Philippine-based band Over October recently did something that’s pretty uncommon in recent times: The band released its first Tagalog song, Sandali Lang.
We decided to speak to the acclaimed quartet on what led them to produce a track, specifically an EP, in a language that’s only spoken by one-fourth of the Philippines.
Turns out, the reason has to do with love. While the song is about love between two people, the track has a deeper meaning to the band as you’ll discover.
The inspiration to write this song in Tagalog came from the fans! They’ve been asking for a Tagalog song from us for a couple of years now.
It has become sort of an inside joke within the Octobears community. Our label also challenged us to move outside of our comfort zone by writing a Tagalog song for the next EP, so that coupled with the fans’ request were our main drivers for writing in Tagalog.
Sandali Lang is about that feeling of falling out of love. The song speaks about two people, one who thought that everything was okay and going well, and the other, who was slowly falling out of love throughout their relationship.
Sandali Lang focuses on how the person that was left behind can’t understand why and has so many questions in their head trying to figure out what went wrong. Even though it’s a breakup song, you’ll find out in the end that it’s also about acceptance, being grateful, and let go. And that’s okay because the act of letting go is also an act of love.
Based on what we were seeing from their comments on our social media posts, it was refreshing to hear us play a song in Tagalog. Some close friends actually told us that they didn’t think it was us at first.
I think aside from the language, what made it refreshing is that we were able to try out lots of different techniques in terms of musicality and sound for this song, thanks to our Producer and Sound Engineer — Jazz Nicolas and Peavey Nicolas.
Some people also commented that even though the song is in Tagalog and it sounded different, it still had the elements to make it an “Over October song”.
It’s also a nice experience for us because we were able to collaborate with well-known actors, Elijah Canlas, and Miles Ocampo, for our music video – which is directed by Carl Chavez.
The voicing in the choruses is heavily inspired by the APO Hiking Society. Other groups that we drew inspiration from were the likes of Aegis, Eraserheads, Hale, Ben&Ben, Munimuni, and more.
We also got to work with Jazz Nicolas of the Itchyworms who produced the track, so a lot of his influence is heard as well.
For us, we’ve never viewed Tagalog as aesthetically unpleasing nor downgraded. We just haven’t written in Tagalog before Sandali Lang because Josh Buizon, who is the main songwriter of the band, grew up speaking English more than Tagalog (which is actually pretty common nowadays, more so with the younger generation).
It’s important to make the distinction between Filipino vs Tagalog. Filipino is inspired by many languages and dialects that have been spoken in the Philippines throughout its history, which borrows many words from our Spanish and American colonizers, as well as our neighboring countries.
Tagalog is just one of the Filipino languages. Tagalog is just one of the many languages Filipinos speak, but it is the main language spoken in Manila and much of Luzon. Our history has generally been Manila-centric, so that’s why Tagalog is often hailed as the default language.
Tagalog is beautiful, but we believe there is a richer expression many haven’t heard of because songs in Bisaya, Ilocano, and many other local languages haven’t breached mainstream yet. We hope this changes in the future.
As with any language, there are things that can only be expressed in Tagalog. Writing in Tagalog is also a lot different than writing in English than we’d imagine because of the way the words and syllables are structured.
Given that a lot of Filipinos grew up using Tagalog, songs written in this language would definitely resonate more.
It hits harder for most Filipinos because it is a language that they are more vulnerable to, as compared to English which is often used as our formal language. For example, in school we’d often be asked to recite or write in English, but when conversing with friends and family, we’d default to Filipino.
We think this is why Filipino songs sound warmer and more loving.
Yes! We have an EP coming up with more Tagalog songs for the fans.
All images in this feature were supplied by Over October.