MV to be launched at El Chante MNL.
WORDS BY KENDRICK GO
Y ears ago, Hey Moonshine wrote a song that continues to be relevant to this day. And if all are to be considered, then this can be construed as bad news.
The song, after all, is entitled “We’ll Break This War.” Released just last year, the nearly 5-minute track is a call for unity against forces that instigate widescale conflicts. There were quite a number of those when it was being written and things haven’t improved much since.
In the West just recently, the United States was on high alert, preparing for a possible war with Iran. In the East, meanwhile, remains China, a country whose aggressive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia have caused tense maritime standoffs between the nation and its neighbors. And then, there’s social media. All over the world, especially the Philippines, it continues to be used as the tool to deceive and divide the public for the sake of various political agendas (however harmful those agendas might be.) It’s a tense period in human history. And this is why songs like “We’ll Break This War” remains timely.
“Those are the exact elements we’ve foreseen back [when we were completing the track,]” said Bryan Gatmaitan, the band’s guitarist. “The events that were slowly transpiring during that time already alarmed us. There was a sense of urgency in our chests that felt like it was gonna explode and we needed to do something about it in a song.” This is why “We’ll Break This War” was written and released. It is also why the song will be further promoted through a music video to be unleashed at El Chante MNL on February 8.
“For 2 years we’ve been trying hard to get exposure for [We’ll Break This War,” said Gatmaitan. “We’ve finally been blessed with this video.”
Covering nearly five minutes, “We’ll Break This War” is a slow-burning track that showcases the band’s affinity for blues and southern rock. It starts off with faint drumbeats paced like a relaxed pulse and soon enough, the sound of a guitar will come in followed by cymbals; the song will start to sound confrontational at that point and not long after, the lyrics will tell you exactly what it’s confronting: corruption, inequality, systematized subversion—“life’s interruptions.”
“As a musician and a lawyer, I [can] clearly say without a doubt that there will always be the threat of war,” said Carlo Ybanez, the band’s bassist. “As long as there are differences in political opinions, religion, customs, and tradition, there is always a possibility that such a threat will come to pass. As citizens, we often feel that we are at the mercy of the powers that be. We have no say, whatsoever in the decision-making process of a declaration of war.” But this shouldn’t be the case, he added, at least not for a democratic country like the Philippines.
“Our very Constitution provides that sovereignty resides in the people,” he explained, “which means that if we decide, as a people to stop a war, we can legally do so. There is even a process provided in the Constitution called Referendum when the people can reject a law — which necessarily includes an act of war.” And this is exactly what the song is about. “We’ll Break This War”—much like a number of songs that challenge established orders—is a reminder to the people that power—real power—lies with them. And the band is putting that message on blast.
Directed by Arvin “Kadiboy” Belarmino, with assistance from Sigfried Barros Sanchez, the video for “We’ll Break This War” will see the eight-piece band at the New Bilibid Prison. It will also see the end product of a one-day shoot which proved to be a challenge for the group.
“You’d have to be physically fit at the location where we filmed,” said Gatmaitan. “We had to walk distances, go down hills on a trail, stand in the heat with makeup and our costumes for hours with short five-minute breaks to get the most [out] of natural light. It was definitely a workout.” Nevertheless, members of the group weren’t short of good things to say about the experience.
Angela Rivera, one of the group’s backup vocalists said that it was a welcome experience for her to bond with her bandmates and witness the passion of the production team making the video. Meanwhile, the group’s vocalist, Gian Sison, called the experience “surreal.”
“There were some challenges along the way,” he said, “but seeing everyone doing their part and helping out in every single way they can, that’s definitely a win already for us right there.” A better victory for the group, however, is to the fulfillment of the song’s purpose.
Written back in 2016, “We’ll Break This War” was “Hey Moonshine’s” response to a world growing increasingly concerned over various developments. For starters, there was North Korea; at that time, the country was continuing its much-criticized pursuit of nuclear arms which led to several missile tests in Asia. Then, of course, there’s China, staking its claim on foreign territories of nearby countries including the ones that belonged to the Philippines. And then there were the drastic changes in the political landscapes of various countries; the alarming rise of cult-of-personality leaders placed in power in spite of their far-right, borderline anti-humanist sentiments.
For some, 2016 was a good time to worry and to feel powerless. But, to others, it offered a chance—an opportunity to remind the public where the real power lies, why wars start and how it can be stopped.
The launch of “We’ll Break This War’s” music video at El Chante MNL will happen at 8PM. Door charge is at 250php.