For The Juans, the first heartbreak isn’t always the romantic kind
In their latest single “Back Home,” the pop-rock band The Juans sings about a different kind of heartbreak—one that can be traced back to people’s childhoods and their own homes.
“For some of us, our first heartbreak isn’t really romantic. Either you, or a close relative, is part of a broken family. My point is that one way or another, we have suffered from abandonment, absent parents [and] a broken home,” lead vocalist Carl Guevarra pointed out in a recent live performance of the song.
But in some instances, time ends up healing those wounds. And despite the pain, the sense of longing never really goes away. That feeling was something they hoped to encapsulate in the gospel-tinged, piano-driven ballad, parts of which go: “This house feels so empty now that you’re gone … / I wish you’d find the sign/ To come back now, I’m fine.”
“When we were writing this song, we didn’t just want to talk about being sad. It also says, ‘You know what, I miss you … I love you. And no matter how painful, my love for you is greater than the pain you have caused me.’ It says, ‘OK na ako. I’m a grown up, I’m fine. But can you just come back home?’” Carl said of the song, which will be part of the band’s upcoming all-English language EP.
Looking back at his childhood, Carl admitted that growing up, he wasn’t particularly close to his two elder brothers. “Wala ako akong naging ka-close. My two kuyas were close because they were of similar age. I was a baby compared to them. We fought a lot, like mortal enemies,” he said.
But that only made him “tougher.” “Naging palaban ako sa buhay … I was used to thinking that if there’s something I want in life, I will have to fight for it,” Carl added.
More than abandonment and yearning, “Back Home,” in a way, is also about going back to your roots.
Since their debut in 2015, The Juans—also composed of Japs Mendoza, Chael Adriano and RJ Cruz—have scored a number of hits, like “Hindi Tayo Pwede,” “Hatid,” “Lumalapit” and “Itutulog Na Lang.” And more recently, they marked a career milestone by amassing more than 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
That’s why they couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed when they reminisced about their early days and saw how far they had come in the local music scene. “I was exposed to music when I was in high school. And when I had the chance to learn to play the guitar, I took it seriously since it allows me to express myself better through music. In college, I joined band competitions and experienced how different playing with other musicians could be,” bassist Chael said.
“One day, I got an invitation from our church’s music team. That’s when I met Carl, who was scouting for potential members. I decided to give it a try, working as an engineer in the morning and playing in gigs at night. The more I did it, the more I felt I had to pursue music. The rest is history,” he related.
Carl, on the other hand, already knew from a very young age that he wanted to become an artist. Whenever he saw youth-oriented shows on television, like “Ang TV,” the first thing that came to mind was, “I want to be like them. I can do that, too.”
“But we didn’t have money for workshops, so when talent searches held auditions at nearby malls, I made sure to try out. I always got rejected, though. I took up music production in college. Luckily, I met people who needed someone who had formal education in music. That started my band journey,” he related.
And that journey, Carl said, is something that he intends to expand. “There has always been a part of me that wants to get involved in the international scene. I have always been drawn to serving the audience in the Philippines, but at the same time going out to see the world. That’s the dream,” he said.