Never the Strangers band members want to collaborate with Gloc 9


Naging popular ang band na Never The Strangers matapos mapili ang kanilang kantang “Moving Closer” bilang theme song ng Close Up toothpaste commercial na napapanood sa telebisyon. Ang former Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus housemate na si Valerie Weigmann at StarStruck V alumnus na si Ian Batherson ang gumanap na mga sa commercial.

Hindi lamang sa TV commercial napapakinggan ang kanilang kanta, maging sa mga radio at ilang music charts ay nangunguna ang kanilang mga awitin. Kilalanin ang mga Atenistang miyembro ng Never the Strangers na kinabibilangan ng sumusunod:

Ace Libre, 22 years old – Keyboard, Synth, Vocals, Back up Vocals – Comtech graduate

PJ La Vina, 22 years old- Drums – AB Psychology graduate

Francis Victa, 22 years old - Bass – Management Engineering graduate

JP Del Mundo, 20 years old - Guitars – Management Information System graduate



Noong May 15, nagkaroon ang PEP.ph ng exclusive interview sa mga miyembro ng bandang ito sa opisina ng Warner Music sa Ortigas, Pasig City. Ikinuwento ng 4 na members ang pagsisimula ng kanilang banda at kung ano na ang pakiramdam nila sa tagumpay na tinatamasa nila matapos makilala ang kanilang awiting “Moving Closer.”


Paano kayo nagkakila-kilala or paano nabuo ang inyong banda?

Ace: I’ve been involved in music since high school, and before that PJ and I formed the band, we played OPM songs. Francis also had a band that time and we were classmates that time. JP played guitar since high school but we just met him [JP] during college. We merged in college, we were part of the Ateneo Musicians Organization.

Sabay sabay ba kayong graduate ng Ateneo?

PJ: Nung March ka ga graduate lang naming apat, sabay sabay kaming graduate.

Bakit Never The Strangers ang itinawag n’yo sa band?

PJ: Leonecast ang pangalan ng band namin dati, kami lang ni Ace yun that time, maraming member changes, nag iba na rin yung mga songs na kinakanta namin, nagkaroon na rin ng mga original songs, we decided to change the name, kasi iba na talaga yung banda eh. Nag iisip nga kami ng medyo “catchy” na name at medyo sounds good na pangalan ng banda. Minsan kumakain yata ng chicken si Ace that time, naisip niya yung ‘Never The Strangers,’ sabi niya it sounds good daw. Tinext kami ni Ace about the name and we agreed on that new name of the band. That time wala pang meaning kung bakit yun ang name, then we put meaning to it.”

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Francis: Never The Strangers, there’s no stranger dapat. Halimbawa nasa concert kayo, gusto n’yo pareho yung music sa concert, the reason why you attended that concert kasi you like not only the artist but also their music. Kahit yung katabi di mo kakilala, you listen, watch and sing the songs in the concert at least hindi kayo stranger sa isa’t isa, kasi you both like the music na pinakikinggan n’yo sa concert.

PJ: Yun ang philosophy nung banda namin, thru the songs, the lyrics, thru our sounds, we want to unite the listeners sa pamamagitan ng banda namin. We want them to become closer to each other and closer to us also thru our music.

Who wrote the song “Moving Closer?” What is the inspiration behind that song?

Ace: Ako po. Yung inspiration? Pwede mo siya kasing i-attribute sa romance, I imagined the guy and the girl falling for each other.”

Paano napili yung song for that Close Up Commercial?

PJ: Nag perform kami sa Warner Christmas party last December, nag perform kami that time, dahil bata kami, parang naging interesado sila sa amin kasi nga bago kami. Covers night yun eh, parang halos lahat ng performances ay popular songs; madalang yung originals. That time, we performed the song “Moving Closer,” na original composition ni Ace. Sakto naman kasi parang sakto yung message ng song sa Close Up theme, sakto rin yung message ng banda, sabi nila perfect fit for the commercial. They approached us kung pwede daw gamitin sa Close up commercial.”

Anong pakiramdam n’yo ngayon na naririnig at napapanuod na sa TV yung songs nyo?

JP: Surreal! Kasi napapanood at napapakinggan lang namin yung mga previous Close Up commercial songs sa TV, sabi naming, parang iba to ah, parang tayo naman ngayon. Tapos naramdaman din namin na sumikat at sikat ang mga previous artists na nagdala ng brand at nagdala ng legacy sa commercial ng Close Up.

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Ace: We have to prove ourselves kumbaga, kasi we are so lucky to have this kind of big break, siyempre may responsibilities na nakaatang na dapat naming patunayan.”

Alam naman nating sumikat ang halos lahat ng songs na nasa commercial ng Close Up. May pressure ba on your part na sumikat din ang “Moving Closer”?

PJ: Meron din, pero alam mo yun, iba kasi yung Close Up eh, they really believe in our band. On our part kahit may doubt, bilib na bilib silang sisikat yung kanta namin, saka iba yung support nila sa amin, sobra yung marketing strategy nila to promote it. Kita n’yo naman, every now and then laging pinalalabas yung commercial with our song, so unti-unti nang nakikilala ng mga tao yung song dahil nga sa commercial. Nakakabisado na nila yung kanta. Nagta top na rin siya sa MYX and other music charts. So, it means, napapansin na siya talaga.”

Ano rin yung feeling nyo na nasa mga music charts na rin siya?

Ace: Dati yung focus lang namin, yung MYX Countdown, later on na lang rin namin na realize na umaakyat na rin pala sya sa ibang music charts. Siyempre nakakataba siya ng puso. Nakakatuwa.”

Ace, being the composer of that song, may iniisip ka ba na girl, na crush or GF mo during that time habang sinusulat mo yung kanta?

Ace: (Pabiro niyang sinagot) Sige, si Solenn Heussaff! (sabay tawa), actually marami akong crush eh, aside from Solenn, si Anne Curtis at Georgina Wilson din. Crush lang naman, pero hindi naman ibig sabihin na sila iniisip ko habang sinusulat ko yung song. Sa composition naman kasi, hindi naman kailangang lagi kang may iniisip na ibang tao para maging inspiration para makagawa ng kanta, when you write songs, you need to exercise the talent also.

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Ano yung ibinigay na advice sa inyo ni Rico Blanco?

PJ: Mentor na namin talaga si Rico Blanco, even before Close Up, siya yung isa sa mga kini consider namin na one of the artists who support us. Kumbaga, tinuturuan niya kami about music, about the industry. Sinabi niya sa amin na talagang malaking opportunity yung Close Up and sabi niya na take that opportunity.

Why do you like playing New Wave synth rock music?

Ace: Kasi yung mga influences namin na contemporary like Coldplay, The Killers, Muse…eto yung mga pinapakinggan nila, halimbawa yung Coldplay pinapakinggan nila ang U2, parang bina back track namin. I guess dahil trip namin yung influences namin, at trip din namin yung pinapakinggan nila, we ended up with New Wave and Piano Rock.

Kung meron kayong local female celebrities na kakantahan sino yun at bakit?

Ace: Nasabi ko na kanina, si Solenn Heussaff, Anne Curtis at Georgina Wilson, kasi crush ko sila eh.

PJ: Sa No Other Woman kasi ang kalaban ni Anne Curtis si Cristine Reyes, sya yung gusto kong kantahan para exciting naman.

JP: Ako, si Claudine Barretto at Andi Eigenmann, kasi problemado sila eh, maybe ma-inspire ko sila thru our songs at makalimutan nila kahit panandalian ang problema nila (sabay tawa).

Francis: Si Yeng Constantino, kasi idol ko rin yun eh, saka magaling siyang artist.

Sino namang ibang band or performer yung gusto ninyong maka jamming if given a chance?

All: Gloc 9

Ace: Sobrang nakaka believe yung pag ra-rap niya, parang baril.

PJ: Master talaga siya ng collaboration eh. Isa sya sa mga performer na nag ko collaborate with all types of music eh.

Ano ang maibibigay ninyong advice sa mga bagong bandang nagsisimula para marating nila yung narating nyo ngayon?

JP: Mind your own sound, kasi parang yun yung pine present n’yo sa mundo. Saka para ma-differentiate n’yo yung sarili from all the rest.

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Francis: Mag-aral kayong maige at dapat maka graduate kayo ng college para malayo marating n’yo, then saka n’yo sundin yung passion n’yo sa music.

Ace: As a composer, huwag kayong papakahon sa iisang particular style or sa isang particular artist na ini-idolo n’yo. Aa simula pwede mo silang sundan, pero eventually, as you progress, you come up with your own style. Keep practicing! Hindi laging darating yung inspiration, baka kailangan mong trabahuhin yun success. Work on your craft! Communicate with your band members, huwag maging makasarili, baka yun yung simulan ng problema sa banda n’yo.

PJ: Educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to try different types of music. Keep practicing different instruments like piano, guitar, bass, etc.


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