Bee Eyes

Blake Gillespie

A couple weeks ago, we gave Filipino surf rockers Bee Eyes our tag of approval, possibly spring-boarding the careers of some young men who just want a chance to woo Kickball Katy.

We liked them for rocking out. They liked us for liking them. So we decided to talk about it. Oddly enough, we talked about everything except the fact that Bee Eyes is laying down some sexy Filipino slow jams and blistering rockers (in Tagalog!) for a debut record recorded in their bedrooms.

Do you speak Tagalog and if so, any chance we'll get a song in that language?

Julius: Our only Tagalog song has two words in it. Gago Ka! It’s just one of those live jammers that we can play forever in case the next band is running late. The crowd loves it though. We’ll probably write a few Tagalog seducer jams with like gecko noises or some shit. I have a weird ass accent, so it doesn’t sound right when I say certain words, but I know it! I think out of all of us Diego speaks the best Tagalog. He wrote a Tagalog song about our former drummer but he hasn’t showed it to us yet. He’s all talk. Haha.

We envision you guys coming to America and touring the west coast with all our favorite surf rock bands. Who would you want gigs with on this magical tour? (On the real, any plans of crossing the Pacific for some U.S. gigs?)

Idris: Why surf rock bands? I mean that would be awesome. Hi, Vivian Girls' bassist. You're my ultimate crush. Haha. But, if I could go on this “magical tour” it would definitely be with the resident DJs of Low End Theory. And Dom Kennedy, I love the positivity in his words, it's inspiring to me. Edan too! Edan's a fucking trip. Beauty And The Beat has some of the most trippiest sounds I've ever experienced through my ears. And the production of it. Big influence right there.

Julius: I would love to play with Ganglians, Woods and Best Coast. Those are the only new bands I really listen to. Plus, I have a surf rock crush on Best Coast. Oh, and Flying Lotus or Sun Araw would close every night, so we could party after we play.

Do you watch Wowowee*, and/or have you ever been on the show?

Diego: Hahaha! Why didn't I see that coming? No, I don't. Personally, I don't watch that much TV. What I'd like to know is what you guys over there think about the show. I grew up watching a different, but fairly similar show called Eat Bulaga, which I think is still on the air. They featured celebrities and did skits, contests and song-and-dance numbers.

Idris: I never watch TV. Maybe once every two months in someone else's room. I threw my board at my TV. Ever since, it just stopped working. It's cool though. It gives me more time to do other things.

Julius: My mom watches Wowowee. I guess it’s had a somewhat positive influence on Filipinos, especially those abroad. But it’s a goddamn circus! Do you guys know about the Wowowee stampede? That shit was intense.

What's the scene like in the Philippines? Are there a lot bands with a similar style to yours?

Julius: The emo scene here is pretty big. The dub scene is picking up. A lot of metal heads. Still got a few nu metal bands that haven’t followed in Papa Roach’s footsteps. The noise scene here is pretty good and the Pinoy soul movement is good too. We have a really big party scene.

We’ve played with punk bands, electronic bands, indie bands, weird noise dudes, played a few artsy gigs. But with our type of music? I think we’re the only ones, but I’m sure it’ll pop pretty soon. It’s so easy to play. The media really encourages kids to play music here, but they end up covering Lifehouse or some shit. If they were to expose them to this kind of music, we’d have 20 of these kinds of bands at the end of the year and we’d be on top. Haha. But yeah, we really don’t fit in.

Diego: One particularly Pinoy sound would have to be folk from the likes of Joey Ayala and Freddie Aguilar. And our Kundimans, which are Filipino love songs, have grown into a genre of their own, and I think our song “E.A.G.L.E.S.” sounds close to it. There's a rich underground punk scene here too but so far, I haven't heard of any band that shares our musical style.

Do you network with other bands in other countries? Anyone expressed interest in coming to your island?

Julius: When I send friend requests through Myspace, I usually write “you’re big in the Philippines” in the comment box just to get their attention. A few artists have actually replied, while most think we’re just fucking around. I hit up Nocando, the host of Low End Theory, and he mentioned a possible stop over in Manila before or after they hit up Japan. There are talks of the Gaslamp Killer coming here but we just have to wait and see. Other bands like Eat Skull and Slippery Slopes have shown interest in touring the Philippines, but we really don’t know how to put shit like that together, so we pass their names to other dudes who do know.

Has any U.S. publicity brought you Pac Islander fans from the states? If so, what has that response meant to you?

We rarely get any U.S. publicity, and we’ve been around for quite some time. But even without it we’d still get messages from Filipino kids living in the states. It's cool to find out that they dig our music, but I think what trips them out more is the fact that we’re from the Philippines and they realize there’s more to the Philippines than the music they hear on TFC or whatever.

*Editor's Note: For those who don't know about The Filipino Channel (TFC), Impose Art Director Karen Aragon shares her experience:

The only time I'm exposed to Wowowee is when I visit my parents who have TFC on all the fucking time. I don't even bother changing the channel because they'll throw a fit. It's even gotten to the point where they'd physically skip out on going to church to watch Mass being televised on TFC. Wowowee really frightens me. I feel like I'm watching a cult. Plus, they have these really slutty looking dancers on who look extremely Anglophiled, as do all the hosts; I think most of them are recruited from other countries, (i.e. Korea). But the saddest part of Wowowee is seeing a sad looking old Lola (grandma) lose, which is what I saw the last time I was home.

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