Migi Moreno and Robert Hechanova were best known as student leaders so it came as quite as a shock when they announced their plans to form a pop duo. One student claimed that there has not been a better team since Hall and Oates or Simon and Garfunkel. Unfortunately, that student just so happened to be one of the writers of this article so his opinion should not be taken too seriously. Despite this, TheMenagerie takes an in-depth look into Moreno and Hechanova’s new band and album.
The LaSallian: First and foremost, we want to thank you two for going us for this interview.
Robert Hechanova: It is our pleasure.
Migi Moreno: We love talking to student publications on the things we do and the motives behind it.
TLS: So to jump right into it, how did this formation come about?
RH: Well Migi gave me a call and asked if I was willing to stop everything I was doing and go to his house and talk about creating a musical album with him.
MM: Yes. At first he was reluctant because he was playing that game, 2048, and he already had that 1024 block but I got through to him.
TLS: So about the name, why are you called Moreno Men?
RH: Well, originally we were supposed to be a group of three.
MM: But Carlo Inocencio would not return any of my calls. And we already had the album cover printed.
RH: For some shows though, we borrow the cardboard cut-out they used for the general elections and just leave him up on stage.
TLS: I must ask though on how you guys were able to keep this project a secret especially with that writer from the LaSallian that kept following you, Migi.
MM: We first decided to communicate through Snapchat.
RH: We then realized how ridiculous that was because of the 10 second limit.
TLS: When it came to the music, what groups served as inspiration for your own image and sound?
RH: We definitely looked up to Ryan and Lewis. Their band Macklemore was highly influential in creating myself and Migi’s sound.
MM: Actually, Rob, Macklemore is not the name of the band. That’s the name of the rapper while Ryan Lewis is the name of the DJ behind him.
RH: Oh, okay, what does he even do?
MM: Same thing the USG does. A lot, but nobody will ever know…
TLS: Let’s talk about your songs. What are your own personal favorite songs in your new album?
MM: I personally like Tapatsilog. It has this Spongecola-type sound with a really good message.
RH: Me too. That song talks about what it would be like if a political party owned a river.
TLS: Have you tried to reach out to any label in hopes of getting a deal?
RH: Yeah, we tried to get Universal Records Philippines to release our first album, Just and Free Society.
MM: But they didn’t want to sign us because they said our songs were “masyadong indie rock” and “di ma-appeal sa mga masa.” So we tried other local record labels. We tried Ivory and Video, Inc., Number line records…
RH: And Viva Records
MM: Oh yeah, that too!
TLS: Was there any success here in getting signed?
MM: We went to about 3 more [record labels] and did this for a few months. We tried to convince them to sign us.
RH: We used hand gestures to show how catchy our songs were and kept saying our names louder and louder to make sure they remembered who we were but it didn’t work.
MM: We decided we weren’t really get ting anywhere with these record labels so we considered getting it out there on our own but we just didn’t know how to do it properly.
TLS: We have to ask. Was this the cause of the band’s separation?
MM: Yeah, well, I felt so bad after our first album didn’t get accepted that I started writing songs again. Eventually, it became a whole new album – The Moreno Days. I didn’t want to tell anyone else first because I didn’t really think it would have a chance of getting signed but then a friend told me that “it had potential” so I went with it and left the group, for better musical opportunities.
RH: Yeah, it sucked the day he told me. I told him, “Bro! We’re only 2 in the group and you abandon me pa!” But I had to see it coming. Migi was always known for going solo.
MM: It wasn’t abandonment; it was more of a detour.
RH: Well, whatever you call it, it put my music career on hold. So I did what anyone else would do and focused on other hobbies. I tried bonsai making. I got pretty good at it too. My last project was a small mango tree.
TLS: So how did you guys come back together?
MM: Fortunately, my solo career didn’t go quite as planned.
RH: His album flopped.
MM: It didn’t flop, it just didn’t take off. Anyways, that’s when I decided that I couldn’t do it on my own and went back to the group.
RH: At first, I didn’t want to bring back the Moreno Men. I was really enjoying Bonsai making and was considering it as an alternative career option, but Migi convinced me music was a better option.
TLS: Have you ever thought of getting sponsors that can pay for any fees you incur?
RH: No. Next question.
TLS: So what is next for you two?
MM: Right now, we’re re-launching our first album with some additional changes.
RH: Yeah, we decided to take into account some of what the record labels have been saying and adjust to it. Now we have songs with local artists like Daniel Padilla and Anne Curtis to appeal more to the masses, and we’ve also adjusted our musical style to make it less “indie rock” and more mainstream.
MM: We’re even planning to go on tour this 2014, and, from June to September, we plan to have concerts in all the Ayala Malls.
RH: Also, we are currently in talks with the Taylor Swift management to open for Taylor Swift. So you might even see us in her concert this June.
TLS: Any message you want to share to the Lasallian community?
MM: Guys, thank you for your continued support in our musical venture and I hope you continue to support us through buying our album and watching our concert.
RH: Animo La Salle!