Carl Guevarra, Japs Mendoza, Chael Adriano, Joshua Coronel, and RJ Cruz—collectively known as The Juans—were over the moon sharing the good news about Liwanag, their first album in four years.
Speaking to Manila Standard Entertainment, the members talked about the effort and time they exerted in preparing for the roll-out of the massive 15-track compilation of all original tunes of varying themes about life, love, and relationships.
“It took us a year to complete the album. And throughout the process, we were praying for creative juice because this album is very taxing mentally. Ibinuhos namin ang sarili namin dito but it didn’t end there. We had to give more,” Carl, the group’s frontman and main vocalist started.
“We had to be ourselves in this album, but at the same time, we also had to be the best version of ourselves. And it’s really a challenge, especially on the production side. Japs is the overall producer of the album. And that process alone, from writing, producing, and mixing, it took a lot of effort,” he continued.
For the first time, The Juans has more than two members contributing songs. Whereas before, lead singers Carl and Japs have taken the bulk of the songwriting. In the new album, bassist Chael and guitarist RJ are contributing significantly to the songwriting. And the resulting sound is noticeably adventurous.
While most songs retain a pop sheen, The Juans is pushing outside of its sonic comfort zones. Danceable tracks like “Pangalan” sit comfortably side by side with anthemic numbers like “Liwanag” and electropop flavored tunes like “Pinakakahintay.”
The Juans is consciously innovating its sound, too.
The tracks “Salamin” and “Love You” certainly are strikingly different from their past releases. Come to think of it, trying out new approaches to songs has been a hallmark of the band. And they couldn’t be more different than in the faux-rap and trap beat-inflected original song “Kahon,” the dance pop-flavored “Still Standing,” and the “show tunesy” “Teka Muna.”
Then there’s the poignant and yearning piano ballad called “Kuya.” A song that seem to embody the underlying themes of hope and inspiration of all previous songs. As the members of The Juans themselves said: “Lahat tayo kailangan ng liwanag; Liwanag nagumagagabay, Liwanag na nagbibigay buhay; Ang liwanag nanagpapalinaw sa mga bagay na hindi natin maintidihan at Liwanag na tutunaw sa mga kasinungalingan niyayakap natin sakadiliman.”
“We only get to appreciate light in darkness. The light that guides, that never gives up, never fails, and the light that will lead us to the right place,” Carl elaborated.
Previously released fan-fave singles “Anghel,” “Dulo” and “Sabik” are also included complete this career landmark album.
“There’s a part that you accept who you are but there’s a part where, as you accept yourself, you get to realize that you can be better, you can look better, you can sound better, I can speak better, and that’s the motivation behind trying to improve ourselves in every aspect whether it’s music, on how we look, on how we answer, or how we write. That’s how we wanted to inspire the listeners. And how do we inspire? We keep on growing,” Carl explained.
On the eve of the album release, The Juans and Viva Records have elaborately prepared a series of activities leading to the official launch of all lyric videos released on The Juans’ YouTube channel on March 18.