Two Is Better Than One: An Unlikely Collab Brings a Philippine Contribution to an International Tribute Album

Words by Joey Dizon


Even if you traveled back in time to some early 2000s live band fixture like, say, Mayric’s, and found yourself watching a random prod on a random weekday, the chances of ever seeing the names Pin-Up Girls and Reklamo together would be slim to none, mainly due to the difference in each group’s musical styles.


Of course, times have changed, minds have opened up, and musicians will always find a way to dispense with rules and expectations and explore possibilities outside the proverbial box.


This is exactly what The Mondo & LC Project strives to do. Mon Castro of the Pin-Up Girls and LC De Leon of Reklamo recently got together to pay tribute to the seminal Scottish alternative act Teenage Fanclub via their rendition of “Genius Envy,” a forward-trudging track that has “90s” written all over it.



PULP Magazine decided to ask both Castro and De Leon a few questions to get a glimpse of how it all came together.


PULP: Tell us how you ended up working together. Truth be told, it’s sort of an unlikely pairing, isn’t it?

Mondo: It is! You’re not the only one who has mentioned this. However, despite the differences in style and influences, it worked out all right in the end as evidenced by the outcome of the track.


LC: I would have never imagined it in the past, but it turns out when you get older, your perspective on things changes as well. I’m still angry as fuck, but now I find myself yearning to expand in terms of music. I bumped into Mondo again at a random gig while he was trying to form a new project band called Spin and we got to catch up a bit, and lo and behold, he reached out soon after for the Teenage Fanclub project. Of course, I humbly accepted instantaneously.


PULP: So what is it about Teenage Fanclub that drew you to their music?

Mondo: I would say it’s the distillation of key melodies that remind me of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. Pop geniuses!


LC: I was always a fan. When I was a kid, I got hold of the Judgment Night soundtrack and I really appreciated what they were trying to do. From there, it just all snowballed and I became a fan. It was one of those bands whose songs you could just play while drinking on the beach with an acoustic. My favorite songs are “Everything Is Falling Apart” and “I Don’t Know, I Don’t Care.” I’m also a fan of their song titles.


PULP: How was the process of being part of the Teenage Fanclub tribute project?

Mondo: It was Ana Nazario who informed me of the project. I got in touch with Murray Easton who was the producer. I think he did some research on LC and me, and the rest, as they say, is history.


PULP: Tell us about the entire experience of putting the track together…

Mondo: It came together organically. I had a vision of what it could sound like, and LC, Jett, and Nick just took it to the next level!


LC: Everything was totally unorthodox! Mondo sent me the track to arrange, and once we figured out a sort of guide, we hit the studio. We both are notoriously OC when it comes to things, so originally, we tried to keep it simple. But all that changed when our sound engineer-slash-musician Nick suggested including heavy drum beats and bass. We loved the outcome, so we stuck with it—proving that sometimes, it’s also OK to let go of the original plan and just go with the flow.


Mondo placed the foundation on acoustic, then I added textures using an electric guitar, and we wanted violin solos added last. But yeah, after Nick’s suggestions, it ended up being a pleasantly chaotic, unplanned, and wonderful experience.


PULP: So now that the track is out, will the Mondo & LC project continue? What are the plans?

Mondo: LC and I are working on a track now. Fingers crossed, it will lead to more songs. I want us to come up with an EP or a full-length album.

LC: We’re both busy. Mondo has a corporate life and a family, and I just opened a comic book store-slash-coffee shop called Coffee and Comics, and a bar and recording studio called The Tiny Bar. So, with our schedules, it can get tricky to find the time to work on material. But we will try to get it off the ground, but not in the traditional band sense, Probably more as songwriters and recording artists. Maybe a gig here and there, but mostly behind the scenes. Like Mondo mentioned, we want to write and record an EP. Some titles we’re thinking about are “Midlife Misery,” “Midlife Crisis,” and “Time Is Not On Our Side…” But we’ll see.