Getting all the small things right

Pop-punk brothers’ bond goes beyond three chords

Photo by Daniel Crump

Pop-punk trio The 1221 take being close with your bandmates to a whole new level. Roman Maceda (25) and his younger twin brothers Rico and Roque Maceda (21) have been living and playing together on both sides of the Pacific Ocean and over 12 years.

When the Macedas were eight, eight and 12, they started playing cover songs in a jam space behind their grandparents’ house in Manila, Philippines.

They played their first cover, “All My Loving” by The Beatles, in that house. Their grandparents also loved Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, but “they liked our music at first. They’re very supportive,” Roman Maceda says.

Their grandparents’ house number – 22 – forms the middle of their name, while the 12 and 21 are a shout-out to the elder and younger brothers’ birthdays.

In 2008, the Macedas moved to Winnipeg, and the brothers discovered punk. “(L)ike every punk band, (we) learned ‘All the Small Things’ by Blink 182 ... (a) three-chord progression,” Roman Maceda says.

The Macedas live in their parents’ home, and work day jobs between practising in their basement, partially soundproofed with their mom’s old curtains. For some, this might be a lot of time to spend with family.

“We argue but we don’t really fight. We’re still brothers so we can’t hate each other,” Rico Maceda (who plays bass and sings) says.

Roman Maceda recorded their first single, “Kiss,” in their basement. Along with his guitar and lead vocal duties, Roman Maceda graduated from Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts in 2013, and did the band’s recording himself.

“We’re gonna be releasing an EP late this year. We’re in the process of recording demos and writing more new songs,” he says. He hopes to record others too.

“I think that’s one of my goals – get to know more bands, and record their music and bring it out there, supporting local music in Winnipeg,” Roman Maceda says.

They’d also like to follow up last year’s month-long tour across Japan and the Philippines. Roque Maceda, the group’s drummer, says that audiences there danced along to The 1221’s energetic offerings, despite the language barrier.

“Even though we’re singing English, they’re still jamming along with us,” Roman Maceda says.

Back in Winnipeg, they’ve been picking up steam, playing at venues from The Good Will Social Club to The Pyramid.

“We just go all the way during live shows. Lots of headbanging I guess,” Roman Maceda says. “(It’s) pretty energetic music when we play, so we move around the stage, give energy to the audience.”

The 1221 hope to someday play with their heroes, who would be Green Day (for Rico Maceda), Blink 182 (for Roque Maceda) and The Police (for Roman Maceda) – though they happily agree, as a tight-knit group of brothers would, that any of them would be awesome.

Published in Volume 72, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 15, 2018)

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