After playing with other bands, brother duo Jerald Angelo and Tita Halaman finally decided to make music their own way with No Lore. It all starts with a painting by Tita Halaman, followed by her accompanying piece of poetry, which the duo later turns into aural bliss.
Tita Halaman (a visual artist whose works have been exhibited at Galerie Roberto and at the Salcedo auction) is known for her paintings with characters with dark, melancholy and chaotic faces, but also expressions of faith – and poetry – poems dramatic yet inspiring. Jerald, meanwhile, brings his experience as a brand specialist and multimedia artist. He has also worked with international musicians in Dubai through Dubai Opera, where he honed his skills in marketing, social media and motion graphics. With musical influences such as Oh Wonder, Of Monsters and Men, The xx and all songs focused on male-female vocal harmony, it was obvious for the duo to make alt-pop the sound to match. to their view.
Listening to a Nore Lore song isn’t complete without admiring the painting each song is based on – much like walking through an art gallery or exhibit with headphones on. Their music videos are moving image extensions of the music and paintings – a visual representation of the fantasy and emotion in every song.
Their creative process progresses from the visual to the aural: Tita Halaman first creates a painting, then writes a free verse poem that accompanies it and turns it into verse with added words that will fit the alt-pop mold. “After that, I will try to invent melodies”, explains Tita Halaman. “And I’m going to record it – even the guitars – and then I’m going to send it to [Angelo].” Songwriting then proceeds from there – from recording to figuring out harmonies and post-production – and being a sibling duo makes the process easier because there’s no sugar coating. involved.
The siblings are no strangers to music, with Tita Halaman playing drums for multi-genre bands like Dissonance and The Soledads and Angelo playing bass for Green Apple Productions. But No Lore presented them with a new challenge.
“We sing! We both sing here, which is kind of weird for us,” says Tita Halaman, as they explained the differences between experiences with their bands and No Lore. The siblings also explore a host of skills that make up the DIY music-making experience, such as producing and using keyboards.
Being a duo helps communicate song ideas. “’Yung against, siguro, it’s dalawa lang kami. Kami lahat, like, ‘yung drums, keyboards, synths, beats,’” Angelo explained. They also don’t have the luxury of getting feedback from band members, with feedback coming mostly from musician friends and family members. It also means sessionists playing with them at live events – something they’re still figuring out.
No Lore’s creative process progresses from the visual to the auditory. Photo courtesy of OFF THE RECORD
No Lore signed with Manila-based label Off The Record in 2021, a move they say has helped them be heard by a wider audience. “It will help us focus more on the music,” the siblings said in unison. Being with the label also gave them the opportunity to work with Ang Bandang Shirley’s Ean Aguila for their latest release, the Filipino song “Paumanhin”.
Aguila was not only a friend and someone whom Tita Halaman looked up to, but also a helpful guide who provided extensive commentary on the song’s arrangement. Her experience with Ang Bandang Shirley also helped guide the band in creating the male and female vocal harmonies and even lent her talents by adding guitar and bass parts to the song.
“We learned a lot comparing our initial work with the improved na sine-send ni Ean sa amin versions,” Angelo said. Aguila’s input – added parts and variations – gave the duo some ideas on what they can do for their future songs.
“Paumanhin” is about how a person can be bound by their ideas of loyalty and love, but can be interpreted in different ways. At first glance, the song could be seen as a love song for people who can’t move on. On a deeper level, this song may be an interpretation of the current political climate.
“I actually composed ‘Paumanhin’ by reading online bardagulans or online debates,” admits Tita Halaman, explaining how people can be blind supporters of their chosen candidates. For example, they sing the lyrics “mga pangako di mo kayang tuparin,” talking about a significant other’s broken promises or a politician’s platform that didn’t come to fruition. In another instance, the duo sings “at ulit ulit kong ibabalik sa simula,” which can mean reminiscing about a better past or controlling a politician by reminding him why people voted for him. No Lore wanted to make art that captures the relevance of a historical moment and something that will serve as a reminder for future generations and elections.
The release of their first Filipino song was already in the works as a way for Tita Halaman to work on her weakness in language use. As the songwriter of the duo, she always struggled to write in Filipino. “Feeling ko ang corny ko,” she joked. Writing in Filipino was her way of getting out of her comfort zone. The approach to writing “Paumanhin” was also different for siblings. While Tita would already have the guitar parts for one song, this one was written together – with Tita providing the melody and Angelo doing the melodies on the piano with lyrics also written at the same time.
After releasing a string of singles, No Lore is gearing up to release an album titled “Never Not Moving” as well as release a book that will feature all of Tita Halaman’s paintings and poems. They plan to release more songs, with each song having a painting that will also serve as cover art.
Listen to “Paumanhin” here.