippine history, sa mga instrument. Lagi siyang nagri-research and nagtatanong sa mga tamang tao [Before we started and on the way to where we are now, Laxamana was researching nonstop about how to form a boy band. This spans all of the songs we produce, the stories we tell of the Philippines, its history, and its instruments. He’s always researching and consulting the right people.],” Tomas commended.
The director who formed Alamat was described by Mo as “very hands-on.” Nonetheless, he knows when to take a step back to let the members do their part. For instance, he let Jao write and perform the choreography of “Day And Night” with minor guidance as to which regional dances to incorporate as key movements.
This is in line with Alamat’s mission of representing the diversity of Filipino culture, as heard in their Philippine-language songs “ABKD,” “Hala,” “ILY ILY,” and “Manila Dreams.”
Of course, the members did not forget to pay tribute to their loyal fanbase. “When it comes to the Magiliws naman, madami po silang natutulong sa amin bukod sa support [they contribute a lot aside from support]. It’s their constructive criticism, kung paano pa po mas mahasa ‘yung ginagawa namin, kung ano pa po ‘yung mas mapapaganda [on how to hone our craft, to find what else to improve],” Jao thanked.
With a long way to go, Alamat looks ahead to discovering the breadth of the “Dagundong” they have set forth in motion.