Clem Castro explains why Orange and Lemons reformed

Rick Olivares

Posted at Jul 23 2017 09:43 PM

The story came to a sudden end. Somehow, there’s a new chapter. It’s a reformation and not a reunion to be very clear and there is a difference as I will explain later. Yet, I have a feeling that despite the original four members not being together, this is the beginning of something wonderful -- even if the iron isn’t hot anymore. Or can it be yet again?

“It’s been almost 10 years now. We badly miss the music so we decided to add a new chapter in the band’s short history. We have officially reformed Orange & Lemons as a trio to continue where we left off. This is not some fancy reunion, but a decision to protect the legacy of the band and the songs that many of you know and have grown to love. New music is on the horizon and we promise to stay true to the sound we are known for with a clear-cut independent direction. We feel good at the prospect of playing our modest catalog for you in the coming months. Until then.”

It isn’t as direct or succinct as Michael Jordan’s terse announcement of his return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 with a faxed message of two words – “I’m back.” However, the 111-word Facebook post where it was announced that Orange and Lemons have reformed 10 years after their shocking break-up is good enough to shoot a wave of excitement in a dynamic music scene in search of an act to push it over the top the way the Eraserheads and Rivermaya did before them.

O&L were the next big thing. They were for sure. They released some huge albums with a jukebox full of hit singles. They were here (rock clubs), there (radio), and everywhere (commercials) just like their heroes the Beatles and the Smiths. They even had a hit song that was anthemic and used even by national sports teams. How many bands can claim that?

We caught up with O&L lead guitarist Clem Castro and Lui Cornelio who manages O&L’s rhythm section of brothers JM and Ace Del Mundo who play the bass and drums respectively. 

Castro is currently on his first tour of the United States (outside O&L) for the Dragonfly Collector playing three cities with acoustic side shows in between. “It’s been two and a half years since the release of my debut solo album. I’ve written a few songs during my travels. I can’t wait to record a new Dragonfly Collector single upon my return. The working title is ‘Brave The Distance’. I’m in no rush for a follow-up album. I will take as much time as I can to try and surpass my work with ‘The World Is Your Oyster.’”

With regards to O&L’s reformation, Castro explained: “My arrangement with the reformed Orange & Lemons is non-exclusive since I’m still pretty much active with The Camerawalls and my solo project. I guess you’ll find me juggling songwriting and gigging duties in months and years to come.”

It is the same for the Del Mundo brothers who, after the break-up of O&L, formed Kenyo with lead vocalist Mcoy Fundales. 

“Clem called me with the proposal of reforming the band and doing a project which I relayed to my husband, Ace,” relayed Lui. “They (the brothers) were receptive to the idea especially after how things went okay during the first meeting.”

As for Kenyo, Lui added, “As of the moment, Mcoy is busy as a writer for GMA and he owns a school in Bulacan. Time-wise, he rarely has time to do gigs. The brothers are pretty excited since they both miss the music especially Ace. With Kenyo, he plays the guitar so even if they do O&L covers, it’s different because he isn’t on kit duty like he used to.”

“I’ve been toying with the idea of reforming with the brothers for a couple of years now,” admitted Castro via Facebook chat all the way from New York. “Besides the fact that I terribly miss my work and recordings with O&L, without the participation of at least the brothers, it will be next to impossible for me to want to carry the name. Aside from that, I have every intention of protecting my songwriting and artistic legacy especially now that I consider myself well-versed in the music business. Although I consider it a long shot, to my surprise my offer was well received, a meeting of minds.”

The band will tour and perform the old songs and should it work well enough, record a new album.

“For now, we want to take our time to refresh and revisit our modest catalog and some unreleased materials,” clarified Castro. “Maybe somewhere in between, we might come up with something new. Something fresh that will entice the three of us to consider doing an extensive tour.”

Should there be a new record, the three members have all agreed to keep it indie. “We actually discussed this and to my utter surprise, we found ourselves all wanting to keep things down and up the independent road,” divulged Castro. “Ace runs the Bulacan-based indie label Darkus Music while I keep myself busy with Lilystars Records. The synergy will be put to a test and that is something to look forward to.”

Quoting Ace, Lui summed up: “The timing is perfect since it’s the 10th year anniversary of the disbandment; then next year, the 15th year anniversary of the first album ('Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream').”