In 2003, when high school heart-throbs were picking up acoustic guitars to impress girls, William Elvin and Noemer Sy were by themselves, singing pop-punk songs to each other with one rusty guitar. Both were wearing their school uniforms and tacky blue press vests, as they represented their schools for a writing conference in Cebu City. Three days later, they went back to Metro Manila and to their armchairs, while their respective schools’ basketball varsities were parading around with their trophies.
William went on to being the editor-in-chief in his school’s official paper, while Noemer became a marching band instructor around Metro Manila.
After high school, William enrolled in the Conservatory of Music of the University of Santo Tomas and formed an independent pop rock band called The Barpins. It was a time when acoustic cover acts dominated the mainstream music scene. The Barpins became a regular act in Mayric’s Espana, and developed a small but loyal fanbase.
In 2004, Noemer went to the Conservatory to study Percussion and again crossed paths with William. He then became a follower of The Barpins and eventually became one of William’s closest friends.
The following year saw the emergence of a trend in the Philippine mainstream music scene labeled as ‘Pogi-Rock’. William and Noemer were about to go against the flow. An artistic collaboration between the two were being put together, as William and Noemer prepared new songs that explored peculiar themes like masturbation, pornography and indifference to romantic relationships, as opposed to the ‘romantic leading men’ perspective being shoved down the throat of the masses by the mainstream. They knew it would be unique, and in many ways defiant. They even knew how they would call the project: ‘Happy Days Ahead’.
However, before the project was started, Noemer was offered a slot to be a member of a band that had plans on going to the mainstream. He took this fast ticket to rock-stardom and soon the ‘Happy Days Ahead’ project was dropped. Noemer’s band became one of the most popular in the Philippines at the time.
While Noemer was enjoying the fruits of’Pogi-Rock’, The Barpins were slowly being displaced even in the independent scene. In 2006, William decided to leave the music scene after being heckled at in Mayric’s while fronting for a mainstream band. He then moved on to studying Theatre Arts in the University of the Philippines, and had an interesting career as a theatre actor in the University. To date, he has more than 20 productions under his belt, and is considered to be a very reliable actor.
In 2008, with the rock scene in the Philippines again being stagnant with the saturation of similarly sounding rock bands, William and Noemer reunited to form The Claustrophonics with former Barpins bassist Raymond Panganiban and Rigil Borromeo of the band Mithi. It was a darker, angrier form of sonic defiance. As one would expect, it was again put on hold because of Noemer’s commitments in the mainstream.
In August 2009, William Elvin and Noemer Sy decided to finally push through with their original plan. Revisiting their common fascination with things that are being overlooked by most, they again put together a collection of material that is designed to present a different perspective to the audience; and to represent the opinions and emotions felt by a lot of people, but are shunned by the mainstream in favor of their sugar-coated products.
Early in 2010, Noemer Sy goes away from the limelight of the mainstream. William Elvin refocuses his artistic energy to making raw and honest music.
At last, they will be heard.
Here it is…
– Kitty Mommy, 3/11/10