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RAGING WITHIN: An interview with Jace Roque about ‘Inferno’

RAGING WITHIN: An interview with Jace Roque about ‘Inferno’

Music can be loud like a rumble of thunder booming in our heads, canceling any other thoughts that keeps us in our beds. It can be soft as if it soothes our souls and makes us whole. Music can make us forget every pained breath, and help our hearts heal from what we constantly feel. It can be something that gives us strength, that we can very bet. Music is our universal language. Everyone knows that. Especially, singer-songwriter Jace Roque as he finally releases his mini-album, Inferno.

It’s polarizing. It can bring people together and it can tear them apart because of different opinions. But, ang goal naman talaga with my music is to heal. Not just myself but other people din who are experiencing the same experiences that I have. Very universal din naman ang pain, ang nagdi-differ na lang is ‘yung point of view.

Jace Roque shares about his mini album, Inferno

Rebranding himself as a P-Pop soloist, he announced the expected drop of his highly-anticipated mini-album titled Inferno. A lot of people have been waiting for literal months just for this mini-album to drop. And, the suspense might just put us over the edge and we’re just happy that we finally get to listen to it. Jace Roque feels the same way as he shares his merriment on finally releasing the mini-album to his audience.

I’m just happy na lalabas na siya because I’ve been promoting this since April. I announced the mini-album in April. But, the strategy was to release every track as a single. So, aware na ‘yung audience na may album which is coming out this December. I have four tracks on the mini-album and every track nagkaroon ng proper single treatment. I’m just finally happy na lalabas na ‘yung project na complete na siya.

Inferno

From the term of the title itself, I was already reminded of the Italian narrative poem, Divine Comedy, which was written ages ago by none other than Dante Alighieri. Dubbed one of the greatest works of world literature, the poem itself was cited as Jace’s inspiration for the title of the mini album.

Inferno is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. With Inferno kasi, ‘dun sa chapter na ‘yun, very vividly and graphically dine-describe ni Dante ‘yung descent niya into the Nine Circles of Hell.

The 14th-century epic poem has three parts – Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. In the first part of the poem, Alighieri talks about Hell as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth. The poet cites it as a representation of the soul’s hellish journey toward purification. Roque, on the other hand, creates his mini-album in a similar way. He cites the story of the hell he went through for the past couple of years.

And, similarly, with how I wrote my tracks, ganun din. I’m describing my experiences very vividly and graphically na ‘This is the hell that I went through.’ Kaya very proper ‘yung name na Inferno for the mini-album. Because this is the hell that I went through for the past couple of years dealing with the pain and suffering that I had to endure. Because of love life, family, and the showbiz industry. Dito ko nilalabas lahat ‘yun. And, this is my way of purifying myself.

Purgatorio

But, the thing about Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, he goes through Purgatorio, too. This represents the climb toward Earthly Paradise which represents the state of purity and innocence before sin. Although Jace didn’t mention it, I couldn’t help but compare this journey of releasing Inferno and teasing Paradiso as his own way through Purgatorio.

Contrary sa belief ng mga tao with hell, it is not a prison. It’s a place where your soul gets purified para magkaroon ka ng chance to go up to paradise. So, eto na rin ‘yun. Metaphorically and literally, dito ko pinu-purge ‘yung emotions ko. Para, finally, I can finally move on from those bad experiences and I can leave all that behind. 

Paradiso

The mini-album literally tells the story of the hell that Jace had gone through for the past couple of years. It’s like listening to a different kind of Inferno, a fire that has gone dangerously out of control. But, the thing about fire is they simmer down and the pain will linger. However, he just doesn’t hold onto the pain as he moves on and decides to tease his upcoming full-length album, Paradiso.

This is part of Paradiso, the full-length album that is coming out next year. Supposedly, one project lang siya. But, I decided to split it into two with Inferno as the prologue and Paradiso is the complete storyline. 

Inferno is just one part ng Paradiso.

Getting to know Jace Roque’s Inferno

The mini-album

Just like Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Jace Roque’s mini-album Inferno and his upcoming full-length Paradiso are definitely works of art. It’s not easy to create art, especially ones that come from pain and suffering. It’s tantalizing but relieving at the same time.

When choosing the songs for Inferno, pinili ko lang talaga ‘yung mga songs na pinakamabigat. Because I want the full-length album to be a rollercoaster ride na circle of life siya. Meron kang journey na pain and suffering [with Inferno]. Then, you’re going to experience falling in love and finding yourself [with Paradiso]. It’s a very human experience na put into an album. I want this to showcase everything. Hindi naman mahirap pumili ng songs because pili lang rin from my tracks yung very very heavy ‘yung topics na dini-discuss. 

In his mini-album, Roque sets to re-release Di Para Sayo, Be Someone, Trust, and Back to the Beginning. Of course, I just had to ask how he chose these four songs to be featured in Inferno. These very heavy songs talk about his heartaches in different aspects of his life.

Naging organic na lang siya na I want the theme to be like this. A lot of the topics I’m discussing are topics that hindi siya commonly discussed in public media. Because ang daming stigma around culture. ‘Yung mga topics na dini-discuss ko is with family din. Siguro, it’s high time na mag-spark ng discussion around it. And, if not me, who is going to start the conversation? So, aside from me relieving myself, it’s a way to open discussions around it in a way. Ang pinaka-goal lang talaga is for the project to be therapeutic to me and maging therapeutic din siya for the people who is going to listen to it.

The tracks

As the singer-songwriter of the songs, I asked Jace to name his favorite song among the four songs in Inferno and why was it his favorite one. I acknowledged that it’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since he was the one who conjured it into existence.

Prior to releasing the mini-album, favorite ko naman na ‘yung Trust. Supposedly, Trust kasi ‘yung comeback single ko but it became #3. And, okay lang din because during the time na ni-release ko ‘yung Trust, ‘yun yung time na okay na ako to discuss the topic. Because very painful ‘yung experience ng Trust. Naging favorite ko pa siya even more because of that song nagkaroon ako ng accolades, recognition from AWIT Awards, P-Pop Awards. So, parang after experiencing a heavy heartbreak, nagkaroon ng positive outcome ‘yung experience na ‘yun through that song.

Although we both acknowledge that it was cliché, we agreed that it’s how things usually go. You have to experience something so painful to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have to stand in the storm just to see the colorful rainbow. It is cliché but it’s humanly relatable. Of course, we just have to ask about the story behind the other songs, too. And, you know what? You just have to listen to every song to understand the pain behind it.

Di Para Sayo is my journey to finding my self-worth. It’s about a previous relationship na I gave everything I had. And, in the end, I realized ko na the person wasn’t worth it. Be Someone naman is my journey naman sa showbiz na ang daming expectations from your friends, from your family, the industry. ‘You should be this, you should be that.’ I just want to be me. I just want to be someone that I can be proud of. Then, Back to the Beginning naman is about my parents. Growing up, everything is laid out for you. Kailangan sumunod ka nalang. If you defy those orders, lalabas ka na rebellious or masamang anak. But, I just want to live my own life. 

Talking about Inferno felt heavier than expected, especially when learning more about the songs and how they affected Jace Roque as their singer-songwriter. So, to make it more light-hearted, I gave Jace four descriptions and asked him to match them to the tracks in his mini-album. It was like a little quiz during our interview last Wednesday, December 14. 

See Also

Saddest song to write: Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning. Ang hirap mag-comment about our parents kasi. Writing about childhood brings a different kind of heartache. Usually, the people that you love the most are the ones who bring so much hurt and pain into your life. Family, dapat supposedly sila ‘yung nagnu-nurture and care for you. But, sila pala ‘yung unang sasakit sa’yo.”

Most relieving song to write: Trust

“Ang pinaka-nagbigay ng relief was Trust din. During that time, I didn’t know how to address my emotions because the song was about a third party and my past relationship was the first time I experienced it. Dun na lang ako nakakuha ng relief by turning it into art and by talking about it during my promos. So, in a sense, nakatulong siya to heal my heart. And, I think I’m 80% or 90% okay na because of that song.”

The song that sounds like revenge: Di Para Sayo

Di Para Sayo. I think it’s very obvious na.”

The song that sounds like a lullaby: Be Someone

Be Someone. Out of all the upbeat tracks, ‘yun lang ‘yung medyo chill in terms of sound. But, the messaging is still heavy… But, you can cry yourself to sleep, pwede din.”

And, we just had to end the fifteen-minute interview with Jace sending a message to the people who continued to support him with his endeavor. 

I just want to say thank you to everyone, not just my supporters and my listeners – but, everyone in this industry. My comeback has been really surprising. Akala ko tapos na ‘yung career ko. Being out of the spotlight for a year, parang forever na ‘yun. When I came back in April, overwhelming ‘yung support with the chart positions, with the streaming data, with the recognitions, and all. 

So, I just want to say thank you to everyone. My achievements, ‘di ko siya sinosolo. I will always share it to everyone. Because lagi naman siyang team effort. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for all the people that helped me climb the ladder. So, thank you sa fans, sa media, sa press, lahat ng may contribution sa career ko. Thank you sa inyong lahat. Parang ang daming thank you pero I can’t thank you all enough. Because I get to do what I love because of the support that I’m getting. 

Personally, it wasn’t just the similarities to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy that made the mini-album sound captivating to me.

Inferno is relatable and all the more therapeutic. And, I can’t wait to listen to them all once more. Again, thank you to Jace Roque for this refreshing interview. It was such a fun experience talking to you. and learning more about your take on every track. Also, special thanks to Miss Lorie Dionisio for making this possible.

And, to you, who’s reading this very article now, you should listen to Jace Roque’s mini-album, Inferno. You won’t regret it. I mean, you would probably cry. But, you definitely need a good cry once in a while. So, why not?

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