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Ben&Ben makes a lockdown song

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A SAD story of loss posted on one of Ben&Ben’s music videos on YouTube inspired the indie folk-pop band to create a new single while under quarantine.

Titled “Lifetime,” the song — released on June 4 — was recorded by the band separately because of lockdown restrictions.

“It was also our first time to record a song separately,” Miguel Benjamin Guico, one of the band’s vocalists, said in a digital press conference on June 1.

Ben&Ben is known for its mellow, nostalgic sound, with songs like “Maybe the Night,” “Kathang Isip,” and several others. The band is composed of brothers Paolo and Miguel Guico on acoustic guitars and vocals, Poch Barretto on electric guitar, Jam Villanueva on drums, Agnes Reoma on bass, Patricia Lasaten on keyboards, Toni Muñoz and Andrew de Pano on percussions, and Keifer Cabugao on violin.

The song started out as a story posted by a fan on the music video of Ben&Ben’s song “Pagtingin” (2019). The post told the tale of a woman who was in love for years with her best friend but she was scared to tell him of her feelings because she didn’t want to lose his friendship. After a few years, she attended his wedding and there he told her that he had loved her for years before he met his bride, but had been too scared to tell her, fearing this would end their friendship. She then mused that if one of them had told the other what they felt, a lifetime together would have been waiting for them.

“Was there a lifetime waiting for us, in a world where I was yours,” the song’s chorus goes.

It is the last line of the story.

Paolo Benjamin, Miguel Guico’s brother and the band’s other vocalist, was humming a tune one day and they realized that they had their song.

As of this writing, the song’s lyric video has amassed more than 4 million views.

RECORDING WHILE UNDER QUARANTINE
What was it like, recording a song while under quarantine?

Miguel Guico said that they had to arrange the instruments and everything else online and used an app to upload and download the song’s segments. They had to record the whole song online and separately.

“Everything was do-it-yourself. How to set up the microphones and stuff,” he explained.

“I think one of the bigger challenges was finding the right structure, the right methods to do it… it was a blessing for us that we were all doing some kind of music work… so a lot of us already had equipment for recording the basic stuff. I think the hardest part was finding a way to exchange ideas and how to comment on each other’s arrangements. Once we found the right platform [where] we could do that, everything became so much easier and a lot more intuitive,” Andrew de Pano, one of the band’s percussionists, said during the press conference.

And since they were able to record a song remotely, Miguel Guico said that he hopes that this success will lead them to the release of an album.

“When [the lockdowns started] we were really filled with fear and uncertainty. But then I guess what came out of that process was the decision to really embrace this new dynamic and [this] inspired us enough to start this new season for us, and hopefully it culminates with the release of an album,” he said.

If they manage to record an album online successfully, it will be the band’s second after Limasawa Street in 2019. But he said that even before the pandemic hit, producing a second album was already on the table.

“We’re going to try to do things differently… [and] it will eventually lead back to using the music for the ones who supported us ever since. Even if a lot of things changed because we can’t play live with a live audience, we still want to be there for the ones who listen to us,” he said. — Zsarlene B. Chua

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