Two of a kind
Yuzon brothers Yanny and Yael revealed that at one point, they had to defy the wishes of their parents who didn’t want them to pursue a career in music.
“We had to band together, be stubborn, because they didn’t want this life for us,” said Yanny, guitarist of the rock group Pupil.
Yael, front man of the band Sponge Cola, explained: “Dad is a certified public accountant. He’s also a science guy. I guess he expected his kids to become executives of corporations or government workers. Although he was the one who taught us how to play the guitar – and he sings – he just didn’t pursue it like we did.”
“To him, ’di pwedeng ‘follow your heart’ lang,” Yanny, who is older between the two, pointed out. “For example, we know that our purpose in life is to write songs and perform them, but we also have to find a way for this to be a career. Otherwise, we’re just a pair of bums.”
Yael added that their dad always wanted them to challenge themselves. “And yes, starting a band was a challenge, especially for us. When we began doing this, ’di pa malakas ang band scene. Now dad is the most supportive,” said Yael, whose pop-rock band recently released its fourth album titled “Araw Oras Tagpuan” under Universal Records.
“I guess what he wanted was for us to prove him wrong,” Yanny stressed. “I think that at some point we did.”
Yael added: “I think he really loved music all along. He just didn’t want us to get into trouble and wished that we grow up the normal way.”
Yael: This Takamine is my song-writing guitar for the current album. I was able to make nine songs with this. It’s an acoustic guitar I bought at a really cheap price. People say it doesn’t sound very good, but I like it. It sounds like a sad guitar to me.
If you plan to buy an acoustic guitar, choose a good brand that isn’t necessarily pricey. An entry level Yamaha is already good. Just get someone to set it up for you. Jun Castro can actually make an average guitar sound great; a great guitar, legendary. His shop is in Sta. Ana. All of our guitars pass through him. Even Miguel Escueta and the members of Urbandub go to him.
Yanny: Yael and I both own a PRS (Paul Reed Smith) guitar. I love mine because it’s played well right out of the box. It doesn’t need setting up. PRS is known in the States for making very expensive hand-crafted guitars. The ones we have are the affordable models.
Comparing the two, Yael has the fancy-schmancy model. While mine only has dot inlay markers, his has bird figures for inlay markers – very PRS design. We have the same bridge and headstock, the same configuration of volume, tone and pickup selection, but I have two cutaways. This helps a player’s ability to reach the higher frets. While his guitar has a solid body, mine has a cavity. This is called a sound hole, which makes the guitar’s tone mellower.
Hanging a guitar by the wall is not an ideal way to keep it. It puts a lot of tension at the junction of the headstock and the neck. How the neck retains its shape is crucial. It affects the tone of your guitar. So if you’re serious about your music, buy a guitar and a good case. The case will cost you. I have one that’s more expensive than the guitar inside it.
Yael: Since I’m a ’90s guy, my perfume also came from that period. I’ve been using Polo Sport and Versace Blue Jeans since I was in Grade 6. For formal occasions, I use Kenneth Cole Black. I got it only because someone begged me to buy a different scent naman. It’s not as flirtatious as the Versace, which I think is more effeminate. I unintentionally mix the three scents sometimes.
Yanny: When I was younger, I rely on my mom to buy my perfumes. She worked at PAL so she was able to buy them at a cheaper price. The most recent perfume I bought, an Issey Miyaki, ayaw ng wife ko. She bought me this one – Bulgari Man. I learned to like it now. It’s important that she likes how I smell.
Yael: One of my favorite movies is “Clueless.” It’s a commentary on culture. This movie shaped the females of my generation – those who say “as if!” and “whatever!” Another favorite is the comedy series “Friends.” I’ve memorized all the lines of all the episodes. I know that the first line ever thrown was by the character Monica Geller. Rachel Green, not the actress Jennifer Aniston, was my dream girl while growing up. This DVD collection is sacred. It can’t ever leave the house.
I’m also a fan of the series “Lost.” I’m really involved with the “Lost” culture. I have memorabilia and all these signed stuff. I even joined a group in this website about the show that’s being run by a Filipino.
Yanny: I’m a “Lost” fan, too. I liked the ending, even though some people reacted differently. I think the ones who got disappointed were the sci-fi fans. I’m not that kind of guy. I thought the ending was justified. It’s true that a lot of things were left unexplained, but then, it’s a mystery show.
I love this Playstation game version of “The Godfather” because I get to play a henchman. The bad thing about it is that Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) didn’t sign up for the video-game version while all the other actors in the movie agreed. The good thing about it is that after the story mode, there’s an online mode similar to the popular “Counterstrike.” I’m a globally ranked player. At one point, I was the 99th highest in the world. I stopped playing when my family transferred to a new apartment. I’m even part of a clan that has people from the United States and United Kingdom as members, they’re all looking for me now.
Yael: The first time I bought a pair of expensive shades was in September of last year. It’s a pair of Ray-Bans, my gift to myself. I used to always lose my cheap shades, but not this. I also liked this Ray-Ban pair from kuya. It has hooks for the ears, kaya naaaliw ako. It looks more like what Tom Cruise would wear on a chilly day in New York. The other pair is what you’d probably see Jennifer Aniston wear at a drive through (laughs).
Yanny: My band Pupil is an endorser of Ray-Ban so I have a whole bunch of them. However, this design called Predator is my favorite because in the “Godfather” game, I was able to make my character wear it. I made my character look like myself. How cool was that? This design is not as popular as the Aviators, and more recently, the Wayfarers. It has a unique shape and a classic style, but the best thing about it is getting it for free.
If you’re going to buy expensive shades, make sure you’re responsible enough not to lose it. Of all the Ray-Bans I have, I only lost one and it happened during the time Typhoon “Ondoy” struck. You also have to feel comfortable when it sits on the bridge of your nose. You can actually ask the lady in the store to adjust it for you.
Yael: This shirt with the words “Frankie Says Relax” was what Rachel of “Friends” liked wearing to sleep. Ross (Geller, Rachel’s boyfriend) also wore it in an episode. I only found out recently that it was inspired by the ’90s band called Frankie Goes to Hollywood that sang “Relax (Don’t Do It).”
I bought this hoodie because I’m a fan of Hannah Montana—she has good comedic timing. I think this character used to watch “Friends,” too. I didn’t go to Miley Cyrus’ concert here because I like Hannah better.
Yael: I’ve been faithfully wearing this wedding ring since I got married. When I’m not playing the guitar, its on my left ring finger. I just transfer it to the right when playing because it hits the fret. The baller ID is actually my daughter’s. I have a wedding ring to remind me of my wife and so I also wanted something to remind me of Christina.
Yael: I love these Nike Air Jordan 20s, but I don’t use them anymore. They’re now just for display. I actually placed them in an aquarium. They’re my all-time favorites.
My band endorses Adidas. I have this really cool custom pair in color pink. I use it whenever I play basketball. I also have one in black. I don’t like how it looks—I feel like I’m Bart Simpson whenever I wear it—but I love its performance.
When buying a pair of shoes, you first have to determine its use, especially in running. My pair of race shoes is lighter and has less cushioning. This actually helps me run faster. When I train, I use a pair of regular cross-trainers. It’s a lot heavier, has more cushioning and is used for everyday pounding.
Yanny: Pupil is a Puma endorser. Out of all the stuff I have, these pair (running shoes) is my favorite. I’ve made a lifestyle change recently and decided to live healthier. During my first attempt, I’m embarrassed to admit, I stopped after 200 meters. Now I can jog for 3.5 km easily every day.
Yael: I have a Galaxy Tab instead of an iPad. I use it to surf the Web and watch my favorite Youtube videos. I use my laptop, a MacBook Pro 2007 model, to edit my own videos. My iPhone is broken so I recently got myself a BlackBerry Curve. My favorite gadget is this HD recorder called Ixus 1-10 IS. Canon cameras are good, especially the audio quality. ’Di sumasabog ang tunog.
Yael: Since I consider Disneyland my happy place, I have a lot of books about it, like this one: “How to Travel to Disneyland Resort on a Budget” by Jason Rich. This “Lost” encyclopedia was a Christmas gift from my sister. It has everything you need to know about the show.
Yanny: This book “Smoke and Mirror” is an anthology of short stories by Neil Gaiman, popularly known as the guy behind “Sandman.” A friend from college said it’s a good and easy-to-read book. Some of the stories are only one-page long, some are significantly longer. This is already my third copy. When you have this and you lend it to a friend, it never comes back.
Photos by Jim Guiao Punzalan
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