(Updated 4:18 p.m.) Filipino indie band Munimuni returned from an eight-month-long hiatus with another song, but set forth the departure of their guitarist and vocalist, TJ De Ocampo.
Last June 9, the band, composed of John Owen Castro (flute, vocals), Jolo Ferrer (bass), Adj Jiao (guitar,vocals), Josh Tumaliuan (drums) and De Ocampo, held a livestream event entitled #MaligayaAngPagbabalik where they unveiled their brand-new song “Maligaya” for the first time.
“Oras na para bumalik bilang Munimuni, however, meron kaming isang balita na mahirap para sa aming lahat na sabihin sa inyo,” Castro, the band’s flutist and vocalist, said, as they broke the news to their fans.
Now-former bandmate De Ocampo explained that during Munimuni’s hiatus, he had a lot of time to think about the path he wanted to take.
“Sa personal and family life ko, na-realize ko na marami akong responsibilities na kailangan kong i-prioritize at the same time. And because of that, hindi ako fully makaka-commit sa Munimuni. And second, as an individual din, I realized na marami nang nagbago sa akin,” the musician added.
De Ocampo shared that it wasn’t an easy decision to make for the whole band but there are new things he wants to say and do as an artist.
Still, Munimuni confirmed during their livestream that they plan to release more new songs as they go along with another chapter of their music career.
“As we come back, we will still continue to write songs, release songs katulad ng ‘Maligaya,’” Castro said.
In a tweet, De Ocampo also assured their fans that “Munimuni will continue” and expressed his gratitude to his former bandmates saying he “will always be there to cheer them on.” He addressed them as “beloved.”
— TONEEJAY (@tjdeocampo_) June 9, 2021
Munimuni fans were excited about the band’s comeback yet some were saddened by the departure of De Ocampo as he was one of the founders and main composers of the band. He wrote some well-known songs of the band like “Sa’yo,” “Sa Hindi Pag-Alala,” “Bawat Piyesa,” and “Kalachuchi.”
“TJ is an integral part to Munimuni’s sound, I respect the decision, kakalungkot lang na we won’t be hearing him sa future songs. Move forward lang Munimen, will always support the music,” a fan wrote.
“#MaligayaAngPagbabalik I love you, TJ. We’ll move forward, so do you. Somehow, your voice would always help the listeners distinguish the band ‘Munimuni’ that is why our hearts is in melancholy right now,” another fan tweeted.
#MaligayaAngPagbabalik @munitheband comeback song with a heart wrenching news. Komunidad will still support you Sir TJ on your new journey.And Congratulations to the band with this comeback song.I guess Moving forward will be our theme for the upcoming songs.Congrats again loves pic.twitter.com/qV47C0tVHn
— mochi🍡 (@naFELako) June 9, 2021
After receiving overwhelming support, De Ocampo thanked the group’s fans for respecting his decision and for wishing him good luck in his future endeavors.
“Hey, I just wanna say thank you for all your love & support. Thanks for all the messages you guys sent my way. I’m overwhelmed and I really don’t know what to say,” De Ocampo tweeted.
“It’s gonna take some getting used to, but I know everything will be alright,” he added.
In September 2020, Munimuni announced their hiatus from the music industry.
Since their formation in 2012, the band has released several singles, as well as the EP “Simula”’ and their first studio album “Kulayan Natin.” Their last project together with De Ocampo was last year’s “Mga Kantang Isinulat Mag-Isa.” —Raheema Velasco