CAUGHT IN A MOSH
HARDCORE/SKATE PUNK OUTFIT BADWAVE IS DOING IT RIGHT… WHATEVER IT IS THE HELL THEY ARE DOING.
Words by Joey Dizon / Images by Jhona Labe and Negsphoto
Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all… a band often comes from left field and leaves you speechless in awe and bewilderment. Minutes after the band onstage finished taping a crummy-looking cloth which had the words “BAD WAVE” haphazardly spraypainted on it, the chaos began: suddenly, an extended excerpt of Spanish Eurodance artist Chimo Bayo’s mindless 90s dance anthem “Asi Me Gusta A Mi” (that’s “X-tacy, X-Tano to you 90s kids out there…) is blaring from the speakers and monitors, and the band’s frontman completely goes apeshit… dancing and grinding his way onstage, and getting a few dozen hardcore kids to join-in on the singing and the chants.
It’s totally bonkers. Ridiculous even. And it doesn’t stop there.
When everything is just right onstage, the band suddenly erupts into Finch’s “Letters To You,” wherein more members of the audience – who surprisingly know every word to the song – join-in on the fun, and start grabbing the mic and sing even louder, which signals the rest of the crowd to start warming-up in the pit.
All of this happens way before the band even plays their first song.
As soon as they do though, the bodies start moving and flying from the stage to the wonderful sonic barrage of speed, chunky riffage and furious drum staccatos to combine an effective recipe of vintage hardcore and punk… something many of us haven’t heard in a while, especially not from young kids. But the set is VERY effective in getting things warmed-up for the evening’s main event, two American bands who are on-tour and stopping-by Manila.
Personally, Badwave’s set captured my full attention, and left me wanting to see and hear more from them. Though I couldn’t find any of the band’s music on Spotify, it was great to be able to see some of their performances on Youtube, and I had the good fortune of running-into friends in the crowd who pointed me to the right way: as it turns out, frontman Jerwin Santos (aka “Spanky) and drummer Elmer Glino (who has played for the excellent metal band SACRELIGION and HANTANKARU…) are buds from back in the day, so it was easier to get a hold of them and have an online chat about their exciting new band. Following below is the convo I had with Spanky.
PULP: Tell us about the basic history of the band: how it was formed and how you all discovered each other.
Spanky: Our band was formed during the pandemic of 2020, habang lockdown and may free time lahat – para maka-exit sa anxiety at stress: I tried to make a project band para lang malibang, so ayun… hanggang ‘yung project band naging banda na talaga.
Badwave is Shun “Desho” Ablazo III on guitars, Juan Carlos “Jessie” Lanzero (also on guitars…) and originally on bass was Arman Borloza. Currently, Jerome plays bass for us – and they’re all my friends from skateboarding. Then Desho introduced me to our drummer Elmer [Glino] (aka Kuya Meme) who turned out to be a complete legend, so that’s how the connections were made. We came up with the band name via an old Turnstile song: walang meaning ‘yung name ng banda… para sa’min maganda lang pakinggan. So ayun na nga, after skate sessions, jam-jam lang kami on cover songs and all that, until we decided to come up with our songs.
PULP: Was the band’s sound always rooted in punk/hardcore? What local and international bands and musicians influenced Badwave?
Spanky: Yes, hardcore punk skate punk is the shit… The local bands we look up to are BIOFEEDBACK, DEAD ENDS, PLAY, NFH, THE BOXERS, ADA, SOME CAME RUNNING, REPETITION, STABLE and a whole lot more… Internationally, influence namin is more on hardcore/thrash punk like ST, D.R.I., IRON REAGAN, MUNICIPAL WASTER, LEEWAY, POWER TRIP, old TURNSTILE, DRAIN, BLIND JUSTICE and CROSS ME just to name more than a few…
PULP: Tell us about the band’s creative process: how do you usually write and record songs?
Spanky: Personally, kung ano lang ‘yung naisip at saloobin ko at mood ko for that day, ‘yun ang ginagawa ko: it’s all about self-realization, friendship, trust and life lessons, passion and skateboarding; then the whole crew contributes – be it riffs, drums, or just suggesting the perfect tempo… we all just keep cutting and adding stuff until we finish a song.
We worked-on our record with the help of Desho’s brother, Paolo (Creativoid)… It’s a D.I.Y. project of course: we didn’t have any experience as far as recording at that time, and we didn’t even have a budget to work with. So, we asked Paolo to try to record and mix our songs, which became our demo and we released it around mid-2022. Then Still Ill Records helped us to release our cassette tape.
PULP: In an era where “safe” and non-heavy music seems to be the trend, is it hard to find gigs and reach a wider audience with Badwave’s tendency to challenge tastes and go against the norm?
Spanky: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s because our plan was to only to play skate events… and that was it. But then Still Ill Records reached-out to us and invited us to join the lineup of the very first gig they put-on as soon as the lockdown restrictions were easing-up. So of course, we said yes.
After that, sunud-sunod na ‘yung gigs, lalo na noong last quarter ng 2022. We used to travel to Lipa and Batangas city, San Pablo, Laguna, Pampanga, Bulacan and played skate rock shows.
Being honest, we don’t know the challenges of anything: hindi namin alam kung bakit bigla na lang may tumangkilik sa’min – basta ang alam lang naming, tumugtog and to have fun: good times with the homies and skateboarding.
PULP: I’m glad you keep mentioning that… How deep into skateboarding is everyone in the band, and what other interests are the band members into?
Spanky: Like I mentioned, it all started with skateboarding: pinasarap pa lalo ng panahon kasi until now, we still skate together; Valkal skate rats nga e! We all have a lot of other interests too: ako, filming other skaters, watching gigs, and also managing my own brand Kobra Skateboards. Sa mga boys naman, making art, graffiti, graphic design, photography and generally, hustlin’ and working on whatever they can get their hands on. Some of us are family guys, too…
PULP: One of the best things I love about Badwave is the fact that you don’t take yourselves too seriously… and I noticed that the band is not afraid to start the set with covers from bands that aren’t necessarily part of the hardcore genre…
Spanky: Yes. That is the point – for everyone to have fun; that’s why it’s a hardcore show! Makikita mo lahat, na re-release nila ‘yung stress nila at problems kapag gumalaw at na-hype sila: dun pa lang, solve na.
A lot of what you see onstage is really just spur-of-the-moment/random shit: matagal na naming ginagawa ‘yung mga sayaw, basbas, kalokohan at shenanigans from our skateboarding days pa lang, way before we even started this band. We just applied the same thing onstage; hardcore is for everyone – kahit ano pa ang genre na gusto mo, basta napasaya mo lang sila… ‘yun ang hardcore.
PULP: Since there’s so much energy during your sets, are there any crazy stories from your performances?
Spanky: Yes! ENERGY BABY! Last January, we played a show called Mosh With Jesus at the Eton Centris in Quezon City and while everyone was busy two-steppin’ there was a homie-skater who suddenly stage-dived during one of our songs. Unfortunately, walang sumalo sa kanya, so his face hit the floor hard! He got knocked out! There’s actually a video out there online: sobrang saklap ng nangyari sa kanya. Some homies grabbed him and took him out of the pit for a breather, and by the next song, he was good. When he came-to, he said he was alright: he was so drunk he didn’t feel a thing! By the third song, he was stagediving again!
PULP: For 2023, what is the goal of the band? Are there upcoming releases we should look out for, or shows you’ll be playing?
Spanky: We’re cooking-up some new tracks, and working-on releasing our album this year… We’re also planning to play shows outside the Metro, and hopefully we can play more skate events and do a tour of the entire country. By February 25th, we’ll be playing the Unite HxC Festival in Sandugo, Marikina so we hope you can all come through. Solid ‘yung lineup: nandun kami. Woof woof!
Now that hardcore is a lot more open to various styles of music and genres are crossing-over, are there plans as far as the evolution of Badwave’s sound?
Actually yes, we’re on it… abang-abang lang.
We’re working on collaborating with local artists from the hardcore dub, rave and hip-hop scene: na-imagine ko na maganda ‘yung kalalabasan – nabubuo na sa isip namin… so just wait for it – sasabog na lang sa dansplor ‘yan! Let’s fucking go!
What’s one thing everyone should know about Badwave?
ENERGY! SKATEBOARDING! PULP