The local music scene in the Philippines is definitely striving, if not growing. Alyson, a high school band from Ateneo de Manila, has started making music ever since their elementary school years. They are definitely a band to look out for these days, with their chill Filipino sounds.
Get to know the band in this exclusive interview:
Pio: Technically it was like back in 2nd year, but way before we knew each other since Grade 6.
Marcus: Yeah we were 6th grade classmates. Except for Erfe here.
Pio: Yeah we tagged in along during band practice. We had nothing to do.
Marcus: We started a band before properly knowing how to use instruments.
Your band name is "Alyson". Who is Alyson or why are you guys called that?
Pio: Alyson kasi... actually, "alisan" yun eh. It was "alisan" originally but we didn't want the negative thing coming around.
Marcus: It was supposed to be "alisan" but we changed two letters so it doesn't like people leave during our set.
Who are your influences in your music style?
Pio: We'd start off with Greenday and Eraserheads.
Marcus: Then we'd move onto Arctic Monkeys and... personally, I'd say Rage Against the Machine.
Luis: Rage Against the Machine and the 1975.
Miguel: A little bit of the Strokes and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Pio: I do.
Marcus: I also write on occasion.
Miguel: I also do on occasion.
Marcus: It's mainly Pio, but sometimes we end up with our own songs and the arranging part. It's all us.
You have a song called "Miss Chinita". What inspired you to write a song about chinitas?
Pio: Okay, so "Miss Chinita" was all about my type before. Lahat ng crush 'chinita'. I was watching a YouTube video of a girl beatboxing and she was chinita and I was like "Oh, yeah I think I like chinitas."
What are the difficulties of being a high school band?
Luis: Time management because we have to juggle other activities. Marcus has Babble (The Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion) and he [Miguel] has track and field. So like, the work load.
Marcus: And grades.
Since you are an OPM band, what are the difficulties these days being one considering that the public prefers foreign ones?
Miguel: A lot of girls schools, where we can get our audience mainly listens to the foreign acts and then they don't really like OPM that much. So it's kinda hard to get an audience.
Marcus: At the same time, it's pretty good because the local music scene is pretty strong as I have seen it. It's actually thriving right now.
Do you have some advice for up and coming high school bands like yourselves?
Miguel and Pio: Practice have fun.
Marcus: It's okay to suck. Because that's literally where you start off. The usual problem is starting up. Once you guys have a rhythm with each other you know how each other works. You already have a work ethic and if you stick to it, it's all pretty good.
All of you guys are friends with each other. How does friendship and work play out here, since we're mixing pleasure and business together?
Marcus: I think the reason this works is because it still feels pretty fun to us. It doesn't feel like a chore and I hope it doesn't turn out to be a chore one day. It still feels likes a pretty fun game to me.
Pio: And we're all having fun with it.
Luis: It influenced our music and stuff.
Pio: Even though we have different sets of friends, I guess this band keeps coming together.
There's this project called the "My What? Project" where you combine your pet's name and your street name to form your stripper name. What would be your stripper names?
Pio: Rocky Matimpiin.
Marcus: Jasmine Upton. For the record I was given a nickname earlier by my teacher. It's called Hot Seth Rogen.
Luis: Moomoo Kalayaan
Miguel: Jupiter Nara.
What's your LSS?
Luis: Intro by The XX
Miguel: So Sorry by Fiest
Pio: Baby I'm Yours by Breakbot
Marcus: Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me by She & Him and Kiss Sabay Hug by Sexbomb Girls
How do you like your potatoes?
Miguel: French fries or mojos.
Pio: Boiled then fried
Who would you wish to be the next president of the Philippines?
Everyone: Lourd de Verya.
Your favorite movie?
Marcus: 'Her' made my cry because I was lonely.
Luis: Never go wrong with Avengers.
Miguel: I watched Primer this morning. It's about time travel or something.
Give us a pick-up line.
Luis: What's the best kind of weed? Being weed you.
Marcus: We're drawing a blank.
Pio: Blank ka ba? Kasi experiencing you right now.
Talking to these guys was definitely a fun and charming experience. Honestly, to pull off a high school band, juggling school, business, and passion, is really applaud-worthy. I seriously hope to go to more of their gigs around town more often. They do have an up coming gig at Route 196 called Beer featuring other local artists such as She's Only Sixteen and Ashley's Kryptonite on June 3.
- Anna Cayco
Check out Alyson's Facebook, Soundcloud, and Twitter.