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.
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.
Asked about the album title, “The name is our tribute to Cebu City where we came 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 “Anthem” – 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.
In 2013, the band released their sixth album (and most recent, before their last gig with the original line-up in 2015), spawned the single “Never Will I Forget” that according to frontman Gabby Alipe, dedicated to their fans (called Dubistas) that they invited some of their loyal fans to record the gang shout parts of the song.
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 1990.
With the release of their second effort, INFLUENCE on Lighter Records (Backyard Studio), 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 and 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.
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.