It was in the early 2000s, a time when OPM was in the thrall of the pogi rock movement, when this hitherto unknown band from Bulacan exploded onto the scene. When everyone was embracing their boy/girl next door persona, here comes this band in full 70s regalia, singing in faux British accents about love in the land of rubber shoes. Normally, the scene would dismiss them as novelty acts and would have ignored this band. Except they did not. The reason? The band was good, damn good. So good in fact that the band went on to win multiple awards from just about every OPM authority in the country.
That band was Orange and Lemons, and at 2007 at the height of their careers, the band broke up. Clem Castro, vocalist and lead guitarist, was kicked out of the band in rather public fashion. The usual accusations of being unprofessional and kind of being a douche were thrown around. To be honest, I kind of got that vibe from Clem. There was a certain arrogance in the way he played and spoke, and it would not be a reach if all the accusations were true. The problem with axing Clem from the band is this – he was a genius. Though McCoy Fundales is the face of the band, Clem Castro was the mind, heart and soul of the music they created. In truth, genius seems to be associated with a certain arrogance. Ely Buendia was famously standoffish. Lennon was known to run his mouth every so often. Morrissey was a douchebag of epic proportions if the stories are to believed.
That is why Clem Castro is still relevant in today’s scene. This time he goes around by the name of Dragonfly Collector, which knowing Clem means it has some sort of meaning in it. To me it evokes images of a cranky old man keeping a case of preserved dragonflies, somewhat jealously guarding it from the world.
The music he creates is still steeped in nostalgia, a dreamier version of The Smiths. The songs sound like they come from a bygone era. His work is very referential, with nods to greats from the 70s and 80s. To get that nostalgic sound just right, the music is replete with dated instruments. You can hear strains of the rondalla here and there, and of course an acoustic bass guitar is also heard prominently on some tracks.
The end product is genius. A mad, self-assured genius that results in otherworldly, beautiful music.