HERE+NOW IS RE-IGNITING LOCAL HEAVY MUSIC
Though heavy music will always be a constant in Philippine shores – with our local musicians being among the best in the world to write and execute it – the genre arguably has taken the back seat these past few years, especially in the mainstream arena: where the very meaning of being in a band suggests musical styles and know-how that was totally different from one or two decades ago.
Luckily, both music fans and die-hards of the heavy music genre witnessed a rebirth of the sound and fury, as the sonically enthusiastic quintet HERE+NOW surfaced and charged their way out of the gates into the consciousness of those who have been waiting patiently for an explosive sound and ethic of creating driving riffs and fiery rhythms, coupled with irresistibly melodic vocals.
Featuring vocalist Paco Santos, guitarists Patrick Poblador and Roy Sison, bassist James Magallanes and drummer Franco Aguila, Here+Now’s story starts off pretty simple: formed towards the end of the worldwide pandemic, Paco reached-out to Pat to form a group with the simple aim to record and release new, original music after a long hiatus from the local music scene. Soon after, both musicians reached out online in search of like-minded individuals and ultimately recruited and met up with Roy, James and Franco. Though the collective all came from different bands, they could already tell that there was an ineffable musical chemistry amongst themselves.
By the start of 2023, the band was able to release the single “In My Head” on all digital music platforms, and by the end of March this year, a music video that effectively captured both the mood and intensity of the band’s sound and performance. Directed by Jasper Lawan, the MV caught the attention of local peers, established musicians, pundits and afficionados of the genre from various corners of the globe, even being featured and voted as the 2nd most requested video on a popular Twitch vlogger’s channel in the United States, while garnering praise from fans in Mexico, Chile and Germany.
You can watch the video here:
But things didn’t stop there.
Just recently, the band released their second single “Runaway,” last April 28th, clearly not distracted by the initial praise they had received. And by the sound of the single and the activities surrounding the band, they just might be heralding the rise of heavy music once again.
You can listen to “Runaway” here:
And PULP was lucky enough to be able to chat with these hardworking lads, so read on:
PULP: So feel free to tell us about your band and how it was formed.
Pat: Each member of the group came from different bands at one point or another, but it all started when Paco asked me to form a new band with him after the pandemic, as he expressed his desire to write and release original music after a long hiatus from the local rock scene. He put up a post on facebook looking for new band members and then got in touch with Roy, James and Franco. We then got together at a random coffee shop and talked about what our plans would be, though we ended up with no conclusive plan and decided to “go with the flow…”
It didn’t take long for us to draft and record ideas, enthused at the thought of getting back into music. It started from just wanting to make music again and nothing else.
PULP: From the get-go, was this the sound you were going-for, considering you all hailed from different bands?
Pat: We didn’t really expect this type of sound to be what we would end up making; we just knew we wanted the music to be aggressive and heavy, but the stylistic elements and the dive into the subgenre just happened as we meshed together as one band, aligning musical tastes and influences… Paco originally put up a post looking to form a metalcore band, with screaming and harsh vocals, without the synthesizers; so our current sound is definitely different from what we had in mind during the start.
PULP: How unique is the band’s creative process?
Pat: We formed the band in the post-pandemic world, and it’s crazy to think how much of our lives are based online. Paco had a simple home studio setup, and each of the members had a means of recording their individual demo tracks at home. It was easy bouncing around ideas, while Paco would be in charge of consolidating them.
Our demo writing process was largely asynchronous and – to this day – our process remains mostly the same, recording unfiltered ideas at the comfort of home, and then collaborating afterwards at Paco’s home studio. Free from time constraints and pressure, we actually prefer working this way…
PULP: The production behind the band’s single “In My Head” is done really well, and needless to say, sounds great… Do tell us how it all came together: from the songwriting, concepts, themes, up until the recording process…
Roy: From habit, I made a sketch from an arrangement with placeholder sections to indicate which parts go where… we knew it had to be a particular song structure or vibe that everyone in the group was interested in; then I mapped out the flow and recorded an initial riff on top of the programmed drum midi, some synths for a little texture and then I sent the mixdown to the group. We then bounced around the ideas until we arrived pretty close to what sounded like a song we would be happy to play.
The process, as always, is we just build around a theme that we think sounds cool, layer by layer. We then proceed to record and write additional melodies at Paco’s home studio after the draft is agreed upon. We haven’t worked with an external producer previously, so we didn’t feel the need to do so with this track: this was an entirely self-produced effort from recording to mixing.
PULP: What do you hope to achieve as a band, especially during these times when music seemingly no longer has a specific sound?
James: We consider ourselves “elder emos,” kids-at-heart who still enjoy yesterday’s aggressive and angsty music. Rock music today is vastly different from the heavy music we grew up with, and is continually evolving at a rapid pace. Many new bands are showing up with fresh songwriting formulas, and artists are starting to mash genres together, and engineers are developing modern production techniques to fit the times… we aim to ride that wave, as well.
PULP: Now that the two singles are released, what’s the next step for Here+Now?
Pat: Now that we’ve just released our first ever music video we’re beyond excited to share what we have in store for our listeners… We’re super grateful for the reception of the video, and we can’t thank our listeners enough. We plan to release more singles soon, and of course, we are itching to be on the road and play a lot of live music. PULP
Keep up to date with HERE+NOW via these sites: