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Cup of Joe hopes to bring comfort to more people through Spotify RADAR 

by Joshua Gerona

WHEN alternative pop band Cup of Joe debuted in 2019, no one from the band had ever thought that they would later make a phenomenal noise in the local music scene. 

Photo courtesy: Spotify Philippines

The six-piece collective—composed of vocalists Gian Bernardino and Raphael Ridao, lead guitarist Gabriel Fernandez, bassist Raphael Severino, rhythm guitarist CJ Fernandez, and pianist Vixen Gareza—has been riding the waves of success since last year, amassing millions of streams for hit songs “Tingin” and “Estranghero.”

And the ride will seem to last longer when the music streaming platform Spotify recently announced that the band is among the ten artists included in this year’s RADAR Philippines lineup

RADAR is Spotify’s global program that aims to bring music from up-and-coming artists to a bigger audience, helping them gain stable momentum in the music arena. The program curates an exciting lineup of rising acts from different genres every year.

In an exclusive interview with republicasia, the band talked about embracing individuality and serving different blends of music in hopes of bringing comfort to more people. 

“As a group, music has always been our comfort, and we want our music to serve as other’s comfort as well.” 

‘Real emotions make real music’ 

Cup of Joe has been famous for crafting songs that resonate with different audiences, especially Gen Zs and millennials. 

This is no exaggeration, as the band was hailed as the most listened OPM act on Spotify in November last year—a testament to the band’s unprecedented fame in the country. 

But what makes Cup of Joe songs too relatable and appealing to the public? 

Ridao said that the key to building musical connections with people is to incorporate raw emotions and experiences into your craft. 

“It could be our own [experiences], the events from our friends or our loved ones. Real emotions make real music so doon kami humuhugot talaga, kung anong nararamdaman namin,” the Cup of Joe vocalist shared. 

The band, however, reiterated their commitment to focus more on incorporating positive, hopeful experiences and emotions in their songs as an antithesis to the emo, sad trend in the music scene. 

“Based on our experience and experience of other people, kung ano [man] ‘yung pinagdadaanan mo, we want you to look rin sa brighter side kasi lahat naman ng pinagdaanan natin may magandang maidudulot rin sa atin sa future,” Severino said. 

Gareza further explained that while pain and hope are intertwined with each other, the band “just choose to lean on the hope part.” 

What sets the band apart

Photo courtesy: Spotify Philippines

When the global pandemic hit the country four years ago, the sudden shift to virtual spaces shattered the momentum Cup of Joe had then when they were just starting to build a name in the music scene. 

“OPM was just rising again, then came 2020, the pandemic started. We were just starting to build our name, and then the world stopped,” Bernardino said. 

But thanks to social media, the band was able to maintain the connection with their fans, collectively known as Joewahs, and continue producing relatable music despite the struggle of not meeting face-to-face with the members. 

“Siguro ‘yung social media has helped us a lot in communicating with our fans. Through social media, mas naging closer kami… parang naririnig namin ‘yung stories nila, nababasa namin, and through that parang nakakakuha rin kami ng inspiration in making our music,” lead guitarist Fernandez shared. 

But if there is group of people who deeply inspired them in crafting comfort music aside from their fans, it was the previous generation of musicians, such as Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Eraserheads, and Rivermarya, that the band looked up to.

“Their inspiration really pushed us to make us a voice of our generation, as we perceived them as a voice of theirs. We try to make our own sounds that are inspired by [them].” 

As a voice and favorite band of this generation, what sets Cup of Joe apart, according to them, is how they value self-expression and embrace quirkiness. 

“We embrace what makes us quirky or unique. I think that’s one of the reasons why we can separate ourselves. Instead of going away with what makes us different, we lean into that,” Gareza explained. 

Furthermore, Bernardino underscored the importance of taking a stand on various issues and being principled in influencing the new generation.  

“In today’s generation, it’s very important that we take a stand on the issues and principles that we believe in, and I think what sets us apart is we incorporate our ideals in the way we perform, the way we present ourselves on stage, the way we speak and the way we interact with our audiences,” the vocalist explained. 

Radar PH artist

Photo courtesy: Spotify Philippines

As part of the RADAR Philippines class of 2024, the Baguio-based band was beyond grateful as they believe the program will help them “reach the mainstream.” 

Bernardino even said that the RADAR program will serve as a key for them to open the gate with bigger audiences here in the Philippines and abroad. 

For Gareza, being included in the lineup means a lot to the band as a rising OPM act in terms of public visibility and reach. 

“I think the RADAR program is really a great opportunity to let other people hear what we can offer to them,” he said. 

When asked what the future holds for Cup of Joe, Ridao revealed that they will continue producing relatable music as a six-piece band, but it may be different from their previous tracks since the band is still evolving and growing. 

“It may evolve into something na you might not even recognize, and that’s what makes it fun ‘di ba? You’ll never know kung anong maisip mo na song and you (the fans) will never know anong mapapakinggan niyo.” 

But is the band currently brewing something for Joewahs? Gareza jokingly responded, “It’s for you to find out.” 

Check out the RADAR PH playlist on Spotify and fall in love with songs from the RADAR Philippines Class of 2024.



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