I've been a fan of Versus, an indie rock predominantly Fil-Am band based in NYC for over a decade now. I've been fortunate enough to watch them sometime in the early 2000's and am darn excited to have another opportunity to catch them when they play in Magnet, Bonifacio High Street this November. I spoke with frontman Richard Baluyut sometime last week and this is what he had to say.
Rick: We're you -- the Baluyot brothers born in the Philippines or in the USA? If you were born here in the Philippines, was it tough adjusting to a new life in America? Was music an outlet for that adjustment?
Richard: The Baluyut brothers were all born in the USA. Our parents emigrated in the mid-sixties, and shortly thereafter the wonderful gift of Richard was bestowed.
Rick: You guys are huge hockey fans, right? Still rooting for the Red Wings or have you switched loyalties to the Rangers and/or the Islanders? Mets or Yankees? Knicks or the Nets?
Richard: The three of us from Detroit (James, Patrick and Richard) are Red Wings fans of course, but living in New York, also like the Rangers. And I love the Mets. Never heard of the Yankees however; are they a lacrosse team?
Rick: Was the toughness of breaking into a wider audience been an effect on the hiatus of Versus? It's been several years since Hurrah came out. Any plans for a new album?
Richard: Versus' hiatus had nothing to do with music. I decided to move away from New York for a while, but now that that I'm back there will be a new album, of course!
Rick: Is the November trip going to be the first time Versus will perform in Manila? If not when was the last time?
Richard: This will be Versus' debut in Manila. The Baluyut brothers have not visited the land of our ancestors for about 15 years.
Rick: You've put out quite a number of albums, more than many of your contemporaries during the 1990's. To what do you attribute your staying power?
Richard: Actually we only had 4 albums, which I don't consider a lot (but we do have a number of EPs out as well). Some of our contemporaries are up to album #10!
Rick: What music or bands and artists is Versus into now?
Richard: I'm into Alicia Keys, Grizzly Bear and Goldfrapp at the moment. But we were inspired to play music by the Manila Express, wedding band extraordinaire from Detroit.
Rick: After this tour, what will the band be doing other than eating or catching up on zzzs?
Richard: We'll be wondering why, after an Obama victory, nothing has changed at all.