Thanks to Azrael, I woke up to the sound of the ‘new’ Rivermaya. Heavy with the rock n’ roll feels, it looks like the Filipino rock band has finally ‘found’ its right place back once again.
For more than 23 years, Rivermaya has been currently moving in circles with different lineup since frontman Bamboo Mañalac departed from the band in 1998.
The unexpected departure paved the way for Rico Blanco to assume the primary vocals with remaining member Mark Escueta. Perf de Castro and Nathan Azarcon were replaced by Kakoy Legaspi, Mike Elgar, and Japs Sergio in 2001.
Japs penned a song and temporarily became the frontman in 2007 after Rico left the group in pursuit of a solo career. On October 2007, Rivermaya introduced Jayson Fernandez as the new vocalist after the management held an audition for lead singer of the band.
A court case on band name ownership rocked the group in 2008 as it tries to make an impression in the music scene led by Jayson.
Come 2011, two new members joined the band, Ryan Peralta and Norby David.
Also on August 2011, Jayson left the band after his four year stint. Apparently, musical differences was the main issue of his departure.
Japs left the group in 2012 to focus on his new band, Peso Movement. Mark, Mike, and Norby regularly switched over the mic roles up until 2016.
On January 9, 2016, fans got the delight when former members Nathan, Perf, Mark, and Rico appeared and performed as a band at 19-East, Taguig City after an invitation from de Castro. It was dubbed as a ‘secret mini semi-reunion’ with Rico on keyboards, de Castro on guitars, Azarcon on bass guitar, and Escueta on drums.
Bamboo was supposed to be in that gig also but he wasn’t able to because he was out of the country on that particular date. Current members Mike and Ryan were on backstage watching the original members on stage.
In 2016, Norby decided to leave the group after the music video “Tayo” was released on online platforms Facebook and YouTube. Nathan and Japs took over bass swings on live shows and eventually, Nathan replaced Norby on vocals.
Sa Kabila ng Lahat
The band recorded Sa Kabila ng Lahat studio album in mid-2016 with Japs as co-producer. On May 22, 2017, Rivermaya signed with Star Music – a ABS-CBN-owned record label.
The carrier ‘Manila’ was released om Spotify, premiered on Myx, and released on Star Music’s YouTube channel on June 14, 2017.
“I find myself again, deep in the arms of Manila,” sang Nathan on the opening lyrics of the song which features ABS-CBN actress Sarah Carlos as a stripper who’s trying to make ends from the red light district of Manila.
Nathan is seen wearing a dark jacket, denim jeans, and sneakers while traversing the busy streets in Manila on a drizzling night while Sarah walks on with her umbrella in another frame.
I lose myself again, right in the backstreets of Manila
This line could be interpreted in a lot of ways but with Nathan singing the lyrics could only mean one thing. Rivermaya has found itself back again of its rightful place in the music industry while consenting to the fact that they may get lost once again as they struggle to survive and fight the non-stop evolution changes of the band. Hopefully, this is the last.
The ‘Manila’ video has more than 26,000 YouTube views since it went online.
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