By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
IN 2013, Womb’s debut album “Anesthesia” ranked #11 in music webzine Vandals on the Wall’s Top 25 Albums for the year. Not bad for a band that formed only three years prior—workmates who during coffee breaks toyed with the idea of starting one, and who eventually found themselves in a member’s house making songs and going through some DIY recording.
Although Womb, as a band, is relatively new in the local music scene, the members have worked with other musicians in the past. Womb is composed of Chai Fonacier on vocals, Anthony Uy on synths and guitar, and Fender Figuera on beats and drones.
When was Womb formed?
Chai: It wasn’t the kind of get together that happens so magically — oh wow, let’s form a band! — though Doogie, Anthony and I had tried it out with other people before Womb. Hanging out outside the office during coffee breaks, making a three-piece band looked like a good idea, and we, including Doogie, found ourselves at Anthony’s house in the wee hours at least once a week, making songs and trying things very DIY. (At one point) we had to stop recording to wait for the tuko or the chickens to stop.
We’d gone through a cycle of patience and impatience about putting an album out. Eventually we realized we had enough material for an album, and in 2012 we signed under 22 Tango Records with Cattski Espina, which led to album production and eventually a launching in May of 2013.
How do you describe your music?
Chai: Sleepy music. Or car music. Technically people refer to it as down-tempo electronica, or trip hop, but I like the first two descriptions better—at least for the first album. Who knows, we might make other kinds of stuff in the future, like bathwater-baby music, or singing-in-the-shower music, or cigarette butt music, whatever those are. Haha.
What are your songs generally about?
Chai: As far as I’ve noticed with the debut album, that one dealt with heartbreak, love, and loss mostly. I have a feeling we’ll take a different turn in the second album if and when we get down to working on it.
Most memorable gig?
Anthony: During Cattski’s album launch. The stage space was too small to put up a table for Fender’s equipment, so we performed with our gadgets on the floor—squatting and kneeling. The audience sat on the floor, too, and they got a different view of the stage, which looked like airport runway lights. When the deep wobble bass sound of “Anesthesiac” started playing, with the gadget lights blinking in sync, it felt surreal.
Fender: For me, it was our album launch. Other than the very snazzy venue (Gilt), superb sound system and the nice people that went out of their way to watch us play, it was also the time that I could finally say that we have achieved something great.
What fuels your creativity?
Chai: Broad question, but I think stories do. Being the songwriter of the group, I listen to people’s stories a lot. A number of songs in the album aren’t really about me. Also, one of them was written by Doogie.
Anthony: Music collaboration. Working with Chai and Fender pushes me to the next level. I follow no specific genre and I listen to different textures of sound. Those tiny details of texture fascinate me. (Another is that) I always want to learn new sounds through new instruments — I’m an “instruments freak.” Recently I started using the PlayStation’s Rockband 3 Keystar. It’s supposed to be a gaming controller but I hooked it up to a system so I can use it live on stage.
Fender: I know it’s crazy but I hear sounds in my head almost every waking hour, and I sometimes dream of it. This, together with Anthony’s arresting guitar riffs and Chai’s exquisitely alluring voice and words, inspires me to create music.