Premier OPM band Side A is an icon that certainly needs no introduction. However, the group members still make it a point to evolve their artistry to touch the hearts and souls of the new generation while still keeping the soul of their music intact.
Over the decades, the band has enjoyed peak success more than any other group in its category. Having been a prominent figure in the local music scene since 1985, three decades of soulful music has secured Side A’s place in Pinoy pop culture across all generations, even including that of the Millennials and the Gen Zs.
“Na-brainwash sila ng mga parents nila,” said Side A’s keyboardist Naldy Gonzalez in an exclusive zoom interview of the group with Republic Asia Tuesday.
“ ‘Yung mga nanonood sa’min, akala nga namin sisters, ‘yun pala mom and daughter,”
“Lately yes, sa mga gigs namin, longtime fans of Side A pero kasama na ‘yung mga teenage kids.”
More than the organic appeal of their music, Side A members are thankful to their loyal fans for further re-introducing their sound to the next generation.
“Minsan naman mag-pa-pa-picture, sabihin, ‘my mom’s a fan. Nanonood sila sa’min probably because of the influence of their moms and dads or whatever to find out what the buzz is all about,” Naldy said.
“We’re pretty much aware namin what kind of audience is for that evening kasi sinisilip namin kung younger crowd. From there tinitignan namin what we can adjust for them to be involved,” he said.
Side A members try to infuse new elements and rearrange their sound to touch on present-day music lovers.
“If you listened sa latest na nirelease namin, you would really find elements that would cater sa mga listeners ngayon na parang, may mga tunog don na you wouldn’t hear sa Side A songs way way before pero may mga elements kaming dinadagdag doon of course to appeal sa pandinig ng bagong [audience] but not necessarily giving away [a totally different genre].” said lead vocalist Yubs Esperal.
What keeps Side A going?
Three decades of musical supremacy have inevitably brought significant changes in the group. Times have indeed changed but their love for their craft and their passion for music kept Side A going through the years.
“Natutuwa kami na everytime we do gigs, andun pa rin ang tao, people are still responding to the music, so nakakatuwa naman,” quipped Naldy.
Just like others, Side A too experienced transformations especially change in members. But unlike those bands torn because of internal conflict, Side A has managed to maintain good relationships with their former bandmates.
“All good [with former band members], in fact in our concert Side A Then and Now with previous members sa Newport [World Resorts], it was a very successful concert,” shared drummer Ernie Severino.
Their most prominent member was former lead vocalist Joey Generoso who left the group in 2015. He was the voice behind most of the group’s iconic hits such as “Hold On,” “So Many Questions” and the immortal hit “Forevermore.”
Side A songs
Having a roster of colossal hits that you had to sing tirelessly every night, clearly the group simply has no choice but to give in to fan requests.
But is there any Side A song that they’re tired of performing?
“Parang wala naman,” Ned said.
“We enjoy what we do, it doesn’t matter how often we do it, it doesn’t matter kahit paulit-ulit. Siguro kung kami lang tutugtog walang audience, nakakasawa naman yun but when you’re on stage and you’re sharing your music with an audience, and ‘yung audience, nag-e-enjoy sila and they appreciate the songs that you put out, okay eh. Kami din we would feel bad if we don’t play songs that people want to hear,” he finished.
Side A has released a song called “Clueless,” a heart-breaking song that talks about the pains of having to endure being left behind without clear reasons. It is now streaming on Spotify.