Life, love and regrets inspire The Juans’ hugot songs

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Life, love and regrets inspire The Juans� hugot songs
The Juans members (from left): Japs Mendoza, RJ Cruz, Carl Guevarra, Joshua Coronel and Chael Adriano (seated).
Viva Records

Local band The Juans draws deep emotions from personal regrets and love experiences in making heart-rending lyrics and sentimental melodies these days.

“I think lahat naman merong regrets. Kasi duon ka matututo. For me, hindi po namin masusulat ‘yung mga ganitong klaseng (hugot) lyrics kung wala po kaming experiences na pinagdaanan sa romance or love or sa buhay (in general),” said the band’s guitarist (acoustic) RJ Cruz during the digital media conference for the launching of their new single Dulo.

“Yung mga mistakes namin helped us reach where we are right now,” he added.

Lead vocalist and keyboardist Carl Guevarra admitted they are “not perfect kids.” They also “made mistakes, made wrong choices and entered relationships that were wrong.”

And because of those “regrets,” they were able to draw emotions that inspired them to create songs that would touch the audience’s hearts.

“It’s also a message to everyone na, ‘See, even The Juans, hindi perpekto ang mga yan eh. How come right now they are speaking to people about love, inspiration and relationships?’ I feel like we always come from a place of honesty that well…I like someone at hindi kami pwede. It really happened and that’s what we write about,” Carl told The STAR.

He furthered that they are “not thankful for the regrets but we are using the regrets to our advantage now.”

When asked if there is anyone in the group who is broken-hearted, there was none. “Masaya po kami lahat. Happy in life and work, in general,” they said and pointed to their drummer Joshua Coronel who is happily married.

The Juans members also include singer-guitarist Japs Mendoza and bassist Chael Adriano.

Speaking of hugot, their recently-released track Dulo is an addition to their list of letting-go-themed songs.

RJ said the song is a product of both imagination and real-life stories of their friends.

“Every ‘Dulo’ marks a new beginning,” exclaimed Carl. “We’d like to start this whole album campaign with a song called Dulo because we believe that we must first give up what’s not for us, so that we can receive the love that we deserve,” adding, “Sa bawat relasyon, kadalasan sabay pumapasok, pero kadalasan din, may nauuna sa dulo.”

“After this, we will be releasing a couple more singles and then release our full album, which is something people should look forward to. If they knew us because of our hugot songs, then they need to brace themselves because the hugot just got deeper,” he added.

Dulo is also about life choices. “A lot of us are asking, ‘Saan nga ba ang Dulo nitong paghihirap natin? Kailan matatapos ‘tong pandemya na ‘to? This song also tells people that they have a choice. Isusuko ba or ilalaban pa? We hope the song will help people deal with their losses and look forward to better things ahead,” explained Carl.

A bittersweet short film of Dulo was also dropped last Aug. 20 featuring two young lovers in a car driving along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) who in the end have broken up.

For Carl, the song and the music video are very personal to him. “I experience crying myself in NLEX while driving. Having to let go of things that I think aren’t healthy for me,” which reflects his hugot in Dulo. “If they’re gonna watch the video, it is set in NLEX. We partnered with NLEX para mapayagan kami mag-shoot dun sa driveway.”

Meanwhile, the “church kids” from Bulacan also talked about how their passion for music and faith contributed to the band’s chemistry.

“We play in our worship team in church. Growing up, sipunin pa lang si RJ, magkakilala na kami. Lahat po kami ay members ng music team. Ang una po talaga na sumabak sa industriya ay kami ni Japs,” recalled Carl.

They learned to give all in everything that they do from their training and background in church. “Una sa lahat, dahil sanay kami nag-vo-volunteer, sanay kami na walang bayad. Ibibigay ang best na walang bayad — yan ang orientation namin lahat,” revealed Carl.

“When you find the right people and you’re meant to be, it’s gonna happen. It’s just a matter of time,” continued Carl on the secret of keeping the band together.

Chael chipped in, “Kapag you journey with people (you want to be with),  hindi mo na kailangan hanapin yung secret (chemistry) pero sila mismo yung parang kayo lang guys, sapat na.”

When asked if there was an instance when their faith has been tested, “Sa panahon po na ‘to, araw-araw na sinusubok po ang aming faith kasi minsan hindi po namin ma-describe yung level ng challenges na hinaharap namin as a band,” Carl replied.

He went on saying: “May mga times na pag-gising ko sa umaga na nagkakape, umiiyak na lang talaga ako. Dahil ‘Lord, kaya pa ba namin ‘to? May susunod pa ba?’ I think because our faith is tested all the time, in every milestone na pinagdadaanan namin, it always gets stronger.”

On spirituality, Carl equates it to as “simple as dedicating everything we do to the Lord.”

“In fact, before we began this presscon, we prayed and we said, ‘Sana lahat ng sasabihin namin hindi lang maging pang-matalino pero sana ma-inspire yung mga makikinig at magsusulat tungkol sa interview na ‘to.”

They hit it big with a single called Hindi Tayo Pwede from their Umaga album, which was released following the band’s revamp.

The Juans was formed back in 2013 with Carl, Japs, Jiad Arroyo on rhythm guitar, Jason de Mesa on bass and Daniel Gorospe on drums.

In 2018, the three left the band to pursue other career paths. Carl and Japs stayed and later on found the new guys — RJ, Joshua and Chael, their choirmates in the church that they attended.

Carl said they are “very supportive and happy” for their former band mates who ventured into business after their departure.

Likewise, the current band members are open to acting opportunities if given the chance. Japs appeared in the Sarah Geronimo starrer Miss Granny while RJ is taking acting workshops.

The Juans’ other hits are Istorya, Hatid, Itutulog Na Lang and Pangalawang Bitaw.

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