Remembrance of things past

Published November 18, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

Inside the young minds of Parasouls and how they conceived their maiden EP Drifters, Dream Makers

NEW KIDS ON THE INDIE BLOCK Parasouls members from left: Siblings Igoy and Dani Dimaano, and Joshua Gaces

Listening to Parasouls is a trip down memory lane. Never have I heard a more youthful sound in OPM than with the indie pop trio under Lilystars Records. With a sense of childlike wonder, their debut EP Drifters, Dream Makers is a requiem to the nonchalant high school days, the golden period of learning, when everything was simpler, and we were still allowed to make mistakes and make the most out of life.

The band is composed of Dani Dimaano, the vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist, her brother Igoy Dimaano on drums, who is sort of like the musical producer together with bassist Joshua Gaces, Dani’s long-time friend whom she initially formed the ensemble with. Their genre is indie, alternative-rock, pop-rock, and jangle music all interspersed together.

The EP, self-written and self-produced by Parasouls, consists of six tracks, namely, “Magic Markers,” which paints a colorful portrait of innocence and self-discover, “Let’s Pretend,” the first song Dani and Josh played as a duo in high school, “Wouldn’t Be Anywhere Else,” about the best night one could possibly share with friends, “Sunny Beach,” a summer tune with ’90s alt-rock vibe, “Can We, Can We,” their debut single that pays homage to the series Doctor Who, and “Lullaby,” a ballad about longing.

To sum up the EP, it is three years of Dani’s high school life compressed in a mini-album of earnest lyrics, jangly dirt-tone guitars, playful bass lines, and loud drums.

In line with the release of Parasouls’ first EP, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle interviewed the young musicians to understand where they are coming from and how they could create such youthful tunes.

How did Parasouls form?

Dani: Josh and I formed a duo in high school in 2017. But when we joined Eastwood’s City of Music band tourney, we needed a drummer. Less than a month after, we begged Igoy to join the band.

Josh: I think in that battle of the bands we were the only band without a drummer.

Igoy: Me and Dani used to play in a band before Parasouls.

How did you choose your sound?

Dani: It happened organically. All of the songs from the EP were written since I was only 17, when I started writing music. It depended on what I was listening to at the time. The earliest influence I can remember was songs from movie Sing Street.

AMUSED, UNAMUSED From left: Josh, Dani, and Igoy

How is your musical process amid the pandemic?

Igoy: It usually starts with Dani writing the songs and playing it on her acoustic guitar. Because we’ve been living together in Batangas since the middle of the pandemic and Josh is in Manila, Dani would give me her songs and we would try to arrange it in a band context. We would then fetch Josh from Manila and we’ll record in a studio. There, we would further develop the songs by throwing ideas. There’s really no fixed process for how we sound. Each of us brings something to the table.

Josh: It’s very spontaneous. We each have our own musical influences.

To sum up the EP, it is three years of Dani’s high school life compressed in a mini-album of earnest lyrics, jangly dirt-tone guitars, playful bass lines, and loud drums.

Who are your musical influences?

Josh: For the baseline, I am inspired by Rex Orange County for walking bass. Mostly, Soapdish. I really love their bass line for “Tensionado.”

Dani: For me, The Beatles, Joan Jett, The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys. And Barbie Almalbis is a big influence of mine.

Igoy: In the house, we listen to a really wide range of music from Kundiman to New Wave. Influence-wise there’re so many to mention. But my direct influence was when I first heard “2 Trick Pony” by Sandwich, way back in the day. That was what led me to start playing the guitar. From there, my musical preference became a mix of classic rock, ’80s stuff, ’90s alternative grunge, the indie explosion of the mid-2000s    

HAPPY TOGETHER young talents Igoy, Dani, and Josh

Why create an EP that invokes nostalgia?

Dani: It is what it is. I wrote it when I was a teenager up to my 20s. The EP is a chapter of my life, so I wanted it to be this time capsule that when you open you remember everything that happened in high school.

Igoy: Nostalgia, regardless of who you are, just hits you. If something is nostalgic, nadadala ka talaga (It’s easy to get lost in nostalgia).

What is the message behind the cover art?

Dani: I go to church with Ate Barbie [Almalbis], she is my friend. I’m really close with her kids. I had the vision for the cover and I wanted it to be nice but not super polished, because that’s the songs for me, how I wrote them. I asked Ate Barbie if Stina, her daughter with visual artist Martin Honasan, could do the artwork. She said yes! So, I told Stina to just enjoy, draw herself, and whatever she wants in the background. I really like the result. It has its charm.

Drifters, Dream Makers cover art by Stina Honasan

What are your future plans?

Dani: I want to rediscover what we want to sound like, a more mature version of us that isn’t driving on nostalgia.

Igoy: Josh and I are just trying our best not to get kicked out at school. And aside from that we’re also preparing new songs for next year.

Josh: I agree with Kuya Igoy. We’re just trying to survive academic life. And of course, support Dani.

Given the chance to collaborate with any local artist, who would you like to work with?

Dani: Barbie Almalbis!

Josh: I met a bunch of musicians in discord. I want to collaborate with artists who aren’t that famous yet. An upcoming artist or band like us. I find the band Mad Generic to be really talented.

Igoy: As an older member of the band I have so many OPM heroes. From the top of my head is sir Clem Clastro of our label. Going back to my roots, Raymund Marasigan.

Parasouls’ EP, “Drifters, Dream Makers,” is available on all streaming platforms worldwide via Lilystars Records.