INTERVIEW: Watch out for local band Suspiria Pink’s new track this Halloween

Published October 30, 2020, 11:32 AM

by Vianca Gamboa

‘Dismember Avenue:’ Nothing ‘sus’ about this post-punk band, even with that song title

Quezon City post-punk trio Suspiria Pink / Photo courtesy of Offshore Music

Nope, they have never seen the 1977 cult horror film Suspiria, or so their Spotify page claims upfront like a Twitter bio subverting either promotional one-liners or expository musical influences. Knowing “pink” isn’t a paradox but the namesake movie’s color palette, they probably did? (Spoiler alert: They really didn’t.)

“We haven’t seen the movie” Screenshot of Suspiria Pink on Spotify

One thing’s for sure, everything about local rock outfit Suspiria Pink screams comical horror—from song titles, memes, to visual covers with skeletons, that, if Halloween playlist is your thing, would speed past your 2007 neon emo favorites.

Even their new “short modern punk rock opera” single is coming out this Oct. 30. And it’s called “Dismember Avenue.” Tackling personal growth matters during the quarantine with avant-garde elements, the alternative radio-friendly band doesn’t mind a little (musical) mutilation.

The cover art of “Dismember Avenue” / Photo courtesy of Offshore Music

Although Suspiria Pink’s music doesn’t resemble anything “gorecore” or death metal, they don’t exactly tread familiar ground. They are a mix of post- and pop-punk, emo-tinged indie, and the right hooks to capture the DNA of their record label, Offshore Music.

It’s like playing their songs on repeat will make you want to kick stuff, in both good and bad ways. I stopped trying to delve deeper into the band’s aesthetic when I found out they just like to make music and have fun. Hence, lyrical-wise, they hate your exes, and they even produce something so raw you could hear “HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA, it wouldn’t come out. t*ina” in the background.

Here’s Manila Bulletin Lifestyle’s attempt to get to know Gwen Guck, vocals and on guitars, Lio Benson, on drums, and Diego Cerrudo, vocals and on guitars, of Suspiria Pink:

On their background…

Gwen: I was writing songs on my own and then I shared it with my bandmate Diego. We started making songs as a duo for four months, and then we decided to go live. We talked to Benson, whom we knew from other bands that were in the same circle as us, tapos ‘yun, that was Suspiria Pink. We started making music back in 2018 as batchmates and [formally] got together as a band in early 2019.

On their band name…

Gwen: We were looking for band name inspirations and then we found out that Eraserheads got their name from a horror movie, so we tried the same method. Suspiria sounded cool and I wanted a band name that wasn’t very common so that we could define it.

Screenshot from Suspiria (1977)

On “Dismember Avenue…”

Gwen: It just popped into my head and I thought it was funny because we aren’t really serious when writing songs. We just want to have fun with it, but the song is basically about personal growth away from ego and arrogance. It’s about eliminating pride and going back to humility.

On recording a song during the pandemic…

Gwen: We did everything we could to make sure we were safe, so Benson and I stayed together and minimized our outside contact. We recorded in a short period of time, we recorded three songs in three days. It was a bit more stressful than usual, but it was fun.

Gwen Guck on guitar (pre-Covid) taken by Juneau Sarmiento / Photo from Instagram/NotSuspiriaPink

Lio: It was good that we were together for only three days. We came up with a lot of things we wouldn’t have otherwise come up with if we took a lot of time in between recording. I think it benefitted us logistically and artistically.

On musical influences…

Lio: I am primarily inspired by Green Day because they’re very melodic and I like the energy they have in their songs. I also like Blink-182, specifically Travis Barker. Also Queen because they are over-the-top.

Gwen: Different sub-genres and eras of punk from the ’70s to today, like hardcore and post-punk, such as Misfits, Joy Division, The Cure, and Green Day.

Diego: Typical pop-punk bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Blink-182, and then I delve into heavier stuff. I became an emo rocker dude, listening to Black Veil Brides and Pierce the Veil. And then I was like, okay, it’s too loud. Para mas ka-vibes namin, I listen to Surf Curse, Beach Bunny, Remo Drive, and Graduating Life.

Diego Cerrudo on guitar (pre-Covid) taken by Juneau Sarmiento / Photo from Instagram/NotSuspiriaPink

On favorite horror movies…

All: Not Suspiria, definitely not Suspiria.

Gwen: Shake, Rattle, and Roll III (laughs).

Lio: The Shining or Silence of the Lambs.

Diego: Insidious and Dead Silence.

On the OPM scene…

Diego: When you say OPM, is it specifically one thing? What is that supposed to sound like? We’re Filipino rin naman. We’re making music ‘din naman, so why isn’t it OPM? When we make our music, we have fun doing it and we enjoy making that type of music the way we want to.

Gwen: I feel like it’s less challenging because OPM has branched into more than just one conventional sound. OPM is Ben and Ben, OPM are the rappers, OPM can be electronic, it can be whatever now.

Lio: There are so many talented musicians that are emerging now. There are a lot of people, like us, who are trying to break free from the [collective OPM] genre but we don’t think it’s difficult because we’re just being who we are. We’re not trying to stand out. It’s not a conscious effort on our behalf. We’re just having fun.

Lio Benson on drums (pre-Covid) taken by Juneau Sarmiento / Photo from Instagram/NotSuspiriaPink

On Suspiria Pink in three words…

All: Spiky, spooky, and spontaneous.

“Dismember Avenue” is now streaming on Spotify.