They made Nov.17 night at B-side such a fun and memorable night for me. The event was a unique one with “The Southern Project” titled: Seven for Seven. The production outfit presented seven bands from the south area where I am from also and the last band on the bill was Nathan Azarcon’s band called HIJO.
I was looking forward to watching their set and to interviewing the band afterwards. Instead of asking the usual questions and getting answers we already know about them, I thought why not just have a casual chat and ask about topics that don’t necessarily focus on their music but touch on current and a few out of place things that would lead to interesting answers and keep the conversation going at a faster pace? That is how I wanted to approach this interview.
After all, these four veteran and established musicians have already been asked everything about their musical careers. This time, let us make this different and refreshing by keeping it light-hearted. Here is my interview with the band members of HIJO:
INQ. How do you rate this event?
A .Nathan: I rate it…uh a 6 out 5, man!
INQ. How about you, Ira?
A .Ira: 7 out of 6.
A. Junji: 11/10
A: Paolo: Parang ano siya…it’s a happy event. Kasi nagkita-kita kami ng friends ko at friends namin. It’s like a free gig, pare..seeing friends around . So parang it’s not like the event na “sinong nandiyan? Hindi namin kilala.” Pero. parang friends lang. It’s an event that is for our friends.
INQ. Favorite song you have performed today?
Nathan: As a group? We performed?
A. Nathan: I don’t know. I think, our last song, It was already three-o-clock when we ended. So parang **** man, you know…
INQ. Who conceptualized and thought of bringing in 7 bands from the south area to perform in one event?
A. Nathan: Christian, Christian. Tall guy, tall skinny guy.
INQ. Do you prefer performing in small venues or large ones?
A. Nathan: Smaller venues… performing in larger venues once.. you know, once in a month would be cool. But preference lang, if the engineer is good, I don’t mind playing in a big venue.
A. Ira: Hindi. Mas masarap ang smaller venue because it is intimate, eh.
INQ. How about you, Junji?
A. Junji: I like the intimate venues. Pero, once in a while, a big show is great also…
A. Paolo; Pareho-pareho lang.
A. Ira: You get to interact kasi with the audience… in a very personal setting an intimate way.
INQ. How do you see the local scene change five years from now? What would be the changes?
A. Nathan: Well, the way things are going now, it is going only to get better. I mean, it sucks right now. It will get only better.
INQ. How about you, Junji?
A. Junji: Five years from now….uhm, I… I really hope na … the producers will support yung mga local artists. Uhm, I really wish they could give a lot more work to a lot… to our fellow musicians so that they may pursue their passion and craft.
INQ. Ira, how do you see the local scene change five years from now?
A. Ira: Alam mo, six-year cycle lang yan. Magiging banda, magiging boy band, magiging solo artist. Tapos pa ikot-ikot lang yan.
A. Nathan: Eh tayo, boy band. Band tayo, eh.
A. Ira: So suwerte tayo.
A. Nathan: I mean, we are a boy band… slash, band.
A. Ira: That is why suwerte tayo but it will become novelty. It will become solo artist, it will become a band. Palaging six year-cycle yan. Trust me! I mean if you do your research, It’s six years.
A. Paolo: Pareho lang. Magkaibigan pa rin kami. And anything can happen. Anything can happen five years from now… yung scene namin is malakas na. So yung scene naming… ang mangyayari, kami pa rin.
INQ. Alright, good answer.
INQ. Do you like to sing the karaoke?
A. Nathan: Okay din.
A. Ira: Hindi, hindi. Ako, hindi. Kasi trabaho…. trabaho namin yun, eh. Tapos pupunta ka sa gimmick? Tapos kakanta ka na ano…. ‘t*** ***!
INQ. Kanta ka ng “My Way”. Ganyan, hehe..
A. Nathan: Hahaha… “ My Way”..
A. Ira: No I mean, ‘ t*** ***! This is what I do everyday and then, ‘t*** ***, tutugtog ako, Paano, parang yung rock band.. I don’t get it, trabaho ko ‘ to, eh.
A. Nathan: Parang nag gi-gitara ka na, so siyempre…
A. Ira: Yun na nga! It’s not fun anymore.. kumbaga, I mean okay na ako sa ginagawa ko. Tapos bigla, gagawin ko for a video game, or for karaoke.
INQ. Rock Band, ganun?
A. Ira: Hindi na…
INQ. Real thing na lang?
A. Ira: Oo, real thing na lang, that’s my thing. Kumbaga, real thing na lang. Mga ganun. Gawin mo na lang ng tama.
A. Nathan: Pero I tried that “Garage”. Ano yung “Garage” band?
A. Ira: Its fun, it’s fun, but ‘t*** ***! Bakit ko gagawin yun, kung yan na yung trabaho ko?
A. Nathan: Pero, lets say, yung mga mekaniko ganun. Trip nila yun, pare.
Ira: Kaya ‘t*** ***! Kaya, gusto ko mag “NBA 2k13”, or mag “Fifa” dahil ‘t*** ***! Fantasy ko yun, eh. Pero kung p***** ***, p***, mag k-karaoke ako? P***** ***, ganun dun yun. Pero kung gusto ko mag fantasy, I would rather do” Fifa”. I rather would do that because ‘t*** ***.
INQ. Nathan, are you a good dancer and can you dance to your own songs?
A. Nathan: Yeah, actually that is what I do all the time. I dance naked to our song.
A. Ira: Hehe.. You have to be naked to dance, right.
A. Paolo: Ako, my idol is Cristopher Walken. If you can walk in it. You can walk it in the moon. Yeah!
A. Junji: Ay. No. I’m more, uhm…I would like to say, I can make people dance.. when I play. Pero, I can’t dance for jack, I got two left feet. Pero, its one of the things I would love to learn. How to dance well. Pero yun nga lang…I don’t know.
INQ. If your life was a song, what would the title be?
A. Nathan: Hotel Caloocan, no, hehe.. I mean Hotel California… yun!
INQ. Ira, if your life was a song, what would it be?
A. Ira: Ano yung sa VST? (Sings) “Ahhh… awitin mo, at isasayaw ko!” Haha. I have no idea.
INQ. Nathan will answer for Paolo.
A. Nathan: Wala siya, eh, “Bongga ka,’ day!”… Yan.
INQ. If given the chance, would you date Taylor Swift?
A. Nathan: Oo naman !
A. Ira: What ? What? Would I bang Taylor Swift?
INQ. No, no. Would you date Taylor Swift?
A. Ira: Akala ko, would I bang Taylor Swift? It’s the same thing. Hehe..
INQ. First date pa lang, first stage. hehe..
A. Ira: Anong date, f***- date, ‘t*** ***! F*** **, I will put the bomb in it… the Razzler, Razzler!
INQ. Suppose you were single, Paolo?
A. Paolo: Yeah… Miley Cyrus also. Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift hotdogs, yes sir! Atsaka Purefoods na rin. Swift and Purefoods and Cdo. Haha..
INQ. Alright, Junji, same question.
A. Junji: Uhm… Past 18 naman siya. So legal naman so, puwede na… pweede na…
A. Nathan: Not bad, not bad…. Hehe.
A. Junji: I mean, she writes her own songs. So puwede na… she writes her own stuff kaya I think she is alright. Hehe… I think she’s okay. I think so.
A. Nathan: I can confess for her! Haha…
INQ. Having worked together for some time now, you know each other very well. For each one of you, what is the most endearing quality of the other bandmates?
Nathan: Of each member?
INQ. Yup, of each member.
Nathan: Ako, sum up ko na isa. Ang gu-Guwapo nila…’ t*** ***! Hahaha.. No, no…. Uhm, some of my friends… I have known them for a long time, man. I am proud… to be… serving with them, Ooohhh! Motherf***** is in the house! These are several of my boys, my troops. You know, Haha…
Ira: What’s the question?
INQ. Having worked together for some time now, you know each other very well, for each one of you, what is the most endearing quality that the other…
Ira: Sobrang tanggap ko na yung p***** ***! Baho ng p***** *** ng mga to’! So okay lang. So miskina ano gawin… ano gawin niya sa akin, p***** ***, ok lang.
Nathan: ‘T*** ***, narinig mo yun! Hahaha…
INQ. And what is the most enduring quality, na nakakaiinis sa bandmates niyo?
Ira: Enduring? Hindi endearing?
Nathan: Actually, the same thing yung gusto sa kanila, yan din ayaw ko.
Ira: Basang-basa yung p***** *** banyo! P***** *** yung sahig ! P*** nakaka pikon. Pero, okay lang. Tanggap ko na yun.
INQ. What is your favorite thing… to see in the audience while you are performing?
Nathan: Dancing, smiling, yung ganun. Just having a good time. The usual. But listening actually, more than dancing. Listening attentively.
Junji: I like to see the nuances. I mean, when they see the nuances na maliit na bagay… na when it happens, alam nila kung anu nangyayari. Game na ako dun.
INQ. Paolo, same question.
Paolo: To be honest, ma- appreciate lang, okay na. We don’t… ako, ah… Sorry, ah… I play for the band, not for the audience. Having a good time. Umiinom sila. Masaya. It’s good, sumasayaw sila. Pero, I would rather have my band mates dance than the audience. It’s my work. My concern is with… more of my bandmates. Bonus na lang yun sa audience.
INQ. Junj,i same question.
Junji: Favorite thing to see in the audience, while you are…? Ahh.. my favorite thing is when I see them sing to the songs.
INQ. That is your favorite?
Junji: Yeah, yeah…even just a lyric or a chorus or something. When I see them , you know… grooving to the song. And singing along. That’s the coolest!
INQ. If you were a judge in a reality talent search show, who would you have been in the original panel of American Idol? Would you have been Simon, Paula or Randy?
Nathan: Randy…Randy, Randy! Who would I pick? Randy! He’s a bass player. Randy , Randy what? Hindi, hehe.. Randy Jackson. Randy Watson. Hindi, loko lang. Hehe..
Ira: Yung totoo ko, Simon! Pero yung pagka-tao, medyo Paula Abdul. Dahil malakas tama ko.
Junji: Uhm…I like Randy because he is a musician and he understands the psyche ng musicians. Pero, gusto ko yung frankness ni Simon. He tells it like it is. What other people are. Not… uhm, you know. Open to say.
Paolo: Siguro si Simon, para… Simon kasi, ano.. Kailangan nila ng criticism, eh. For me, parang criticism muna before …anything else.
INQ. If you had to listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Nathan: Miles Davis!! Ohhh..patay kayo, noh! Naunahan ko kayo. Miles Davis, buong career niya. Ano eh, Bebop! ‘t*** *** yan, Modal, Miles…
Ira: Ganito lang yun. Pangalan ng anak ko ay Miles.
Nathan: I knew he was going to say that, so… Hindi, loko lang. Hehe..
Junji: Ay, Miles Davis.
Paolo: Frank Zappa.
INQ. Nathan, if you were mentoring young talents, would you be a tough mentor or a giving mentor?
A. Nathan: Uhm…they could do whatever they want to do. I’m like, I’m like the… the mentor that doesn’t want to teach them. I’ll be like… f*** do whatever you want to do, man. Ganun! Then we would just jam and I’m not going to teach them. We’re just going to jam. That’s it.
Ira: Hindi ako marunong maging mentor eh.
Junji: Tough mentor. Tough mentor if i really want them to learn. I’ll be a tough mentor. Parang its balancing, eh. If you want to be a mentor , parang… you have to be…you have to be their friend also. Pero you have to tell them the hard stuff so that they will learn.
Paolo: These days, ano… I have kids. I am mentoring them, it can be tough . So you have to give them the choice. They have to have the choice. And then. you guide them. The mentor. okay yun. Pero ….you have to be patient, eh. So you can’t be tough.
INQ. Nathan, what is the best tasting beer around?
Nathan: T-tasting beer?
INQ. Best tasting beer?
Paolo: Patay tayo diyan! Parang tayo mag –p-plug! Haha..
Teka muna… puwede hindi local? O, hindi local..oh yan, Uhh.. international beer, international beer.
Ira : P****** ***, medyo… mahirap yun, mahirap yun!
Nathan: Delikado yun, delikado yun. International beer na lang, oh di ba? Corona, Corona.
Ira: Ako, Stella.
Nathan: Corona, Corona
Ira: Stella. Stella ako.
Nathan: HIJO nga! Ano ka ba?
INQ. Same question, Junji?
Junji: Gusto ko yung libreng beer, p*****! Yan yung masarap, Hahaha.. Free beer is always the best.
Paolo: Dos equis, doc. Actually, ano na. Actually, ok lang. Ok lang naman, eh. Kahit ano.
Junji: Super dry. Super dry or premium.
Ira: Kung sino kumain ng five million sa amin, p***** ***, okay yun! Okay na yun, puwede na yung 5 , puwedeng 7, why not? But sa ngayon puwede na yung 5 .
INQ. Favorite cartoon?
Nathan: ‘T*** *** Adventure Time! ‘t*** ***! Yan yung paborito ko. Dati Ren and Stimpy, Ngayon Adventure Time. Talo na sila ng Adventure Time.
Ira: Cow and Chicken.
Junji: Ako, Itchy and Scratchy Show.
Paolo: Plastic Man.
Paolo: Daimos na lang, pala ako.
INQ. Favorite movie?
Nathan: T*** ***, Godfather na siguro. Memories ko yun, t*** ***! Tuloy-tuloy! I mean, cliché pero , madami: Heat, Godfather, basta nandun si Pacino, si de Niro, ganun. But …okay din yung ano…napanuod mo yung Skyfall? Okay din, pare…wala na siyang pecs, pare. Pare, may role dun si Javier. Damn ,bro! Laking tao siya, bro!
Ira: Ano yung kay Juday, Krystalla,’ t*** ***! Gusto ko yun. Idol ko yun si juday!
Nathan: Matagal mo na yan sinasabi!
Junji: Favorite movie… Untouchables.
Paolo: Ako, Boogie Nights! Pero yung second ,yung second ko… wala joke lang. Hehe
INQ. Favorite singer? foreign or local?
Junji: Favorite singer…ang hirap niyan..ah. Uhm, patay or buhay?
Junji: Patay!..Wow..ang hirap nun, ah. Ang hirap nun. Sa mga patay na gusto ko si Janis Joplin. Sa buhay..hmmm… ang hirap, ah. Lalaki or babae?
Junji: Ah…wala ako maisip. Sorry, sorry..Skip.
Nathan: Si Jed Madela sa buhay, kahit may bigote. Haha…
Paolo: Si Maxwell.
INQ. Favorite Band, foreign or local?
Paolo: Mahirap yan, ah. Beatles!
Nathan: T*** *** di ba! Favorite ko … F***, ma! Ang hirap nun. Siguro HIJO! Aside from HIJO… ahh.. Ang hirap sagutin kasi ang dami. Dami, eh.
Ira: U2 pa rin siguro. U2.
Paolo: Led Zeppelin.
NQ. Favorite food to eat before performing?
Nathan: Burger…nandun na lahat, eh. May gulay… A: Ira: Hindi ako puwede kumain bago tumugtog kasi masusuka ako! So beer lang.
Junji: Before I perform, uhm… Light lang, light lang. No rice.
Ira: Scallop, sashimi.
Paolo: fisballs… fishballs. Atsaka, at ano yung suka yung iniinom… Haha…
Junji: Si Nathan, kwek-kwek! Haha..
Nathan: Hindi, anoh! Hamborjer ako. Hamborjer, cheeseborjer. Cheeseborjer, yan yung paborito ko!
INQ. What do you think was the message that Karl Roy left behind?
Nathan: To motto is not enough, yun. Kay Karl yun. To motto is not enough. Yan yung motto niya. Live life to the fullest, I guess.
INQ. What is your Christmas wish list?
Nathan: ‘t*** ***, i-shave niya yung beard niya..t*** ***! Parang mas maganda kung ano… Gusto ko makita si Santa na walang bigote, t*** ***. Di ba ang kapal ng bigote ni santa? Parang maiba lang, di ba? Maiba lang!
Ira: World peace. Hehe
Junji: That he keeps his promises to all those people who are expecting.
Paolo: More friends. Hindi, hehe..Don’t stop the world. Kasi marami pa kami gagawin.
INQ. Have you been a good boy?
Nathan: Hehe..been naughty, been naughty all my life.
Ira: Palagi ako good boy. Not all the time. Balanced lang.
Paolo: No, hehe..
INQ. Message niyo sa fans niyo?
Nathan: Rock on, Rock on!
Junji: Is the gig. bro!
Paolo: Add us on Facebook!
What you see is what you get. Those are Nathan Azarcon, Ira Cruz, Junji Lerma and Paolo Manuel of HIJO. So much fun to be with !