The Take Off: Blind Stereo Moon

Julie Samonte (vocals), Dave Cruz (drums) and Gershon Vivas (bass)

It’s Coachella weekend, the Two Difficult Girls (TDG) would’ve given an arm (and a leg…plus a kidney) to be there, but our body parts apparently don’t even amount to a one-way plane ticket to Cali and to be honest, we had more important things to do. It’s our first ever photo shoot for The Takeoff and we’re more than excited to get up at 5 in the freaking AM (we don’t even wake up this early for our day jobs)  to frolic in the sun with our good chums Julie Samonte, Dave Cruz and Gershon Vivas from Blind Stereo Moon.

6 AM – TDG arrive at UP Diliman feeling like sedated frogs. Armed with a shitload of clothes, makeup and accessories, we could only hope that the band did not decide to just watch WWE reruns instead of coming to the shoot. After all, it is kinda unheard of to bully a band into an early morning photo sesh.  So you can only imagine our relief (and euphoria) when Blind Stereo Moon finally showed up at the College of Mass Comm parking lot, still looking dazed but obvs excited (the bassist even brought his entire wardrobe, true story).

But before we drown you with the side bars, here’s the low-down. Spending a whole day with Blind Stereo Moon is like listening to their brand of music – simple, fun and easy-going.

These kids from Bulacan got together in high school during a time when it’s almost never surprising to be in a band. (you play an instrument = you must be in a band!) An old article in a campus paper recorded their first band name as Kahimanawari. Since then, they have become Magic Bibe, Happy 3 Friends, Press Button to Eject Teacher, The Lost Sheep and whatnot. But playing music proves to surpass adolescence and band name indecision.  Their setlists, which were then composed mostly of Sugarfree and John Mayer covers later gave way to performances of their own compositions - ear-friendly melodic pop tunes coupled with Julie's soothing vocals echoing young adult woes and whims.

After a few years, they would no longer play just for captive audiences usually made up of high school friends. But even after landing several gigs in the metro (including the highly anticipated annual UP Fair), Blind Stereo Moon still exudes that spirit and excitement, as if every gig is their first time to play in public. Call it naïveté or a case of long-term giddiness, but these kids are always stoked about playing their music – even after a tiring day at work (yes, Julie and Gershon have day jobs). It’s been a long time coming, but these kids are ready to release their debut album by the middle of the year.
Together with the shoot, we had the interview all planned out in our minds. In an effort to boost our cred as wannabe music journalists (see also Almost Famous), we prepared a nifty set of questions and lots of mental post-its to act a tiny bit more formal than usual. But due to the necessity of a midday nap time (yes, you read it right, a NAP TIME), plus the feeling that you’re just hanging out with your friends, time flew by so fast that we had to do the interview inside the car, en route to Bulacan. Here’s what we have salvaged from an audio file that can be easily mistaken as voices of druggies on Blairwitch Project.  

Hi you, guise!
BSM: Hello, hello, hello! (Everyone proceeded to say hello at least 10 times, though we’ve been together for most of the day.)

First things first. Can you tell us more about your band name? We actually like it. It sounds really cool.
Julie: Oh wow. It’s a long story! Miccah (1/2 of TDG) knows all about the numerous name changes we’ve had. The three words mean different things though. Blind…well—
Dave: Minsan kasi dapat para kang bulag, kailangan mo ipikit yung mga mata mo para mas ma-appreciate mo yung music namin.
[You know sometimes you have to be blind and close your eyes so that you’ll be able to appreciate our music more.]
J: Yeah. Stereo, on the other hand, sounds like “trio” which is what we are. Moon stands for “Luna” – our first song ever.

Coolio! Well, being your stage friends we’ve obviously been to your gigs and we’ve listened to your songs countless of times. But for people who don’t have the slightest clue about you guys, can you please describe your music in 5 words or less?
J: Hmmm…(lengthy pause) Dabo, ikaw sumagot nito! [Dabo, answer this one!]
D: Simple but super rock. (Everyone in the car goes like “What’s that even supposed to mean?”)
J: Uncluttered, simple and easy-going
Gershon: We look and sound good.

Who or what inspired you to be a musician?
G: God and my family
J: My mom. She wanted us kids to play the piano but I wanted a guitar instead because it’s more rock and roll. When she bought me a plastic toy guitar, the first songs I pretended to sing and play were Huling El Bimbo and Lupang Hinirang so I guess the Eraserheads and Julian Felipe inspired me too. Hahaha.
D: Bigla lang akong nainggit sa mga ibang nagbabanda tapos nag-drums na rin ako. [ I just saw other bands and got jealous of them so I started to learn playing drums too.]

What’s the best thing about being a musician / being in a band?
J: We’re doing what we love the most and we get to meet lots of awesome people.
D: Mas naipapakita ko kung ano si Dave at mas marami akong nakikilala. [I’m able to show everyone who Dave really is and I get to meet more people.]
G: You’ll have the chance to show your talent and your face. (Laughs) Sabi nila magkakaroon ka ng maraming chicks pero kasinungalingan iyon! Hahaha [They said you’ll get to have a lot of girls, but it’s a lie! Hahaha]

You really look like you guys are having fun with making music and we’re sure Gershon also gets his fair share of girls, but what are your biggest challenges as a band?
J: As an independent band, creating an album is the biggest challenge we have ever faced. We plan and manage everything from recording to CD pressing. It is also our first time in the studio so this is an entirely new experience for us.
G: Keeping ourselves on the right track
J: I agree! We still have to set a meeting for this one!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane –wow, what could be a cheesier thing to say? What was the first album you ever bought? Honestly.
J: Nellyville by Nelly cassette tape (for a class dance number)

And you really had to emphasize that it was for school! Someone’s being defensive! ;) What about the boys?
D: Nakakahiya… Salbakuta! [This is really embarrassing… Salbakuta!] Hahaha

Salbakuta FTW! We’re totally loving your hip-hop roots! Hahaha.
D:Eight pa lang ako nun! Kaya hindi ko pa alam yun! [I was just eight years old then! I didn’t know anything about it!]

It’s totally OK, man. We heart them too. What about Gershon?
D: Pusta ko Wonder Girls yan!  [I bet it’s the Wonder Girls!]
G: Guess what… Girls’ Generation “Genie” (Laughs) Hanggang ngayon hindi pa yun bukas ha. [Haven’t even opened it til now.]

Describe your dream gig. Where would this be? Sky’s the limit! Any people in particular that you’d want to be in the audience?
G: Gusto ko makatugtog kasama ang Hillsong. Ang saya nun kung hatak-hatak nila ang Blind Stereo Moon sa mga world tours nila!  [I really want to play with Hillsong. That would be really fun if they’d bring Blind Stereo Moon along on their world tours!]
J: Crossroads guitar festival then off to Abbey Road. I’d like our families and friends to be there so they can also roam around the US and London.
D: Abbey Road Studio! Ayoko sa Crossroads. [I don’t want to go to Crossroads.] Hahaha

Since the theme for today’s shoot was “The Last Summer of Our Lives”, what songs are on your summer playlist?
D: (sings) “Summer breeze…makes me feel fine…” (Summer Breeze – Seals and Croft)
G: Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
J: Island in the Sun – Weezer
    Sleep All Day – Jason Mraz
    Maybe Tomorrow – Stereophonics
    Like Anyone Else – The Dereck Trucks Band
    Clarity – John Mayer

What were your best memories of summer?
D: Wala talaga kaming memories. Ay, the best pala nung may nauntog sa salamin na pinto! ( We have no memories at all. Oh, my best memory was when someone bumped into a glass door!)
J: Huwag yun! [Not that one!] (Side note: One of the most epic BSM moments. Ever. Ask Julie, but we can’t assure you that she’ll spill.)
G: (in a daze) Favorite summer memories ba naming na magkakasama? [Our favourite memories with each other?]

Not really. Just your favourite summer memories.
J: One time our family went to a beach in Batangas and we had to ride on a very old and unstable boat to get to another island. The funny thing is I was 8 and I was bossing around, telling my cousins to rearrange themselves so we can balance the boat and not drown in the middle of the sea.
D: Maligo sa ilog, as in sa ilog, nang nakahubad. Seryoso! Pero bata pa ako nun. Hahaha. [Bathing in the river, butt naked. Seriously! But that was when I was still a kid.]
G: Nung nag-swimming kami kasama ko yung crush ko. Tapos nag-usap lang kami at hindi nag-swimming. Hahaha. Pagkatapos natulog lang ako sa gilid ng pool. Sarap sa pakiramdam ng mga pebbles! [The one time we went swimming with this girl I liked. We ended up not swimming at all and just talked. After that, I slept by the pool side. The pebbles felt great!]
J: Panalo yung natulog lang sa gilid ng pool! [That’s really great that you just ended up sleeping on the poolside!]

Favorite childhood game to play in the summer?
J: Kampo-kampo. I was always the skinniest kid so I had competitive advantage.
D: Jul, di yun Kampo-Kampo! [Jul, it’s not Kampo-Kampo!]
J: Oops, sorry. I meant Moro-Moro.
D: Sakin, batuhan ng putik sa bukid tsaka Moro-Moro. [For me, it’s slinging mud at each other in the field and Moro-Moro]
G: Moro-Moro, Sipa, Luksong Baka. 

If this is the last summer of your life, what would you do?
J: Hindi pa naman kami madedeads ah! [We’re not gonna die any time soon!]

We mean, the last summer before you get thrown into the “real world” with all the trappings of adulthood.
J: Teach street kids, plant trees, and write songs during the day and spend evenings with my family.
D: Gagala with friends and family. [Travel with my friends and family.]
G:Ittreat ko ang family ko sa kahit saan nila gusto. Basta kaya ng budget. Hahaha.  [I want to travel with my family to anywhere they want. As long as I can afford it! Hahaha.]

Time sure does fly ridiculously fast when you're having fun -- especially when you're chatting up with Blind Stereo Moon over Jolly Hotdogs and fries. At this point, I (James, the other difficult girl) realized it was already getting late and that I had to go home. Yes, amidst our difficulty (or difficultness?) we remain filial daughters. In a state of panic, we figured that we had to wrap up our short interview session and find out what's in store for the band.

What are plans for the coming months? What can we expect from Blind Stereo Moon in the near future?
G: Sisikat kami.  [We’ll be famous.] (Deadpans)
D: Our debut album…and 2nd album!
J: A second album already?? Hahaha. We’ll release our independently-produced debut album midyear so watch out for it! 

Blind Stereo Moon's music feels like the blissful summer of your childhood - carefree, uncomplicated but memorable. Their upcoming album features songs that you'd definitely want to put on loop while on a long drive to your hometown, or while simply wasting daylight with mais con hielo in hand. Here are the most down-to-earth kids we've ever met and they play songs that you'd want to hear this summer.

After a day-long shoot which includes a 2-hour nap time, more than 400 frames, approximately 3,000 calories, and stealthy trespassing skills, we are finally on our way home. Inside a car stuffed with guitars is no place for an epiphany, but we realized that at the end of the day, these three musicians are really just kids. Every gig is an opportunity to showcase their talent, but having fun is never excluded out of the equation. Amidst the vices that the rock scene has to offer, they never forget to be humble and to look back to where they came from. 

It was Coachella weekend, but we couldn't be any happier that we spent it getting high off Jolly Hotdogs with Blind Stereo Moon.

For Blind Stereo Moon’s gig sched, please visit www.facebook.com/blindstereomoon. To listen to their songs, go to www.myspace.com/blindstereomoon

All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Pauboy Cervantes. 


  1. well done.. :) parang naririnig ko music ng BSM habang binabasa ko.:)congrats TDG :)

  2. Thank you, Anonymous chum! Smiley festival over here :) :) :)

  3. i love press button to eject teacher hahaha. good job, difficult girls :) -- lui

  4. I love you both! And I love BSM foreveeerrrr. >:D< Well done you guyz! C

  5. @Ate Lui: We also loved "Magic Bibe" :)) Thank you for dropping by! :)

    @C: Thank you for fangirling forever.

    @Pauboy: Mas astig photos mo, bossing! Thank you for the super fun shoot and the really great shots! (Sa uulitin? Hehe)

    Two Difficult Girls

  6. i love you difficult girls... :D

  7. great job, TDG!

    ligayang ligaya rin ako na BSM ang unang featured band.

    i love TDG and BSM. (oo, ako na ang fan. kailangan i-spell out.)

    - aika

  8. @Anonymous Chum: We love you too. Please give us cash. :D

    @Aika: Thank you, sister! Stage friends FTW!

  9. Di lang pang-blog, pwedz na pwedz sa print! :)

    Btw, Julie's voice is love. <3

  10. lab et!:)) great job TDG! kudos to BSM! mabuhay!
    - dayan.santi

  11. @Regina: Life peg -> Almost Famous. :D You should watch them live more often!

    @Dianne: Yey! Thank you for dropping by. BSM forever! :)

    Two Difficult Girls

  12. Congratz, BSM and TDG! Great Job! :)

  13. @Yet Another Anonymous Chum: Thank you! :) Post your name (or alias if you want) if it's not too much trouble. We would love to know you guys!:)

    Two Difficult Girls


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