ASF Aftermath: Filipino Band “Rivermaya” Surprised by FansOctober 6, 2008 at 11:05 am | Posted in Events, Music, Stars | 3 Comments
Rivermaya, one of the most popular rock bands in the Philippines, performed in Seoul for the first time Saturday at the Asia Song Festival.
But the biggest thrill the group got was meeting their Korean fans, who even put up a Rivermaya banner during the concert.
The Korea Times met Rivermaya, composed of drummer Mark Escueta, vocalist Jayson Fernandez, bassist Japs Sergio and guitarist Mike Elgar, for an interview backstage at the Seoul World Cup Stadium Saturday.
Even the fact that they were invited to perform at one of Asia’s largest pop music festivals was a surprise for the down-to-earth band members.
“We were really surprised when we got an email, but it’s a great honor to be invited to perform at this festival,” Escueta said.
Rivermaya was in a relaxed mood throughout the interview, cracking jokes and listening to music on their iPods while waiting for the concert to start. But they are serious about their music.
“We try to do our best with every gig we do. We give the same performance,” Elgar said.
Rivermaya is considered one of the most influential Filipino rock bands. They are already well known in Southeast Asia, after releasing an all English-language album. They also performed in top music festivals in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, as well as the MTV Asia Awards.
But the members were obviously excited about performing in Korea, especially at a huge venue like the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
“We also want to see the performances of the other Asian artists at the concert. We want to see the style of different Asian singers and groups,” Elgar said.
Rivermaya hopes their performance at the Asia Song Festival will highlight just how talented Filipino musicians are. They noted how Filipino singers such as “Miss Saigon” star Lea Salonga, Black Eyed Peas member Apl.d.Ap, Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda and lately, young singer Charice Pempengco have been making waves on the international scene.
It was actually Rivermaya’s second time to perform in Korea, although the first time was a concert for the Filipino community in Ulsan. At that time, the band had another lead singer who dropped out last year.
Fernandez, the new lead singer, seems to have fit in quite easily with the rest of the group. Last February, the band released a new album “Buhay” (Life).
Before the concert, Fernandez was assigned to learn a few Korean sentences to say to the audience. It was something Fernandez found easy, especially since he had watched Korean dramas such as “Full House” in Manila.
Rivermaya also managed to meet some of their Korean fans at the hotel where they were staying. Apparently the Koreans became fans of Rivermaya after listening to their music while studying in the Philippines.
“They even have a banner for us, which says `Ang Rivermaya’ (translated as The Rivermaya). That was great,” Sergio said.
Rivermaya has been around since 1994, and the band is thankful that they continue to make music that people love to listen to.
“We really love what we do, that’s why it’s fun to play our music, whether its in clubs back home or at a big concert festival in Korea,” Escueta said.