Juliet’s charm - Weekend

Juliet’s charm

Q&A with homegrown five-piece band Drive Me To Juliet

Text by Jessica Servande Losorata
Fotos by Dunhill Johari Talpis

 

EVERY once in a while, there pops up a sound that collars the music scene and disrupts its banality to the core. At least that’s the case for Cebu. Many bands here do that — dish out interesting opuses, but only a few are exceptions. Sometimes, the culprit comes in the form of a five-piece young act with a femme fatale formula. To categorize them under the belt of American rock ensemble Paramore is an understatement.

This week’s featured band Drive Me To Juliet shares what rock ears may not totally want to hear about but they share it anyway. Regardless, these kids are indubitably among the aggressive faces of rock in their generation. They are homegrown and heck, they can rock your world better than those imported songs in your lousy playlist. Perhaps it’s time to change your taste.

BEHIND the scenes of “Saving Glass Heart,” Drive Me To Juliet’s first single.
BEHIND the scenes of “Saving Glass Heart,” Drive Me To Juliet’s first single.

Who is Juliet?

It’s a play of names actually, extracted from the songs and bands we listen to. We came up with “Drive Me To Juliet” and we’re like, “Yeah, sounds cool!”

Nobody in the group is named Juliet, really. Kaye Razel Racho is on vocals, her older brothers Randy Rhoads and Ken Hensly are on lead guitar and guitar, respectively. Friends Isser Job Libres takes bass duties while Jerand Ybañez is skinsman.

What’s your genre? Are you one of those DIY disciples?

Absolutely! We produced our own album, merchandises, etc. independently. We love to do it our own because, well, we can. (Laughs)

Genre? Rock all the way, under the influence of, well, a myriad. Let’s see, common denominators are Panic at the Disco, Sleeping with Sirens, Pierce the Veil, The Used, Dashboard Confessionals, The Beatles, Yellowcard, Story of the Year, Paramore, Joan Jett, We the Kings, Queen, Silverchair, Rick Emmett, Michael Franks, The Aristocrats, Bullet for My Valentine, Underoath, Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, All American Rejects, All Time Low and Incubus.

Ah, there’s really a lot. (Laughs) Throw in Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, Bamboo, Franco and Typecast for some local flavor.

DRIVE Me To Juliet are (from left) bassist Isser Job Libres, lead guitarist Randy Rhoads Racho, vocalist Kaye Razel Racho, guitarist Ken Hensly Racho, and drummer Jerand Ybañez.
DRIVE Me To Juliet are (from left) bassist Isser Job Libres, lead guitarist Randy Rhoads Racho, vocalist Kaye Razel Racho, guitarist Ken Hensly Racho, and drummer Jerand Ybañez.

What themes do you exude?

The usual stuff — relationships, friendship, heartaches, a series of our day-to-day life events.

First gig or gigs — local, national, backyard, dingy bar?

It was right after we won a battle of the bands at a local university. That was November 2009. We first played at Kitchie Bogz at Mango Ave. So Yeah, dingy bar or at least close to it. It’s Coffee Bean Scent now.

Our first national stint was at Rakrakan Festival at Mall of Asia Grounds two years ago. Overwhelming! The hairs on the back of our necks!

You just don’t go about preaching your output in audio format, right? Tell us about your music videos. Or why don’t you tell us about your debut album first?

Sure. The album is dubbed “Kiss and Tell”, released Dec. 13 last year. Still fresh. Pretty much self-explanatory. But if you really want to get down to it, well, it talks about confidentiality, about our lives nonetheless. Each song stems from different themes and vibes. Some are mellow, some are heavy. Some are jazzy, some are theater-ish. We’re probably launching it in Manila this February or late March.

We released “Saving Glass Heart” as our first single in 2012 and surprisingly, the video reached 280,000 views on YouTube. Swell for a newbie. It’s probably more now, hopefully. (Laughs) Credits to YTV for the collaboration. Now we are planning to shoot two more of our songs in the album this year and probably a couple more next year. It just depends on the mood really.

Right on. So now, you got the scene talking. Your front icon is a girl and she’s really good. Downright honest comment there. Would you say there is an extra advantage if the band carries a female vox? Did you ever think about the band that way when you guys were starting?

Yeah. You could say that it’s a bit of an advantage. In our case, Kaye carries a strong and versatile voice. Actually, we never really thought about anything when we started. We only wanted to write songs and record it at home just for our own satisfaction and since our little sister here is a terrific, pretty little thing, we just decided to let her sing the songs we composed. Luckily, we turned out fine. (Laughs) But truth be told, credibility be damned, we don’t really want to be known for anything, for that matter. We just want to write songs and inspire people, which what got us started in the first place.

Good kids. But you really found your niche, huh? You’ve been around in the scene for quite some time now. And for that, what do you think of the current local situation?

Ha! It’s alive and won’t be dying anytime soon. There are a lot of good bands here in the Philippines who write good music. Some people say that OPM is dead but those who believe so are people who don’t even go to local gigs or support local bands. Seriously, they should stop being cynical downers.

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