The Norm, a Philippine-based hard rock enthusiast band, is one of the best examples of good things that happen during lockdown. From a new breed of musicians handled by Rise Above Production since 2018, The Norm have climbed the ladder, creating their own music and performing with a heated passion, especially to support advocacy campaigns and the local music communities of Naga and Camarines Sur.
Michael Arcilla, a dentist by profession and with a burning passion for music, has seen the challenging time of the pandemic as an opportunity that can cultivate talent. It was in April last year when Michael successfully found the right individuals he wanted wholeheartedly to work with.
His search led him to a strong musical connection with his best friend, Roy Sabalan, an animator, and his friend, Edrick Recodo, a teacher. With mutual understanding and a heart for music, despite their busy schedules and lives outside the music industry, they have managed to form a solid foundation as a team.
The band consists of three core members, including the guitar, drums, and vocals. But since each member has proven versatile talent at handling instruments, the trio proved that three men in one band is not short of hand.
Instead, it encourages flexibility and the realization that there is an endless space outside the box. They also find it easier to communicate and collaborate on their ideas since there are only three of them in their group.
With the upcoming release of their first single, called “The Hunter”, under Prompto Records, each member has done their best to create music that communicates their thoughts and reaches the souls of their audience.
“The Hunter” is all about finding out who you really are and not settling into a tight space. The lyrics also talk about learning to fight when you have been trampled down so many times. It calls out those who have been hunting others and warns them that the hunted will soon rise and hunt them.
Having a virtual conversation on an online platform with The Norm feels like witnessing a pure blood brother relationship between them as they share the same mindset and energy. No wonder they fit perfectly for each other. Although most of the time, they only meet for rehearsals, their bond is as strong as that of other bands who live under the same roof to maintain their relationship as a group.
It’s also heartwarming to know that, despite their hectic schedules for their respective fields of work, they always make time for music. This only proves that when you have a love for music, you’ll definitely find ways to express it.
Roger Palacio II, founder and managing director of Rise Above Production, did not opt to mention that in 2018, even though members of The Norm were just starting, he had seen their potential and eagerness to grow in their craft.
When there are upcoming live performances, this band is also on top of the most inquisitive group to express interest in the show. And now, he is proud that the band has come this far, advising them to make as much music as possible in order to reach a larger audience.
When asked about what makes him passionate about music, Michael said, “Music is like a therapy that sets my mood, and the best part is the process of creating it because it gives me an avenue to reflect on myself and share my thoughts through music”.
Meanwhile, Ed, the drummer, shared that “music is an underrated gift”. On one hand, the bassist, Roy, mentioned that “music is an essential part of our daily life”. It’s like a fuel that keeps us alive.
Although the group is in the process of carving their names all over the Philippines, the band has earned a lot of support from family and friends and from the groups they perform with. Social media has played an important part in their experience as it helps them to share their songs with a wider audience.
From the beginning of their musical career, they created music not to impress but to share their perspectives on life, as sincerely expressed by the band’s vocalist, Michael Arcilla, which distinguishes them from the start.
The group will be releasing their first album, consisting of seven tracks and one instrumental song, in the coming months. The group assures us that there will be more of them this year, and their goal is to use music as a tool to call out everyone that needs attention.
Keep tabs on The Norm on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Words by Hazel Biniza