11 revelations from Moonpools and Caterpillars

Lou Albano
11 revelations from Moonpools and Caterpillars

In 1996, Moonpools and Caterpillars played the Star City Expo to a pretty much sold-out crowd. The American and female-fronted Pinoy rock band wasn’t exactly the biggest act at that time, but they had a following that, 18 years on, proves to be incredibly loyal.

When music portal Pinoy Tuner announced in February that Moonpools will be playing at Amber Lounge at The Fort this April, tickets went a-flying. Because of the demand, two more dates were added: Apr 9 in Cebu, and Apr 11, back in Amber Lounge.

The band touched down on Sunday morning and have been getting to know Manila once again. "We've been walking around Bonifacio High Street, we ate at XO—every bite is amazing," Kimi Ward Encarnacion says, going on to say that if Filipino food in LA was presented the way we do it here in Manila, the cuisine wouldn't be so overlooked. 

They are no strangers to the city though, as drummer Gugut Salgado has been coming home every year since (his parents are still based here) and the Encarnacions, Jay and Kimi, have come home five times since the 1996 gig. Bassist Tim de Pala who spent his honeymoon here (in El Nido, Palawan), is the only member who will be flying home as soon as the gigs are done. Gugut will be doing time in Mandaluyong, where his parents are based, while guitarist Jayjay and vocalist Kimi will be checking out the surfing scene in Surigao.

At a press conference on Monday, the band members revealed a few bits of trivia that will endear the band even more:

1. The name 'Moonpools and Caterpillars' doesn’t mean anything. In the States, they would say Moonpools and Caterpillars is an old Filipino dish, really good and coveted recipe. “But we really just made it up,” Kimi admits.

2. Joy Division and Disorder were the first two bands that they covered on their first gig, which was at a friend’s party.

3. Their biggest rockstar moment. When they finally played a real gig, Moonpools played five songs, “and we played two of them twice,” Kimi laughs, because they needed to fill in an hour.

4. “Our end goal really was just to be able to play at a club,” says Jay. “So this here, sitting here and being able to play, is the real gift,” continues his wife Kimi.

5. Kimi didn’t know she was pregnant when they played Manila in 1996. “We were suddenly dropped from our record company [soon after the gig] so I said, I’ll have this baby first and pick it up from there, but somehow we never really picked it up. You got into a life that’s totally different from the band.”

6. Lucky Dumpling was recorded on a two-inch tape, which is now a prehistoric process given all the digital convenience. “Remembering how we recorded it, what we were learning at that time. It’s a snap shot of that time,” says Tim.

7. Third times the charm. “Someone told us to play Monday nights at Whiskyagogo because there were recording people there,” says Kimi. It was their third Monday night someone from the industry finally approached them.

8. Upon getting signed by Elektra, the band celebrated at Cheesecake Factory.

9. The band played a lot of pusoy dos. They played a lot of pusoy dos while on tour, “and there were consequences when you lost.” As in: One time, one of their friends had to lick an entire Dr. Scholl [insole].

10. They are actually having some fun again, jamming and dabbling. “We don’t know if it’s going to be Moonpools, Tim actually almost didn’t make this trip” says Jay. But three of the four members having been dabbling with music once more. Yay.

11. Watch for some OPM jams during their gigs. It was only when Kimi said that she’s been “practicing her Tagalog” that we concluded the band will be playing some Pinoy Rock tunage. We’re guessing it’ll be Juan dela Cruz but we’ll have to wait until tonight.

Well, get in the mood for tonight:

Catch Moonpools and Caterpillars on Apr 8 & 11, 8pm, at Amber Ultra Lounge, The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City. PHP1,850.

This article first appeared in Coconuts Manila

More music stories:

Look at this video of the Eraseheads in London
Interview: Raimund Marasigan of Squid 9
Tacloban's Reo brothers in NY with Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Sanchez, Charice for #PinoyRelief Yolanda fundraiser
Pictures: 7107 International Music Festival
8 Awesome recording studios where you can record your album