Rivermaya release first new music in five years, the ’80s-tinged single ‘Casino’

‘Casino’ is the band’s first new material since their 2017 studio album ‘Sa Kabila ng Lahat’

Veteran Filipino rockers Rivermaya have released their first new music since 2017, the ’80s-tinged post-punk tune ‘Casino’.

Ending a five-year break after releasing their sixth studio album ‘Sa Kabila ng Lahat’, the band released ‘Casino’ on streaming platforms on May 7 alongside a music video. ‘Casino’ is about a love affair that blooms into a full-blown romance, with the music video depicting two strangers who meet at a speakeasy before dancing the night away together with abandon.

Watch the music video for Rivermaya’s ‘Casino’ below.

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In a statement, lead vocalist and drummer Mike Escueta shared that the single is also the “first Rivermaya track with a four-on-the-floor feel all throughout”. Written before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Escueta discovered the files for the chorus, lyrics and melody of the track in his digital cloud, reworking the track and laying down a rough arrangement before moving on to the vocals.

The band worked on the song remotely, with Escueta mixing and co-producing the single with musician-friend Paulo Zarate at Studio Z in Quezon City, Metro Manila while vocalist/guitarist Mike Elgar recorded his guitar tracks at home. Vocalist/guitarist Nathan Azarcon also worked on the remaining components of the song remotely, making the track one that Rivermaya had never jammed on before recording it.

Rivermaya plan to parlay their creative momentum into “an album’s worth of songs” in the near future, Escueta reveals, though there was no confirmation of a new album in the band’s statement. “It’s been five years so we really miss putting out new music,” he shared, adding, “It looks like we are gonna be able to do this a lot more often this year.”

‘Casino’ is the band’s first new material since the 2017 studio album ‘Sa Kabila ng Lahat’, having released the album’s final single ‘SBN’ in 2018. First founded in 1994, the band have settled into a trio since the 2007 departure of frontman Rico Blanco.

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Last October, Rivermaya voiced their support for Philippines presidential candidate Leni Robredo, leading to backlash from some quarters of their fanbase. The band responded with a statement: “To those who don’t like us anymore because of our support for VP Leni, that’s fine. Even though music has no connection to politics, I respect your decision.”

The band went on to perform at a rally in support of Robredo in March alongside  Ben&BenThe Itchyworms, and Ebe Dancel. Other prominent Filipino artists who have voiced support for Robredo include Nadine Lustre, Gloc-9, and Moonstar 88.

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