Behind the Music: 'Enveloped Ideas' by The Dawn

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Mar 20 2021 10:55 AM

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When The Dawn first ventured into recording with their eponymously titled debut album under OctoArts International in 1987, they didn't have high expectations about their music fate.

The quartet of Jett Pangan (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar), JB Leonor (drums, keyboards), Carlos Balcells (bass guitar) and the late Teddy Diaz (lead guitar, back-up vocals, keyboards) released the eight-track album, “The Dawn,” bannered by the carrier single “Enveloped Ideas.”

In just a short time, “Enveloped Ideas” became a hit nationwide. 

The Dawn’s recording success came as a surprise to all four members.

“The reception was quite overwhelming,” Pangan told ABS-CBN News. “I thought ‘Enveloped Ideas’ would only cater to a niche, so for it to be a mainstream hit only about a year from the time we became a band, still boggles my mind.”

The Dawn had been performing for over a year, when they snagged a recording deal. Their manager at that time, Martin Galan, invited a couple of recording executives to The Dawn’s first major show at Light and Sound in Makati.

“The one from OctoArts, Ricky Ilacad if I remember correctly, liked what he saw,” Pangan recalled. “He took the risk of paving the way for us to sign on to their label.”

“Enveloped Ideas” became a much-requested and popular song on the radio and even in The Dawn’s performances then and until now. The song is something that will always be attached and identified to The Dawn.

Diaz, who wrote the melody, unfortunately passed away a year after “Enveloped Ideas” became popular. The lyrics were written by the late Tina Fineza. The original recording featured a guitar solo by Diaz.

“Teddy was taken away from us way too soon, indeed,” Pangan sighed. “But he enjoyed the song’s mainstream success for a couple of years.

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“The first album really sealed the deal for us, so to speak. ‘Enveloped Ideas’ became the wind beneath our wings, because it really brought so much positive energy to punk rockers, new wavers and music lovers in general.”

Subsequently, The Dawn also went on to become a byword in Pinoy rock music. Their debut album with “Enveloped Ideas” helped in The Dawn’s early success. No wonder, 1987 was immediately considered their banner year, undoubtedly.

“I don’t know how else things would’ve panned out for us if it weren’t for that carrier single,” Pangan said.

The album was certified gold and even won the Awit Awards for Best Rock Recording. The succeeding singles culled from the album became popular, too. Most of the tracks were written by Diaz.

“Fortunately, most of the songs on that album became hits, as well following ‘Enveloped Ideas’,” said Pangan. “Like ‘Dreams,’ ‘Mad Game’ and so on. They may not have gotten the same amount of airplay, but they were concert favorites.”

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Pangan wrote a track with Leonor, “Give Me the Night.” Other cuts were “Sing Me a New Song,” “Living Seed,” “Behind the Shadows” and “Susi.”

Assessing the popularity of “Enveloped Ideas,” Pangan explained: “I think it’s because of the song’s simple message, which is ‘If you can’t say it, sing it.’ The late Tina Fineza wrote the lyrics, which I think are beautifully straight to the point. Songs exist because they describe how we feel beyond words. Also, ‘Enveloped Ideas’ is a fun song that puts us in a party mood.”

“Enveloped Ideas” eventually became one of the signature songs and among the biggest hits of The Dawn, along with “Salamat” and “Iisang Bangka Tayo.”

“I’ve quite a few favorites, but if I absolutely have to choose only one, it would be ‘I Saw You Coming In’ from the ‘Prodigal Sun’ album of 2001,” Pangan said. “It’s a dance-y rock tune which is really an observation of the fleeting moments in the club/techno scene at the time. Plus, I love Francis Reyes’ guitar solo there.”

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Despite the success of “Enveloped Ideas,” Pangan revealed that he wasn’t readily drawn towards to the song the first time he heard it.

“To be honest, I didn’t exactly fall in love with the song when I heard it for the first time, because I found it a little too giddy,” he said. “But performing it live is a different experience. I just get sucked into its energy every time.”

Performing “Enveloped Ideas” live onstage brought a different kind of high for Pangan as well as the crowd.

“For years, up until the camera phone was invented, ‘Enveloped Ideas’ caused many slamdances and mosh pit craziness on almost every show we did,” Pangan said. “Especially during the '80s and '90s, there were a number of times we stopped mid-song, because someone in the audience got kicked in the face accidentally, fainted, etc. The collective energy always flew through the roof.”

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Last year, Pangan shared a re-imagined version of “I Stand With You,” the title track from The Dawn’s second studio album and the last one with Diaz. Pangan recorded the song with original Rivermaya guitarist, Perf de Castro, and made it as a tribute to Diaz.

“Actually, that was Perf’s production for our respective YouTube channels,” Pangan said. “He’s a fan of Teddy’s who likes a lot of The Dawn’s earlier work. He played that song down to a T!

“The song, ‘I Stand With You’ is an important track for me, because while it was, in fact, composed by our drummer JB [Leonor], it represented Teddy as much as ‘Enveloped Ideas.’ 

“Teddy is forever in my heart. The Dawn may have continued without him but we will always honor him as the spearhead, the man who started it all for us.”

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