Urbandub is a Filipino rock band from Cebu City, Philippines. Since its inception in 2000, the band's line-up has consisted of Gabby Alipe (vocals, guitar), John Dinopol (guitar, vocals), and Lalay Lim (bass, vocals). The band's current drummer is JanJan Mendoza, who has been with the band since 2003.
Urbandub is the first indie band in the Philippines to release albums nationwide with the assistance of a major label. The label also featured Urbandub in a Pinoy rock compilation entitled "FULL VOLUME", with a remake of Sade's "No Ordinary Love". The band recently garnered the attention of fans throughout Southeast Asia with a recent tour in Singapore.
Urbandub's debut album suffered distribution problems due to the lack of support from major record companies. Later in the year, their first single "Come" was released and accompanied with a music video funded by Sonic Boom productions. The following singles from the album included "Boy", "Give", and "Would You Go". Although only a modest success at the time, the album managed to earn the band some degree of notoriety within Cebu City. Birth is raw and heavy, with obvious influences of Deftones and other experimental rock bands. Though the album's production quality was rough, it emerged as a successor to the scene that dominated independent radio in the mid 1990s.
With the release of their sophomore effort, INFLUENCE (Lighter Records), Urbandub took on a new form, changing their sound with a new drummer (From Jed Honrado to Jerros Dolino). Jerros continued to record tracks with band, but left sometime in 2003 when he decided to leave for undisclosed reasons. The band then recruited JanJan Mendoza. It was the sound in this album that clearly defined the steps that Urbandub would start to take. INFLUENCE includes radio-released singles such as "Gone" and, their most famous release to date, "Soul Searching", which won the award as Best Song of the Year in the NU107 Rock Awards 2003. The album also won as the Album Of The Year Award in the NU107 Rock Awards 2004. They also released a single called "A New Tattoo". They dedicate this song to a former friend Juan Paulo Hidalgo.
During this time, the band also experienced the dangers brought by rival frat/gang wars in Cebu as guitarist John Dinopol was mistakenly shot at by a motorcycle riding headhunter of an undisclosed fraternity. Although not in critical condition, his left arm was injured and had to recover for a few months. Amidst the dilemma, Urbandub enlisted Faspitch guitarist Russell Manaloto & Mong Alcaraz of Chicosci to fill in for John, who was still active with the band despite the injury. John recovered in less than a year and even went on to shoot the "A New Tattoo" video and perform live with metal braces on his arm.
With the 2005 release of the album entitled 'Embrace', Urbandub has proven that there is hope for the struggling artist. With help from their community and the noise they have created, they were able to grab the attention of EMI Music Philippines (now PolyEast Records). Not one to take chances, the band has kept Lighter Records as their management arm and guide. In line with their ideals, EMI allowed them the creative freedom to record their album on their home soil of Cebu. Added to that, they have been able to maintain their independent principles while taking major steps into the scene that has awaited their new sound. Embrace's singles, "Alert The Armory", "Frailty", "Endless, A Silent Whisper" and the pop anthem "First of Summer" culled from the third album Embrace, became one of the most played songs on local radio. Serving up the band's usual host of poetic metaphors through guitar riffs and screaming drums single after single came rolling like Urbandub's name is glued on top of the charts.
Under Southern Lights (2007):
After more than 10,000 albums sold, thousands of miles traveled around the country and some dizzying highs and lows, an energized Urbandub returned with Under Southern Lights in 2007.
"We experimented a lot on this album. We also tried to write songs far from the specific genre our fans are used to hearing from us. On this album we challenged ourselves musically in terms of creativity with the riffs, beats and melodies," Alipe says. "The past albums we worked with a formula, writing songs inside our musical comfort zone, but for this album we tried to personally push the envelope a bit."
Under Southern Lights, the latest album, boasts 10 tracks of Urbandub's new approach to their own brand--their brilliance shines throughout a melodious rock tune and diverse songwriting. Alipe shares "We retreated to Cebu City for 2 months just to focus on writing. Then came back to Manila, did some fine tuning to the songs before recording them."
"The recording was a great learning experience for the band. It was our first time to record with 2 inch tape rather than digitally which we were used to when we were still recording in Cebu. We also were privileged enough to be able to use specific types of equipment that we felt were needed for the songs, like different kinds of amplifiers or synthesizers," Lalay Lim shared.
Asked about the album title, "The name is our tribute to Cebu City where we come from and where we did most of the writing for the album. It's also a metaphor for our families in Cebu, being that they're our inspiration and guiding light," Alipe said.
The album starts with a shot, with that first single "Guillotine" - an indelible guitar hook and ferocious drums charge forth as Urbandub's trademark mix of airtight vocal harmonies.
If you have compiled all Urbandub songs into your own greatest hits album, you probably get the impression of "change." For a band like them, change is never that good. Urbandub is growing but not changing. They may be going to perform in a bigger arena, but they'll still going to sweat the same. And still be going to produce the songs like we've known them for. "We wanna try to reach out to more people with this album," says Gabby.
The Apparition (2009):
In 2009, after ending their contract with EMI, urbandub signed with a new label MCA MUSIC and released their fifth and most experimental album entitled "The Apparition".
The writing took place again in Cebu, the band's homecourt, with the band renting a house up the mountains and turning it into a home studio for 2 months. after which, they returned to Manila and recorded again in Tracks Studio with their Under Southern Lights producer Angee Rozul. The first few prints of the album included a cover of Depeche Mode's song "Home", which, along with their cover of Sade's "No Ordinary Love", exhibited the band's eclectic taste in music. The first single off the album was the song "Gravity", a song that carries the band's trademark heavy riffing balanced with melodies and harmonies that are rarely found in Pinoy rock music.
Gabby Alipe -- lead vocals, guitars,
John Dinopol -- lead guitar, backing vocals,
Lalay Lim -- bass guitar, backing vocals,
JanJan Mendoza -- drums,
Jed Honrado -- drums,
Jerros Dolino -- drums