Prey

To Prey Or Be The Prey

To Prey Or Be The Prey?

That is Not the Question

Weng Laguilles

Based on an interview with Paulo Laguilles and Serafin Timog, III and anecdotes from Julius Masbate and Mark Pineda

One of the bands to come out in recent years, four-piece metal band Prey nevertheless presents more than newness to the music scene. They have been part of separate bands playing within and outside Legazpi City for ten years and more, and proof of the rich music-making experiences behind them is hard to miss. For anyone that listens to their songs and watches their performances, they promise only well thought-out pieces, creditable performances, and unquestionable passion.

Becoming Prey
Prey

Burf and Serf of Prey

Vocalist Paulo Laguilles (Burf), bassist Julius Masbate (Yapak), and drummer Mark Pineda (Pot) come from a common band, Negative 13th X-Ray. While itself a considerable success with endless gigs in and out of town, a cult following of their own, and original songs that have become familiar with music scene supporters, Negative 13th X-Ray had come to a halt in 2012 when school and work demands took their toll on the members. But even as the band was beginning to slow down, they were already eager for a new chapter. In fact, members of the Negative 13th X-Ray had always challenged themselves, exploring musical terrains that could match their zeal. After trying things out with a few guitar players around town, Serafin Timog III (Serf) seemed like the natural choice for a permanent guitarist. An old hand in the music scene himself that needs a new challenge, Serf was more than interested in the synergy that will become Prey.

Playing metal seemed a natural path for these four home-grown musicians. Burf, Yapak, and Pot had started out playing punk music (Trigger Happy, Story So Far, Morons) in as early as 2004, but over the years had also continually searched for something that was heavier and perhaps for them, more musically challenging. With separate bands and as Negative 13th X-Ray, they had also played metal music, but they had come to a point of simply wanting more to do with it. In fact, Yapak had also started playing bass for other metal bands (Perdition, Jack in the Box, Dark Dungeon) around the same time Prey got together. Similarly with Serf, it was never about swearing to any one genre, his long line of music-making experiences running from involvements with blues to pop and acid rock to metal (Voltes V, Volume, Next Level, Sperm, Angelic Rebellion, Pepsi Paloma Experiment) since his high school days in 1998. And like his band mates in Prey, taking metal seriously was simply due. Prey’s first gig was in October 2013. They have continued playing ever since, and one of their songs is set to be part of Bicol X’s compilation album for release in mid-2015.

Dodging Haters
Prey

Prey at Faultline Production’s Metal Induced. Tabaco City

As with any endeavor, plunging into the music scene invites supporters as well as haters. This is true for Prey. While one easily feels the support the bands gets with how people gather in a moshpit or simply bob their heads along as Prey takes over the stage, one also senses some sort of resistance to their presence. In fact, Prey had been questioned of their claim to being a metal band, which Burf explains is on account of how their musical history, lifestyle, and attitudes are apparently “not metal enough.” Prey normally laughs these issues off, but when pressed for comment, they reveal what they see as the irony in such attack. Particularly for Serf, there are a couple of problems with genre purists in the local scene: boxing music into categories in the first place, and self-righteousness over a genre which is actually foreign and thus for which no Filipino will ever be ‘pure’ enough.

Nevertheless, Prey is not out to please everybody; appealing to those with open ears will do. Burf admits though that unfounded criticisms can sometimes invade their time and energy as they try to understand what these haters are really about. For him, it is acceptable for musicians to engage in constructive criticism with each other. Disliking another band’s music is okay, he says, and if you really can’t hold your tongue, you should focus your critique on the music, not the people behind it. Indeed, to critique another band to be unfit for playing a particular sound based on personal circumstances is to hold them against a biased set of qualifying criteria and to claim superiority to be the judge as well. And in the world of music, in the world of art, claiming to have the final say is nothing more than ignorance as it is arrogance.

What It’s Still About: Making Music
Prey

Burf, Serf, Mark, and Yapak Practicing at Propaganda Studio Cubao For Metro Breach Gig

To date, Prey has written three songs, Bully, Underdog, and Vengeance, all of which started with guitar riffs from Pot. They are also currently working on one song, The Enemy Needs to Die. Lyrically, they derive inspiration from personal experiences and perspectives on bullying. They acknowledge that bullying is commonly experienced among the youth, and they too have accounts of having been bullied. Burf shares that his most challenging experience was in high school, where it took him a whole school year before he could stand up to a group of upperclassmen that ganged up on him. They stress however that bullying takes place everywhere and happens to everyone. Serf cites bullying in the corporate world in particular, where employees hardly get a say over their work circumstances, being underpaid and overworked the cruel and simple reality for many. Their sentiment on the matter is punctuated by the need of the bullied to stand up for themselves. Musically, they are influenced by bands such as Pantera and groove metal music in general.

Prey intends to record an EP soon, featuring their four songs and possibly a couple more. But their plans as a band are not set in stone just yet, as they have other responsibilities on their hands as well. Given that such situation is the same for most other local bands, one wonders how they manage it differently considering their maturity as musicians. Reflecting on his past bands, Burf admits Prey is more focused as a group of musicians, but is more relaxed as a band. Their rehearsals can be dead serious, each one keen on playing their parts the best they can; but they can be just as self-indulgent when they brainstorm over an original song, learn a cover, or perform onstage. Burf adds that he also knows better now than to expect that things will always go with the band the way he wants them. Working for it one day at a time works better than predicting the band’s future.

For Prey, “passion for music” remains the catchphrase explaining their motivation as a band. Serf elaborates that without music, life just seems incomplete. More than just passion though, Prey has enough experience to teach them that the quality of the music one makes matters equally. Musicians do not exist solely for themselves, and the music they offer must be worth listening to. Reaching for another cliché that happens to be true, Yapak adds three basic things any self-respecting band needs to ensure, regardless of the genre they are associated with or that they identify for themselves: “practice, explore, create.”


About The Author
Weng writes songs and plays the guitar for The Doldrums. She is also among the founders and organizers of Club Molotov. She considers herself a feminist, an atheist, and an academic. She likes well-spiced and fresh seafood, which makes her feel fortunate having Legazpi City as her hometown.

Romi Verga

Letter From A Neophyte

Romi Verga

In the short time that I have been a part of the “scene” as a musician and a fan of my fellow musicians, I have noticed that the scene may still be small, but it’s got the potential to be one of the respected music scenes in the Philippines. Though the term “small” is a sensitive verb in this matter, it is also an opinionated one.

Subjectively, I have seen great promise from metal bands in Legazpi, namely, Jack in The Box (NU Metal), Cephalovelvic (Brutal Death Metal), Perdition (Metalcore) and Prey (Groove Metal). They never fail to pull people away from their seats and bang their heads with the bands while they play their music.

Jack In The Box

Jack In The Box

Cephalovelvic

Cephalovelvic

Perdition

Perdition

Prey

Prey

Undeniably, there are a lot of bands that can confirm the facts behind my opinion. Bands like Mash-Up (Alternative Rock), Scars For Maria (Alternative Rock), Indicent Proposal (Progressive Rock), Mr. Wang Jr. (Reggae), Naturalismo (Progressive Reggae), Layla’s Story (Post-Hardcore), Code of Chivalry (Post-Grunge), One Hour Recover (Punk Rock), The Aborted (Punk Rock), and so much more.

Scars for Maria

Scars for Maria

Layla's Story

Layla’s Story

One Hour Recover

One Hour Recover

Incontrovertibly, there are a lot of bands back then that pushed the bands now to keep on playing. And there will be more bands that will come and express themselves. So I say, kudos, to the first ones here and to the ones that will continue to work themselves to the bone to uplift the scene.

Everyone currently involved in the scene are all working to achieve one goal, to uplift the Bicolano music scene, and show the people that we really are uragons in what we do and what we have to offer.

Productions like Bicol X have done a great job in this matter by organizing open-genre events that will allow bands to get together, have fun, and play their music and be heard. Of course, there are themed events like 15-Minute Freedom Production’s all-metal event series Anthems of Rebellion, which will cater to specific musical taste and audience.

Behind the success of these events are sponsors who support and help by the use of their products or services. Radio stations like MOR 93.9 Legazpi provide radio ads to give the listeners a heads up that there are upcoming events in places near them. Clothing lines such as Ezkill, Eleventh Hour, Urag Wear, and Morbid Pumpkin support the scene by getting involved and allowing the organizers to display their products during these events, and of course, giving out freebies!

I still consider myself as a neophyte and I have a lot to learn. And I am glad that the people that I have encountered in the Bicolano music scene have given me that congenial atmosphere so I can freely express and improve myself as a musician and as a person.

Everyone has their own way of contributing in this fight to boost the Bicolano music scene. And no effort will be put in vain because of the love and passion for the art. And that’s enough to keep everyone going. Certainly, the fight to uplift this growing community is far from over. But surely, there will be results. Positive results.

About The Author
Romi Verga is a pessimistic optimist that loves to get stuff done with his daily dose of coffee. He is the drummer of Amanda and Layla’s Story. He is also the co-owner and “The Godfather” of Eleventh

Bicol X Strikes Back

Bicol X Strikes Back: It’s Not About the Haters

 

Marisse Francia

There is a popular Filipino saying that, “Kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.” (“If somebody throws a rock at you, throw bread back at them”). In Bicol X’s case, they threw a gig.

When there are likers, there may also come haters, especially with fame. As Bicol X has become a renowned music production for holding the most rocking gigs and showcasing the most “oragon” bands, amidst their success, creeps some haters. That is why for Bicol X’s Bicol X Music 5, they had a subtle approach to haters in their theme, which was “Bicol X Strikes Back”, held last Oct 17, 2014 at JD’s Point Restaurant and Bar.

Bicol X had been lying low for some time though, not having any gig for two months since July. Usually they have some gigs every month, which, aside from their counteraction, is the main reason why their theme is so. It is their grand return after a period of rest. And they rocked that gig so hard as if it was their lover they haven’t seen for quite a while.

“Our gigs are not about the haters. I don’t compare our scene to others. It just became our counteraction to the haters. But it really is not for the haters,” said Noel Addison Agnote, one of the co-founders of Bicol X, brushing them haters off and just continuing with what they do best.

Bicol X Strikes Back was a pre-launch party that was to showcase 14 bands whom are some of the most talented acts in the local music scene such as: Bicolano Rappers Organization, Scars for Maria, College Format, Naturalismo, The Doldrums, Code of Chivalry, Muchass Grassas, Jack in the Box, Krear Bathala, One Hour Recover, Pennies4Jane, Prey, Indigo, and Perdition. They were the chosen ones to be part of the Bicol X Compilation Album to be released next year; a nifty concoction Bicol X is cooking up, that’s something to look forward to.

Alongside the gig was also the release of such ingenious creations of shirts from four Bicolano clothing lines namely, Eleventh Hour Clothing, Ezkill, Morbid Pumpkin, and Urag Wear. Besides these shirts’ awesome designs, the fact that they’re Albay made makes it totally “oragon” and something that we Bicolanos could be proud of. Bicol X merchandise were also sold with discounts on some selected items. They were some pretty fair deals on some sweet items.

Tickets were sold for the affordable price of P 80, pre-sale and P 100, at the gate. I can say that it was worth the price for it came with a free beer, and it’s one hella good gig as what Bicol X usually brings; an event where in you can enjoy great music and booze-up.

Unfortunately, two bands, Pennies4Jane and Krear Bathala weren’t able to show up for some reason. But in their absence, two bands, Red Buttons and 32-20 Barrel Blues joined in to substitute and opened the gig.

First up was garage punk band, Red Buttons with a performance bursting with energy. It’s amazing how so much energy exuded from a band that’s composed of only two members. The venue came alive. They played their original compositions, “Run Forrest Run”, which is about being LATE- being late at work, love, etc. It was influenced by the movie Forrest Gump; “Adventure Time”, which is just about the cartoon Adventure Time; and “Dream Sequence”, which is all about fragments of a dream and remembering them during day time. The words are randomly written just like in a dream. The inspirations for their compositions come from random things.

red buttons

Red Buttons

Then there was a change of mood as it turned more toned down and relaxed as 32-20 Barrel Blues followed with covers of “Gimme One Reason” by Tracy Chapman, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison, and “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin, that made the audience dance and sing along in their seats as they were feeling the music.

32-20 Barrel Blues

32-20 Barrel Blues

The bluesy feel shifted to a head bobbing moment as the unique bunch among the lineup, Bicolano Rappers Organization took the stage with their original compositions, “Entablado” by Thrilla deKalibre, Silverbone, and Chunkee; “Fly High” by Chunkee; “Paskong Wala ka” by Thrilla deKalibre feat. Mikidee and Breezy Jane; “Tara Na Sa Albay” by Oragon Departamento of Bicolano Rappers Org. Personal experiences are what their songs talk about. In composing their songs, they make use of poetry and influences from other genres. Their genre sets them apart as they’re the only ones who does rap, thus bringing a different flavor.

Bicolano Rappers Organization

Bicolano Rappers Organization

For the next band, not scars, but screams were what they got as alternative rock band, Scars for Maria got some ever loyal fans cheering. They played two of their original compositions, “Para Satin to’” and “Puppet’s Diary”. Usually, the songs that they write are about experience and emotion. They also played a Mad Hatter Day Cover entitled, “Finding Atlantis”. The crowd obviously loved their performance.

Scars for Maria

Scars for Maria

College Format did two Goo Goo Dolls covers, “Slide” and “Name” then it was followed by “So Many Times” which is one of their original songs. This college rock band’s songs are inspired by movies, and for them, their songs come from the heart and are powered by emotion.

College Format

Mic Of College Format

It all just came naturally like a group of 5 friends creating good music together for reggae band Naturalismo. They played rock reggae versions of Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak” and The Youth’s “Mukang Pera”, and their original composition, “Albay Ayahay”. Naturalismo is all about creating music that is very natural and they’re naturally good at it; already making waves despite that they’re new to the scene only having joined this 2014.

Naturalismo

Naturalismo

The next band, The Doldrums performed their original compositions, “Love Song”, which is about how love transcends incompatibility; “Idiot”, which expresses rage at how females can be discriminated against, in the music scene and otherwise; and “Don’t Comfort”, where in the (female) narrator speaks about her capacity to be hedonistic, too, sexually and otherwise, in defiance of society’s assumption that females are naturally or supposed to always be “well-behaved” and “self-sacrificing.” Their songs are so deep as what the band’s name says, itself. According to their drummer, Thonz Abrera, doldrums mean the most calm yet the deepest area in the sea. But their performance was nothing calm. It was so lively as they made audience dance and sing along with them.

Doldrums

Doldrums

But right after, was when the crowd went nuts as they moshed like crazy to performances of the real riot starting bands, Code of Chivalry, Muchass Grassas, Jack in the Box, One Hour Recover, Prey, Indigo, and last but not the least, Perdition. Although I don’t know if it’s just that the alcohol already kicked in but even so, those bands were kickin’!

The knights of post grunge/progressive metal, Code of Chivalry rocked with their power to protect the weak and defenseless through their songs and melody. An interesting trivia about this band is that their name was taken from, “Code of Chivalry”, a world known moral and honorable system w/c states that all knights should protect others who cannot protect themselves and be of service to others. A Greyhoundz cover, “Taya” was played by the band, and two original compositions, “Fight” which is about battling daily challenges igniting inner flame and winning and “Reborn” which is about personal reform the need to rise from ashes.

Code of Chivalry

Code of Chivalry

Reggae band, Muchass Grassas gave a performance that brought the audiences to Zion with covers of “Piso Pisong Panaginip” by Tropical Depression, “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley, and “Collie Herb Ma”n by Katchafire. They also performed their original compositions such as “Legalize It”, “Maryjane”, and “Under the Influence,” which made the audience high. Most of their songs are based on true stories and experiences.

Muchass Grassas

Muchass Grassas

As usual, Jack in the Box gave a hyper performance as what they’re known for. They did two Soulfly covers, “Bleed” and “Downstroy”. They also played their original composition, “Lies,” which deals all about the corruption ensued in the Philippine government. Current events are what this NU metal/groove metal/progressive metal band’s compositions tackle.

Jack In The Box

Jack In The Box

A fusion of punk rock, grunge, and alternative took over the place as that’s what sums up One Hour Recover as their music is a combination of each other’s influences, and their music’s main ingredient is collaboration. “Cassettes and Cigarettes”, “Poison in Disguise”, “Sandali”, and “Seven to Surf” were some of their original compositions they played. Most of their songs are about life and their personal experiences. They also played a Rancid cover of “Roots Radicals”.

One Hour Recover

One Hour Recover

Groove metal band, Prey who has become a voice for the bullied, performed their original compositions, “Bullied” and “Vengeance” both all about bullies which is mostly what their songs are all about. They also played a cover of Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”.

Prey

Prey

Not even distance could keep the next band from performing. They are electronica/post hardcore band, Indigo who travelled all the way from Daet, Camarines Norte to Legazpi just to play their original compositions such as “Endless Tears,” which is about love and hatred, but in the story of the song the love of the boy overpowers the hate he feels towards his girl; “We Are, What We Are!”, which is about teenagers and bands who want to change the world through music. No wars and negativity, just music and love; and “Haters, Cute Monsters and Aphrodite”, which is a story about those who are musically inclined, who still carry on with their passion even if there are many people against them (haters) and then meets some people who are being pretentious after all just so they could use bands for their own sake (cute monsters) and the beauty of the world, music, and the talent God has blessed us with (symbolized by aphrodite). This band really loves music and making music. And it seems that the crowd really love their music as well.

Indigo

Indigo

Raw and Passionate is what I can say for the last band, Perdition. This metalcore band isn’t exactly sugar, spice, and everything nice. Perdition is all about hate and rebellion but they don’t write those kinds of songs just for the fact that they’re a heavy metal band. As said by their vocalist, Tim Florece, “We wrote these songs because it is coming from a real place, a real dark place, and as cliché as it sounds, if you’re succumbed in darkness, in order to see things once again, you’ll have to find the light. I think that it is the essence of our songs, a warning, a gentle tap to the shoulder, telling us that things are not as beautiful as we see it now. We all have to be vigilant.” They played their original compositions, “Forever Your Assailant”, “Solitary Confinement”, “Prophets of the New Disease”, and “Blue are the Skies of an Opening Day”. They rocked their guts out as usual and made a blast of a finale, as they are, according to Florece, “Like a predator, salivating as it stalks its prey, we are as well hungry for our songs to be heard by many.”

Perdition

Perdition

Overall, to put it in one word, it was: epic. A group of extreme Bicolano bands that all came together to share their talent and some of their original music, joined by extreme clothing lines with original designs that originated in Bicol in an extreme event that everyone enjoyed.

They are two things to be proud of in the Bicol scene, musicians that, although already renowned and accomplished still remain humble and amidst adversaries, stay strong and carry on with their passion, which is what is admirable about them, and clothing lines that are products of skilled fellow Bicolanos.

 

 

 

 

About the author
Marisse is a freelance writer currently residing in Camalig, Albay. Her passion for writing was developed when she was recruited to be a writer for Aquinian Herald, the official publication of Aquinas University of Legazpi where she took up AB Communication. There she wrote news, poetry and features and eventually got promoted as features editor. That is how she has grown into this passionate writer she is and until now, still continuously grows as she pursues a career in writing. You can message Marisse at her Facebook account