‘There’s always a Christmas song’: The Itchyworms drops two Yuletide-themed originals

November 30, 2020 - 7:22 PM
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This undated photo shows the Filipino iconic band The Itchyworms (Sony Music/Released)

A few weeks before Christmas Day, Filipino pop-rock quartet The Itchyworms dropped two Christmas songs to uplift the fans’ spirits during the pandemic.

The band simultaneously released “Have a Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko” last Friday.

Christmas artcard of The Itchyworms (Sony music/Released)

Drummer and lead vocalist Jazz Nicolas said that we need to be reminded of the joy and hope and the spirit of giving.

“It’s the time of year when the world falls in love, so it’s important to listen to Christmas songs all year round,” Nicolas said.

 Kelvin Yu, the band’s bassist, also emphasized the importance of Christmas songs.

“There will always be Christmas songs: during good times, it further uplifts us; and during not so good times, it can provide us with that warm hug that everyone needs come December,” he said.

The band’s lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jugs Jugueta, who wrote
Have A Merry Christmas,” said the song is inspired by a meme featuring Jose Mari Chan.

“When the Jose Mari Chan meme first came out, it was funny,” says Jugueta. “But then, people just do it every year and it becomes not as funny anymore. Anyway, one time I posted a challenge to my Facebook friends: instead of posting about Jose Mari Chan, why don’t you write your own Christmas song? ‘Have A Merry Christmas’ is an attempt to do so,” Jugueta said.

Jugueta described this holiday track as “smorgasbord of Christmas tropes or cliches all rolled into one song.”

In describing the musical process behind the Christmas bop, the band’s guitarist Chino Singson said: “The melodies are definitely Britpop, and our classic shuffle a la Akin Ka Na Lang and Chocophotoland completes the aesthetic vibe.”

On the other hand, the other Christmas song,  “Maligayang Pasko,” helmed and produced by Jazz Nicolas,  takes one back to the ‘70s and early ‘80s era.

Nicolas said the nostalgic track “is partly based on a latin or bossa nova beat, mixed with funky guitars.”

“I was very excited to use a combination of a vocoder, which is sort of a voice synthesizer and a text-to-speech type program to sing the chorus harmonies with us. I programmed three tracks of text-to-speech saying ‘mah lee guy young pass koh’ and tuned each them to sing in harmony,” he added.

The two Christmas songs of The Itchyworms, meant to uplift one’s hearts, are now available on the streaming platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Yu said Christmas should still be celebrated this year.

This year has been tough on everyone, and has made us all appreciate our loved ones, and we can keep them close and celebrate life with them every day, and not only on Christmas,” Yu said. —Rosette Adel