Converse Get Loud Finals
By Nico Erle Ciriaco
After an exhaustive nationwide search that involved scouring hundreds of performance venues, visiting thousands of band sites and YouTube channels and immersing into the alternative music scene, the five band finalists battled it out for Converse Philippines “Get Loud” band sing-off culmination night at the Excess Superclub in Quezon City.
The Converse Get Loud campaign is a celebration of music, creativity and the talented Pinoy artists. Converse and music are inseparable. The label, especially its iconic Chuck Taylor All-Star, has always been the sneaker of choice for many musicians as it is a badge of self-expression.
“Rebellious rock music is the DNA of Converse. It reflects an attitude of life; getting loud and not making anything quietly. The finalists were selected for their unique outlooks in life,” apprized advertising & marketing manager Eli Bonsol.
Baguio City’s heavy metal rock group Even emerged as the country’s first-ever winner in the recently concluded “Converse Get Loud” band sing-off competition held recently in Quezon City’s party strip. The quartet, representing North Luzon, also took home the People’s Choice award; being the band that garnered the most number of votes in the on-line poll that comprised 20 per cent of the overall criteria.
“Our cheeks are red hot ‘til now. It was a long and arduous journey to find the music that fitted us. We will be writing new material for our upcoming album and we will use the money we won to produce it. Baguio is such a quiet place so we wanted to make just the right amount of noise. We love the rock genre for its heaviness and weight; looking up to groups like Slapshock and Perfect Circle. Our next album collaboration will feature six new cuts,” enthused tattooed lead vocalist Dyanne Licudine, who we learned was a tattoo artist as well; dabbling in skin works at her clinic Musink in Baguio.
The songwriting competition-cum-musical showdown crowned Even for their entry Luminary, a song on people empowerment. The song won for its well thought-out lyrics woven into heavy chugs and bass then melded into drum lines. The band started forming in May 2007 when members Jam Bumanlag (guitars), Coco Saupan (bass), Dan Allan Acosta (drums) and Dyanne decided to form a group after numerous gig/sessions at the Feedback jam studio.
The strength of each musical composition took the bulk of the criteria at 30 per cent. Musicality, on the other hand, weighed 25 per cent while the live performances made up the remaining 25 per cent.
“Sometimes, we don’t realize our potentials ‘til we dig deep and bring out what’s lurking or hidden. It was a wild ride throughout this journey. All’s a blast!” commented Dyanne on their dark and melancholic music that was played with superb audio mixing; giving us an idea why they are the Pine City’s most sought-after act.
Aside from the honor of being named the country’s pioneering champions, Even took home with them P75K cash and P75K worth of Converse products.
“I’m simply blown away! It’s nice to see that musicians take advantage of technology,” quipped panelist Ebe Dancel.
“I’m excited with their performance. That’s what get loud means and I know my market,” agreed Converse brand manager and panelist Dan Mindanao.
Cebu City’s sibling act Bethany came in a close second with their entry Keep Moving On. The representative from the Visayas went home with a hefty P100K in equal parts of cash and Converse merchandise. “We wrote the song with the youth in mind. Making mistakes is not a one-time thing. We must rise up after each failure. It’s the soundtrack of other people’s lives; ensuring that our music lives on,” confessed lead vocalist Luis Quibranza III.
The two other Quibranza brothers – Paolo Miguel (drums/vocals), and Angelo (lead guitar/vocals) – together with Luis III and Kevin Borromeo (bass) immersed themselves into songwriting in 2008 and began performing right after the latter’s addition. They take pride in their delivery of alternative rock music that has a lot of curve balls, intense guitar work, smart lyrics, and infectious melodies.
“It’s a good day for OPM with bands coming from the islands. Discipline is there and it shows. You should play in Manila as often,” invited panelist Ebe Dancel.
“I see the tightness, the proficient execution of every note, guitar rift, and the dynamics of the song. Compared to the others, we hear you on stage despite the many technical glitches,” observed panelist Mark Laccay.
Davao City’s acoustic act Jad Montenegro won as 2nd runner up. The quintet from Mindanao delivered the mellow ditty The Escapist through haunting melodies and soulful guitar rift. Jad Montenegro received a prize package of P60K, with money and merchandise in equal measure.
“We are not rockers but more like dreamers. So we introduce you to the dreamscape. This is a song on the human condition as it chronicles the transitions from denial to accepting reality,” shared lead vocalist Jad, who named the band with her entire name. Starting as a solo act down south, Jad felt the need to expand her musical horizons by forming a group with friends: Dave Ibao (guitars/back-up vocals), Eric Luzada (lead guitars), Pjoe Sabanpan (bass), and Carlo Garcia (drums).
“I liked this composition. While all of the bands improved, this is the one that got my attention,” opined Converse brand manager Dan Mindanao.
Jad Montenegro capped the evening’s performances but was, however, requested to perform their song again due to a major technical glitch that the judges felt was unfair to the group. “It’s a great song and we can see that they worked hard in writing the lyrics. I encourage the group to look at their arrangement again because the details didn’t feel as concise as the core of the song; so the execution could have been much better,” appraised panelist Francis Reyes.
NCR finalist Brisom placed 3rd runner-up with their entry Waking Lives. “This song is about life and supporting each other through it. We are so happy about being in the finals and our exposure on radio, especially on the K-Lite station,” intimated lead vocalist Brian Somera, whose name’s contraction became the group label.
Most of the bands’ songs are based on Brian’s soul-searching travels and life-changing realizations, capturing the sound of soulful indie rock with straightforward clarity and lyrics from the heart. Joining lead vocalist-guitarist Brian are Jeffrey Castro (drums and beats), Jason Rondero (bass), Tim Abbot (synthesizer and keys), and Terence Teves (guitar).
“The band delivered at the level we expected,” commented panelist Francis Reyes, hinting on the song’s radio-friendly sound that’s brought about by smooth vocals and a great arrangement.
“They played with how they know how to play despite the many technical glitches in the audio equipment of the venue. Musicians have to cope with these things. The song has a high recall; the melody still rings in my ear,” added panelist Mark Laccay.
Rizal Province’s Kissbone was proclaimed 4th runner-up with their entry Distance and Motion, a monotonous-sounding ditty about kith & kin. Representing Southern Luzon, the band is comprised of Armin Joseph Pepito (guitar/vocals), Justine Sioson (guitar/vocal), Renz Jerome (drums), Parker Cataquian (bass), and Allan Paulo Luching (rhythm guitar). Beginning with punk rock unto the emo-screamo genre during their days at Sienna College Taytay, the group now unleashes hardcore and acid rock metal music.
“We can’t knock down your very high energy level. Cardio works for you guys! Be that as it may, we find incoherence in your lyrics. You could use some direction in your writing. There are many ways to express emotions but as a musician, it is your job to uplift listeners. You do not just come off as a bit too ordinary,” remarked panelist John Hendrix Hernandez.
“I’m quite concerned with how you’ll perform in the future. So keep playing and practicing. There’s still a sense of awkwardness in what you do,” concurred panelist Francis Reyes, referring to the group’s ‘jumping jack’ routine choreography.
Both the Brisom and Kissbone bands each received a P40K price package in cash and Converse products.
Converse believes in unleashing the creative spirit of its target market. With its global campaign, “Shoes are boring, wear sneakers,” the brand challenges its customers to choose the Chuck Taylor classics and the many modern designs it has spawned. The company believes that Converse’s very essence is to speak up, stand out, and make a difference.
“A few months ago, we sought out the freshest and most talented acts in the local band arena and came up with five newbie bands representing the best in the independent rock scene. These bands were selected for their unique outlook in life; musicians whose passions are fueled by music. Each band represented different regions of the Philippines – North Luzon, NCR, Southern Tagalog, Visayas, and Mindanao - with different songs, expressing different points of view but are gathered together to unleash that creative spirit thru sneaker moments that disrupt the boring shoe world,” intoned the ever-busy advertising & marketing manager.
“After selecting these bands through an exhaustive nationwide search, rallying their supporters through various on-line initiatives and organizing bar tours to get them revved up for the finals, we were down to the wire and eager to proclaim the chosen one. It was really a matter of giving an explosive performance on stage and establishing that unique connection with the audience.
“This undertaking pushes the global spirit of our market; with sneakers used as tools, both, for self-expression and our worldwide campaign. Converse simply unleashes the creative spirit through the bands’ sneaker music that will, hopefully, shake out the monotony in the footwear industry. These bands simply enrich the Pinoy music library,” Bonsol concluded.
For more updates on Converse and the contest winners, simply check the brand’s social network page on www.facebook.com/ConversePhilippines.