Saturday, October 17, 2009


AS I hinted in my last post, the nice thing about maintaining a blog is that veteran feature writers like myself can use it to compliment what we write for print. In my case, reposting published works also gives me a chance to not just improve, revise and update on my original drafts but also to recall and write about the story behind the story.

In Electrolychee's case, I stumbled upon this dynamic duo in 2007 when they were named as one of Jansport's "indie icons" and also as among the ambassadors of Lipton Hot Tea. Anyone or any group that makes that kind of noise in the same year is bound to get some media attention as well. They certainly got mine.

Turns out I already know one half of Electrolychee. I actually encountered Bru (not her real name, of course) on several coverages when she was still writing about music for Pulp and I think later, Burn and I was surprised to learn that she was into the arts as well although it doesn't seem far-fetched given her creative background. I interviewed her and her partner Marcushiro during one lazy, late afternoon at Saguijo where they were holding their exhibit there at the time.

When I was writing the story for the Manila Bulletin, I committed a gaffe when my research on one of their supposed influences, Jason Moss turned out to be dead wrong. Wikipedia says the Jason Moss that I wrote about in my story is "a writer about serial killers." Bru later told me that he is not the same person they cited as their influence. Of course not, what the hell was I thinking?

But that's probably why blogs exist. It doesn't just give written works that appeared originally only in print a new lease on life and get a chance to be appreciated by a bigger, online audience. But it also allows booboos to be rectified the second time around.

So here's a revised and updated version of that original 2007 piece. And yes, the Jason Moss referred here is no longer that writer about serial killers. Turns out he's a reputable artist in his own right.


WE are two creative souls from different worlds. One came from the land of robots and another from the land of ponies. We are armed with an arsenal of color swatches and a penchant for harmonizing chaos. We merge digital and analog art like a poetic dance to a punk rock tune on acid. We make design, illustration and strange creations. In electro, we lychee.”

Big words that don’t seem to make much sense, does it? But for the creative duo that makes up the sought after graphic studio known as Electrolychee, their uncanny approach to art that’s neither too profound nor too nonsensical is also their gift.

These two talented individuals who answer to the equally intriguing names of Marcushiro and Bru have over five years of commercial design experience, Electrolychee’s brand of “slick, computer-generated vector art with organic hand drawn imagery” have individually and collectively, graced a good number of books for children and adults, magazines, web publications, murals, clothing brands and most recently, album covers of alternative acts like Cambio, Drip, Sound, Paramita, Chillitees and Imago that pretty much brought them into the mainstream.

With a moniker that according to them is actually a fusion of two words meaning “digital” and “organic,” Electrolychee’s style is as Bru would put it, “pop-art inspired.” “It’s fun and playful and doesn’t take itself seriously.”

Artists, like writers, are rarely as interesting as their actual works but this doesn’t seem to apply in the case of Marcushiro and Bru. Both are actually good enough to strike on their own and were fairly doing well respectively prior to their partnership. Marcushiro is a graphic designer who already found some success as a children’s book illustrator even before he finished his advertising arts course at UST while Bru is a self-taught artist and writer who was actually rejected by her own grade school Art Club before eventually getting the last laugh when her work for Paramita’s debut album snagged the 2005 Awit Awards Best Album Packaging trophy.

Even with such individual accolades, getting together was a no-brainer. “We had a lot of similarities to begin with. We both love the same things, pop culture, mga kakengkoyan, kitsch, Lipton teas and yes, digital art so in September of 2005, Electrolychee was hatched,” Marcushiro quips.

The duo cites influences as varied as free-spirited American artist Tim Biskup, manga-influenced Superflat artist Aya Takano, Jason Moss and our very own Louie Cordero, author of the now cult classic comic book, Nardong Tae (not a typo, folks) and who also recently designed the latest album of Radioactive Sago Project aptly titled Tanginamo Andaming Nagugutom sa Mundo Fashionista Ka Parin.

The duo's affinity for album covers stems for their love of music—alternative music, to be more specific. “Music is a big part of our lychee lives,” Bru enthuses. “We are always swayed by striking album art and design since it acts as the ‘face’ of the album and translates the music visually. Album packaging can be so much more than square sleeves of paper and we want to push the boundaries of album packaging design here.”

Electrolychee has no qualms of approaching artists who they think plays music that’s consistent with their vision and design philosophies. Two such groups were Drip and the Chillitees who gave them free rein and full confidence with their album designs.

Strange creations, they call them. But Electrolychee’s work is not just limited to album covers. In their website, they also make tongue-in-cheek t-shirts, tank tops, badges and clocks with printed catch phrases like Ek-Ek, Panget at the Disco, When I Say ChukChak, you say Chenes, Bangs Not Dead, Matring Bling and I’m Not Ukay Today.

And as extensions of their cover art, their 3D model toys are equally fascinating. “Our first batch of Third World Toys is inspired by the music albums we designed for bands such as Cambio, Sound and Paramita,” Marcushiro notes. “Because these album sleeves already tell visual stories, we want to bring these stories to life via three-dimensional toys.”

Now after four years of the business, Electrolychee’s growing popularity has approached rock star proportions. Along with Rock Drilon, Cynthia Alexander and Lourd De Veyra, they were honored as “indie icons” during the 40th Anniversary celebration of backpack-manufacturer Jansport. They were also part of the distinguished company of Lipton Hot Tea brand ambassadors that included Up Dharma Down, filmmaker Lino Cayetano, photographer Jake Versoza, Opinion columnist Patricia Evangelista and young entrepreneur Happy David.

So in electro, they lychee? Well, yeah, in electro, they lychee indeed.

Visit their official website at

And here they are:

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