It's been ages since I last posted here. Again, no excuses.
I've been to a show last August 18, 2012--that's a Saturday--at a local bar in Olongapo City. The show was put up by the thriving, mostly metal/hardcore show organizer in this rotten prostitution-induced part of the Philippines, Aural Massacre (shout outs to Jason Arenas and the gang!). I went to that show for two (2) reasons: 1. I've never been to a show for as long as I can remember; and 2. Fist Foundation, Powertools and Down From the Wound are billed to play at the show, three of the best, if not the greatest products of Olongapo's underground music scene.
The show was dubbed as "AURAL MASSACRE XXIV: Pitong Taon ng Bakal". So based on the title itself, you get the picture of what has transpired that night: long haired machos and thin machos, obscure band logo printed on black shirts, horned-up fists in the air after every song, heavy and loud music and chicks, lots of 'em. It's a celebration of the seven year existence of the production, forgive me for lack of a better term.
This is a video of them in Aural Massacre XXIV playing State of Corruption which appeared on their first demo titled "Faces of Brutality":
I interviewed Fist Foundation some time in 2010 and put it on the pages of Aspire. This was to pay tribute to Olongapo City's underground music revolution, which I am not part of since I was involved in it just in the first parts of 2010. Fast forward to 2012, after almost a year since the release of the maiden issue of Aspire Fanzine, here's the full interview of Fist Foundation, plagiarized and stripped from the slack-lustered pages of a zine you don't wanna know. And oh, it's not Face Foundation you sissies!
After being so much obsessed with hardcore music, I started looking for bands around Olongapo City that play, err... hardcore. Private messaging people I know who are veterans from the scene. Remember I was not that “active” with the Olongapo scene since I was only starting, and seeing long-haired metal dudes in black shirts at venues just scares me. Haha. So luckily, a not so close friend told me about this band and I immediately added them at MySpace. Some questions here and there led me interviewing this hard pounding band.
Olongapo’s only active hardcore band to date. Fist Foundation is here to unleash their brand of in your face hardcore, a cross between acts like Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front, Madball, Terror and metal band’s like Pantera, Slayer and Misery Index. Here’s Jero and Francis talking about the Olongapo scene, the band, their life and their stances on things around us on two different occasions.
ASPIRE: Hey there! Hope everything is fine. So… who will be the band’s spokesperson for this interview? To start off, let’s have a little introduction of the band (band’s history, past/current members, etc).
Jero: Hey bro!! Musta? Fist Foundation started in April 2004. It was formed by mark and I. Hindi pa Fist Foundation ang name dati HEADMESS pa kami nun. The original members are Mark on vocals, me on bass, Pado of Subliminal Level on drums and Augus on guitars then later on we are joined by Maynard of Drastic Intent. I think after a month Augus left the band, pinabayaan na namin ni Mark kasi Maynard can handle naman. Pero ang totoo nyan Mark and I decided to kick him out of the band hahaha!!!! Pero para naman sa banda din yun at malaki din ang nacontribute nung tao sa Fist, actually one of the best track in our demo si Augus ang gumawa ng riff, the song HOLY WAR. Before the end of the year nagpaalam na din si Pado kasi masyado na syang maraming tinutugtugan na gig. At that time marami kasing banda si Pado kaya he decided na umalis na din. In December, Francis Clark of CHAINBLOCK joined the band. Hardcore kid si frans kaya ang laki ng nacontribute nun sa amin lalo na sa song writing process. In June 2005, we made our first demo. After the demo was made nag iba ung areglo ng mga materials namin kasi sa demo dalawang tunog ng gitara ung ginawa ni Maynard kaya later on we decided to add another guitarist. A friend of mine since high school, JP Hondo was the perfect choice. So the current line up now are Mark Teves on vocals, Jero Divino on bass, Maynard Madria and JP Hondo on guitars and Francis Clark on drums.
Francis: First of all, thank you for this opportunity you gave us in this interview..
Formerly known as Headmess originally formed by front man Mark Teves(vocals), and Jero Divino(bass) then joined by Meynard Madria(guitar) also from the band Drastic Intent, Augos (guitar), and Pado(drums) of Subliminal Level. After their first gig on the EFM Production and Northern Atmosphere Production, Augos left the band for some personal reasons, the quartet pushed through with their old compositions. After loads of gigs Pado decided to part ways to concentrate with his other priorities paving the way for a new drummer, and that’s the time that I joined the band after leaving Drastic Intent, that was on the mid of December 2004 completing a new and permanent lineup. Despite another change in line-up, we managed to keep the band alive and well-off in the local underground scene. Then after recording our EP, we decided to add up another guitarist, and that’s JP from the band All Under Heaven.
ASPIRE: How did you guys come up with a kick ass brutal sounding name? Is there a story behind it? Would you care to tell us.
Jero: Fist Foundation....hmmm... Sana andito si Mark para masabe nya kasi sya ang nakaisip e hahahaha!!! Pero the name speak for itself naman.
Francis: Well, it really doesn’t sound brutal I guess ehehehehe, originally it was Mark’s idea and when I joined the band, that’s the time the name was changed. It signifies unity, trust, and respect with each other, no matter what your up against to, no matter what race you are, rich or poor, what color you are, what clothes you wear.. and I guess that’s the most important thing in life..
ASPIRE: Are you guys have been in a band before forming Fist Foundation?
Francis: Yes. Meynard is the guitarist of Drastic Intent (thrash/metal band of Gapo), Jero is the bassist of Berserker 52 (one of the pioneering death metal band of Gapo) and Chaotica (another death metal band of Gapo), JP is from All Under Heaven (metalcore band from Manila) and myself from the band Chainblock (Manila New York style hardcore) and I also played with Drastic Intent for a while before joining Fist Foundation. Our front man, Mark, who came back from abroad, also played there with his metal band.
ASPIRE: Generic question. Do you have any day jobs?
Jero: Yup!!! Day jobs sucks but we got other responsibilities man!! Hahaha!!!
Francis: Yes, Mark works in a luxury ship and travels a lot. The remaining 4, works here in Gapo, Meynard used to work in Hanjin Shipyard but now doing some Culinary stuff, I work in SBMA in a publishing company doing Indesign, Jero is a personnel in Juken (Japanese Company), and JP is a registered nurse. That’s the reason why we don’t see each other a lot.. ehehehe.
ASPIRE: When people think of Olongapo’s underground scene, what they only know is the thrash/death metal scene. How did you come up with the idea of forming a hardcore band in Olongapo? Whose idea was it? How did the metalheads/scenesters reacted to your music?
Jero: Oo, totoo yan bro. Ako mismo is from a deathmetal band before (Berserker 52/Chaotica) pero I've always wanted to have a hardcore band kaya when Mark ask me to form a band and the genre is hardcore hindi nako nag-atubili. Pero syempre hindi mawawala ung pagiging metal dun sa music namin kasi both Mark and I is from metal bands before.
Francis: Way back 2004, when I came back here in Gapo, (I used to live in manila) I was with K (Powertools guitarist) almost all the time, and there’s this one time that I asked him if he knew somebody or someone who plays hardcore coz I was planning to put up a band that time. Then K told me about Mark whom I was not familiar with that time. Then 1 day I was introduced to Mark who has a band (Headmess) and we talked, and that’s it. I watched their gigs and hanged out with them a lot until the time came that I was one of them, the missing piece of the band ehehehehe.. When we play with the local bands here mostly thrash/brutal death bands, we play with our hearts, that’s what we want.. And I can say that, the respect that our band has established to the scene has grown enormously, it’s because we pay so much respect with the bands here in Gapo specially the pioneering ones like Powertools, Drastic Intent, DFTW, INK, Subliminal Level and all those bands that we played with locally and also to other places.
ASPIRE: Since we are still in the musical aspect of the band, can you tell us the bands, people, things that influenced the band’s sound?
Jero: Mga kaibigan din namin dito sa ‘Gapo, andyan ang Powertools, Drastic Intent at marami pang iba. Local bands din like Skychurch, active pa sila nun nung binubuo ung banda e. Too many to mention. Madami e, from Madball to Pantera.
Francis: We had a lot of influences that made us who we are, even when we’re just starting when we are still kids.. We grew up having different experiences, hardships, idols, meeting different kinds of people in different places, and I think our band is mostly influenced on the situations that happens around us everyday.. There’s a lot of struggle everywhere, a lot problems, injustices, killings, terrorism, having a notion like “The World is not a safe place to live in”, of course, our families, a very important aspect. In terms of bands that influenced us, mostly the bands that a lot of people knew, Agnostic Front, Warzone, Biohazard, Madball, Pantera, Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Vision of Disorder, Shelter, No Innocent Victim, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Deicide, Entombed, Anthrax, Broken Hope, and a lot more..
ASPIRE: About the songwriting process, who is in-charge most of the process? Or is it a group culmination?
Jero: Si Mark ang gumagawa ng lyrics. Minsan nagsasabi lang kami kung anong magandang subject then si Mark na ang gumagawa. Pagdating sa music, lahat nagcocontribute, pag may nagawang riff yung isa inaayos na namin as a band.
Francis: Mostly the songwriting part is done by Mark, but we also contribute when we had something in our minds that can be added to the song.
ASPIRE: In Olongapo and its neighboring places, bands always talk about “wars” in their songs. Is this somehow becoming a “trend” or is it just what you feel like writing?
Jero: We don’t care about the trend, we do what we want with our music and when we get satisfied, yun na yun. ang mahalaga is we like what we do. Kasi pagdating sa shows dun lalabas ung binuo nyo e at pag gusto nyo ung ginawa nyo everything will be good on stage.
Francis: For me, it’s not like becoming a trend, but basically it’s what each of us feel. People are becoming aware of the things around us, and if we take a look at the present scenarios, we are pissed, we are disgusted, we are outraged. Writing a song is a way of shouting out what we feel. It’s an art. The most important thing is, whatever song we write or play, it should be coming deep inside our hearts.
ASPIRE: For me, hardcore music opens people’s minds on the glitches of everyday living, politics and government and just about everything while broadening perspectives and coming up of small but radical alternatives for people to minimize, if not totally eradicate, these problems. Here is the question for you, what is hardcore for you? Do you think it can help change the world? How does it help you to cope up with everyday struggles of life?
Jero: Hmmmmmmmm... For some, hardcore is just music, for some, it’s even a lifestyle, for us it’s an outlet for us to say what we feel. Through our music we can say anything. Let’s face it, not a lot of people listen to this kind of music but when you help one person to stand for his own through your music… it’s a big thing.
Francis: Hardcore doesn’t have an exact definition. For me, hardcore is not a trend, it’s not fashion, hardcore is understanding the real meaning of life, accepting the truth and fighting for the truth. It’s living your life without hurting someone, living in righteousness. No matter who you are, everyone deserves RESPECT.. RESPECT is not gained, it is earned.. That’s the most important thing to me. I believe the world has a chance.. Even if we can’t change everything, at least we can die trying.. (pucha pang beauty pageant na sagot)
ASPIRE: Do you think everyone in the scene has their own roles to play to keep the scene alive? Why?
Jero: To keep the scene alive is to avoid genre wars. Before kasi mga metalheads pinagtatawanan ung mga emo e hahaha!! Nakakatawa pero nakakalungkot para sa eksena. Ako mismo I’m not into that kind of music pero it’s not a reason for me to hate those guys. When I was still in my teens, nobody dares to harass me or my friends because of what we are or what we listen to. It’s because at that time Olongapo is a fucking haven for metalheads and metal bands and everyone I know is into metal. I miss those days man. I think it’s not fair for these kids to be treated the opposite way.
What I’m trying to say is give them chance in the scene. I’m not a fan of their music. I don’t even like the way they dressed but if it’s their time, lets give way brothers. Metal and hardcore will not die, its fuckin’ proven!!!!
Francis: Yes. All of us have a role to keep our scene alive. We should give utmost support to all the bands specially here in gapo.. What we see right now is, the scene here is slowly submerging. And we can see a lot of rising new bands that has potentials. And also, support the productions coz they are the one responsible of putting up gigs.
ASPIRE: What do you think is/are the reason/s why there are fewer females active in the scene? Is it because the scene moves towards being masochist? Can you see Fist Foundation in the future singing about gender equality?
Jero: Hindi naman siguro kasi nung time ko sa Chaotica na ang vox e female, marami kaming nakasabay na mga banda na ang vox ay mga babae. Hindi lang siguro kasing dame ng mga lalake ang mga scenesters. And about Fist Foundation singing about gender equality in the future, we don’t know yet. Let’s see.
Francis: Hmm, maybe girls nowadays much more likes hiphop and RNB.. aahahaa.. Maybe they think if they hang out with bands, they would look like “groupies”…
ASPIRE: What can you say about straight edge? Are there any member of the band that practices this lifestyle?
Jero: We respect vegan and straight edge people. You got to have a lot of discipline to do that and we respect them for that. This lifestyle, it’s not for us man. For 3 years I didn’t eat red meat and that’s the best I can do haha!!! Sarap ng sinigang na baboy e hahahaha!!!
Francis: None of us practices that lifestyle, but we have so much respect to them and to the principles of straight edge. I watched some documentaries about being a straight edge and I was amazed seeing and hearing stories, point of views of people practicing that lifestyle.. Full of positive views regarding SxE.
ASPIRE: What about abortion? Do you think there is the need for it to be legalized? Why or why not it should be legalized?
Jero: For me, I’m not into that but I think people has reasons why they do that.
Francis: That is a big issue nowadays and as we all know, it is somewhat conflicted by the people of the church and people of science. For me, Abortion is against the will of God.. And I am totally against it. Abortion is killing.. It should NOT be legalized.
ASPIRE: In this part of the discussion, I am going to ask you about your previous releases. So far, how many records have you put out?
Jero: Only Faces of Brutality. We are planning to have a full length but the members are too busy right now. We’ll wait till Mark come home.
Francis: So far we only released the EP Faces of Brutality but we are looking forward of recording a full length just finishing some new materials.. We hope it will push through..
ASPIRE: Can you tell us something about Faces Of Brutality EP? Some infos you wish to state for that release. Is it still available to this day?
Jero: Faces of Brutality is a 7 track demo. Sad to say it’s not available anymore but we are planning to include some of those songs in the next record.
Francis: It’s a 7 track EP, full in your face hardcore songs including Respect and Holy War… Unfortunately it’s not available but you can hear it in www.myspace.com/fistfoundation and also check it out in www.purevolume.com.
ASPIRE: While me and you was texting about some of the details of the interview, you mentioned that the 3-way split with Queen City Crew and Observe Silence from xthinkpositivex Records didn’t pushed through. Why?
Jero: I don’t really know what happened but according to Neil of xthinkpositivex, he's still working on it. We’ll see.
ASPIRE: As I was browsing to the internet some long time ago, I’ve come across a webzine. Its Overtune, ran by Sheng and Sky who are based from Manila. Its first issue of compilation entitled “Overtune Project Volume 1: Royal Rumble”, has included one of your song. Tell us how it would come about. How does it feel to be included with some of the best hardcore bands the Philippines have to offer?
Jero: The band has no idea how our song end up in that compilation but we think its good and we are grateful to be included in that project.
Francis: Honestly, we don’t know how they’ve included us to that compilation but thank you very much for that info. And also thanks to Sheng and Sky for including 1 of our song.. (I even don’t know what song it was!!) Added info: We are included in a 3 way split CD released by xThink Positive Recordsx. The 3 way split CD bands are Observe Silence and Queen City Crew and Fist Foundation. Of course its an honor to be included in such complilations with such great hardcore bands across the country.
ASPIRE: Mark, your vocalist, is still in Europe and will return this year. Did you guys take the time to write more songs? Or you guys just cared about your own lives? Hehehe. When he return, does that mean more shows for Fist Foundation, probably a full length and tours?
Jero: Hahahaha!!!! Actually the last time Mark talked to Francis he was really pissed about the progress of the band but were trying our best to get ready on our gigs when he come back.
Francis: We’re looking forward playing in future gigs and recording a full length album. Let’s just wait and see what’s gonna happen. Ehehehehe…
ASPIRE: Please answer this one. What could be the worst thing that could happen to you while you are in the bathroom?
Jero: Hahahaha!!!! This is a hard one hahaha!!! Siguro pag may nag crashed na airplane sa bahay nyo. You die while you are pooing. A very bad and funny way to die!!!
Francis: Maybe when the floor is wet, and your foot slipped and your face goes right through the bowl full of shit…
ASPIRE: Thanks for the interview Jero. I guess we have reached the end, any last messages, shout outs and/or threats you wish to say?
Jero: LONG LIVE OLONGAPO CITY HARDCORE!!!!!!!!!
Francis: Thank you so much for this interview and more power to your fanzine.. (give us a copy ayt!!!!)
1. The TPHC 3-way split CD featuring Fist Foundation, Observe Silence and Queen City Crew will be out on January 2010. It will be under Neil’s xThinkPositivex Records based on Pagbilao, Quezon, Philippines. The band still plays whenever they can because Mark also leaves the country for his job abroad. I saw them play at the Aural Massacre 17 on December 19, 2009. And it was a great experience seeing them play live for the first time. (TPHC is out. Ask Neil of xThinkPositivex for your copy: http://www.facebook.com/xgwen.edge.tanx)
2. They are currently recording for an album. Some of the songs from their Faces of Brutality demo will be included. KEEP BUGGING THEM TO FINISH THE RECORDING! PLEASE! I BEG YOU!
3. Maynard, their other guitarist, left the band to focus on his family. He was replaced by Pom Santos of Imbue No Kudos fame.
FIST FOUNDATION are:
Mark - vocals
JP - guitars
Pom - guitars
Jero - bass
Francis - drums