Crust Punk, Death Metal, Grindcore, Metal, Punk

Abanglupa – Of Rats and Swine (Premiere | Interview)

(Upcoming) Album:Of Rats and Swine
Genre:Crust / Grind
Release Date:22nd of February, 2022
Released viaLower Class Kids Records
Nuclear Family Records
Ugly and Proud Records
Audacious Madness Records
Bent Window Records
Esagoya Records
Cover Artwork ©Abanglupa, 2022

Pretty much out of nowhere, Filipino Grinders Abanglupa hit you right in the face with their upcoming release Of Rats and Swine that is planned to be released on the 22nd of February. In order to ease the time until the official release, we are glad to be able to offer an early stream. Many thanks go out to the band for this opportunity. Since we were way more interested in this release and Abanglupa apart from only premiering, we also discussed music, labelwork and especially the political situation in the Philippines so as to be able to get a better understanding of Of Rats and Swine.

Interview with Abanglupa

Greetings to the Philippines and welcome at Transcended Music Blog! Thanks a lot in advance for taking your time in order to answer our questions. Since we might have one or another reader who has not yet heard of ABANGLUPA, feel free to introduce yourself as a band.

We are ABANGLUPA, a hardcore punk/grindcore duo from Pateros, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Just briefly, what does the term ‘ABANGLUPA’ actually mean?

Our band name ‘Abanglupa’ is a portmanteau of two tagalog words that mean ‘Oppressed Land’

Going by the fact that the two of you are brothers it is probably no big deal to find out how you found together as a band. However, what was the path that lead you towards eventually forming ABANGLUPA?

We work on almost every musical project, from post-punk, doom/sludge, death metal, and psych rock. We formed Abanglupa becuase we think that through this project we can express our grievances and of those we represent in the socio-economic and socio-political aspect of things, through our words and music.

Apart from playing music in ABANGLUPA, the two of you are also active as a label as well as recording music at Sound Carpentry Recordings. What came first, the label, the studio or the idea to play music and what followed? Are there any other projects you are involved in?

We started when we formed a band many years ago. Eventually, because of the need for comprehensive documentation of our releases, we decided to put up Sound Carpentry Recordings first as our recording studio and then as a label. We are both involved in the following projects:

The Insektlife Cycle (Psych Rock)

Dagtum (Dissonant Death Metal)

HATEURE (Doom/Sludge)

Imperial Airwaves (Post-Punk)

Basalt Shrine (Doom/Sludge)

All of which are actively creating music.

It is incredibly impressive when taking a closer look that you (the Vivo Brothers) were in charge for recording Of Rats and Swine at Sound Carpentry Recordings, mixing and mastering by Ronnel as well as shooting and editing the videos by both of you plus drawing / editing the cover artwork for the release. Pretty much – you did everything yourself from scratch. What impact does DIY culture have on your lives?

When we started out on this path we took, we had no illusions that anyone would support and back what we were doing. That’s why we’ve always had the mindset that we create and do everything else that needs to be done by ourselves. We have close knit group behind us who also share our passion and vision. This is how it has been for us and how we see ourselves doing things in any artform we engage in and this has a huge impact on our ethics as creators.

The music you play already finds its way into a specific corner of genres. What’s the underground scene like in the Philippines? Do you have a general Punk scene that also encompasses the more extreme musical styles that are linked to it or is there also a more isolated Metal scene that sticks to itself?

We’re not experts when it comes to commenting about the local “scene”. There’s a punk scene, there’s a metal scene, and there are times when the scenes overlap at certain events. Mostly though these scenes run their own events and are tailored the tendencies and inclinations of the people running the shows.

The first thing that came to my mind when having listened into Of Rats and Swine was a strong connection to the sound of Trap Them especially on their earlier releases. What are the major influences you take your inspiration from when finding out how to sound?

Truth be told, the acts/bands that other people compare us to are mostly new discoveries for us. Our true influence is the struggle of our country and the problems that plague our society. We found our sound as we determined that it was most suited to air our grievances of those always caught in the middle of poverty, anger, hope, and rebellion.

When taking into consideration that you created almost everything of this release yourself, it feels as if you had a strong urge to come up with this output. Is there a specific direction you want to follow with your band because of which you started playing music?

There is no direct path except that of bringing to the forefront societal concerns through hardcore punk music and nothing else.

Especially your latest video output for “Forced Dementia” showcases that your music is intensely politically charged, which can be found out without even listening to the lyrics only watching the video (or reading the text in the post). In order for everyone to understand your position, can you briefly describe the socio-political situation in your country that sets the frame for the music you play?

For six long years, we have been under the thumb of a butcher and a dictator named Rodrigo Duterte. The taking of life became even more rampant under his rule. From his so-called war on drugs, up to his unjust red tagging of those who dissent. Extra Judicial Killings became the norm and was successfully implemented by the military and the police. Now that our national election is only a few months away (at the time of this interview) the Philippines is going to elect a new president very soon. The son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos is a frontrunner and the highest political position in the land is in danger of being occupied by monster.

How do you connect Of Rats and Swine with the situation described above? Is there an overarching general link apart from the separate tracks that explains you aiming at your political situation?

This album ‘Of Rats and Swine’ is a testament and a primer of the current political state of the Philippines. Led by traitorous rats and swine who slobber and defile the law and human rights.

There is quite an amount of labels that are going to release your first output all over the world. How did those labels find your music? Did you specifically address those labels or did some of the labels come up to you wanting to release your music?

I sent proposals to a couple of record labels and received a positive response in return. We are pleasantly surprised that we found so many allies from around the world that aided our cause and became a part in releasing our album.

The final words definitely belong to you – feel free to find finishing words for this interview according to your wishes!


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