Just a few more days and the first-ever Converse Get Loud Band Competition, a nationwide songwriting competition that seeks to herald a fresh wave of musical discoveries will crown the best in a rock musical showdown happening on November 9 at Excess Superclub in Quezon City.
From hole-in-the-wall establishments to big concert venues, from university fairs to jam-packed music festivals, it’s undeniable that the independent music scene is thriving, what with so many bands showcasing their musical talents in variety of genre. But behind every band that people get to see on stage is a story of hardship, struggle, determination and survival. Five competing bands are about to rock the night on November 9.
“As a great believer in creativity and the independent spirit of the artist, Converse is more than happy to bring these bands to the fore as they showcase their original song compositions and their unique presence on stage,” says Eli Bonsol, Converse Philippines’ advertising and marketing manager. “The winner will stand alongside the world’s best as ‘the Converse Get Loud’ is an initiative happening in key countries all over the planet.”
Representing five major regions of the Philippines, the competing bands are Even from North Luzon, Brisom from the National Capital Region, Kissbone from South Luzon, Bethany from the Visayas and Jad Montenegro from Mindanao. Though they have released independent records and performed in different venues, these bands have yet to breakthrough in the mainstream. “Through online voting, bar tours and the actual competition, ‘Get Loud’ will help them reach out to a bigger audience,” says Bonsol.
The never-say-die attitude of music artists is embodied by Even, composed of Dyanne Licudine (vocals), Jam Bumanlag (guitars), Coco Saupan (bass) and Dan Allan Acosta (drums). The band has been performing in Baguio City for seven years, building its own listeners for its kind of music which the band dubs as “Experi-Metal FX-tronica.” Rather than compromising their sound, the band has stayed true with their music’s dark and melancholic strain. Last year, they launched their first album, Retribution, whose carrier single of the same title proves to be a haunting song of rich and complex melodies. Even will perform “Luminary” for “Get Loud.”
When Brian Sombero’s first band Menaya disbanded in 2010, the lead vocalist and guitarist thought it was the end of his musical career that began when he was still in high school. Brian took a break, traveled a lot and went through an intense soul-searching phase, which resulted to him forming the band Brisom, the portmanteau of his name and surname. He found like-minded artists in Jeffrey Castro (drums and beats), Jason Rondero (bass), Tim Abbott (synthesizer and keys) and Terence Teves (guitar) and in no time they were able to record songs that speak of Brian’s realizations and experiences. Now a band to contend with, Brisom will perform “Waking Lives.”
Most bands start with high school students practicing with borrowed or second-hand instruments in a garage and the same is true with Kissbone, composed of Armin Joseph Pepito (guitar and vocals), Justine Sioson (guitar and vocals), Renz Jerome Villanueva (drums), Parker Cataquian (bass) and Allan Paulo Luching (rhythm guitar). They came a long way back as high school students of Sienna College Taytay, initially calling their band Zylvana which they founded in 2006. When a band member left, they renamed the group Kissbone and began playing shows around Metro Manila in 2007. After three years, Kissbone released their second EP Opposites, which features their collaboration with other musicians. Kissbone will perform “Distance and Motion.”
While high school friends may prove to be good partners in creating a band, it’s probably more so if the band members are siblings, which is the case with Bethany. Brothers Luis Quibranza III (lead vocals and guitar), Angelo Quibranza (lead guitar and vocals), Paolo Miguel Quibranza (drums and vocals) invited Kevin Borromeo (bass) to create an informal band, which would have its first break in a university fair in 2008. Bethany experienced performing in front of only 10 people and being paid with Php 1,000 for a 20-set songs. But for the band, number of people and compensation didn’t matter and their commitment led to bigger audience and gigs. Bethany released its debut album, Fantasy Fool on July 2011. For “Get Loud,” they will perform “Keep Moving On.”
After Jad Montenegro finished her studies at UP Diliman, she returned to Davao hoping to establish a name for herself as a solo acoustic act. She proved to be popular, hosting rock shows called Muzikbox and Durian Shake in local TV. But Jad wanted to expand musically and invited Dave Ibao (guitar and backing vocals), Eric Luzada (lead guitar), Pjoe Sabanpan (bass) and Carlo Garcia (drums, backing vocals) to form a band, which takes after her name. In an interview, she remarks the passion and love of craft of music artists despite the fact that they get little or no support. This has never discouraged the band members since they have launched two EPs, Fixed Points and Pendulums in 2012 and Detours in 2013. For “Get Loud,” Jad Montenegro will perform “The Escapist.”
“We are proud of having selected these talented music artists who, despite the odds being against them, continue to write songs, make music and perform in front of the audience,” says Bonsol. “Through “Get Loud,” Converse will blaze a trail for them and accompany them in their exciting musical journey.”
Visit www.facebook.com/ConversePhilippines on details on how to support your favorite band.
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