Hauntings, Places, Footnotes (Last of Two Parts)

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MANILA, Philippines -- Last week, we published the first half of our interview with indie rock musician Allan Lumba, aka Multo. We spoke about the connections of his EP, Footnote to Youth (Number Line Records), to Jose Garcia Villa's story of the same title. We discussed his academic work as a historian and how his lyrics are informed by his interest in the political and ethical structures that limit or undergird love. We also discussed the sense of nostalgia that permeates Footnote to Youth and talked about "multo" as figures of displacement and as a potential metaphor for being a "hyphenated" American. Go to http://mb.com.ph/node/317043/haunting to see part one of the interview or read the rest of our conversation below. MB: Is that feeling (of nostalgia that one can sense in Footnote to Youth) now a direct result of being in Manila? AL: I think, right now, being in Manila, far away from family/friends/partner, really makes me feel as though I'm in a state of displacement, in a geographic and temporal sense. Also, just linguistically, a lot of times I'm limited in terms of how I can communicate with others and it really forces me to exert less of "myself" and instead play the part of observer. I really do feel like the more I'm here the more I'm inhabiting spaces I might not be meant to be in. MB: Do you actively evoke that sense of remembrance, longing, and foreignness when you write? Can you describe the process of translating these more abstract ideas into music? AL: I feel like even though I try to stay away from those subjects, they still creep in and "haunt" my lyrics. I even actively, for this last EP, tried to write all my songs in major keys in order to stop writing what some might see as the sadder or depressing aspects of foreignness and longing. Still, they managed to creep in through the different personas I tried to insert into the songs. Usually, I try to include several perspectives when I write a song, and it's through these voices (sometimes whole conversations) that I can relate past experiences and memories (whether real or imagined) which directly deal with a lot of these feelings. MB: That feeling of nostalgia is very strong in the video for "In Sum of the Sacred." Can you say something about the video? AL: It was directed by my good friend Shireen Seno, a visual artist and filmmaker. She was using a camera (I don't remember the name) that films digitally but has an automatic effect that makes it appear aesthetically like a super-8 film. She's been traveling a lot recently, and usually uses this camera to film her travels. It's smaller and less conspicuous and so I think it allows her to capture more candid scenes. The video of "In Sum of the Sacred" is a montage of some of her footage from Thailand, Japan, India, the US, and the Philippines. I think because of how it looks visually and the content of the clips, it does successfully achieve a strong sense of nostalgia. (ed. note: You can watch the video at http://vimeo.com/22339500.) MB: You mention elsewhere that you're heavily influenced by Pacific Northwest indie rock and '70s/'80s radio pop. …