There’s always been a steadily growing number of young musicians and bands in the city of Cavite, Philippines just itching to get new, original music out and represent their hometown, and modern hard rock five-piece AIYANA is definitely a group that’s leading the current crop of talents, with a steadily growing number of releases under their belt and more than a handful of impressive live shows where they brought the proverbial house down.
Composed of vocalist Jayce Llaneta, guitarists Jec Castillo and GB Castillo, bassist Jerome Sumadsad and drummer Justin Bonavente, the band had first surfaced in 2022, via their debut single “Bipolar,” and immediately followed-up with “TOTGA,” both singles rooted in catchy Tagalog pop-punk (riddled with anthemic choruses…) that was fun, full of energy and slick and well-produced – considering the fact that they were both pretty much home recordings. Later-on in the year, the band released a heavier English single “Out Alive,” complete with vocal growls, furious double-pedal drumming and chunky heavy metal riffage.
Presently, the band is gearing-up for yet another brand-new song called “Tapos Na Tayo” to be released online this February 24th (which you can pre-save here: https://bfan.link/tapos-na-tayo ) so naturally, PULP.PH had a chat with the band.
PULP: Do tell us how Aiyana was formed, and take us through the basic history of the band.
Jec: The band was formed by myself, Jayce and our former bassist Pongz, and all we did was covers and we jammed at friends’ birthday parties back around 2018. Eventually, we started writing songs, and we recruited Justin and GB who were my bandmates in another band I was in called Champagne Drive. We started playing shows in the Cavite upland area, and our first gig was with Walang Tinag Productions. Then the pandemic hit, so we went on hiatus but reformed the band by April 2021 with our current bassist Jerome. We recorded a demo of our first single “Bipolar” and sent it to Sega [Alcabasa] of Circle City Studios, and after he listened to it, he immediately signed us… since then our music has been recorded and produced at Circle City.
PULP: Was the music of Aiyana always rooted in the pop-punk genre? It seems that there’s more to the story, with all the elements going-on in the music.
Jec: We actually started out as kind of a post-hardcore/metalcore group, with elements we borrowed from the band Paramore, with a little shred guitar stuff thrown-in. But then we felt it was kind of over the top, so we decided to tone it down a little, and make the sound a bit more focused and not too-out-there. I’m not really sure if some of our songs can be considered as pop punk, so when people ask us what genre or musical style we play, we simply say “Aiyanacore.” We’re also influenced by bands like Chon and Polyphia and we try to combine those musical styles and dynamics with the sound of our local influences like Imago, Sugarfree, UDD and the like…
PULP: How is it these days being a band from outside the Metro? And how is the scene in your native Cavite?
GB: One of our goals is to play more gigs Manila, but living 70 kilometers south of Manila makes it a little tough for us to build a network outside Cavite. It’s a good thing we have the internet, which makes it less-difficult for bands like us to share our music.
Meanwhile, Cavite has its own scene which is independent from what’s going on in the metro, and I have to say that it’s getting pretty active – especially with shows every weekend at local music hubs like Flip and Beyond and Ammy Yamm and others. Though Metal is still pretty much the top choice for both Caviteño musicians and gig-goers, we never had trouble fitting-in because the local scene is opening up to various genres nowadays. So a shoutout to all the local prods and bands we had the pleasure of playing-with is definitely in order!
In addition to gigging at local bars, we also had the pleasure of playing and sharing our music at local music festivals and universities– which is another outlet for bands like us outside the metal genre.
PULP: What can you tell us about your upcoming single “Tapos Na Tayo?” How is it different from your previous singles, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Jayce: “Tapos Na Tayo” has a unique vibe compared to the others mainly because it was created mainly with the help of GB: he basically had the intro, I took care of the rest and Jec gave his input as well… as soon as I heard the intro, I just immediately came-up with the opening line: “Bago ka umalis, pwede bang pag-usapan?” while I was being reminded about a past relationship… and it all just came together.
PULP: The sound definitely has a more polished, and explosive sonic vibe to it. What was the recording process like and how was it different from your previous experiences in the studio?
Jec: The recording process is pretty much the same: it’s just that this time, we added more layers of guitar… The sound has definitely improved thanks to Esjay Laylo of Circle City and Big Black Core Recording Studio; the guy is insane! Definitely one of the best sound engineers we’ve ever worked with…
PULP: How do you plan to release the new single? Any upcoming activities you have planned to support it?
Jayce: We’ll be releasing this single on all streaming platforms via Circle City and Believe. As for the first half of 2023, we plan to continue playing shows and finish our album, which will be released this year around September 2023. PULP
For more information on AIYANA, you can follow them on FB via https://www.facebook.com/aiyana.ph and on IG through: https://www.instagram.com/aiyana.ph/ . You can also stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5sqOhwxKvMBr4TnvVKyKmw?si=hbYttjk2ToKma5otajgLiQ