Orange and Lemons
|Orange and Lemons|
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JM del Mundo
Ace del Mundo
Orange and Lemons is a Filipino rock band formed in 2003. The band name "Oranges and Lemons" was recommended by a former member of the group. Apparently the band was not aware at that time that the name was actually derived from a British nursery rhyme and a title of an album by the British band "XTC". So they changed it to "Orange and Lemons".
All members of the group come from the Philippine province of Bulacan.
The band's main musical influences range from The Beatles to The Smiths.
Orange and Lemons or ONL is a grand and swift crossover story from their humble beginnings as a virtually unknown act in the scene to being independent artists to being artists under major label Universal Records Philippines. Their songs enjoyed massive airplay in radio stations and music channels in the country resulting to the band gaining popularity and winning fans of different ages and backgrounds.
Their hit songs as of 2006 include "Just like a Splendid Love Song", "Hanggang Kailan (Until When)", "Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown)", "Abot Kamay (Within Reach)" and the massive and controversial hit song "Pinoy Ako ('I'm Filipino)," which was the official soundtrack of Pinoy Big Brother, Philippines' franchised version of the reality TV show Big Brother.
- JM del Mundo - bass
- Clem Castro - vocals/guitars
- Ace del Mundo - drums
- Mcoy Fundales - vocals/guitars
The Early Years
Clem Castro and Mcoy Fundales met in high school in the mid 90's. They found out through participating in school programs and events that they share a common passion for music. Mcoy introduced Clem to the music of The Beatles and since then jammed songs from the legendary group and at the same time developed their song writing partnership. The duo formed groups with friends from their province of Bulacan and went through several names such as The Voiz, Sweet Silence, Irony, The Cranes, Mushroom and eventually settling down with the monicker Orange and Lemons. The name was suggested by their former drummer. The group got the name because it sounded playful, fresh and catchy to them. It was years after they used the name that they found out that there is actually a British nursery rhyme and an XTC album called "Oranges and Lemons". Clem discovered the music of The Smiths in college and introduced it to Mcoy. It was the music of The Beatles and The Smiths combined that created a huge impact on the duo's song writing and playing style.
Brothers Ace and JM del Mundo were in a band called Colossal Youth when they met Clem and Mcoy in a local bar in Bulacan in 1999. The older Ace, who was playing guitars at that time, was very impressed with the song writing skills of Clem and Mcoy and instantly became a fan.
Clem and Mcoy with two other friends were handled by Roldan "Bong" Baluyot of No Seat Affair (a local management, booking and production outfit) when they recorded a two-track demo (She's Leaving Home, Isang Gabi) in 1999 as Orange and Lemons. The song She's Leaving Home soon found its way to radio station NU107.5 FM's playlist.
Rap-metal/loud bands lorded the scene at that time and ONL (with their clean, jangly guitar driven, Brit-flavored pop songs) went almost unnoticed. Looking for a label to release the boys' materials became a difficult task.
Out of college and out of work, Clem and Mcoy decided to put the band in hiatus in 2000 in order to find day jobs and try different careers.
It was in 2003, when Ace showed up in Clem's place asking about the band. He urged Clem to reform the band in order to have the original songs recorded even for posterity's sake. Ace was so determined and steadfast about the idea that he even volunteered to switch from playing guitars to drums in order to get the band started. It was enough to convince Clem, so he contacted Mcoy and their former bassist to discuss the possibilities. A rehearsal date was soon set. The former bassist, however, failed to show up during the rehearsal. Fortunately, JM came along with Ace and was soon jamming with the group on bass. After the jamming session, Mcoy and Clem decided to have the del Mundo brothers in the band permanently and the new line up of Orange and Lemons was formed.
The boys soon started arranging and rehearsing original songs that would eventually end up in their debut album called Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream.
Clem and Mcoy contacted Bong Baluyot to once again handle the band. They presented crude demo recordings of the new songs. Bong liked the songs and was convinced that there might be a demand for the band's sound this time around. Together with friend Boom Jose of the 80s band Violent Playground, they booked ONL in a session to put the songs on record. 10 songs were recorded in three days time due to limited financial budget. After the songs were recorded, Bong once again started scouting around for a label that would take the group in.
The band needed gigs. The boys decided to rehearse their 80s repertoire in order to get bookings in bars in the Metro. It was again a challenge since acoustic acts and novelty songs were in demand at that time. ONL got their first gig stint in a club in Makati City called "Where Else?".
The band's sense of humor and wit on stage combined with their nostalgic repertoire and excellent original materials soon got people, young professionals in particular, spreading the word. ONL's audience steadily grew.
It was in one of those gigs that ONL met Toti Dalmacion formerly of Groove Nation (a local music store famous for having hard to find and rare records from abroad). Toti occasionally spins for Where Else? and is known as a music guru in the Philippine music scene. He became curious about Orange and Lemons because of their band name since he is a long time XTC fan. Toti liked ONL's music for it sounds familiar yet new. The band soon found themselves indulged in conversations with Toti regarding music, genres and style.
Toti was already toying with the idea of coming up with an Independent label that he would call Terno Recordings. The label would showcase unsigned and talented Filipino artists with unique sound and style that could pass international standards. He proposed that ONL be the flagship artist for the label. Opportunities were realized by both parties. A one-album deal was signed.
ONL's 10-track debut album "Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream" was independently released and launched in December of 2003.
The album's carrier single "(Just Like) A Splendid Love Song" got radio airplay on NU107.5 FM and would soon after reach the station's number 1 spot in their weekly countdown. Another local station JAM88.3 FM started airing the single and it too went up on the station's charts.
The album created buzz in the scene and ONL was now playing in different venues across the Metro to a jam-packed crowd hungry for their own brand of music.
Orange and Lemons was declared Best New Artist for 2004 in NU107's yearly Rock Awards event.
Major Label Success
Bong met with Robert Javier of 90s band The Youth during one of ONL's regular "Gweilos Bar" Makati gigs. Robert informed Bong that Bella Tan of major label Universal Records Philippines is interested in signing Orange and Lemons to the label. Negotiations went on and ONL soon found themselves signing a contract with Universal Records in October 2004.
The band proceeded to record a new album -- their sophomore effort and first under a major label. Given more resources and recording time allotment, ONL showed tremendous growth in their sound on the new album. "Strike Whilst The Iron Is Hot" was completed and released in June 2005 dishing out successful singles such as "Hanggang Kailan (Umuwi Ka Na Baby)", "Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown) and "Lihim".
One of the band's biggest break would come along with an offer from Philippine Media Giant ABS CBN Network for ONL to do the jingle/soundtrack for a new series Pinoy Big Brother, the Philippine franchised version of the reality TV show Big Brother. ONL came up with a massive yet controversial hit song called "Pinoy Ako" for the task.
Other projects of the band include "Abot Kamay" (a song for a shampoo advertisement) and Blue Moon (their version of the classic track for a movie theme song).
The band launched a Repackaged Edition of "Strike Whilst The Iron is Hot" a few months after it was released to include the new songs done by the band. The album is now on a multi platinum status.
ONL, backed with hits songs, extensive radio airplay and TV appearances, toured the country for series of successful shows.
The band received numerous awards and citations for their works. In June 2005, Orange and Lemons was featured on MTV Philippines in its Rising Star segment, and in March 2006 they were featured in the Lokal Artist of the Month segment. Orange and Lemons were named as Artist of the Year at the NU107's Rock Awards for 2005.
Pinoy Ako, Orange and Lemons' hit song intended as a jingle for ABS CBN's reality show "Pinoy Big Brother" is viewed by many as the biggest song for 2005 in the Philippine music scene. Some say the song catapulted the band and the show to becoming hits as well. People of all walks of life and ages sing and dance to it. The song was even used as the rallying song and victory theme every time a Filipino athlete emerge victorious in the recent SEA (South East Asian) games held in the Philippines. It was Orange and Lemons' answer to the Macarena craze.
Amidst the huge commercial success comes a controversy with it. Was Pinoy Ako an original or a ripoff of a song?
Critics of the band claim that the melody of the song "Pinoy Ako (I'm Filipino)" was a direct derivation from the song "Chandeliers" by Care (from the album Diamonds and Emeralds, released in 1997), an English Alternative Rock band popular in the 1980s.
In an interview published in the Manila Bulletin, the band claimed that the guitar intro part of "Pinoy Ako" may have similarities, but the song was definitely not a ripoff and malice was not involved.
Star Records' parent company, ABS-CBN (which also broadcasts Pinoy Big Brother), featured on its documentary program Kontrobersyal, stated that "Pinoy Ako" and "Chandeliers" are completely different and do not infringe intellectual property rules.
Sony BMG, which owns the rights to "Chandeliers," has yet to press charges against the band or its parent publishers and label. It is the inactivity on the part of the publishers and copyright owners of "Chandeliers" to pursue a formal complaint that lends credence to some comments by industry insiders that the plagiarism issue might not be sustained in court based on strict and narrow technical and comparative analysis of the song "Pinoy Ako."
The release of the acclaimed tribute album of the Apo Hiking Society, "Kami nApo Muna," in 2006, where the band contributed one track, gave Orange and Lemons the necessary spotlight once again. Their musical talents were showcased once more with the promotion of their rendition of the APO song "Yakap sa Dilim." Adjudged by critics as one of the best cuts in the 18-track album, the song was played extensively and massively on both upscale and mass-oriented radio stations. Mcoy's vocal interpretation and the band's guitar works refocused the public's attention on their musical prowess. Their video of same song showed more blatantly and without hesitation their own brand of humor, which successfully blended action comedy with slight sexual connotations.
Orange and Lemons once again did their take on yet another APO song "Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko" by December 2006. The song is used by ABS CBN for their Christmas Station ID.
As a follow up to "Abot Kamay", the band also completed a song from UNILEVER Philippines called "Let Me" and was used for another shampoo advertisement.
Universal Records is prepared to release their next album by first quarter of 2007.
- Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream (2003)
- Strike whilst the Iron Is Hot (2005)
Tribute Album Contributions
- UltraelectromagneticJAM - a tribute to the Eraserheads (Huwag Kang Matakot) (2005)
- kami nAPO muna - a tribute to the APO Hiking Society (Yakap Sa Dilim) (2006)
Christmas Album Contributions
- Not Another Christmas Album - JAM 88.3 (Christmas Daydreams) (2004)
- OPM Gold Christmas Album (Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko) (2006)
- Close Up Season of Smiles (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) (2006)
- (Just like) a Splendid Love Song
- Kailangan Kita
- A Beginning of Something Wonderful
- Hanggang Kailan (Umuwi Ka Na Baby)
- Strike Whilst The Iron Is Hot
- Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown)
- Pinoy Ako
- Blue Moon
- Caught in a Line
- Yakap Sa Dilim
- Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko
- Something Old, New Wave, Freshly Squeezed
- Harking back to 80s Rock, Pinoy style
- Gadget Magazine CD Review
- Orange and Lemons: A Bittersweet Hit
- Hector Bryant L. Macale's "Bryanton Post: Orange and Lemons' 'Pinoy Ako,' a rip-off?"
- Clara Enriquez's "Orange and Lemons: Rock with a Tangy Twist"
- "Pinoy Ako" copied from a foreign song?
- Compare "Chandeliers" and "Pinoy Ako": aLfie vera mella's "From Islets to Islets, What Is the Verdict?"
- Music writer blows whistle against Orange and Lemons
- Plagiarism issue was positive for us - Orange and Lemons
- Bulacan Fetes Outstanding Youths
- Malaya Newspaper, Kapamilya's Paskong Pinoy
- Lunatics let loose in the asylum: Pinoy Rock in 2006
- The Official Orange & Lemons Website
- Orange and Lemons PinoyBanda Profile
- The Orchard Connection - Online Community Of Orange & Lemons
- The Official E-groups of Orange & Lemons