SBQ winner launches debut EP
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte
Iktus, winner of Sun Broadband Quest (SBQ) 2013, released their self-titled debut album (EP) under MCA Music Inc. The 8-track album features the carrier single “IMY” (I Miss You), a ditty of heavy drum beats and melancholic guitar strains delivered with rock ballad vocals. “It’s a song about moving on through the many transitions in our lives. We wrote it for a very dear friend, my best pal, who passed on last year at the young age of 24,” related lead vocalist and lone female member CJ Panaligan, of the pop-rock quartet.
The band is composed of the Panaligan siblings, CJ and her twin brothers, Andrew and Andrei. The former is the group’s drummer while the latter is their bassist and vocalist. Joining the brood is guitarist Augusto Mendoza.
The band’s name was derived from the Greek word ‘ichthys” which means “fish,” alluding to Christ’s call to Peter and be a ‘fisher of men.’ “Our dad is a pastor who plays the guitar. We were in the church band since grade school. We changed the Greek spelling for it to have a more Pinoy flavor. Gospel leanings are very apparent in our songs,” intimated Andrew.
“We hope that our music reaches a wider audience. Our songs are culled from personal experiences as well as the journeys of other people. The content of our music is something that a lot can relate to,” intoned Andrei.
Andrei is the band’s primary songwriter and challenges himself to write melodies suitable for a female vocalist; and obviously with sister CJ in mind. Reflective of their growing up years in a gospel band, the lyrical content of their songs deals predominantly with topics on love, hope, and positivity. This is evident in such songs as Hiling, Mahal Kita (ILY), Eto, Paalam, Alaala, and their winning piece Wag Na. Also included in the EP is an acoustic version of IMY.
Iktus initially formed in 2005, while the twins were still in high school. Their sister joined them a year later and in 2007, Augusto was added to the lineup. “Our musical influences include Switchfoot, Paramore, Imago, Sugarfree, Urban Dub, Parokya ni Edgar and the Eraserheads. We describe our sound as alternative pop rock,” informed Augusto.
They played several gigs in school and honed their skills by competing in battle of the band competitions like the Nescafe Soundskool, DZJV’s Battle of the Bands, UP Rockbakan, and the UP Fair Battle of the Bands. After taking some time off to focus on their studies, they underwent a lineup change in 2007 with the departure of their pianist; prompting the shift from a jazz-influenced style to a pop-rock sound.
Last year, Iktus was selected as one of the ten finalists to the SBQ Battle of the Bands. Facing stiff competition from an impressive group of extremely talented college bands, the quartet emerged victorious and won a recording contract with MCA Music Inc. Since winning the SBQ, their visibility has risen dramatically as they now serve as inspiration for the next batch of aspirants for 2014.
“This year’s screening starts in June and the finals will unfold in November. SBQ was launched to discover the next big thing and enable young people (like our services) whose potential is beyond promising. The winner will receive P150K in cash and a recording deal with MCA Music Inc. This contest affirms the continuing efforts of young artists to excel in their chosen field,” enthused broadband marketing’s senior manager Karen Capellan.
After the quartet’s successful romp at Odyssey Greenbelt 1 last May 2nd, catch the band’s live performances on May 10th at the Odyssey Festival Mall and on May 18th at the Odyssey SM Megamall. Iktus’ debut EP is now out through digital downloads via iTunes (http://smarturl.it/IktusAlbun), mobile streaming for as low as P2.50/day via spinnr.ph (http://smarturl.it/Iktus-Album), and in CD albums at Astroplus and Odyssey outlets. For more new updates on Iktus, simply log-on to the following sites: www.facebook.com/mcamusic and/or www.twitter.com/mca_music.