OPM band SOS is heading to Japan as part of the line-up for a global music festival. But they need your help getting there.
While the ebb and flow of the music industry consistently shifts, there’s one thing that OPM can be consistent with, and that is being an incubator for bands. Over the decades, as trends come and go, groups in the local music scene stay the same with each decade giving us bands to follow and support their music. When it comes to the late 2000s and 2010s, one band that had its foot on the neck of the game was SOS (formerly known as She’s Only Sixteen).
INDIE BAND ICONS
Composed of members Roberto Sena, Andrew Panopio, Anjo Silvoza, and King Puentespina, the band has been going strong for more than fifteen years now following their formation in Ateneo in 2008. Over the years, SOS has consistently dropped indie rock hits as they built a name and solid fanbase in an ever-crowded market. The alt-pop band is undoubtedly one of the best in the game.
They were even tapped by international organizers to perform in overseas festivals such as the ASEAN Music Showcase Festival in September 2022. And this November will see them do just that again as the four-member group are traveling to Japan. In their own way, they’ll bring OPM to the global stage as part of the line-up for the Tokyo Beyond Festival on November 26 and 27 in Shibuya, Tokyo. And they did all of this while staying true to their independent roots. But because of this, the band mostly relies on themselves, their friends, and their fans for support.
This is why SOS organized a fundraising concert called SOS DESU KA, SOS DESU NE on November 4 to help raise money for their Japan trip. With their success and veteran status, you would think SOS would be getting more institutional support. But such is the life of an independent musician in the Philippines. This is something the band touched upon and more in an interview with NYLON Manila ahead of their show on Friday.
How does it feel to be able to perform at the Tokyo Beyond Festival? What was your initial reaction to the news?
We feel really grateful for getting an opportunity to play in front of a new crowd. We got really hyped after the initial email was sent to us. But I didn’t think it was real until we got sent the poster for the lineup. We’re super excited.
What do you hope to achieve with your showcase in Japan?
Other than share our music to the Japanese audience, we’ve always had the goal of taking our music around Asia, so I think this would be a good start to make connections, enter possible collaborations, and put on a show.
Do you feel that the world is ready to embrace OPM more widely?
It’s been ready for decades.
Fundraiser gigs aren’t exactly things the band does. Why then did you decide to have one for your trip to Japan?
I think it’s a good avenue for our fans and local audience to invest in us and prove that with all our efforts combined, we can make it “out there.”
Given how your trip to Japan won’t be cheap, do these moments make you wish that you had more institutional support?
Yeah, it’s sad. Artists have never been a priority for our government, there’s so much potential for our artists to grow and showcase modern Filipino culture and arts. We’ll probably just get half-baked or outdated programs. Filipino artists need more support and should be able to make their art without thinking about financial stability.
Cheats, Ang Bandang Shirley, Ena Mori, and The Itchyworms. are all joining you on stage for the fundraising show. How did you come up with the lineup for it?
We are big fans of these artists and they’re the future of music here in the Philippines for sure.
What can attendees expect from SOS DESU KA, SOS DESU NE?
A big party and just a reason to experience great music from great artists of this generation.
Why did you feel it was necessary to rebrand the band to SOS?
We’ve been thinking about it for a while and it made sense, because we’re in a new phase sonically and we’ve grown up big time. It was a clear transition for us to rebrand to SOS.
Aside from the name, what else is different between SOS and She’s Only Sixteen?
I would say everything, but nothing at the same time.
You’ve been in the game for over 15 years now. What do you think is it that has helped the band keep together after all these years?
Definitely the band’s friendship and our fans (old and new)! I think a lot of what we’ve done with the band has always revolved around being real with each other and our listeners mixed with making songs about love and growing up.
What’s one thing about being an independent musician in the Philippines that you wish more people knew?
Ena Mori needs to be heard!
What are the best ways you think Filipinos can do to support their local musicians?
Come to shows, buy merch, and just keep listening to them. Let them feel loved and you’ll for sure get that love back.
SOS DESU KA, SOS DESU NE is slated to take place at 123 Block, Mandaluyong City on November 4, 2022 (Friday), from 7PM onwards. You can get your tickets here.
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