By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
IN 2008, Quibranza siblings Luis, Angelo and Paolo recorded 10 songs and compiled it an album to give out as Christmas gift to family and friends. Having grown up in a home of music lovers — their dad was a champion in a nationwide singing competition way back — they felt that sharing the “gift of music” was naturally the right thing to do.
A few demos and school gigs later, the brothers finally formed Bethany in 2009. A proudly Cebuano alternative rock band known for its melodic songwriting, Bethany is composed of Luis on vocals, Angelo on guitar, Paolo on drums and Kevin Borromeo on bass. They released their debut album titled “Fantasy Fool” in 2011.
This year, Bethany has been chosen to represent the Visayas in the nationwide Converse Get Loud songwriting campaign. The finals night will be on Nov. 9 in Quezon City, and they will be battling it out with bands Even from Northern Luzon, Brisom from the National Capital Region, Kissbone from South Luzon and Jad Montenegro from Mindanao. In the competition, Bethany will be playing their new single “Keep Moving On.”
How did you get chosen for Converse’s Get Loud competition?
Bethany: A good and safe guess from our end would be this: they had their researchers assigned to scout the Philippines for talents. We guess we’re pretty privileged and humbled to be part of the chosen best.
What’s your new single “Keep Moving On” about?
“Keep Moving On” wasn’t supposed to be released as some single. It was just one of those songs to be kept for our second album that’s due to be out middle of next year. In fact the original title for the song is, “Hipsters Aren’t Heroes But Walden Makes Them Look Immortal Anyway.” But because of this competition, we decided to let it loose. It’s just a fun track where we can imagine the young people singing out about how we all should set higher dreams for ourselves.
When was Bethany formed? Why the name?
In 2008, we recorded 10 songs to give out for free as a Christmas gift for our family and friends. We were immersed in a home that put a premium on music, so we thought back then that sharing the gift was just the right thing to do. We called ourselves Bethany because we felt like the name doesn’t put our genre in a single box. It’s simple and lovely.
Which musicians do you look up to?
Luis: U2, Coldplay and Muse. I’m also following closely Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World. Underoath and August Burns Red would be the bands I’d turn to for a metal fix. But then there will always be that curveball choice, and I’ll have to say Relient K and Mae influenced my way of songwriting very much. Rico Blanco and Urbandub are my local favorites. Angelo: I am a fan of guitar players who create a signature style of playing that clearly direct their band’s music. Marcos Curiel of P.O.D., Matt Bellamy of Muse, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave, John Dinopol of Urbandub, Mark Tremonti of Creed/Alter Bridge and The Edge of U2 are the guys that top my list.
Paolo: I love listening to Foo Fighters, Muse and Paramore (with the Farro brothers). Locally, Rivermaya with Rico Blanco and Urbandub are the artists that I love listening to.
Kevin: I highly look up to bassists Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten. They inspire me by thinking that there are a lot of ways and techniques to develop yourself as a musician. I also grew up listening to Coldplay, Dishwalla, Foo Fighters, Saosin, The Used and Incubus.
Tell us more about your upcoming second album?
Brian Sacro of Kalye Musika will still be on board as our producer for the next record. We don’t have a title for it yet but it’s definitely coming out second quarter of next year. It will be nothing like our first record “Fantasy Fool,” and expect a more “in-your-face” sound. We’re trying to come up with 12 to 14 songs.
A word or two for aspiring Cebuano musicians?
You have to love what you do. Pursuing music professionally is a difficult thing here in the country. Only the passionate survive. Plus, don’t wait for support from some recording label or a government office or whatever — just do what you have to do. Also stay humble and remain dedicated on how you can excel in your craft. Lastly, learn how to market yourself as an act or individual. Have a vision in mind from the start and don’t sway. Keep moving on.