Having recently released their debut EP Spellbind, Cebu’s NAKEDWITCH – featuring vocalist Vince Aeronne Emperio, lead guitarist Illery Bontilao, guitarist Ralph Bernard Idea, bassist Mej Doble and drummer Herbert Herrera – is hell-bent on creating a wave that’ll sweep way past their hometown’s shores. Boasting of tight, chunky riffs, disarmingly melodic vocal and instrument lines and arrangements that pay homage to the best elements of post-hardcore and modern metal core, listeners will definitely keep their ears glued and be intrigued enough to go for a second, third and fourth spin of the five-song collection, which can be heard here:



Naturally, PULP.PH wasted no time in having a little chat with this talented Cebuano five-piece.


PULP: It’s always a pleasure hearing music from Cebuano musicians. Feel free to tell us how the band was formed. 

Illery: The concept of forming NakedWitch started when I met my gear-nerd/friend Ralph… after the idea was planted, we met Mej and Aeronne at a jam session and we immediately felt they were good additions to the band. Aeronne originally recruited another friend, Ivan, to play drums when we officially started in June of 2021. But in the middle of recording the EP, Herbert joined as our permanent drummer…

PULP: There is an obvious resurgence of post-hardcore in the current music scene, especially in Cebu. What attracted you to this sound and style specifically?

Aeronne: We mostly listened to OPM metal/hardcore before getting into post-hardcore: we were into bands like Skychurch, Wolfgang, Greyhoundz, Chicosci, Queso, Slapshock, Typecast and Picture Filled. Again, we all came from different bands, but we were pretty much into the same kind of music. So when we began writing, most of the output was based on fusing all of those influences – generally metalcore. But when we started recording, our producer Dennis Gonzales (of SleepStart Recording Studio) suggested a different direction, one that was sort of more inclined to melodic post-hardcore… he felt we had the potential to be a game-changer in our local scene what that kind of sound.

PULP: Do take us through the creative and recording process of Spellbind. How long did it take to collect this batch of songs before they transformed into a complete body of work? Was an EP always the plan? And is there a certain theme that holds all these tracks together?

Illey: Anyone in the band can start something with either a drum loop or guitar riff, but the real process begins when everyone starts contributing ideas to them, until we can demo an entire song – from there, we hit the studio and start recording the final version of the song…

Ralph: We had two songs when we started in June 2021, and by November of the same year we were already in the studio; though we had to stop soon after due to typhoon Odette, but we were able to resume the following year in May 2022. We finished writing and recording all of the tracks last November 2022, so it took us almost 18 months to finish the EP…

Mej: An EP album was really our plan… we wanted it to really stand-out and be unique, so we incorporated ancient Greek mythology to our song titles and overall concept…

PULP: The recording definitely sounds slick, especially for a debut release. Who was responsible for the capturing the band’s sonic intensity?

Herbert: We were very particular with the outcome and we did a thorough research of all studios available in our city; and we were attracted by the sound of SleepStart Recording Studio and well, it paid-off because we are very satisfied with the result… All of the band members contributed during the production our producer Dennis really helped us and gave serious advice.

PULP: So now that the EP is released, what are the band’s upcoming plans? What else would you like to achieve this year?

Aeronne: We hoping to play more gigs – we’re trying to reach out and get the message across all over the country; We want to play gigs outside of Cebu.

PULP: What’s one thing everyone should now know about NakedWitch?

Illery: Most of us are in our mid to late 30s, and we feel no shame that we didn’t “make it” in our 20s. Statistically, becoming a successful musician at such a young age is next to impossible… But now that we have logged some miles on the road, we have a better understanding of how the music industry works – so this is us giving things another shot… we still feel like teenagers whenever we perform live, and it’s exciting to be alive and in a band in a time where age doesn’t matter, and we can all respect each other as musicians. PULP


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