Collaborations in the music industry are rare these days. For the Filipino band Ben&Ben, joining with other artists in making songs is somehow a “mutualistic relationship.”
“Ang pinaka-natutunan namin sa pakikipag-collaborate ay… ano eh, ang dami mo talagang matututunan.
“Tapos in a way, marami ka ring mabe-base. Kasi gano’n yung collab eh, ‘di ba? Parang may something kang ibibigay.
“Pero may something ka ring makikita at matutunan. So dahil magkaibang-magkaiba yung karamihan, if not all sa mga ka-collabs namin dito, talagang may natutunan kami sa bawat isa,” said Miguel Benjamin Guico in an exclusive interview with LionhearTV, September 3.
In the band’s latest album called, Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kuwaderno, they featured some of the biggest names in the Philippine music industry, by which six of their songs included KZ Tandingan, Moira Dela Torre, Chito Miranda, Zild, and Juan Karlos, Munimuni, and SB19.
Miguel even recalled learning a few things from SB19 when it comes to rapping.
“For example, sa SB19, parang yung approach nila nung sinimulan nila yung part nila do’n sa song, mas rap yung approach nila eh.
“Eh yung mga terms palang nung rap, like yung mga bars, ganyan-ganyan, iba yung pagka-intindi namin of the same thing. Iba pala yung tawag nila, iba yung tawag namin.
“Tapos s’yempre yung style ng music din ‘di ba, parang…ang sarap din matutunan yun from others,” he said.
The singer realized that there are things that Ben&Ben has yet to learn and try, and the collaboration paved the way for them to “improve” more.
“So I think as a band, na-enjoy talaga namin yung collaboration process kasi may natutunan kami, may mga gusto rin kaming subukan dati pa na hindi pa namin na-gagawa at hinahanap namin yung tamang panahon na gawin tapos nagawa namin siya dito.
“So yun, I think at the end of it, ang na-realize namin: mahalaga pala ang makipag-collaborate kasi ano eh lahat kayo nagi-improve ng skill.”
Also present in the interview was Miguel’s twin brother, Paolo. Their bandmates Poch Barretto, Jam Villanueva, Agnes Reoma, Pat Lasaten, Andrew de Pano, Toni Muñoz, and Keifer Cabugao were also there.
The group then took turns sharing their fondest memories with each artist they collaborated with in Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kuwaderno.
For Andrew, Ben&Ben’s percussion and backing vocals, Moira’s sweet gesture was the best.
“Si Moira nagdadala siya ng cookies eh, tapos minsan tinapay,” he said.
Toni, who also is on percussion and one of the band’s lead vocals, remembered how she and Miguel were starstruck when they talked with KZ even if it was via Zoom.
“Si KZ kasi di siya nakapunta dito sa studio namin so via Zoom kami nag-collaborate. Di ko makakaliutan yung kami kasi ni Miguel yung ka zoom call n’ya.
“Tapos before the call, in-off muna namin yung audio kasi tumitili kami dahil sobrang starstruck kami kay KZ. Tapos bago namin in-on yung mic, ano nilabas muna namin lahat yung starstruck kiligs namin,” she exclaimed.
About working with Chito, the lead vocalist of the legendary rock band Parokya ni Edgar, Jam revealed that they were amazed by how humble the singer-songwriter was, eventually making them go ‘fanboys’ at him.
“Yung kay sir Chito parang ine-expect namin ni Migs na super smooth sailing na kasi beterano na s’ya eh.
“So parang wala na kaming ine-expect kundi like the best work ethic and the best ano. Which is true kasi sobrang solid n’ya as in, magwork, yung lahat ng ano.
“Pero nagulat kami ni Migs na tinatanong n’ya kung ok lang ba yung approach, ok lang ba ‘to, ok lang ba i-try na gan’to.
“Tapos para kaming ano na ‘yeah, go ahead!’ kasi yung character ng boses nya nagda-dagdag sa story ng song.
“Tapos lahat ng ginagawa n’ya parang super solid tapos natatawa kami bakit tinatanong ni Chito tapos kami parang fanboy na ‘opo ok lang po’.”
When working with SB19, Agnes, their bass guitarist, revealed how they surprised the group by having them ‘take a dip in their pool’.
“Sobrang smooth nga ng SB19. Pinaka na-enjoy ko din dun yung hangout namin after ng recording. Kasi sinurprise namin sila.
“Actually na-surprise sila na may swimming pool dito sa bahay. They didn’t know so ‘di sila nagdala ng swimming clothes. So parang narinig lang namin sila na ‘oh swimming, dito pala’ ganyan.
“So yung management namin bumili sila ng mga swimwear for them saka towel. As in may small gift kami paglabas nila ng studio. May tig-iisa sila na parang ‘ok get one and pass.’
“Sobrang nakapag-swimming kami together dito sa pool. Tapos naka-hangout namin. Yung feeling na nakapag-resort kayo ng barkada n’yo.
“Gano’n yung mood. As in ‘yon yung pinaka-highlight. Yung maka-hangout sila and see them as people not just musician na kilala natin as SB19. So it’s nice.”
The last to one share his most memorable experience was Paolo. He revealed how JK and Zild were of different personalities and yet complement each other when making music.
“Kami naman ni JK saka ni Zild, bago kami nag-record, nag-beach muna kami. Magkaiba talaga sila ng energy ni Zild at JK eh.
“Si JK sobrang ano siya, talagang taas ng energy n’ya. Extrovert talaga s’ya. Si Zild medyo introvert, nakakatuwa. Sobrang magkaiba pero sobrang na-swak din.
“I think nag-reflect din sya sa tugtog kasi ano magkaiba din sila ng style ng parts dun sa song namin—nag-complement din so sobrang happy din.”
Listen to Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kuwaderno, the sophomore album of Ben&Ben, which is out now via Sony Music and is available on all music platforms nationwide, including Spotify.